US Protest Law Tracker

The US Protest Law Tracker, part of ICNL's US Program, follows initiatives at the state and federal level since January 2017 that restrict the right to peaceful assembly. For more information and an analysis of this data, click here. For information about our methodology, click here.

45 states have
considered
255 bills
39 enacted 11 pending

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation

Latest updates: Jan. 30, 2023 (Minnesota), Jan. 26, 2023 (New York), Jan. 24, 2023 (West Virginia)
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Montana

HB 481: New penalties for protests near gas and oil pipelines

Heightens penalties for protests near oil pipelines and other "critical infrastructure facilities," including those under construction. The law creates an offense of trespassing on critical infrastructure, defined as willfully and knowingly entering property containing a critical infrastructure facility that is posted or fenced. The offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail or a $1,500 fine. If a person trespasses with the intent to willfully impede the facility's operations, or damage, deface, or tamper with facility equipment, the offense is a felony punishable by up to eighteen months in prison or a $4,500 fine. An organization that is found to be a conspirator in trespass on critical infrastructure is liable for fines that are ten times the amount authorized for the crime. A person who trespasses can be held liable for damages to property while trespassing, including damages to network performance or outage issues proximately caused by the trespass. An entity or person that compensates or provides consideration to someone for trespass may be held vicariously liable for damages committed by that person. "Critical infrastructure facility" is broadly defined and among many other things includes oil and gas pipelines, refineries, water treatment plants, railroad tracks, and telephone poles. (See full text of bill here)

Status: enacted

Introduced 18 Feb 2021; Approved by House 2 March 2021; Approved by Senate 16 April 2021; Governor Signed 14 May 2021

Issue(s): Damage Costs, Conspiracy, Infrastructure, Trespass

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Montana

HB 571: Harsh penalties for protesters who conceal their identity

Would make it a felony offense to conceal one's identity by wearing a mask for the purpose of avoiding identification while committing an offense against public order. Concealing one's identity in this situation is punishable by up to five years in jail or a fine of $5,000. In Montana, an offense against the public order includes minor and broadly defined crimes like creating a public nuisance or disorderly conduct, meaning a protester who wore a mask and was charged with one of these crimes could also face a felony offense under this bill. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 27 Feb 2017.

Issue(s): Face Covering

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