Remaining at place of riot or unlawful assembly after warning to disperse; penalty. (SB1055)

Introduced By

Sen. Richard Stuart (R-Westmoreland)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Remaining at place of riot or unlawful assembly after warning to disperse; penalty. Increases from a Class 3 to a Class 1 misdemeanor the penalty for failure to leave the place of any riot or unlawful assembly after having been lawfully warned to disperse. Amends § 18.2-407, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

  • 01/06/2017 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17103636D
  • 01/06/2017 Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
  • 01/16/2017 Reported from Courts of Justice (8-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
  • 01/17/2017 Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
  • 01/18/2017 Read second time and engrossed
  • 01/19/2017 Passed by for the day
  • 01/20/2017 Passed by for the day
  • 01/23/2017 Read third time and defeated by Senate (14-Y 26-N) (see vote tally)

Video

This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 23 minutes.

Transcript

This is a transcript of the video clips in which this bill is discussed.



Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Springfield): GOES ON IN THE BUILDING, WHAT THE INSIDE OF THE BUILDING LOOKS LIKE, AND THIS ALSO AS I SAID WILL BE APPLICABLE TO ALL OF THE COLLEGES ULTIMATELY IN VIRGINIA. THE THIRD GENTLEMAN DANNY, HE IS WORKING WITH A SMALL GROUP OF OTHER STUDENTS THEY ARE GOING TO SEND A SATELLITE INTO SPACE LATER THIS YEAR. AND HE IS DESIGNING THE SOFTWARE AND WEBSITE FOR THAT. THIS IS NOT OUT THE ORDINARY. TWO YEARS AGO, ONE OF THEIR SENIORS WHO ONLY GOT 2390 OUT OF 2400 ON THE S.A. T.s, SHE DEVELOPED AN APPLICATION FOR AN IPHONE THAT WAS 96% ACCURACY THAT COULD TELL BY SPEECH PATTERNS WHETHER AN ADULT HAD PARKINSON'S DISEASE. YOU WONDER WHY SHE IS BROTHERING WITH UNDER GRADUATE SCHOOL. ULTIMATELY GOING TO GO TO MED THE LABS THERE ARE JUST SCHOOL. SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE IN THE ROOM SHOULD SEE. WHEN JOHN CASSTINE WAS PRESIDENT AT U OF A, HE SAID THE LABS THERE WERE WELL EQUIPPED IF NOT BETTER THAN SOME OF THE ONES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA. THE CONSTRUCTION ON THE SCHOOL WILL BE COMPLETE THIS YEAR AND ODD OF THE SCHOOL IS A DOME JUST LIKE YOU SEE AT CHARLOTTESVILLE AND MONTICELLO. I WOULD HOPE THAT -- I ASK YOU TO PLEASE EXTEND A WELCOME FROM THE SENATE OF VIRGINIA AND US AVERAGE STUDENTS.

[Unknown]: THANK YOU. AN EXCELLENT JOB DESCRIBING THE PROJECTS THEY ARE WORKING ON. I'M VERY IMPRESSED. WOULD MEMBERS FROM THOMAS JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL FOR TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE PLEASE RISE. WHAT A GREAT GROUP YOU ALL HAVE. THE WORK THAT YOU ALL ARE DOING IS COMMENDABLE AND MAKES US FEEL GOOD ABOUT OUR FUTURE. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES YOU HAVE RIGHT HERE IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA AND KEEP DOING GREAT WORK AND KEEP DRIVING VIRGINIA IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION. WE THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE TODAY AND ADVOCATING FOR WHAT YOU ARE WORKING ON IN COOL IS AND BEST OF LUCK. I ASK THE MEMBERS TO JOIN ME IN OFFERING MEMBERS FROM THOMAS JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL FOR TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE THE WARM WELCOME OF THE SENATE. [APPLAUSE]

Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Springfield): IS THERE ANY OTHER BUSINESS FOR THE MORNING HOUR? SEEING NONE, THE CLERK WILL PLEASE CALL THE CALENDAR.

[Unknown]: SENATE CALENDAR FOR MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 2017. REGULAR CALENDAR SENATE BILLS ON THIRD READING. 87 THE RELATING TO RETIRED CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES UNDER RECALL QUALIFICATIONS BY COMMITTEES FOR COURTS OF JUSTICE. SENATOR STEWARD. I MOVE THE BILL PASS AND SPEAKING TO THE BILL. THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR. MR. PRESIDENT, MEMBERS OF THE SENATE, WHAT THE BILL DOES IS REQUIRES THE SUBSTITUTE JUDGES FOR THE CIRCUIT COURT THAT ARE ON THE SUPREME COURT RECALL LIST TO ALSO BE QUALIFIED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, THE SENATE COURTS AND HOUSE COURTS COMMITTEE JUST AS WE REQUIRE ALL OTHER JUDGES TO BE QUALIFIED. IT REQUIRES THAT THEY BE QUALIFIED EVERY THREE YEARS. I THINK IF THE BILL PASSES THERE WILL BE A POLICY WHERE THE VAST MAJORITY WOULD BE QUALIFIED WITHOUT EVEN HAVING TO COME DOWN HERE. AS IT STANDS NOW WE HAVE JUDGES THAT ACTUALLY ARE SUBSTITUTE THAT ARE RETIRED AND INCREASED THE AGE AND THEY COULD BE SITTING FAIRLY FREQUENTLY BUT THERE IS NO QUALIFICATION OF THEM AS WE DO WITH ALL OTHER JUDGES. IS WHAT THE BILL DOES. I AM HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS IF THERE ARE ANY.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THANK YOU, SENATOR. THE QUESTION IS SHALL SENATE BILL 879 PASS. ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION WILLS AYE, THOSE OPPOSED NO. ARE THE DELEGATES READY TO VOTE? HAVE ALL THE DELEGATES VOTED? DO ANY SENATORS DESIRE TO CHA NGE THEIR VOTE? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL.

