US Protest Law Tracker

The US Protest Law Tracker, part of ICNL’s US Program, follows initiatives at the state and federal level since November 2016 that restrict the right to protest.

31 states have considered 63 bills 8 enacted 28 pending 27 defeated / expired

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation and executive orders

Latest updates: May. 21, 2018 (Minnesota), May. 15, 2018 (Georgia), May. 1, 2018 (Colorado)
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North Dakota

EXECUTIVE ORDER 2017-01: Mandatory evacuation of Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp

Orders the emergency evacuation of the Oceti Sakowin protest camp where opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline had been camped for several months. The order cites safety concerns as well as potential environmental damage due to “the presence of accumulated waste, abandoned vehicles and unlawful temporary and permanent dwelling structures in this flood-prone area” as grounds for the eviction. Under the order, all persons “occupying or residing in the evacuation area” had one week to leave. (See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 15 Feb 2017; Issued 15 Feb 2017

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North Dakota

HB 1426: Heightened penalties for riot offences

Increases the penalties imposed for riot offenses. Under the law, participation in a riot is a Class A rather than Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine. Engaging in a riot involving more than 100 people is made a Class B felony, subject to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. (See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 16 Jan 2017; Governor Burgum signed the law on 23 Feb 2017

Issue(s): riot

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North Dakota

HB 1293: Expanded scope of criminal trespass

Expands the scope of criminal trespass activity under state law such that it could encompass protests, demonstrations, or other gatherings on private property, if notice against trespass is “clear from the circumstances.” The offense could be punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. The law also creates an additional, noncriminal trespass offense and allows officers to issue a citation with a $250 fine for trespassing. Governor Burgum signed the law on February 23, 2017. (See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 12 Jan 2017; Signed into law 23 Feb 2017

Issue(s): trespass

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North Dakota

HB 1304: New penalties for protesters who conceal their identity

Prohibits the wearing of masks, hoods, or other device that “conceals any portion” of an individual’s face while committing a criminal offense, in order to avoid recognition or identification. As drafted, the offense could encompass, e.g., individuals wearing hooded clothing while participating in a protest and also committing a minor offense such as jaywalking. Under the law, commission of the offense comprises a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. (See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 12 Jan 2017; Governor Burgum signed it 23 Feb 2017

Issue(s): face coverings

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North Dakota

HB 1203: Eliminating driver liability for hitting protesters

Would have eliminated the liability of a motorist who causes “injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway,” as long as the motorist did so unintentionally. Under the bill, such a motorist would not be liable for any damages nor guilty of an offense. Accordingly, the bill would allow motorists to strike and even kill protesters without liability as long as the collision was negligent or accidental. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 16 Jan 2017; Failed in House on 13 Feb 2017

Issue(s): driver immunity, traffic interference

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