In Tennessee, State Representative Matthew Hill has introduced House Bill 668, which reads, "A person driving an automobile who is exercising due care and injures another person who is participating in a protest or demonstration and is blocking traffic in a public right-of-way is immune from civil liability for such injury." Although the bill claims that drivers who cause injury through actions that are "willful or wanton," establishing the intent of drivers who injure protesters will be difficult. Matthew Hill has said, "We don't want anyone to be hurt, but people should not knowingly put themselves in harm's way." It shouldn't be hard not to drive your car in to a group of protesters in a roadway; there is no reason to expect that you're in harm's way if you are participating in a protest where a large group of people is in the street. This bill is obviously intended to create a climate of fear and to end certain types of protest. As such, it is a bill that we, as animal advocates who often do need to exercise our rights to assembly and protest, need to make sure is defeated!
Across the United States, our rights to peaceful means of protest are under attack. These attacks pave the way for our work as animal advocates to be repressed and criminalized. Multiple states have introduced to legislation to severely penalize protesters. Some states are attempting to turn former misdemeanors, such as blocking a highway, into felonies, while others are looking to stifle dissent by creating new categories of crime, such as "economic terrorism." This is eerily reminiscent of the "Green Scare" of the mid-2000's, which saw animal rights and environmental activists labeled "terrorists" and treated as such by the United States government.
As a resident of Tennessee, please contact your state legislators and ask them to oppose HB 668.
1) Use the link below to find your state senator(s) and state representative(s) phone contact information by clicking on the link and selecting the State tab.
2) Submit our letter below to your state legislators.
(Valid Tennessee street address is required - P.O. Boxes cannot be used*)
* our advocacy software requires actual street addresses in order to determine voting districts. Although we acknowledge that a P.O. Box is a valid mailing address, for advocacy purposes it cannot be used. Thank you for your understanding.
Protect Peaceful Protestors: Vote NO on House Bill 668
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
If you take action and have not already registered, you will receive periodic updates and communications from In Defense of Animals.
© 2019 IDA