[Unknown]: AYES 38, NOS 2. AYES 38, NOS 2. THE BILL PASSES. SENATE BILL 1055. A BILL TO REMAINING AT PLACE OF RIOT OR UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY AFTER WARNING TO DISPERSE. PENALTY. THE SENATOR FROM STAFFORD, SENATOR STEWART. THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR. IT INCREASES THE PENALTY FROM A CLASS THREE MISS DEMEANOR TO CLASS ONE. CURRENTLY IF YOU ARE PARTICIPATING IN UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY OR RIOT WHICH IS ALREADY A CRIME IT IS ONLY A CLASS THREE MISDEMEANOR IF YOU REFUSE TO MOVE. THIS INCREASES THE PUNISHMENT AND HOPEFULLY THIS WILL -- THIS IS A PUBLIC SAFETY BILL FOR US AND THE PROTESTERS. THE SENATOR FROM ROANOKE CITY, SENATOR EDWARDS.

Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke): MR. PRESIDENT, I WAS NOT PRESENT WHEN THIS BILL PASSED THE COURTS OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE ON MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY. I WAS ATTENDING TO PERSONAL BUSINESS. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST BILLS I THINK I HAVE EVER SEEN. DEMONSTRATING AND MARCHING AND EXPRESSING THE VIEWS OF CITIZENS AND FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS IS THE HALLMARK OF OUR DEMOCRACY. WE SAW OVER THE WEEKEND MANY PEOPLE DEMONSTRATING, MARCHING, EXPRESSING THEIR VIEWS. THIS IS WHAT AMERICAN DEMOCRACY IS ALL ABOUT. WHAT THIS BILL DOES IS SAY IF YOU REMAIN IN THE PLACE, ODDLY ENOUGH IT SAYS A RIOT OR UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY AFTER HAVING BEEN WARNED TO DISBURSE YOU CAN GO TO JAIL. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS STAY IN ONE PLACE AND NOT MOVE AND YOU CAN GO TO JAIL. I RECALL BACK IN 1963 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WAS JAILED IN BIRMINGHAM FOR THE SAME THING. HE WROTE A LETTER TO HIS CALENDAR BYMAN -- CLERGYMAN IN THE SOUTH. IT IS ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE PIECES OF LITERATURE AND RANKS UP WITH SOME OF THE BEST WRITINGS IN RELIGION IN THE HISTORY OF RELIGION. I WOULD RANK IT UP THERE ALONG THE LINES OF ST. PAUL'S LETTERS TO THE YOUNG CHURCHES IN THE FIRST CENTURY. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. HAD THE OPPORTUNITY WHILE IN JAIL TO REFLECT UPON WHY HE WAS DOING WHAT HE WAS DOING NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE, PROTESTING UNJUST LAWS IN AMERICA AND TRYING TO EXPLAIN IT TO CLERGYMEN THROUGHOUT THE SOUTH AND HIS RATIONALE FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IS THE RATIONALE THAT EVENTUALLY LED TO THE PASSAGE OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 AND VOTING RIGHTS ACT IN 1965. I GUESS YOU COULD SAY THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF JAILING HIM LED TO ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE PIECES OF LITERATURE IN AMERICAN HISTORY. MR. PRESIDENT, WE KNOW IT WAS UNJUST FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. TO BE JAILED IN THE SPRING OF 1963 IN BIRMINGHAM. THIS COULD HAPPEN TO ANY OF US WHO PROTESTS AND MARCHES AND TOLD BY THE POLICE THIS IS AN UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY YOU HAVE TO MOVE AND IF YOU DON'T DISBURSE YOU DO NOTHING BUT SIT DOWN, YOU CAN BE JAILED FOR STANDING STILL. FOR SITTING DOWN. FOR DOING NOTHING. THIS IS NOT WHAT WE SHOULD DO. THIS IS NOT THE KIND OF LEGISLATION WE SHOULD PASS. THIS IS CONTRARY TO WHAT WE BELIEVE IN AS AMERICANS AND VIRGINIANS. I THINK THOMAS JEFFERSON WOULD ROLL OVER IN HIS GRAVE IF HE THOUGHT WE WERE CONSIDERING SOMETHING LIKE THIS. I HOPE WE VOTE NO ON THIS BAD PIECE OF LEGISLATION.

