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Old March 1, 2012, 03:16 AM   #1
JustThisGuy
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Goodbye First Amendment?

A new bill in Congress seems to make it a federal crime to conduct a protest in the presence of certain federal employees, even if you did not know they were present.

http://rt.com/usa/news/348-act-tresspass-buildings-437/

Quote:
United States Representative Justin Amash (MI-03) was one of only three lawmakers to vote against the act when it appeared in the House late Monday. Explaining his take on the act through his official Facebook account on Tuesday, Rep. Amash writes,“The bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in an area where an official is visiting even if the person does not know it's illegal to be in that area and has no reason to suspect it's illegal.”
Do I misunderstand this, or could this be one of the greatest limitations on civil protest in the history of the country?
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Old March 1, 2012, 09:03 AM   #2
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Where've you been in the last 40 years?
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Old March 1, 2012, 09:07 AM   #3
Double Naught Spy
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Quote:
Do I misunderstand this, or could this be one of the greatest limitations on civil protest in the history of the country?
I see no connection between your comprehension and the scope or extent of any federal laws.
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Old March 1, 2012, 09:30 AM   #4
BillCA
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First, consider the source of this article is "RT" or Russian Times.
Not exactly an unbiased source of news.

WRT the bill, I would think that it is unconstitutionally vague. A person who decides to protest, say, IRS actions could be arrested if, unbeknownst to the public, the VP is visiting that same building. Otherwise lawful conduct becomes proscribed without notice and does not allow a citizen the opportunity to avoid being charged...as a result, he must either first ask if any official is present (and may be told "no" due to security concerns) or forego his right to protest altogether.
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Old March 1, 2012, 09:39 AM   #5
Spats McGee
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In some sense, this reminds me of some things that I heard right after the Tuscon shooting. There was talk on the TV of making it illegal to possess a firearm within 1000 ft (IIRC) of one of our members of Congress. One of the problems that I saw with that was that it would have created "roving gun-free zones" with no notice to the public as to when or where such a zone might exist. If this bill functions as the article claims, it looks like it might create "roving protest-free zones."
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Old March 1, 2012, 10:33 AM   #6
Johannes_Paulsen
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The link to the text of the bill in the article cited in the OP was dead. So I looked it up myself at thomas.loc.gov.

This is what I found:

Quote:

H.R.347 -- Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 (Enrolled Bill [Final as Passed Both House and Senate] - ENR)

--H.R. 347 --

H.R. 347

One Hundred Twelfth Congress

of the

United States of America

AT THE SECOND SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,

the third day of January, two thousand and twelve

An Act

To correct and simplify the drafting of section 1752 (relating to restricted buildings or grounds) of title 18, United States Code.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. RESTRICTED BUILDING OR GROUNDS.

Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

-`Sec. 1752. Restricted building or grounds

`(a) Whoever--

`(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so;

`(2) knowingly, and with intent 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;

`(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or

`(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds;

or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

`(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is--

`(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if--

`(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or

`(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and

`(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case.

`(c) In this section--

`(1) the term `restricted buildings or grounds' means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area--

`(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President's official residence or its grounds;

`(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or

`(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance; and

`(2) the term `other person protected by the Secret Service' means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such protection.'.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.

The original post said:
Quote:
A new bill in Congress seems to make it a federal crime to conduct a protest in the presence of certain federal employees, even if you did not know they were present.
Which part of the bill accomplishes that?

(I am not endorsing this bill, I just don't see that what was claimed in the OP is true. It looks like everything is tied to being in proximity to a "restricted building or grounds." Please point it out if I missed it, though....)
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Old March 1, 2012, 12:59 PM   #7
carguychris
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^^^^ jkp1187, I don't see it either.

JustThisGuy- you say this:
Quote:
A new bill in Congress seems to make it a federal crime to conduct a protest in the presence of certain federal employees, even if you did not know they were present.
(emphasis mine)

This bill says this:
Quote:
...the term `restricted buildings or grounds' means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area...
(emphasis mine)

It seems to me that the absence of clearly visible signage, cordons, or other indications that the person is present would be an affirmative defense to prosecution under this statute.
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Old March 1, 2012, 01:23 PM   #8
lawnboy
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Quote:
First, consider the source of this article is "RT" or Russian Times.
Not exactly an unbiased source of news
That is a massive understatement. There is not a more kook fringe news source that I am aware of. And that is taking into account both ends of the spectrum.
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Old March 1, 2012, 02:07 PM   #9
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It looks like we're really crying "wolf" ("volk?") here.
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