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. For information about our methodology, click here.

31 states have
considered
64 bills
9 enacted 2 enacted with
improvements
8 pending 45 defeated or
expired

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation and executive orders

Latest updates: Oct. 29, 2018 (Pennsylvania), Aug. 22, 2018 (Virginia), Jul. 12, 2018 (US Federal)
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Colorado

SB18-264: Barring teachers from protesting in support of a teachers' strike

Would have prohibited public school teachers from participating in protests that supported a teachers’ strike. The bill broadly bans all public school teachers from “directly or indirectly” “inducing, instigating,” or “encouraging” a strike “against any public school employer.” Accordingly, teachers that were not participating in a strike could be barred from participating in a protest or demonstration deemed to “indirectly” “encourage[]” the strike, even outside of school hours. The bill provides that any teacher who is “convicted of violating” the bill’s provisions, including its ban on direct or indirect support of strikes, is to be “immediately terminate[

d]” by their public school employer; that he or she is not entitled to a hearing or judicial review of the termination; and that he or she is barred from public school employment for one year following termination. Lawmakers introduced the bill as teachers across the state threatened to go on strike for higher wages and increased education funding. After the bill received immediate, widespread criticism in the days following its introduction, a Senate committee voted to postpone it indefinitely, and its sponsors said they would withdraw it. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 20 Apr 2018.

Issue(s): strikes

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Colorado

SB 17-035: Heightened penalties for protesting near oil and gas equipment

Would have substantially increased penalties for environmental protesters. Under the bill, obstructing or tampering with oil and gas equipment is reclassified from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The bill’s language broadly includes anyone who “attempts to alter, obstruct, interrupt, or interfere with the action of any equipment used or associated with oil or gas gathering operations.” In addition to imposing much steeper penalties on anyone engaging in such activity, the bill also provides that oil and gas firms (or any other “victim” of tampering) may pursue separate claims against a protester who is also being prosecuted by the state. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 11 Jan 2017; Approved by Senate 28 March 2017; Failed in House committee 12 April 2017

Issue(s): infrastructure

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