[Unknown]: THANK YOU, SENATOR. THE SENATOR FROM GRAYSON, SENATOR CARRICO.

Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson): THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

[Unknown]: SPEAK TO THE BILL.

Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson): THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR.

[Unknown]: LET'S NOT KID OURSELVES WHAT THIS BILL DOES. IT IS ALREADY LAW. AND BASICALLY WHEN AN UNLAWFUL PROTEST IS DECLARED IT IS WHEN PEOPLE ARE BLOCKING INTERSTATES AND DOING THINGS THAT ACTUALLY PRESENT A PUBLIC SAFETY PROBLEM THAT ARE EXISTING. WHAT THIS BILL DOES IS GIVE TEETH TO THAT LAW. AND IRONICALLY THE GENTLEMAN FROM ROANOKE THAT JUST SPOKE HAS A LOT OF INITIATIVES TO LOOK AT I-81 PROJECTS AND THERE IS A STUDY CONDUCTED ON I-81 THAT TELLS THE DURATION OF AN ACCIDENT THAT LASTS AS LONG AS 12 HOURS RESULTS IN EIGHT MILE BACKUPS, DELAYS OF VEHICLE TRAVEL BY 16,335 HOURS. IT COSTS THE COMMONWEALTH SOMEWHERE AROUND $612,000. SO BASICALLY THAT BREAKS DOWN TO ABOUT $50,000 AN HOUR. SO WHAT WE ARE SAYING IS EVERY TIME YOU SEE THE UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY TAKE PLACE LINKING ARMS AND BLOCKING VEHICULAR TRAVEL ON I-95 WE WILL SLAP THEM WITH A LITTLE FINE BECAUSE THEY FAILED TO DISBURSE. A MISDEMEANOR. THIS WILL GIVE SOME TEETH TO THAT. THIS WILL INTO THE BE DECLARED UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY AS LONG AS IT IS DONE PEACEFULLY AND ORDERLY AND DONE AS WHAT THEY APLAYED FOR THE PERMITS TO DO THERE IS NO PROBLEMS. THE PROBLEM EXISTS WHEN THESE GET TO BE UNPEACEFUL AND WE ARE SEEING THAT HAPPEN ALL ACROSS THIS NATION, EVEN IN VIRGINIA. WE NEED TO DO SOME THINGS TO GIVE TEETH TO THIS LAW. THIS BASICALLY ENHANCES IT TO A CLASS ONE MISDEMEANOR AND HOPEFULLY WILL DEFER SOME OF THESE ACTIONS TAKING PLACE AND HELPS PREVENT ANY LAGGING COMMERCE IN VIRGINIA ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE BLOCKING THESE INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS FOR THE FREE TRAVEL THEREOF. I HOPE THAT YOU WILL SUPPORT THE BILL. THANK YOU, SENATOR. THE SENATOR FROM ARE LINKTON, SENATOR FAVOLA.

Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington): THANK YOU. I ASK THE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE TO VOTE AGAINST THIS BILL. THIS IS VERY EXCESSIVE. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT INDIVIDUALS WHO COULD BE FINED UP TO $2,500 OR PUT IN JAIL FOR 12 MONTHS. THIS BILL EXAS PER RATES THE DEINDIVIDUAL THAT ALREADY EXISTS AMONG INDIVIDUALS TRYING TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN A PEACEFUL WAY AND OUR POLICE DEPARTMENT AND POLICE FORCES. WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS. THE INDIVIDUALS WHO TAKE THE TIME AND ENERGY AND HAVE THE COURAGE TO GO OUT AND ACTUALLY MAKE A STATEMENT ARE VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT A SOCIAL CAUSE. IN FACT, DEMONSTRATIONS HAVE BEEN A KEY TOOL IN PROMOTING SOCIAL CHANGE. THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. WHEN WOMEN WERE ACTIVE TRYING TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE. THESE ARE ALL EXAMPLES OF HOW WE WERE ABLE TO MOVE THE SYSTEM. MOREOVER, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT AN ISSUE ARE ALSO THE PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF THE SYSTEM. THEY ARE PEOPLE ASKING FOR CHANGE. A BILL LIKE THIS IN MY MIND IS VERY DANGEROUS. THERE IS NO WAY THAT -- I BELIEVE AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS STANDING UP FOR HIS OR HER RIGHTS AND ASKING THE GOVERNMENT TO BE MORE RESPONSIVE SHOULD FACE A POTENTIAL JAIL SENTENCE OR FINE. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I ASK THAT WE NOT SUPPORT THIS BILL. THERE ARE ALREADY TOOLS IN THE TOOLBOX AND THIS IS NOT THE MEASURE WE SHOULD TAKE GIVEN THE SITUATION WE FACE IN OUR COUNTRY AND GIVEN OUR LONG HISTORY OF SUPPORTING UNASSEMBLED PROTESTS. SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[Unknown]: THANK YOU, SENATOR. THE SENATOR FROM HAMPTON, SENATOR LOCKE.

Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton): THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE IN OPPOSITION TO THE MEASURE.

