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Action Alert: Oppose SB 171

The anti-protest and anti-defund bill, Senate Bill 171, has been scheduled for a first hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee TODAY at 9:00 a.m. Contact the members of the committee and ask them to vote NO on SB 171, and watch the hearing live here.

SB 171 antagonizes the Black Lives Matter movement and the thousands of Georgian protesters who demonstrated for racial justice and an end to state-sanctioned violence throughout the summer and fall. Audaciously named the “Safe Communities Act of 2021,” SB 171 undercuts community safety and violates the rights guaranteed to Georgia’s citizens in our state and federal constitutions.

SB 171 will cause communities harm because it:

· Criminalizes lawful protest;

· Bars all local governments from defunding their police departments;

· Provides immunity for people who cause harm to protesters; and

· Imposes liability on cities and counties who protect lawful speech.

This is considered a priority for Senate Republicans this session. Please call or email the committee members in the list below and ask them to vote NO on SB 171. You can find our script and talking points below.

Chairman Brian Strickland (404) 463-6598 [email protected]

Vice Chairman Bill Cowsert (404) 463-1366 [email protected]

Secretary John Kennedy (404) 656-0045 [email protected]

Senator Bo Hatchett (404) 656-7454 [email protected]

Senator Harold Jones II (404) 656-0036 [email protected]

Senator Kay Kirkpatrick (404) 656-3932 [email protected]

Senator Elena Parent (404) 656-5109 [email protected]

Senator Michael ‘Doc’ Rhett (404) 656-0054 [email protected]

Senator Blake Tillery (404) 656-5038 [email protected]

Senator Ben Watson (404) 656-7880 [email protected]

“Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] [MENTION IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT]. I’m calling with a message for [NAME OF COMMITTEE MEMBER].

I’m calling to demand that the Senate Judiciary Committee vote NO on Senate Bill 171, which criminalizes lawful protest and forces cities and counties to prioritize police funding over more effective community-based initiatives. Georgia already has several laws on the books that criminalize acts of violence while in the presence of at least one other person, rendering SB 171 unnecessary and unconstitutional. Additionally, this bill is an overreach of state authority- state lawmakers should trust local officials to make budget decisions that will promote public safety. Please vote NO on this harmful and dangerous piece of legislation. Thank you.”

Other Talking Points:

· SB 171 is an unnecessary and unfunded mandate that forces cities and counties to prioritize police funding over more effective community-based initiatives.

· SB 171 is a regressive bill that will further criminalize and stigmatize people with mental health issues and other problems. 

· SB 171 is completely unnecessary because acts that compromise public safety are already criminalized – for example – Rioting, Inciting a Riot, Obstructing a Highway, and Terroristic Threats and Acts are all already criminalized under Georgia law.

· SB 171 criminalizes lawful protest in violation of the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions.  

· SB 171 unfairly imposes civil liability on local governments that comply with the Constitution by protecting the right to protest.

· SB 171 frustrates the legislative intent of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

· SB 171 provides immunity for people who cause harm to protestors.