It the wake of what appears to be an intentional act to kill and maim counter-protester by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, VA, it is interesting to note that state lawmakers in at least six GOP-controlled states have pushed for laws this year that would shield drivers who hit protesters.
The bills are part of a wave of anti-protest proposals introduced since the rise of the Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump resistance movements, reported ThinkProgress.
Two Republican lawmakers in North Dakota started the trend in January when they introduced a bill that would protect motorists who hit pedestrians blocking traffic, as long as the consequences are unintentional. State Rep. Keith Kempenich (R) said he authored the legislation after his mother-in-law was swarmed on a roadwayby people protesting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.
“A driver of a motor vehicle who negligently causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway may not be held liable for any damages,” the proposed law read.
The bill was rejected in a 41-50 vote in February, but not before it inspired similar legislation in other red states across the country.
In Tennessee, lawmakers proposed a measure to protect drivers from civil liability after a motorist ran into safety workers at a rally against President Trump’s travel ban in Nashville. Police said that five or six protesters ended up on top of an SUV before the driver, who was not arrested, left the scene. The bill failed in a House committee in March.
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