Bills would suppress Ohioans’ voices

Americans of all political persuasions value the right to state their viewpoint on a host of topics. The right to protest and the right to assemble are sacred and are a fundamental right of all Americans. At times, when people see a perceived wrong or a miscarriage of justice, they take to the streets to peacefully protest. They may be for or against abortion, for or against gun control. They may feel their civil rights were violated. People may question a company’s action or inaction. They may be protesting a decision a government agency.

Three bills have been introduced in the Ohio General Assembly which, if passed, would suppress Ohioans voices and make it harder to organize protests.

One of the proposed provisions would create new crimes and penalties for Ohioans who protest, using broad language to define what constitutes a crime. Another provision would make Ohio organizations financially liable for ‘providing support’ to a protest in which the any damage occurs, even if said damage is temporary or independent of the original organized protest. Still another proposed provision would add unnecessary burdens on those who want to exercise their right to free speech.

The three bills in question are: Senate Bill Bill 41; House Bill 109; and House Bill 22, which is co-sponsored by our representative, Shane Wilkin. It sounds like a solution needing a problem to solve.

Don Spurling