Republican legislators are introducing laws that target protestors.
According to Truthout, Republicans have introduced 81 bills in 34 states aimed at protestors.
On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an anti-protest bill into law. Chris Sprowls, speaker of the Florida House, doesn’t want future protests to get out of hand like last year’s protest around the nation.
“We weren’t going to allow Florida to become Seattle,” Sprowls said. “We were not going to allow Florida to become Portland.”
The new law requires state approval before cutting police budgets, makes it a felony to destroy historical structures, and increases the charge for battery on a police officer.
Legacy Entertainment & Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization, sued the Governor. The organization argues that the new law violates First Amendment, Eighth Amendment, and 14th Amendment protections.
In Minnesota, lawmakers proposed a bill that would stop people convicted of an unlawful protest violation from receiving student loans, housing assistance, and financial aid.
Bills granting immunity to drivers that hit and injure protesters in public streets were passed in Oklahoma and Iowa.
The passage of the bills comes after last summer’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests across the nation against the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Vera Eidelman, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, says the bills silence the message of the protestors.
“This is consistent with the general trend of legislators’ responding to powerful and persuasive protests by seeking to silence them rather than engaging with the message of the protests,” Eidelman said. “If anything, the lesson from last year, and decades, is not that we need to give more tools to police and prosecutors, it’s that they abuse the tools they already have.”
Tiffany Crutcher, whose twin brother was killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2016, says the laws are an effort to extend hostility toward people of color.
“We all know that over the last four years that we saw white supremacy, bigotry and racism show its ugly head in so many ways,” she said. “This is the continuation of the Trump administration that showed us every day that Black lives didn’t matter.”