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 58 bills 8 enacted 28 pending 22 defeated / expired

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation and executive orders

Latest updates: Feb. 9, 2018 (Wyoming), Feb. 8, 2018 (Missouri), Jan. 29, 2018 (Alabama, Missouri, Ohio)
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Wisconsin

AB 395/SB 303: Expanded definition of “riot”

Assembly Bill 395 would newly define “riot” under Wisconsin law and provide for heavy criminal penalties for participants in a riot. The bill broadly defines “riot” as a “public disturbance” that includes an act or threat of violence among an assembly of three or more people that “constitutes a clear and present danger” of damage to persons or property. Accordingly, under Bill 395, individuals in a gathering where a violent or destructive incident takes place could be charged with participation in a riot, classified as a Class I felony punishable by three and a half years in prison and a $10,000 fine. (See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 19 Jun 2017.

Issue(s): riot

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Wisconsin

AB 396/SB 304: New penalties for blocking traffic during a riot

Would create a new criminal offense of blocking a public or private thoroughfare or access to a private or public building during a riot (as defined and penalized in AB 395). Under the bill, such interference is a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in jail. (See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 19 Jun 2017.

Issue(s): riot, traffic interference

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Wisconsin

AB 397/SB 305: New penalties for carrying a weapon during a riot

Would impose new penalties for participation in a riot (as defined and penalized in AB 395) while carrying a dangerous weapon. Doing so is classified as a Class G felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. (See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 19 Jun 2017.

Issue(s): riot, weapons

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Wisconsin

AB 299: Mandatory sanctions for campus protesters

Would impose mandatory disciplinary measures on student protesters in certain cases. The bill requires that students who engage in “violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, obscene, unreasonably loud, or other disorderly conduct that interferes with the free expression of others” on Wisconsin college or university campuses be compelled to attend a mandatory disciplinary hearing. The bill also requires campus authorities to suspend for a minimum of one semester or expel a student who interferes more than once with another’s free speech, for instance by protesting a controversial campus speaker. (See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 5 May 2017; Approved by Assembly 21 June 2017

Issue(s): campus speech

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