Stop Anti-Protest Bill
Take action to oppose HB 109, the anti-protest bill
Public protest is baked-in to our history, rights and character as Americans. But our ability to protest in Ohio is under attack. House Bill 109 equates civil disobedience with terrorism and seeks to shut down and bankrupt organizations exercising free speech.HB 109 (Rep. Cindy Abrams-R), the so-called Ohio Law and Order Act, degrades the ability of Ohioans to peacefully protest and even creates higher fines and prison time for individuals involved in and organizations supporting a protest where action is subjectively deemed a “riot.” After what we have seen in cities across the nation, this bill would create a slippery slope that could infringe on our civil rights.
Incredibly, the law specifies that five or more people blocking an intersection could be considered rioting. Even those who provide support to protesters could be prosecuted under the corrupt activities law and their organization could be dissolved and assets seized. The far reaching implications could end up putting a chill on people's willingness to exercise their First Amendment rights.
In addition, the legislation allows peace officers to bring civil suits against people participating in a subjectively labeled "riot." As you might know, 93% of protests across the country from May 2020 to August 2020 were neither violent nor destructive, and there have been no fatalities in Ohio. The goal of HB 109 is not protection, but suppression.
Bottom line: Ohio Citizen Action supports the peoples’ right to peacefully assemble and speak for or against pressing issues in our state. HB 109 unnecessarily interferes with the protest process in Ohio, and must be stopped.
Opponent testimony on HB 109 was held Thursday, June 24. It was added to the committee's agenda Tuesday evening, with a 9:00 am Wednesday deadline for all testimony. We find it ironic but not surprising that the Ohio legislature scheduled an opponent hearing for an anti-protest bill with so little notice. Clearly they aren't interested in legitimate protest of this bill, either. Regardless, numerous opponents to HB 109 spoke out and worked to protect our free speech in Ohio.
As of now, it is unclear how or when HB 109 will move forward (we hope it doesn’t!). Our representatives NEED to hear from you as soon and as often as possible.
We need you to voice your opposition to HB 109 today! Call your state representative and urge them to vote against the chilling of our free speech: NO on HB 109!
Find out your representative’s phone number using the Ohio House District Map.