Republican lawmakers are less fond of public protest now that it’s not the Tea Party doing the protesting. In Arizona, the Senate just passed a bill that would “would open up protests to anti-racketeering legislation, targeting protesters with the same laws used to combat organized crime syndicates.”
The same bill would “allow police to seize the assets of anyone involved in a protest that at some point becomes violent.”
A Florida Republican introduced a bill that would make it easier to run over protesters with your car without being legally liable. North Dakota and Tennessee Republicans have done the same.
In Minnesota, Republicans are pushing a bill that would allow the police to charge protesters for the cost of policing their rallies and marches.
Not to be outdone, Mississippi Republicans want to make blocking traffic a crime punishable by a $10,000 fine and five years in prison.
There are also a bunch of bills coming out of states like South Dakota, Colorado, and Oklahoma aimed at greatly stiffening penalties for interfering in the operation of pipelines.
So far, none of these bills have become law, and most of them are unconstitutional. But they indicate a certain mood.
And I know that mood is shared by our new Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.
As Hunter S. Thompson might say, “that crazy f*cker is gonna come down on us like million-pound shithammer.”
Without that stolen Supreme Court seat, it’s going to be a bit harder to ease the pain.