Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Louisiana passes bill to ban protests near homes • Louisiana Illuminator

By Vaseline May30,2024

In another move that could violate the First Amendment, the Louisiana Legislature on Wednesday passed a bill to ban protests, demonstrations or other gatherings within 50 feet of a person’s home — even on a public street — if it would involve the use of threatens to disturb a person. their house.

House Bill 737sponsored by Rep. Kellee Hennessy Dickerson, R-Denham Springs, received final passage in a 72-14 vote in the House of Representatives on a Senate amendment that narrowed the proposal.

The measure prohibits anyone from petitioning, picking up, or congregating with others within 50 feet of a home in a manner that interferes with or “threatens to interfere with” a person’s right to control or use his home to disturb”. This may apply to gatherings as small as two people.

The bill says nothing about whether the person living in the home would have to file a complaint or whether police could simply enforce the law based on their own belief that a gathering threatens to disrupt a nearby home.

Anyone who violates the provision faces a fine of up to $500 per day.

Lawmakers held the vote Wednesday without discussion on the measure. Most of the debate took place during a previous vote in April, with Dickerson, a freshman lawmaker and former TV news anchor, had trouble seeing any problems with what was then a much broader bill.

Louisiana could ban protests near homes despite First Amendment concerns

At the time, Dickerson told her colleagues that the law would only apply to protests directed at an individual in a way that made that person feel unsafe or uncomfortable, but the wording in her bill did not include any of these restrictions. Instead, the wording would have prohibited any gatherings that interfere with an individual’s right to “enjoy his home,” leaving that sentence open to interpretation.

The original version of the legislation also had no restrictions on proximity and would have applied to all gatherings “in the vicinity” of a person’s home. The Senate amended it to apply only to protests within 50 feet of a home.

Dickerson’s bill is the latest of many the Legislature has passed this year regarding First Amendment rights. On Wednesday, lawmakers approved the proposal House Bill 383 to make motorists immune from lawsuits if they run over or kill protesters because they feel threatened.

That same day, Governor Jeff Landry signed House Bill 173 written into law, making it a crime to come within 25 feet of a police officer when commanded. Lawmakers approved it on Tuesday House Bill 127 to introduce tougher penalties for anyone who does so organizes a protest which ultimately hinders traffic.

Dickerson’s bill will go before the governor for approval. Landry has signed similar legislation and has long criticized political demonstrations, even peaceful ones. He has also called for strict penalties against protesters, with the exception of those involved in the January 6, 2021, violent attack on the US Capitol.


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