State anti-protest laws in full flower

In response to demonstrations last summer for racial justice and earlier protests against pipelines and then-President Donald Trump, legislatures have enacted anti-protest laws in 36 states. The laws are expected to encounter First Amendment challenges. Florida’s law is particularly egregious in creating a crime of “mob intimidation,” a number of people attempting to force another to “maintain a particular viewpoint.” You can serve a year in jail for that crime. (Facing South, July 14, 2021, by Billy Corriher)

Laws in Oklahoma and Iowa grant immunity to drivers hitting and injuring protesters on public streets. (The New York Times, June 16, 2021, by Reid J. Epstein and Patricia Mazzei)

A Washington Post editorial, April 21, 2021, on the anti-protest laws concludes, “Rather than using or refining the ample tools authorities have today to target violence and destruction, state governments are giving themselves new tools that would discourage nonviolent expression, too. Elected officials are supposed to protect even the speech they do not want to hear. Instead, too many seem determined to punish it.”

For related FAC coverage, click here, here and here.