[Unknown]: THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR.

Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton): I FIND IS IRONIC SENATE BILL 1055 WAS PASSED ON THE HOLIDAY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AN INDIVIDUAL WHO UNDERSTOOD THE POWER OF NONVIOLENT DIRECT PROTESTS AND THE POWER OF MARCHING. AND MR. PRESIDENT, WHILE THE RULE OF LAW IS A CORE VALUE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY, AND HAS SUSTAINED OUR GREAT SOCIETY IT IS CREATED AND CRAFTED BY OTHER HUMAN BEINGS AND THEREFORE SUBJECT TO ERROR. CONSIDERING RULE OF LAW MAINTAINS THINGS AS THEY ARE TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF CHANGE AND TO ESTABLISH JUSTICE IT MAY BE NECESSARY TO CHALLENGE BY COMMITTING ACTS OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE LIKE AFRICAN AMERICANS DID DURING THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA. AND DURING ANTIWAR PROTESTS AND CURRENTLY WITH THE BLACK LIVES MATTER CAMPAIGN. CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IS A NONVIOLENT WAY YET EFFECTIVE WAY OF HIGHLIGHTING A LEGISLATIVE ERROR AND OR PERCEIVED ABSURDITY OF AN EXISTING LAW AND IT HAS WORKED. WE SHOULD NOT COMPRESS THE VOICE OF VIRGINIANS THAT ATTEMPT TO HIGHLIGHT INJUSTICES AND HAVE BROUGHT IT TO THE ATTENTION OF LAW MAKERS. THE CRIME UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY DOES NOT MATCH THE PUNISHMENT ESPECIALLY IF THE CRIME SERVES AS ENLIGHTENMENT TO LEGISLATORS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT CITIZENS WISH TO VOICE DISSENT. I WOULD LIKE TO END WITH TWO ONE IS ACTUALLY FROM A MOVIE. QUOTES. "THE GREAT DEBATERS." AND THERE WAS THE CHARACTER OF JAMES FARMER JR. IT WAS BASED ON A REAL STORY. IF YOU KNOW JAMES FARMER JR. HE TALKED FOR YEARS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF -- TAUGHT FOR YEARS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARY WASHINGTON. AND HIS CHARACTER IN HIS DEBATE MADE THIS STATEMENT. AND HE QUOTED SAINT AUGUSTINE. AND HE SAID THAT AN UNJUST LAW IS NO LAW AT ALL. AND HE ENDED BY SAYING WHICH MEANS THAT I HAVE A RIGHT EVEN A DUTY TO RESIST IF I FIND THAT I'M BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. FIRST QUARTERLY IN THE JIM YOU W SOUTH WITH VIOLENCE OR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AND YOU SHOULD PRAY I CHOOSE THE LATTER. AND I WOULD LIKE TO ALSO QUOTE JOHN F. KENNEDY. THOSE WHO MAKE PEACEFUL REVOLUTION IMPOSSIBLE WILL MAKE VIOLENT REVOLUTION INEVITABLE. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

[Unknown]: THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM LOUDOUN, SENATOR BLACK.

Sen. Dick Black (R-Leesburg): THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. LET ME POINT OUT THIS BILL RELATING TO REMAINING IN A PLACE OF RIOT OR UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY PRESCRIBES A MAXIMUM PENALTY. AND I THINK WHEN WE TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN THE PAST WITH THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, THOSE WOULD NOT BE LIKELY. THEY WOULD BE HIGHLY UNLIKELY TO BE PUNISHED BY THE MAXIMUM PENALTY. HOWEVER, I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THIS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IT RUNS A WIDE, WIDE GAMUT AND SOME OF THE THINGS THAT ARE DONE BORDER ON ABSOLUTE RIOT AND TOTAL BREAKDOWN OF LAW AND ORDER. AND I THINK THAT IS WHERE WE ARE GOING TO SEE THE MAXIMUM PUNISHMENT COME INTO PLAY AND I THINK IT IS A GOOD THING. I THINK WE WANT AN ORDERLY STATE AND I THINK WE WANT A STATE WHERE PEOPLE CAN DEMONSTRATE LAWFULLY. BUT AT THE SAME TIME WHEN DEMONSTRATIONS BECOME RIOT AND BECOME VIOLENT, I THINK WE NEED TO HAVE THE TOOLS TO DEAL WITH THANK YOU. THEM.

[Unknown]: THANK YOU, SENATOR. THE SENIOR SENATOR FROM FAIRFAX COUNTY, SENATOR SASLAW.

Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Springfield): MR. PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS THE OF THE SENATE, I THINK ANYBODY WHO HAS BEEN HERE MORE THAN A YEAR PRETTY MUCH KNOW HASS MY KY VIEWS ARE ON THE TOPIC CALLED LAW AND ORDER. FRANKLY, IT IS PROBABLY AS HARSHAS ANYBODY IN HERE. BY THE WAY, I'M OPPOSED TO THE BILL AND I WILL EXPLAIN WHY. WHAT YOU HEARD DESCRIBED BY THE PROPONENTS OF THIS IS ESSENTIALLY ALREADY COVERED BY LAW AND PENALTIES. YOU MAY HAVE NOTICE ON INAUGURATION DAY OVER IN WASHINGTON, D.C. IN ABOUT A FOUR BLOCK AREA THEY HAD A RIOT. I DON'T THINK THAT IS EVEN IN AND MANY ARE BEING CHARGED WITH DISPUTE. A FELONY AND SHOULD BE. YOU BURN VEHICLES AND BREAK STORE WINDOWS YOU SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH A FELONY, OKAY. AND THEY HAVE BEEN. THAT IS A FAR CRY FROM WHAT WE ARE GETTING AT IN THIS BILL. AND YOU KNOW, IF YOU -- IF YOU DO WHAT YOU HEREIN DESCRIBE THAT IS REALLY NOT A RIOT, FOR THE MOST PART THAT IS A FELONY. THIS DEAL DEALS SUPPOSEDLY IS DEALING WITH THE TOPIC THAT IS ESSENTIALLY IS MISDEMEANOR AND YOU ARE GOING TO PUT PEOPLE IN JAIL BECAUSE -- YOU KNOW, BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T MOVE ON QUICKLY ENOUGH? AND TRUST ME THAT INVARIABLY IS WHAT HAPPENS, ALL RIGHT. THE OTHER THING, I COME FROM THE MOST POPULATED AREA OF THE STATE. AND I IN FACT LIVE IN THE MOST POPULOUS JURISDICTION. I DON'T KNOW OF ANY OF -- IF THERE HAS GENERALLY BEEN A PROBLEM OF THIS TYPE, AND I FIND IT, YOU KNOW, HARD TO IMAGINE THAT THE SPEECH BY SENATOR CARRICO THEY APPARENTLY HAVE A BIG PROBLEM DOWN IN HIS NECK OF THE WOODS BUT HERE IN THE MOST POPULATED PART OF THE STATE WHERE DEMONSTRATIONS ARE MOST PRONE TO TAKE PART WE DON'T HAVE ANY PROBLEM. I HAVE NOT HAD ANYBODY IN THE FAIRFAX COUNTY, ARLINGTON OR ALEXANDRIA POLICE TELL ME WE NEED TO STRENGTHEN THIS LAW BECAUSE THEY ARE HAVING PROBLEMS. WE HAVE DISORDERLY CONDUCT STATUTES. THEY CAN GET YOU FOR THAT. I JUST DON'T SEE HOW INCREASING THIS FROM A CLASS 3 TO A CLASS 1 IS GOING TO BECOME A DETERRENT. OVER IN WASHINGTON, THEY HAVE GOT A FELONY LAW AND IT IS $5,000. THE DAMAGE THAT WAS DONE AND THE PEOPLE ARRESTED DID A LOT MORE THAN THAT AND THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE BEING CHARGED WITH AND SHOULD BE, A FELONY. WE ARE NOT CHARGING THESE PEOPLE WITH FELONY. WE ARE CHARGING THEM WITH A MISDEMEANOR. ALL WE ARE DOING IS INCREASING THE PENALTY AND CONSIDERING THE MISTAKES THAT FROM TIME TO TIME GET MADE, I CAN'T SEE THE NEED TO SWEEP THESE PEOPLE UP INTO THIS. AND THAT IS WHY IN SPITE OF AS I SAID, ONE OF THE HARSHER RECORDS HERE ON LAW AND ORDER AND THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN HERE KNOW WHAT MY VIEWS ARE, I AM OPPOSED TO THIS BILL AND I WOULD HOPE THAT YOU WOULD BE THE SAME.

[Unknown]: THANK YOU, SENATOR. THE SENATOR FROM GRAYSON COUNTY. SENATOR CARRICO.

Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson): SPEAK TO THE BILL.

[Unknown]: THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR.

Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson): SINCE THE GENTLEMAN FROM FAIRFAX BROUGHT TOUCH. IT UP.I WILL MAKE A COUPLE OF CIRCUMSTANCES THAT HE MAY HAVE NOT BEEN AWARE OF. JUST RECENTLY AFTER THE ELECTION THERE WAS A SITUATION THAT OCCURRED ON I-64/I-95 AREA IN THE CITY OF RICHMOND. I DON'T KNOW IF THE NEWS REACHED FAIRFAX IN TIME OR NOT OR IF HE DIDN'T SEE THAT BUT WHERE THE INTERSTATES WERE BLOCKED. I REMEMBER SEVERAL SITUATIONS IN 1989 DURING THE COAL STRIKES WHERE ROADS WERE BLOCKED, ARMS WERE BLOCKED AND EGRESS AND REGRESS WAS STOPPED. I CAN REMEMBER IN 1989 THE SAME YEAR OF THE STREETS OF VIRGINIA BEACH BEING TAKEN OVER DURING A FESTIVAL CALLED GREEKFEST THAT WE WERE CALLED IN TO DISBURSE CROWDS. THERE ARE INCIDENTS THAT MAY NOT OCCUR IN THE GEORGIA FROM GENTLM FAIRFAX'S BACK YARD BUT THEY OCCUR IN MY DISTRICT AND OTHER DISTRICTS. I THOUGHT I WOULD GIVE A FEW EXAMPLES OF WHERE IT DOES HAPPEN. THANK YOU.

