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 information about our methodology, click here. For more information and an analysis of this data, click here.

45 states have
considered
231 bills
36 enacted 52 pending

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation and executive orders

Latest updates: Sep. 7, 2021 (Alaska), Sep. 3, 2021 (North Carolina), Sep. 1, 2021 (North Carolina)
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4 entries matching in provided filters in 1 states.
Rhode Island

SB 404: Mandatory penalties for protesters who block traffic

Would create mandatory penalties for knowingly or recklessly interfering with traffic on a highway. Under the bill, a first offense is a felony requiring a mandatory sentence of at least one year, with no option for parole until after 60 days, and a maximum of 3 years. A second offence is a felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 3 years, with no option for parole until after one year, and a maximum of 5 years. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 25 Feb 2021.

Issue(s): Traffic Interference

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Rhode Island

HB 5001: New penalties for protesters who block traffic

Would introduce new felony penalties for protesters who block highway traffic. The bill creates a new unlawful "interference with traffic" offense for anyone who "stands, sits, kneels, or otherwise loiters" on a highway, causing "obstruction, distraction, or delay" of any motorist. The offense is a felony, punishable by a minimum of one and up to 3 years in prison. A second conviction for the offense is punishable by at least 3 and up to 5 years, and a third conviction is punishable by at least 5 and up to 10 years. If the interference causes the "obstruction, distraction, or delay" of an emergency vehicle, and results in death, anyone convicted of participating in the interference will be sentenced to at least 5 and up to 30 years in prison. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 8 Jan 2021.

Issue(s): Traffic Interference

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Rhode Island

H 7543: New Penalties for Protesters Who Conceal Their Identity

Would make it unlawful for a person to wear protective equipment, such as a "gas mask", "kneepads", "riot helmets", "face visors", or "vests" during a demonstration, rally, or parade. It also bans wearing "a mask or disguise with the specific intent to intimidate or threaten another person". A violation of the Act would be punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $1000 fine. The broad language in the Act could be used to ban a range of masks and equipment that could be part of the expressive component of a demonstration. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 12 Feb 2020.

Issue(s): Face Covering

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Rhode Island

HB 5690: Eliminating driver liability for hitting protesters

Would eliminate civil liability for the driver of an automobile who hits or otherwise injures a person participating in a protest or demonstration, if the protest or demonstration was blocking traffic and the driver was exercising "due care." Civil liability remains if the driver's actions were intentional. The bill expired with the end of the 2017 legislative session. (See full text of bill here)

Status: defeated / expired

Introduced 1 Mar 2017.

Issue(s): Driver Immunity, Traffic Interference

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