Frankfort, KY – Kentucky is the latest state to enter battle for tougher “anti-protest” laws to protect innocent citizens from the actions of unlawful protesters.
Legislation introduced by a state representative would release a motorist from responsibility if they run over a protester who is illegally blocking traffic.
State representative C. Wesley Morgan, who represents Richmond, KY, submitted a bill that would criminally prosecute those who block traffic, while releasing the driver from criminal and civil liability, according to the draft of the legislation that has been filed.
The first part of the bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor to interfere with the flow of traffic on a public road during a protest or march that hasn’t been issued a permit to shut down those roads.
The second part of the legislation says a driver may not be “held criminally or civilly liable for causing injury of death to a person” who is blocking traffic, unless it’s determined that the motorist deliberately ran over protesters, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.
Opponents of the legislation say it tells drivers that it’s okay to use violence to solve problems.
“This is an absolutely immoral bill, and we all know it,” State Representative Kelly Flood, of Lexington, told the The Wichita Eagle.
“I don’t understand why my colleagues choose to move in such a fashion when lives are on the line,” Flood said. “We owe it to our constituents to act like statesmen. What we are really saying with bills like this is that it’s OK for us to be at war with one another, to use violence against each other.”
But Kentucky isn’t the only state trying to pass laws that have been coined “right-to-drive” bills.
Lawmakers in 18 states have introduced bills that would crack down on protestors, and create harsher penalties for protestors who are arrested, according to CNN.
In two other states, “right-to-drive” bills similar to what’s been proposed in Kentucky would protect motorists from criminal or civil liability if they accidentally injure a protester who is blocking a roadway.
Support for legislation protecting motorists from protesters began popping up after incidents in multiple cities where drivers accidentally ran over protesters who were standing in the roadway at night.
There is a considerable amount of video footage publicly available of protesters attacking vehicles, and even pulling passengers out of cars and beating them, when innocent motorists got caught in the fray blocking the public roadway.
North Carolina State Representative Justin Burr, who sponsored his state’s right-to-drive legislation told Fox News he believed North Carolina had a duty to protect law-abiding drivers.
“I became concerned for drivers after watching the recent protests which turned into riots in Charlotte and other cities,” Burr said.
“In a number of cases the protests turned riots resulted in violence and the terrorizing of unsuspecting motorist, their passengers and property.”
It's widely-believed that many of the "right-to-drive" bills stalled this fall in the wake of bad publicity surrounding the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA, who was with a group of antifa blocking traffic in the middle of the day when a car appeared to intentionally ram into the crowd.
Such actions would not be protected under this proposed legislation.
A spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures told CNN that lawmakers in North Dakota, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Texas had also proposed bills that would make it legal for drivers to hit protesters, if the driver did not do so willfully.
There is similar legislation pending in Rhode Island.
The ACLU and other liberal organizations and elected officials are calling the proposed laws unconstitutional.
Even the United Nations weighed in, releasing a report shared by CNN that criticized pending anti-protest bills in 16 states as “incompatible with international human rights law.”
These statements appear to be based on the belief that the laws would make it legal to intentionally run down motorists, which is not the case.