[Unknown]: THANK YOU, SENATOR. THE SENATOR FROM STAFFORD, SENATOR STUART.

Sen. Richard Stuart (R-Westmoreland): I DIDN'T WANT TO GIVE A WHOLE LOT OF DETAIL IN THE BILL BECAUSE I WANTED TO HEAR WHAT EVERYBODY HAD TO SAY. AND ALWAYS INTERESTING BECAUSE I'M NOT EVEN SURE THE BODY WAS DISCUSSING THE BILL I PUT IN.

Comments

ACLU-VA Free Speech, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia opposes this bill. Absent a real danger to the community, predicated by increased incidents or actual threats to public safety, there is no need to heighten penalties for non-violent civil disobedience. This bill proposes jail time for bystanders at a protest who do not leave the scene when ordered by the police (currently this would be a $500 maximum fine only). It is quite often hard to hear police orders to disperse from a protest because of noise and this also affords the opportunity to order bystanders that are filming police action to leave the scene - or face jail time. Virginia should be moving towards reforms that decrease our jail population rather than increasing penalties for non-violent crimes.

Chrystal Doyle writes:

People have the right to assemble without fear. We must protect and support this right rather than impose increased restrictions and penalties. Please Support freedom to assemble and dissent and vote NO and vote DOWN SB 1055. Thank you.

Beth Hedquist writes:

I am strongly opposed to this bill. It would interfere with our right to assembly and free speech, and interfere with our ability and right to engage in peaceful, non-violent action. Please vote NO and vote DOWN SB 1055. Let's keep this a government of the people, for the people, by the people.

Brad Hemp writes:

Please vote no on SB 1055. It is a needlessly punitive measure meant to deter and criminalize certain forms of legitimate expression, political or otherwise. There are existing laws that punish destructive or threatening behavior by groups of people assembling unlawfully. This measure targets individuals who are doing nothing more than attempting to exercise free speech, regardless of whether their assembly poses any danger to the public. In these times of public apathy and cynism, the state of Virginia ought not be seeking to further deter civic participation, whatever the forms it may take.

Marie writes:

Please vote no on SB 1055. It is meant to criminalize the right to assemble. There are existing laws that already deal with individuals who do not protest peacefully. This is a easy way for the government to penalize people or groups of people who are peacefully exercising free speech. This is a only put forth as a way to silence the public and it makes the United States look less like land of free and more home of the silenced subservients.
In the First Amendment to the United States Constitution it states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances" (Bloom p. 81).

The right of a citizen to peacefully 1) parade and gather or 2) demonstrate support or opposition of public policy or 3) express one's views is guaranteed by the freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble.

Nancy Waldo writes:

This bill is a dangerous infringement of one of the rights enshrined in the Constitution. Vote NO on this bill.

Kim Scholpp writes:

I can't say it better or clear the the Virginia Bill of Rights.

Article I. Bill of Rights
A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS made by the good people of Virginia in the exercise of their sovereign powers, which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government.

Section 12. Freedom of speech and of the press; right peaceably to assemble, and to petition.
That the freedoms of speech and of the press are among the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained except by despotic governments; that any citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, nor the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

NEW: Remaining at place of riot or unlawful assembly after warning to disperse; penalty. Increases from a Class 3 to a Class 1 misdemeanor the penalty for failure to leave the place of any riot or unlawful assembly after having been lawfully warned to disperse.

Bridgette Huff writes:

Please vote NO on SB1055. A healthy democracy requires the right to peaceful assembly. This is a dangerous infringement of our basic constitutional rights.

Leah Rowland writes:

Please vote NO on SB1055. People have the right to peaceful protest and should not be criminalized unnecessarily; peaceful resistance and demonstrations have always been a crucial part of what makes our democracy great, and arguably the greatest progress of our society possible.

Steve Willis writes:

So much for the Constitution and the First Amendment right of free speech and the right to peaceably assemble...

Julia B. Hebner writes:

This legislation threatens citizens who wish to exercise their rights. Vote NO!

Matthew Willis writes:

Ironic that this bill should be discussed today. It is not the role of the elected official to threaten those who meet for peaceful assembly, particularly with increased fines and potential jail time (in an obvious attempt to silence the democratic process). Vote No on SB1055.

Virginia Dawnswir writes:

Vote no on SB 1055, this is an infringement of our right to assemble, especially for the press to not be able stay and witness police actions.It is too easy to call an inconvenient assembly of people a "riot". We have a right to participate in civil disobedience if we, the people, feel it is needed.

Kristin Harrison writes:

Vote NO to this bill. I am strongly apposed. Bill of Rights!

Brooke Plotnick writes:

Increasing these penalties is simply unnecessary. Vote No on SB1055.

We have existing laws in place to deal with individuals who do not protest peacefully.A healthy democracy requires the right to peaceful assembly.

