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
288 bills
42 enacted 27 pending

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation

Latest updates: Feb. 28, 2024 (Louisiana, New York), Feb. 23, 2024 (Florida), Feb. 22, 2024 (Alaska)
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Florida

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

Would create a new felony offenses for trespassing and “improper tampering” that could cover some protests near pipelines and other infrastructure that do not involve actual property damage. The bill broadly defines “critical infrastructure” to include above or belowground pipelines, as well as a range of other gas, electricity, water, mining, and telecommunications facilities. Amendments to both the House and Senate versions of the bill after it was introduced added a 3rd degree felony offense for entering onto critical infrastructure property with notice that such entrace was prohibited. 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 introduced defined “improperly tampering” to include any unauthorized action to “change…the physical condition of the property or any portion thereof,” or to “knowingly and intentionally… deface” critical infrastructure property. As such, the 2nd degree felony offense—which is punishable by 15 years in prison and $10,000—could cover actions as minor as chalking protest messages or taping posters onto a pipeline, or protesters inadvertently trampling a field during a demonstration that is next to and part of a covered facility.

(See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 25 Oct 2023; Approved by House 22 February 2024

Issue(s): Infrastructure, Trespass

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