When is a rally a riot? Whenever your opponents want it to be!!
Senate Bill 1142 was killed earlier this year, but has been resurrected and is making its way through the House. It has already been passed by the Senate. This bill would make “riot” a part of the organized crime statute and would enable law enforcement and prosecutors to charge organizers of rallies with felonies if the rally ended up disturbing the peace or destroying property—even if those who organized the rally had nothing to do with the “riot.” The act would even have let charges be made when no overt act had occurred, but the authorities thought the rally might turn violent. Imagine this: your organization becomes a sponsor of a rally and the opponents of your cause come to it, cause trouble, break a window or refuse to move on when asked by law enforcement. These are not your supporters, but your opponents. This bill would then let you be charged under this law as a violation under this law, and the organized crime statute has draconian penalties, including seizing your assets even before you are convicted. Then, you are the guilty party even though your opponents orchestrated this!
It has been assigned to the House Rules committee which probably will give it an okay, and then it could be voted on by the House before they adjourn. Contact right now if you can:
Contact Sylvia Allen, Brenda Barton, Bob Thorpe and Governor Ducey: “Please vote (for Ducey, veto) Senate Bill 1142. Our constitution protects free speech and due process of law and this bill does neither.”
Evening Update: It appears this bill was still sitting in Rules Committee when the Legislature adjourned this afternoon. Ducey didn’t want it to come out on the last round and we doubt he changed his mind. Good work folks.