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
44 enacted 24 pending

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation

Latest updates: Jun. 13, 2024 (North Carolina), May. 30, 2024 (US Federal), May. 23, 2024 (West Virginia)
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9 entries matching in provided filters in 1 states. Clear all filters
Louisiana

HB 727: NEW PENALTIES FOR PROTESTS NEAR GAS AND OIL PIPELINES

Targets protests around gas and oil pipelines by expanding the definition of "critical infrastructure" and providing for the offense of "unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure." Under the law, "critical infrastructure" is amended to include "pipelines," "any site where the construction or improvement of [pipelines or any other listed infrastructure facility] is taking place," as well as "all structures, equipment, or other immovable or movable property located within or upon" such facilities. Unauthorized entry onto critical infrastructure property as defined above is punishable by imprisonment with or without hard labor for up to five years and a fine of $1,000. As originally introduced, the law included a new crime of "conspiracy to engage in unauthorized entry" of a critical infrastructure facility, punishable by imprisonment with or without hard labor for up to five years and a fine of $10,000, such that individuals who only planned to hold a peaceful protest on infrastructure property could be prosecuted. The amended and enacted version of the bill removed the provisions on conspiracy, however. In addition, prior to the law's enactment, provisions were added to mandate that the law would not apply to "[l]awful assembly and peaceful and orderly petition, picketing, or demonstration for the redress of grievances or to express ideas or views regarding legitimate matters of public interest."

(See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 26 Mar 2018; Approved by House 12 April 2018; Approved by the Senate 8 May 2018; Signed into law by Governor Edwards 30 May 2018

Issue(s): Infrastructure, Trespass

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Louisiana

HB 737: Vague ban on residential protests

Would broadly criminalize protests “near” a residence that “threaten to disrupt” an individual’s “right to control, use, or enjoy” their residence. The bill does not define what constitutes “near,” such that protests anywhere in the vicinity of a house, apartment, or other place used as a dwelling, including in public parks or streets, could be banned. As written, the bill does not require that a protest actually disrupt someone’s enjoyment of their home, only that it “threaten” to do so. Nor does the bill require any intent on the part of protesters to target a specific residence or to harass or disturb specific residents.

(See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 18 Mar 2024; Approved by House 9 April 2024; Approved by Senate 20 May 2024

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Louisiana

HB 383: Civil immunity for drivers who hit protesters

Would limit the civil liability of drivers who injure or kill protesters who were unlawfully in the street. The bill 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: pending

Introduced 29 Feb 2024; Approved by House 8 April 2024; Approved by Senate 20 May 2024

Issue(s): Driver Immunity, Traffic Interference

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Louisiana

HB 355: Criminal immunity for drivers who hit protesters

Would establish immunity from criminal prosecution for drivers who injure or kill protesters who are unlawfully in the street. The bill provides that if someone is illegally “blocking a roadway,” a driver is legally justified in using “reasonable and apparently necessary” force or violence, including lethal violence, if he “reasonably believes” that he is in immediate danger of injury and is 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: pending

Introduced 29 Feb 2024.

Issue(s): Driver Immunity, Traffic Interference

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Louisiana

HB 205: New racketeering penalties for protesters

Would add several protest-related offenses to the underlying crimes that can be prosecuted under Louisiana’s racketeering law, which carries steep penalties. The nine offenses added to the racketeering law under the bill include “riot,” “inciting to riot,” and “criminal damage to historic buildings or landmarks by defacing with graffiti.” Louisiana law defines “riot” broadly, requiring no actual violence or damage but three or more people engaged in a “public disturbance” that creates a “danger of injury or damage” by an “imminent threat of tumultuous and violent conduct.” As such, individuals who participate in tumultuous protests, or who “incite” others to participate in them, could be charged with a violation of Louisiana’s racketeering law if they did so more than once and as part of an enterprise with others. Racketeering violations are punishable by up to 50 years in prison with hard labor and a one million dollar fine. The bill also adds “criminal damage to a critical infrastructure” to the racketeering law, such that certain civil disobedience actions near pipelines and other infrastructure could be covered as well. 

(See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 26 Feb 2024; Approved by House 2 April 2024; Approved by Senate 14 May 2024

Issue(s): Protest Supporters or Funders, Infrastructure, Riot

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Louisiana

HB 127: Heightened penalties for street protesters and organizers

Would increase existing penalties for impeding traffic and create a new offense that could cover individuals who plan or organize protests that would impede traffic. Current law in Louisiana makes impeding traffic a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and $200. The bill would increase the penalty to nine months in jail and $750. Additionally, under the bill, an individual who engages in “the coordination, organization, or planning of” a protest or other act on any road, highway, or thoroughfare “which will render movement thereon more difficult,” commits an offense punishable by one year in jail and $5,000. The offense as written does not define what would constitute “coordination, organization, or planning,” nor does it require that that the protest or other act actually takes place or that it actually impedes traffic. 

(See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 22 Feb 2024; Approved by House 15 April 2024; Approved by Senate 16 May 2024

Issue(s): Protest Supporters or Funders, Traffic Interference

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Louisiana

HB 101: New legal justification for killing protesters

Would amend Louisiana's law on "justifiable homicide," allowing individuals who kill someone to be absolved if the killing was committed "for the purpose of preventing imminent destruction of property or imminent threat of tumultuous and violent conduct during a riot." If enacted, the provisions could encourage deadly confrontations at protests. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 21 Feb 2022.

Issue(s): Riot, Stand Your Ground

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Louisiana

HB 197: New penalties for protests near critical infrastructure

Would build on a 2018 law that heightened penalties for protesters near pipelines and other "critical infrastructure"(see HB 727). The bill further expands the definition of "critical infrastructure" to include "water control structures, including floodgates or pump stations." This would expand the universe of places where protesters could face felony charges and 5 years in prison for "unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure" e.g. for protests near dams and levees, as well as such structures that are under construction. The bill also provides heightened penalties for "unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure" during a state of emergency: Under the bill, if a state of emergency is in effect, unauthorized entry onto critical infrastructure (for instance during a peaceful protest) is punishable by at least 3 and up to 15 years imprisonment, along with a fine of $5,000-$10,000. As such, protesters could face even harsher penalties for protesting on infrastructure property or infrastructure construction sites during a state of emergency. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 24 Feb 2020; Approved by House 22 May 2020; Approved by Senate 29 May 2020; Vetoed by Governor Edwards 12 June 2020

Issue(s): Infrastructure, State of Emergency, Trespass

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Louisiana

HB 269: Mandatory sanctions for campus protesters

Would have created mandatory disciplinary sanctions that could be applied to peaceful protesters on college and university campuses. The bill prohibits "protests and demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity" on college campuses. In addition, the bill requires public colleges to suspend for at least one year or expel any student found responsible for infringing the expressive rights of others, including by protesting. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 30 Mar 2017; Vetoed by Governor Edwards 27 June 2017

Issue(s): Campus Protests

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