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Senate Bill 471 Threatens the Constitutional Rights of all Hoosiers

Don’t let the Indiana General Assembly silence you:

Tell your State Senator and Representative to oppose SB471!

 

Senate Bill 471: Offenses Involving Critical Infrastructure

SB471 will impose high criminal punishment for offenses involving “critical infrastructure facilities,” which it defines as places such as power plants, pipelines, refineries, and dams, among many others. This legislation elevates the misdemeanor of trespass to a FELONY offense, punishable with up to 2½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If property damage occurs, the offense is punishable by up to six years and a $10,000 fine. 

The bill goes even further to make entire groups of people collectively liable for the actions of one individual. Any person or organization that is found to have "conspired" with an offender under this bill, could be fined up to $100,000; ten times the amount currently permitted by statute. SB471 is riddled with ambiguity and will have an enormous chilling effect on the Constitutional Rights of Hoosiers.

SB471 is unconstitutional legislation that will almost certainly lead to litigation that will cost Hoosier taxpayers a lot of money if passed by the Indiana General Assembly.  

Senate Bill 471 is a Solution in Search of a Problem

SB471 is unnecessary and redundant – it creates harsher penalties for conduct already covered by existing law. Indiana has strong laws against trespass and property damage at “key facilities” like the ones defined as “critical” in SB471. There is no need to create a new law for something that’s already on the books.

 

Senate Bill 471 Violates Free Speech

Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association are sacred American traditions that are protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

The language in SB471 concerning collective liability is overly broad and infringes on our Constitutional Freedom of Speech. For example, if an organization promotes an event (like a rally) at a place deemed “critical infrastructure,” and one individual at that event trespasses, the organization that promoted the event can be prosecuted whether or not anybody from that organization was actually present at the event.

 

Senate Bill 471 Threatens Freedom of Association

The vague prohibition against “conspiracy” in the bill infringes upon our Constitutional Right of Association. If an organization helps to plan a peaceful sit-in with protestors, and one individual at the sit-in does something deemed an “offense” under SB471, the entire organization could be charged with conspiracy to commit a felony.

 

The Intent of SB471 is to Frighten Hoosiers into Silence

The House Sponsor of this bill, Rep. Ed Soliday, admitted publicly that the aim of the bill is to have something that “causes people to be frightened enough to change their behavior.” This is a direct assault on the Right of Hoosiers to Peaceably Assemble. We cannot allow Indiana State Legislators to trample our Constitution and scare us into submission.

You can follow the progress of SB471 at the Indiana General Assembly on our 2019 Redistricting & Good Government Bill Watch List.

Read the Fact Sheet

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Take Action: Contact Gov. Holcomb and tell him to VETO Senate Bill 471 because it is a misguided, unnecessary, and unconstitutional piece of legislation.

Gov. Holcomb:

 

To look up and/or e-mail your legislators, visit: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/

The very best way to get a message to your State Senator and Representative is to call and leave a message with their Legislative Assistants.  This PDF document has the direct numbers and e-mail addresses for all of our Indiana State Legislators.

 

To mail a letter or make a phone call: 

Indiana Senate
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2786
(800) 382-9467
  

Indiana House of Representatives
200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2786
(800) 382-9842

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