This law is meant to criminalize the right to assemble and creates is a easy way for the government to penalize people or groups of people who are peacefully exercising free speech. This is a only put forth as a way to silence the public.

This is NOT what the founding fathers or our Constitution intend!

Melissa Luce writes:

Dear good people of the General Assembly,

Please read again Section 12 of the VA Bill of Rights and avoid heading down this slope towards repression of our civil rights. Punishing free speech and rightful peaceful assembly do not make issues go away, but instead create more discord and violence. Please defend this vital tool of communication that has helped to create our strong Democracy and has provided an important safety valve against violent attempts at revolution.

Lynn Pelco writes:

I am opposed to SB1055. Vote NO! This bill is unnecessary and demonstrates a clear strategy to roll back citizens' rights to peaceful assembly. The world is watching (thanks to the invention of social media!). The world--and your constituents--will know how each and every GA member votes on this bill. Be on the right side of history. Vote NO on SB1055!

William Jones writes:

Americans have a constitutional right to peaceably assemble. Lawmakers, you know this. Warning people to disperse from a scene is fine, but if the assembly remains peaceful after a warning, imposing fines and jail time is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Please vote NO or reread the constitution and then vote NO.

Sidney Newton writes:

I consider myself to be a reasonably well informed person. I read various news publications. I try to verify what I hear from others - or see on the internet. I try to consider probabilities when exposed to television news/entertainment scare stories. Despite that, I can think of no reason Virginia needs greater penalties for failure to disperse. I'm actually having trouble thinking of anything I'd call a riot happening locally in the current decade. I see this change to existing legislation is being proposed by Senator Stuart of Westmoreland County. I have done what I think is a thorough search for information about riots in Westmoreland County but I've not found any stories as yet. Why do the police and courts there feel they need stiffer penalties to deal with citizens assembling in .. Montross? Perhaps the Senator feels that representatives in other localities aren't responsive to the needs of their own constituents? I assume this is aimed at Black Lives Matter - perhaps their I95 protest in Richmond. I don't think this can offer support however - that incident was resolved quickly with current law. Perhaps Senator Stuart feels that more citizen unrest is on the horizon and he hopes to deter citizens from exercising their right of assembly or frighten them into silence. I would hope that isn't the case. Whatever the reason - the change is unnecessary.

Sharon Elber writes:

I can't say it better or clear the the Virginia Bill of Rights.

Article I. Bill of Rights
A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS made by the good people of Virginia in the exercise of their sovereign powers, which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government.

Section 12. Freedom of speech and of the press; right peaceably to assemble, and to petition.

That the freedoms of speech and of the press are among the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained except by despotic governments; that any citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, nor the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

NEW: Remaining at place of riot or unlawful assembly after warning to disperse; penalty. Increases from a Class 3 to a Class 1 misdemeanor the penalty for failure to leave the place of any riot or unlawful assembly after having been lawfully warned to disperse.

Stefan Ramirez writes:

This bill is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!You are violating the oath that you took to uphold the constitution by trying to pass garbage like this. It is apparent that you lack Even the most basic knowledge of your role in Congress, which is as a servant to your constituents. Appalling!!!

Martha Burford writes:

I oppose SB1055, SB 1056, SB 1057, SB 1058 for all of the reasons stated by our Bill of Rights and for concerns listed by the ACLU.

Richard Rose writes:

This is an example of an unnecessarily punitive measure. Once enacted, it could easily be abused.

Elisabeth Gruner writes:

I oppose this measure for the reasons stated above. It is unnecessarily punitive, would tend to increase the prison population, and would limit free speech. Please vote no.

Erin Rafferty writes:

Vote No to SB1055! This is an unnecessary suppression of the freedom to assemble and engage in free speech. A simple misunderstanding could lead to jail time and goodness knows we've got enough of that! Why is this even being proposed?! Senator Stuart, what is your agenda???

Rosemary Seltzer writes:

I oppose SB 1055 -1058. Please vote no. There has been no demonstrated need for increased penalties. Citizens are allowed to peaceably assemble and to petition.

Sally Molenkamp writes:

I am against SB 1055-1058. The freedom of people to peaceably assemble and speak are fundamental rights. Please vote no.

Melissa Wilder writes:

I oppose SB 1055-1058. It is unconstitutional. Please vote No.

Ezra Hitzeman writes:

NO to SB1055-1056-1057-1058 our rights shall not be infringed!

kirsten gray writes:

I agree with Martha Burford and others who "oppose SB1055, SB 1056, SB 1057, SB 1058 for all of the reasons stated by our Bill of Rights and for concerns listed by the ACLU."

Victoria Napky writes:

Our right to free assembly is inalieable. To restrict our freedom to assemble and speak is to resign from the constitutional freedoms that make our country what it is. The authors of this bill should be ashamed of themselves.

walte Moore writes:

This bill is an attach on free speech and free press. Other bills SB 1056, SB 1057, and SB 1058 are potentially also going in this direction. Just when we want to reduce the jail population and jail time, here we go again. Vote No.

Jinni Maybush writes:

I oppose SB 1055-1058 for concerns listed by the ACLU. Please vote NO.

