Ask House Judiciary Non-Civil Members to protect the right to protest and vote NO on SB 171.
Over the objections of the community, criminal legal reform and constitutional rights advocates, and local governments, the Senate passed SB 171, a bill that targets lawful protest in violation of the First Amendment. Tell the members of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee that this attack on fundamental constitutional rights is not welcome in Georgia.
Georgians have a proud history of getting in “good trouble,” by exercising our rights to free speech and assembly in demand of a safer and more just world. SB 171 antagonizes the thousands of Georgians who have exercised their constitutional right to assembly to demonstrate and organize for racial justice and an end to state-sanctioned violence in recent years. Instead of meeting the community’s demands to end violence at the hands of racist vigilantes and state actors alike, some lawmakers have proposed harsh punishment of those same protesters. 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 is scheduled for a hearing TODAY, March 24, at 1 pm. View the hearing live here.
Call and email the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and tell them to protect the right to protest by voting NO on SB 171.
SB 171 will cause communities harm because it:
- Criminalizes lawful protest;
- Provides immunity for people who cause harm to protesters; and
- Imposes liability on cities and counties that protect lawful speech.
Please contact the representatives in the list below and ask them to vote NO on SB 171. You can find our script and talking points below. Phone calls are the best way to reach lawmakers right now, but if you aren’t able to call, you can save time and click here to send an email to all members of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. And if you can only make one phone call, reach out to Chairman James Burchett.
House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee
|Tyler Paul Smith
“Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] [MENTION IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT]. I’m calling with a message for [NAME OF REPRESENTATIVE].
I’m calling to demand that the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee vote NO on Senate Bill 171. This bill infringes on First Amendment rights by criminalizing lawful protest and authorizing violence against protesters. For generations, Georgians from all backgrounds and all communities have relied on the right to lawful assembly and protest when their government has failed to ensure their safety or respect their dignity. SB 171 punishes people for exercising their right to protest and punishes local governments for standing up for the right to protest. Please our constitutional rights and vote NO on SB 171. Thank you.”
Additional Talking Points
- SB 171 is completely unnecessary because acts that compromise public safety are already criminalized. Rioting, inciting a riot, obstructing a highway, making terroristic threats, and causing criminal damage to property are all already penalized 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 protesters.