Bill authors and protesters clash over the intent of legislation designed to increase penalties for illegal protesting
Tensions rose Wednesday in the Minnesota House of Representatives over legislation that would increase the penalties for illegally protesting.
As Alpha News previously reported, after a series of illegal protests that shut down freeways, airports, and trains, Republican State Representatives Nick Zerwas and Kathy Lohmer authored legislation that would increase the penalty for committing these crimes. Prior to the committee hearing Zerwas and Lohmer held a press conference with Speaker of The House Kurt Daudt to clarify the purpose of the bills.
“Nothing in this bill stops a legal, lawful protest” said Zerwas, stating, “There is absolutely nothing that is legal today, there is not a single form of protest that is legal today, that would become illegal if this law were to be passed and signed into law.”
Testifiers at the committee hearing who opposed the legislation repeatedly suggested racism and prejudice drove the motives behind the creation of the bills.
Testifiers went as far as criticizing the committee for not having any members of color, despite two lawmakers sitting on the committee who came from Hispanic and Native backgrounds.
The legislation passed the Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee in the House. Representative Zerwas says he expects it to pass on the House Floor soon.
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