US Protest Law Tracker

The US Protest Law Tracker, part of ICNL’s US Program, follows initiatives at the state and federal level since November 2016 that restrict the right to peaceful assembly. For information about our methodology, click here.

45 states have
considered
222 bills
31 enacted 69 pending

No initiatives
Pending, defeated or expired initiatives
Enacted initiatives

Legislation and executive orders

Latest updates: May. 7, 2021 (Missouri), May. 4, 2021 (North Carolina), Apr. 30, 2021 (Alabama, Texas)
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Arkansas

HB 1508: New penalties for protesters on state property and those who disturb official meetings

Would create a new offense of “unlawful possession of state property” that could apply to peaceful protesters. Under the bill, if a person occupies a building or grounds of any state institution, including public universities, after they have been told to leave by a security officer or authorized employee, it is a misdemeanor punishable by at least 30 days and up to 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine. The bill creates a new mandatory minimum sentence for “rioting” of 30 days in jail and restitution for any injury or damage as a result of the offense. Rioting is defined in Arkansas to include engaging with two or more persons in "tumultuous" conduct that creates a “substantial risk” of “public alarm.” The bill also requires that a person convicted of inciting a riot pay restitution for any injury or damage as a result of the offense. It increases the penalty of disrupting a lawful assembly, procession, or meeting of persons to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The bill also creates a presumption against releasing a person who has been arrested for obstructing a highway or public passage, rioting, aggravated rioting, or inciting a riot within 12 hours of their arrest. (See full text of bill here)

Status: pending

Introduced 22 Feb 2021; Approved by House 19 April 2021; Approved by Senate 22 April 2021

Issue(s): damage costs, riot, traffic interference

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