Texas bill would make political protests on par with attempted murder

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Texas bill would make political protests on par with attempted murder

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-05-18 03:03pm

Common Dreams
Texas State Bill Would Make Protesting Pipelines a Felony on Par With Attempted Murder
"This needs to be a nation-wide story."

byEoin Higgins, staff writer
22 Comments
Activists in North Dakota confront pipeline construction activities.
Activists in North Dakota confront pipeline construction activities. A Texas bill would impose steep penalties for such protests. (Photo: Speak Freely/ACLU)

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.

"It's an anti-protest bill, favoring the fossil fuel industry, favoring corporations over people." — Frankie Orona, executive director of the Society of Native Nations
H.B. 3557, which is under consideration in the state Senate after passing the state House earlier this month, ups penalties for interfering in energy infrastructure construction by making the protests a felony. Sentences would range from two to 10 years.

The legislation was authored by Republican state Rep. Chris Paddie. It passed the state House May 7 on a 99 to 45 vote, with two abstentions. The bill is being cosponsored in the state Senate by Republican state Sen. Pat Fallon.

In remarks on the state House floor during the bill's passage, Paddie sought to assuage the fears of those who believe the legislation will target non-violent protest.

"This bill does not affect those who choose to peacefully protest for any reason," said Paddie. "It attaches liability to those who potentially damage or destroy critical infrastructure facilities."

But opponents of the measure don't agree, pointing to the bill's language.

"It's an anti-protest bill, favoring the fossil fuel industry, favoring corporations over people," Frankie Orona, executive director of the Society of Native Nations, told The Austin American-Statesman.

The legislation is "is criminalizing conscientious, caring people who are the canaries for their communities," activist Lori Glover told The Texas Observer.

A hearing on the law in the state Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development on Wednesday drew opponents of the measure to speak out against the law, but it's unclear if their testimony will make a difference.

The Texas bill is just the latest piece of legislation at the state level to target pipeline protests. In the wake of a spike in anti-pipeline actions over the past few years, Grist reported Tuesday, a number of states have come down on environmental activists.

The effort to punish pipeline protestors has spread across states with ample oil and gas reserves in the last two years and, in some cases, has garnered bipartisan support. Besides Louisiana, four other states — Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa — have enacted similar laws after protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline generated national attention and inspired a wave of civil disobedience.

The bill is drawing national attention as well.

"Texas aims to make pipeline protest a third-degree felony, same as attempted murder," climate activist Bill McKibben tweeted on Friday.

In a tweet, the advocacy group Public Citizen described the legislation as "an oil and gas backed effort to squash environmental protest."

"This needs to be a nation-wide story," the group said.
I really hope this bill gets struck down, because if it passes, I'm really not going to like where we're going as a state, or a country. Welcome back to the era of the Robber Baron.
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Re: Texas bill would make political protests on par with attempted murder

Post by Broomstick » 2019-05-18 03:53pm

Doesn't surprise me.

There have been two people (at least one of them in Texas, not sure if they both are) who have been jailed and are facing charges for saving lives. This country is really going down the shitter.
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Re: Texas bill would make political protests on par with attempted murder

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-19 03:59am

So, anyone still willing to argue that "We don't know that Trump/the Republicans are creating a fascist dictatorship"?
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Texas bill would make political protests on par with attempted murder

Post by Jub » 2019-05-19 04:18am

Rather than this being a fascist move, I'm pretty sure that this is just corporations flexing their control over politics to their own ends as they always have. It doesn't make it any less shitty though.

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Re: Texas bill would make political protests on par with attempted murder

Post by Broomstick » 2019-05-19 04:19am

Still lots of people in denial based on my interactions with folks in real life.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Texas bill would make political protests on par with attempted murder

Post by Jub » 2019-05-19 04:25am

People want to believe that things are better than they are because accepting just how bad things actually are is soul crushing.

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Re: Texas bill would make political protests on par with attempted murder

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-05-19 08:14am

Jub wrote:
2019-05-19 04:18am
Rather than this being a fascist move, I'm pretty sure that this is just corporations flexing their control over politics to their own ends as they always have. It doesn't make it any less shitty though.
The result will still be to limit political protest further, and set the ground work for doing so even more in the future (especially if they can get a Trumpist Supreme Court to uphold it), so it still ultimately furthers the fascists' goals.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zxT8CM8XntA

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Re: Texas bill would make political protests on par with attempted murder

Post by Beowulf » 2019-05-19 02:37pm

Attempted murder isn't a third degree felony in Texas. Attempted crimes are one degree lower than the base crime in Texas, which is first degree for murder.
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