US Protest Law Tracker

The US Protest Law Tracker follows state and federal legislation introduced since January 2017 that restricts the right to peaceful assembly. For more information, visit our Analysis of US Anti-Protest Bills page.

45 states have
considered
289 bills
42 enacted 21 pending

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation

Latest updates: Apr. 15, 2024 (Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana), Apr. 3, 2024 (Arizona), Mar. 27, 2024 (West Virginia)
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Alaska

HB 386 / SB 255: New penalties for protesting in the street and other public places without a permit

Would introduce new criminal and civil penalties that could cover protesters who demonstrate in street and other public places without a permit. The bill creates a new offense of “obstruction of free passage in public places,” to apply if someone “knowingly renders a public place impassable or passable only with unreasonable inconvenience or hazard.” While it includes exceptions for “obstruction” authorized by a permit or otherwise authorized by the law or a person “in charge of” the premises, the new offense would clearly cover unpermitted protests—particularly large protests in public plazas, parks, streets or other places that might make it “unreasonably inconvenient” for other individuals or cars to pass. If the protest “substantially interferes” with someone’s access to a government building, or “interferes” with an emergency responder, the offense would be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and $25,000. In all other cases it would be a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days in jail and $2,000. In addition to criminal penalties, the bill creates expansive civil liability for protesters who block public places. A person “whose passage is obstructed” could sue a protester for $10,000 if their rights were infringed, $50,000 if their property was damaged, and $100,000 if they were personally injured – in addition to attorney’s fees and costs. Under the bill, civil liability extends to anyone who “directly or indirectly, by words or action, aids, encourages, or authorizes the conduct,” or “conspires” to engage in the conduct. It also extends to anyone outside the state of Alaska if they “knew or had reason to know” that their acts were likely to lead to the obstruction. Finally, the bill substantially increases the penalty for trespassing if it creates a substantial risk of physical injury, or “interferes with” an “emergency response.” First degree trespass, which includes entering onto property with intent to violate a law, would be a Class C felony in such cases, punishable by five years in prison and $50,000, rather than a Class A misdemeanor. As such, protesters who for instance enter onto private property to engage in peaceful civil disobedience could face felony penalties.

(See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 21 Feb 2024.

Issue(s): Damage Costs, Conspiracy, Traffic Interference, Trespass

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Alaska

HB 295: Mandatory sanctions for campus protesters

Would create mandatory disciplinary sanctions that could be applied to peaceful protesters at the University of Alaska. The bill requires the University to adopt a policy prohibiting and subjecting to sanction any "protests or demonstrations that materially and substantially infringe on the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity." Additionally, the bill requires administrators to suspend for at least one year or expel any student who is twice found "to have infringed on the expressive rights of another," such as through a protest of a campus speaker. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 24 Feb 2020.

Issue(s): Campus Speech

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For more information about the Tracker, contact Elly Page at EPage@icnl.org.