Political protests are sweeping the country. Now, I’m not here to get political or start a debate. I’m not even going to discuss who had the most sarcastic sign at one of the rallies in New York City. What I can tell you, though, is that there is a new bill presented in Tennessee that protects drivers if he or she were to hit a protester while operating a vehicle. The protester would not be able to sue the driver in civil court for any injuries. Although, if the driver willfully hit a protester, then he or would be fully liable in a court of law. Senator Bill Ketron said in a statement, “We believe that citizens have the right to protest. There is a procedure for peaceful protests and the purpose of that process is to protect the safety of our citizens. Protesters have no right to be in the middle of the road or our highways for their own safety and the safety of the traveling public.”
Many activists condemn the bill, citing that the bill is a violation of a first amendment right—to peacefully assemble. The bill would put protesters at risk while gathering for a number of reasons. The bill came to fruition after a man drove into protesters gathered on a street and incited a police investigation. Safety should always be the number one priority when protests take place, both for drivers and protesters alike. Car accidents involving protesters is not uncommon. Only time will tell if this bill has the potential to make a difference.
Is there a bill similiar to this in Arizona, not currently, however it may be something to consider.