Reporter Olivia Covington with the Indiana Lawyer reported recently that protest bills are sweeping the country. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/protest-bills-with-anti-traffic-obstruction-focus-sweep-us/PARAMS/article/43138 (last visited March 24, 2017). She noted that Legislation has been filed or intends to be filed in at least 18 states, which focuses on the issue of traffic obstruction. This appears to be a response to traffic-blocking techniques employed by groups like Black Lives Matter and others. Senate Bill 285 in Indiana creates a study committee to look at the issue of police response “to a mass traffic obstruction.” Id.
Covington’s article quotes Keffer Barnhart LLP’s own, Scott Barnhart, who doubted whether the proposed bill in Indiana was even necessary in light of law enforcement’s current authority to arrest those who would be allegedly violating criminal law. The article further noted that “Barnhart has concerns about legislation aimed specifically at impeding protesters’ free speech rights afforded by both the First Amendment and Article 1, Section 9 of the Indiana Constitution, which prohibits laws that restrain ‘the free interchange of thought and opinion.’”
It is uncertain whether these bills will actually become controlling legislation in their respective states. To be sure though, if passed, they could implicate the constitutional rights of the individuals, groups, and actions they aim to address.
Looking for an Indiana civil rights attorney that understands your constitutional rights? Contact the attorneys at Keffer Barnhart LLP today if you have questions or believe your constitutional or criminal rights have been violated. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individualized case. Act now and contact us today at 1-800-NOT-GUILTY or (317) 857-0160.