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PA Bill to Make Protest a Crime



The PA House has not voted on SB652 this week. There are many amendments that Representatives have filed from the floor, which will require debate when the bill is heard for second consideration. There are only 3 session days (Monday the 15th, Tuesday the 16th, Wednesday the 17th) scheduled for next week and then none until the one after-election House session set for Nov. 13.

At the moment, SB652 is not on the House session agenda next week but that could change at any time so we all need to continue our calls to the House leadership and your own Representative, as shown below. The floor amendments must be voted on one day, then the final bill can be voted on no sooner than 24 hours later; so it will take 2 session days for the House to approve it.

If SB652 is approved by the House next week, it will have to go back to the Senate for concurrence – they have the same session days next week as the House, so there will only be one day (the 17th) the Senate could vote on it. Again, new session days can be added so we won’t really be out of danger. The Senate after-election session is Nov. 14. Bottom line, they just might run out of time for this bill this session! Let’s make sure our Representatives know that we say “NO on SB652!”

The amended bill (Printer No. 2020) is just as bad and could end up being worse than the original version so we still need a flat-out NO vote. See Clean Air Council attorney’s rundown of the amended bill here.

Please keep calling your Representative and the leadership in the House. Tell them to vote NO on SB652.

Find your own legislator here.

These are the House leaders that need to hear “NO on SB652”:
Mike Turzai, Speaker (717) 772-9943
Dave Reed, Majority Leader (717) 705-7173
Frank Dermody, Minority Leader (717) 787-3566
Michael K. Hanna, Democratic Whip (717) 772-2283
Bryan Cutler, Republican Whip (717) 783-6424

SB652 or the “Criminal Trespass Act” proposes to amend Pennsylvania’s statutes to make trespass on “critical infrastructure” more serious than trespass on regular property.  Disguised as a bill to protect facilities, it actually infringes on the First Amendment rights of protesters, attempting to chill legitimate protest. The bill enhances the penalties for trespass, making some offenses 1st and 2nd Degree felonies with imprisonment and stiff fines.

The bill’s list of critical infrastructure is broad, including gas pipelines (including gas liquids); compressors; telecommunication facilities; railroad freight yards; refineries; gas processing plants; radio and TV stations; power plants; certain manufacturing facilities, steel plants, and dams; water and sewage treatment plants; schools; hazardous liquid, gas and oil storage facilities; Homeland Security-designated locations; and even metering stations and equipment that is being used to construct “critical infrastructure”. Our right to protest is under attack, we can’t let this happen! 

Please tell them: We have a right to protest, our nation is built on the public speaking up and being engaged.  Laws are already in place to address trespass, this bill is unnecessary and nothing more than an attempt to intimidate.  For the sake of free speech and public discourse, VOTE NO on SB652.

Read the Memo from the PA ACLU about the problems with the bill.

This bill and those like it are being pushed across the nation to try to stop the protests occurring in so many places against dirty energy pipelines and other polluting projects.

A good source for tracking these anti-protest bills nationally is a civil liberties website: