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
45 enacted 23 pending

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation

Latest updates: Jun. 21, 2024 (North Carolina), Jun. 18, 2024 (Louisiana, New York), May. 30, 2024 (US Federal)
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4 entries matching in provided filters in 4 states. Clear all filters
Florida

HB 275 / SB 340: New penalties for protests near gas and oil pipelines

Creates a new felony offense for trespassing that could cover some protests near pipelines and other infrastructure that do not involve actual property damage. The law broadly defines “critical infrastructure” to include above or belowground pipelines, as well as a range of other gas, electricity, water, mining, and telecommunications facilities. Under the law, entering onto critical infrastructure property with notice that such entrace was prohibited is a 3rd degree felony offense. As such, protesters who cause no damage but merely enter onto posted property that contains a pipeline in the course of their protest could face felony charges and up to 5 years in prison if convicted. By contrast, trespassing onto private property is generally a 2nd degree misdemeanor, punishable by at most 60 days in jail. The House bill as originally also created an overbroad “improper tampering” felony offense, which would have included any unauthorized action to “change…the physical condition of the property or any portion thereof,” or to “knowingly and intentionally… deface” critical infrastructure property, but these provisions were removed by amendment.

(See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 25 Oct 2023; Approved by House 22 February 2024; Approved by Senate 28 February 2024; Signed by Governor DeSantis 17 May 2024

Issue(s): Infrastructure, Trespass

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Louisiana

HB 383: Civil immunity for drivers who hit protesters

Limits the civil liability of drivers who injure or kill protesters who were unlawfully in the street. The law provides that if a driver hits someone who was illegally “blocking a roadway,” the driver cannot be sued for any injury, death, or damage if he “reasonably believe[d]” that he was in immediate danger of injury and was trying to “retreat or escape.” The sponsor cited a rise in protests across the country as motivation for the bill.     

(See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 29 Feb 2024; Approved by House 8 April 2024; Approved by Senate 20 May 2024; Signed by Governor Landry 11 June 2024

Issue(s): Driver Immunity, Traffic Interference

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Tennessee

SB 2570 / HB 2031: Heightened penalties for protesters who block streets and highways

Significantly increases the penalty for knowingly or recklessly obstructing a street, highway, “or other place used for the passage of vehicles or conveyances.” Instead of a Class A misdemeanor, as provided by prior law, the offense is now a Class D felony punishable by at least 2 and up to 12 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. As written, the law's felony offense can cover protesters who block a street or make passage "unreasonably inconvenient" even if there are no cars on it. The felony offense can also seemingly apply to protesters who block a driveway or alley, even temporarily. The law also creates a new civil cause of action, such that anyone who knowingly or recklessly blocks a street can additionally be sued for civil damages.

(See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 23 Jan 2024; Approved by Senate 23 April 2024; Approved by House 23 April 2024; Signed by Governor Lee 9 May 2024

Issue(s): Civil Liability, Traffic Interference

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