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Monday, March 19, 2012

Atlanta Tea Party Patriots joins labor groups, enviros to oppose protest legislation

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Tea Partiers reserve right to do this ...
  • Alan Friedman/CL File
  • Tea Partiers reserve right to do this ...
One of the state's most organized and vocal tea party groups has joined labor unions, eco-advocates, and civil rights activists to oppose legislation sponsored by state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, that would place new restrictions on acts of civil disobedience and change how labor unions organize members. Writes the Dacula-based Atlanta Tea Party Patriots in an email to members:

The bill at face value, apprears to be geared toward labor unions, but the devil is in the details... it clearly adds a "person or organization", which could include not only big labor, but also Tea Party activists, those protesting outside abortion clinics, or many other scenarios. Please see below...

Under Sec. 5, Church groups and neighborhood associations picketing to protest a strip club in their neighborhood would also be subject to prosecution for the conspiracy and for the criminal trespass itself. Others who conspired with them in planning the protest who were not arrested at the site, would also be subject to criminal prosecution, including congregations. The penalty for criminal trespass is a misdemeanor - up to $1,000 fine and/or up to 12 months in jail; The penalty for conspiracy to commit criminal trespass would be a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to 12 months in jail.

Environmentalists staging a protest in a neighborhood protesting a proposed landfill would be affected by SB 469 with greater criminal penalties for conspiracy and criminal trespass, and criminal penalties of up to $5,000 plus up to a year in jail against any individual or organization that participated in the conspiracy to commit criminal trespass - Sierra Club, Riverkeepers, etc. - even if they did not themselves criminally trespass.

Civil rights groups, anti-war protesters, and others would also be affected. Martin Luther King, III has said of SB 469 that it would have stifled the civil rights movement in the 1960's if this had been law.

It should be pointed out that the Bill would limit peaceful non-violent protests. Nor would it be limited to "mass picketing."

This is not a right or left issue, it is a right or wrong issue. We may not agree with the all of the politics listed in the scenarios above, but we will defend their right to speak and protest, because this is America. If we destroy the First Amendment, we cease to be a free nation.

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