HB2309, Bill Criminalizing Protest, Could Go to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s Desk This Week
For Immediate Release
Contact: Emily Kirkland, firstname.lastname@example.org, 646 623 5271
PHOENIX – The Arizona State Senate is likely to vote this week on HB2309, which would make it easier for prosecutors to charge protesters with serious felonies.
The bill is being heard by the Senate Rules committee on Monday and could go to a floor vote as soon as Tuesday. If passed by the State Senate, it will go to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk, where he could veto it or sign it into law.
The bill’s sponsor has admitted that the purpose of the bill is to chill First Amendment-protected protest activity. Under the bill, participating in a “violent or disorderly assembly” is now a class 6 felony. In addition, under the bill, minor infractions like playing amplified music without a permit or blocking the sidewalk would now carry serious felony charges if done as part of a “violent or disorderly assembly.” In short, protesters could face felony charges simply for being present at a gathering where someone else damages property.
The bill would open the door to further waves of political prosecutions in Arizona, like those that have already been carried out by the Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel in the wake of last summer’s racial justice protests.