Currently, House Bill 22 is set to be voted on in the Ohio legislature this week. HB 22 adds felony penalties for typically peaceful public witness activities like throwing glitter or confetti. It also says if you "use force or threaten the immediate use of force against an officer" you risk a felony conviction. We know that feeling "threatened" has been known to be an excuse for law enforcement to use lethal force against people of color and those with mental illness. That "discretion" is codified with this dangerous bill.
Under HB 22, you can be charged with a felony for merely distracting a police officer during peaceful public witness. Obstruction of justice is defined so broadly under this proposed law that it can be applied to someone for merely throwing confetti or flowers.
And while not specifically written to address public witness, these newly raised offenses will apply at peaceful public witness events and are part of the larger picture for anti-protest bills in Ohio.
What you can do?
We must act now! Any laws pertaining to protest should protect people and their First Amendment freedoms - not penalize free speech. We can’t let HB 22 pass!
We need you and thousands of other Ohioans to contact your legislators in opposition to this bill. Tell them to vote NO on HB 22.
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