Doug Erickson, a Republican from Ferndale (and Trump campaign organizer in this state), introduced an unbelievably broad bill last month to criminalize protests that involve “economic disruption.” This term is defined as actions that
“(a) Influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; and
(b) Obstruct, hinder, or delay the passage of any train, truck, car, ship, boat, aircraft, or other vehicle or vessel engaged in the carriage, hauling, transport, shipment, or delivery of goods, cargo, freight, or other item, in commerce; or
(c) Interferes with, tampers with, damages, or obstructs any pipeline facility, bulk oil terminal, marine terminal, tank car, waterborne vessel or barge, or power plant.”
Not only the person committing the act is guilty of this proposed crime but so is anyone who
“with knowledge that it will promote or facilitate the commission of the crime, he or she: (a) Solicits, commands, encourages, or requests the other person to commit the crime; or (b) aids or agrees to aid the other person in planning or committing the crime.”
With mandatory sentencing this bill is obviously an attempt to chill, if not thwart, demonstrations. Its vagueness and breadth confer a great deal of discretion and power on arresting officers, and could very well be used to discourage and disrupt marches and demonstrations.
It is important for people to contact the senators in the Senate Law and Justice Committee, as well as their senators and representatives in state government, to express their opinion about this. The committee is composed of three Republicans and two Democrats.
Contacts for the committee are here: