SB 2343: Requiring state permission for protests near statehouse and other state government buildings
The law requires that organizers obtain written permission from state law enforcement before holding a protest near the Mississippi statehouse or other state government buildings. As a result, state officials will be able to approve or disallow protests at the statehouse, including rallies and demonstrations against the actions of state officials. The permit requirement broadly applies to protests near state-owned buildings or any other property that is “occupied by any [state] official” or entity. It applies to protests on the streets and sidewalks “immediately adjacent” to such locations, as well as those that can be “reasonably be expected to block, impede, or otherwise hinder” access to such locations. The process for obtaining a permit is not stated in the law, but is to be determined by rules issued by the state law enforcement agency. Organizers of protests in Jackson, Mississippi, where the statehouse and most state government buildings are located, must already obtain a municipal permit to hold most protests; the law creates an additional state permitting requirement. The law also expands the jurisdiction of state law enforcement over infractions that may occur during nonviolent protests throughout the capitol city of Jackson: The law authorizes state police to make arrests for violations not only of state law, but of Jackson city ordinances “related to disturbance of the public peace” that may occur. (See full text of bill here)
Introduced 16 Jan 2023; Approved by the Senate 8 February; Approved by the House 8 March; Signed by Governor Reeves 21 April 2023.