Louis Zeller writes:

The Virginia Bill of Rights predates the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and helped drive the adoption of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law abridging the...right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances..."

The Virginia Declaration also specifies:

That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people...and that, whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal. (June 12, 1776)

SB1055 is fundamentally contrary to the Founders' principles. Vote NO!

Rebecca Daly writes:

Once again an elected official is presenting legislation that does not reflect what his constituents want, but is a blatant attempt to further infringe on our freedom. Which is exactly why people are protesting across the country. This is an insult to the citizens and an affront to the Bill of Rights and Constituion. Enough! With all of the issues facing the people, surely you can find a more constructive use of your time. Vote NO.

Priscilla Ireland writes:

This looks like the beginning of total rule without allowing dissention or freedom of speech, next is controlling what the media says, next is allowing groups to be targeted, next is limiting any pay increases, next is the crowning of our dictator.

megan rollins writes:

Free speech and the right to assemble is the feedback mechanism that enables government to function effectively. Increasing penalties and punishments for those expressing their constitutionally protected right to protest has a chilling effect. It works to degrade the public trust in government even further and is a dangerous step along the route of diluting our Democratic society. There is no need to heighten penalties for non-violent civil disobedience and I hope you will all vote NO on these punitive bills.

Kelli Wright writes:

Vote NO on SB1055, which is a violation of our constitutional right to assemble and freedom of the press!

Susan Thesenga writes:

I strongly oppose this bill, which is a patent effort to curb free speech and assembly, guaranteed by the Constitution. It is what defines us as a free people. Denying constitutional rights is how a democracy turns into a dictatorship. We do not want that.

Laurine Press writes:

I strongly oppose this bill which only serves to penalize free speech!

Julie Fuentes writes:

Please vote NO on SB 1055-1058. These bills are an attempt to curb free speech. They are decidedly un-American and unconstitutional.

Barry Marshall writes:

This Bill makes it even more obvious that the ones who introduced it are allowing the Fox in to the Hen house.We have the power to put this corruption to a stop and it doesn't require unlawful assembly.What it requires is for us to turn off our Main Breakers in our Homes and Businesses and don't turn them back on until they meet our demands.You and I both know who is behind this and in our state it is Dominion Resources.Put up your solar panels,purchase your Electric Car,Charge your Batteries with the Sun and tell the overpowering Bullies where to go.
Barry Marshall

Ben Ramage writes:

This bill is a clear attempt to limit free speech. It is unconstitutional and un-American. Vote NO!

Johannah writes:

Please vote no on this bill that infringes on basic democratic rights.

John Baute writes:

This is intimidation and suppression of free speech. Vote NO.

Jim Duxbury writes:

Wow, upping the price of free speech. Please vote NO on SB 1055-1058. This smells of special interest and is not about Law and Order in VA. If one part of you is fighting for the right to bear arms on "constitutional grounds" while the other part is devising ways to limit free speech, you are exposing those special interest group in your soul.

John geary writes:

Just call a meeting a 'riot' and effectively eliminate the right to peacfully assemble.

Autumn Pendlebury writes:

Vote No, this is unconstitutional how can this even be proposed?

Sandra Howard writes:

This is a violation of our 1ST amendment and totally unconstitutional and un-American. Absolutely 'NO'.

Leah Moore writes:

This is unacceptable and violates our rights as Americans. Vote NO.

Tessa writes:

Vote NO

Casey Boniface writes:

This bill is literally unconstitutional! Stop pushing this state and this country further towards fascism!

Catherine Kellett writes:

I oppose this bill and all others that seek to silence our right to speak truth to power. Vote NO.

Debbie Rowe writes:

Please vote no for this unnecessary, repressive bill that seeks to restrict our right to assemble and freedom of the press.

Judith Gallegos writes:

This is simply unconstitutional, vote NO.

Lynn Novak writes:

We already have laws that address violence and destruction of property. There is simply no need for this law other than as an attempt to curtail the 1st amendment rights of Virginians. Please vote NO for the unconstitutional bill.

Farrell Vangelopoulos writes:

I am a voting citizen of Charlottesville, Virginia. I strongly urge Creigh Deeds to oppose SB1055. We are entering scary times. We THe PEOPLE have to protect our 1st amendment. We have the right to gather and be heard. Protesting is part of our "checks and balances" to keep our government's authority in line. Sometimes it is the only forum we have.

Ginjer Clarke writes:

Please vote NO on SB1055. I strongly oppose it and hope you will too.

Sue Lucas writes:

I strongly urge Creigh Deeds to vote NO on SB1055. I believe in the right to assemble and that this bill is in violation of our 1st amendment

Tammy Hertel writes:

Please vote NO on bill SB1055. It infringes upon our first amendment rights.

Joyce Bencent writes:

All of these bills SB 1055-1058 are a sign of the type of corruptions that
are plagues to our judicial system and should be investigated BY the FBI or CIA for promulgating laws that violates the Constitutional rights of The State of Virginia and The United States citizens! this is an attempt to keep people from the rights to assemble and the right to express their views WHETHER THEY AGREE OR DISAGREE!!!

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