A dangerous and disturbing trend:
Republican lawmakers at the state level—often with the backing of police unions ... in at least 11 states ... have either introduced or threatened to introduce bills that make it more dangerous or costly to attend protests, or be anywhere near them. One bill recently proposed in North Dakota, and clearly aimed at Standing Rock resistance, would have expanded protections for drivers who “accidentally” hit and kill protesters....
Using racketeering laws to go after protesters’ assets
A bill that just passed through the Arizona State Senate would ... broaden the powers of authorities to target protest organizers and participants—and even seize their assets....
According to Steve Kilar, spokesperson for the ACLU of Arizona, the proposed legislation’s definition of rioting is “fuzzy and incredibly vague.” This law “would allow police and prosecutors to go after anyone who is at a protest” that authorities claim turned into a riot, he explained.
Further, if one participant received an email from a New York organization encouraging them to attend, and an unrelated person -- even a right-wing provocateur -- broke a window, the out-of-state group could have its assets seized!
More on the Arizona bill: ARIZONA: GOP Senate Passes Bill To Arrest In Advance And Seize Assets Of People Planning To Protest (Joe.My.God.)
It passed the state's senate on a 17-13 strict Republican party-line vote, and is likely to pass the state's Republican-majority house and be signed by the Republican governor.
From Ruth's letter to her members of Congress:
State level assaults on basic freedoms of speech and assembly recognized by the First Amendment are the concern of US senators when they impact constitutional rights nationwide. I urge you to introduce legislation to counteract state laws that strip US citizens of free speech and free assembly. [... info about Arizona's SB1142]
The GOP continually justifies punitive measures against nonviolent protestors on the grounds of public safety. Yet the cumulative effect of their policies of voter suppression and attacks on constitutional rights seem designed to force unhappy citizens toward violent resistance as their last remaining option. Is replacement of democracy with a police state their actual goal? Facing the loss of White Christian dominance, it appears “The Party of NO” has chosen to overthrow democratic constitutional government. What will you do to preserve democracy?
(bolding in last paragraph is mine)
This was my conclusion too.
BTW, I disagree with the Joe.My.God. headline on one point: there's nothing "Grand" about the Republican Party -- and "Greedy Old Party" and "Grabbers Of Pussy" aren't as much in the public awareness -- so I avoid the initialism. Easy enough to type "Republican Party" or "Republicans".