Minnesota lawmakers are advancing a bill that would allow cities to sue protesters who violate the law for the cost of the police response to the demonstration. The bill is one of several being introduced across the US that seek to penalize protesters, reports the Guardian.
The bill, which passed a Republican-controlled committee in the Minnesota house of representatives on Tuesday, would give state agencies, cities, or counties the authority to bring civil lawsuits against people convicted of unlawful assembly or public nuisance. The lawsuits could seek the full cost of responding to the “unlawful assembly”, including officer time, helicopters flying overhead and administrative expenses.
The bill’s author, Representative Nick Zerwas, who has also introduced a bill in the Minnesota house that seeks to increase criminal penalties for protesters blocking highways, emphasized that the bill would only increase liability for protesters who have "broken the law."