Progressive Party Testifies Against Oregon Bill to Criminalize Protest

FOR RELEASE:  February 6, 2012

Dan Meek

Daniel Meek, an attorney representing the Oregon Progressive Party, today testified at the Oregon Legislature against a bill to criminalize using any form of "electronic communication" to organize or join in any protest constituting civil disobedience.

"This is the kind of law you might find in Myanmar or Turkmenistan or North Korea or Zimbabwe, but not in Oregon," said Meek.  Several persons associated with the Occupy movement also testified against the bill.

SB 1534, with 12 Senators co-sponsoring (only 16 votes are needed to pass the Senate), would make it a Class C felony for anyone to send an email (or a tweet or text or blog post) "with the intent of causing two or more other persons to engage in specific conduct constituting a crime" that itself is only a misdemeanor.  A Class C felony is punishable by a fine of up to $125,000 and a prison term of 5 years.  A misdemeanor, such as disorderly conduct or failing to disperse when ordered or making an unreasonable noise, is punishable by $2,500 fine and 6 months in jail.  So SB 1534 makes sending the email a far more serious crime than the misdemeanor being suggested in the message.   Read more ...

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