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
303 bills
44 enacted 32 pending

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation

Latest updates: May. 23, 2024 (West Virginia), May. 22, 2024 (Louisiana, Washington), May. 21, 2024 (US Federal)
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West Virginia

HB 5091: Heightened penalties for protesters near pipelines and other infrastructure

Increases the penalties and broaden offenses that could cover nonviolent protesters near pipelines and other infrastructure. The law amends West Virginia’s 2020 critical infrastructure law to remove the limitation that the law’s offenses could only occur on critical infrastructure property “if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if clearly marked with a sign or signs that.. indicate that entry is forbidden.” As a result, many more infrastructure sites are covered by the 2020 law’s trespass and tampering offenses, which carry significant penalties. The law also makes convictions for second and subsequent offenses of either the trespassing or tampering offenses a felony punishable by at least 2 and up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000-$15,000. The law increases the fine for a person who “vandalizes, defaces, or tampers with” equipment in a critical infrastructure facility that causes damage of more than $2,500, from $1,000-$5,000 to $3,000-$10,000. (As introduced, the bill made second convictions punishable by a minimum of 5 years and a fine of $100,000-$250,000, and increased the fine for tampering or vandalizing from $1,000-$5,000 to $25,000-$100,000.)

(See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 25 Jan 2024; Approved by House 6 February 2024; Approved by Senate 4 March 2024; Signed by Governor Justice 26 March 2024

Issue(s): Infrastructure, Trespass

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West Virginia

HB 4615: New penalties for protests near gas and oil pipelines

Heightens potential penalties for protests near oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure. Under the law, knowingly trespassing on property containing a critical infrastructure facility is punishable by a year in jail and a $500 fine. Criminal trespass on critical infrastructure property with intent to "vandalize, deface, tamper with equipment, or impede or inhibit operations" of the facility is a felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a $1,000 fine. Actually vandalizing, defacing, or tampering with the facility--regardless of actual damage--is a felony punishable by 5 years in prison and a $2,000 fine. An individual convicted of any of the offenses, and any entity that "compensates, provides consideration to or remunerates" a person for committing the offenses, is also civilly liable for any damage sustained. An organization or person found to have "conspired" to commit any of the offenses--regardless of whether they were committed--is subject to a criminal fine. The law newly defines "critical infrastructure facility" under West Virginia law to include a range of oil, gas, electric, water, telecommunications, and railroad facilities that are fenced off or posted with signs indicating that entry is prohibited.

(See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 30 Jan 2020; Approved by House 13 February 2020; Approved by Senate 7 March 2020; Signed by Governor Justice 25 March 2020

Issue(s): Civil Liability, Protest Supporters or Funders, Infrastructure, Trespass

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