Lawmakers introduce bill to hold protestors accountable - WNEM TV 5

Lawmakers introduce bill to hold protestors accountable

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Since President Donald Trump's inauguration Americans are taking to the streets to protest in waves not seen since the Vietnam War.

Lawmakers across the country are trying to find ways to regulate the public dissent. One way is through legislation calling for fines or jail time for those who take part in non-violent protests.

In Minnesota lawmakers have introduced a bill that would hold demonstrators financially liable for the cost of their arrest if their protests were deemed illegal or a nuisance in court.

"I guess if they are peacefully protesting they don't, but if they are being destructive type of protest they should be sent to jail and they should pay the cost of being destructive," said Laura Belanger, student at Central Michigan University.

Some said the bill is an attempt to silence peaceful protestors and goes against the First Amendment rights of demonstrators.

"I just think if you are being peaceful about it there's no issue there for you to pay that money. I mean, they're the ones who chose to arrest you and use that money and therefore you shouldn't have to pay because it wasn't even right to be arrested," said Maiah Lesher, CMU student.

According to the Pioneer Press, the representative that wrote the bill said he believes anyone who intentionally causes problems, like blocking roadways, should get a bill for the problems they cause.

"I think if you're out there speaking your word and your voice in a nice manner, you shouldn't be arrested for something like that," said Anah Schloegel, CMU student.

While the bill isn't picking up much support, it is catching the attention of people who said the bill wouldn't be enough to silence them.

"I still don't think that would keep people quiet. People have really strong opinions these days, especially on the presidency now. So people will still go out and say how they feel and try to change something," Schloegel said.

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