The House just passed HR 347, a bill which basically criminalizes free protest.
The bill states that it is a federal offense “to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.”
This is intentionally vague, of course, as most rights-stripping legislation has been (think NDAA), allowing federal enforcement agencies to claim justification based upon only a sliver of supporting evidence.
The bill also states that whosoever “knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so” will be arrested, fined, and/or imprisoned. The bill goes on to define “restricted building or grounds” as “a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or…a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance…”
Translation: anywhere they feel like. I know, that sounds flippant. And it’s amazing what passes for legislation these days. But the reality is, any event could be deemed to be of national significance, with the surrounding buildings or environment subsequently designated as “restricted”.
And protests would be dramatically lessened during presidential campaigns, as well, since everyone in the running is afforded Secret Service protection.
This is just one more step towards the edge.