The government of Minnesota belongs to the people of Minnesota — not outside corporate interests who want to write special laws for themselves at the expense of our communities and democracy.
During the last two legislative sessions, the Land Stewardship Project and our allies successfully stopped efforts by outside corporate interests to weaken our free speech rights, which would have disproportionately impacted Indigenous Minnesotans and other water protectors. Land Stewardship Project members know why free speech is so important. For example, just like in the 1980s, members across the state have been leveraging their collective power to fight against farm foreclosures, consolidation, co-opted co-ops, and more.
This anti-free speech legislation is still alive and the 2020 session starts in just five days. This bill raises the threshold of what protest actions constitute a felony charge AND creates two new felony charges. Existing laws already criminalize damage and trespassing. If enacted, this law would have a chilling impact on free speech in Minnesota and would place all of us at a very high risk when we choose to exercise our freedoms near “critical infrastructure” — pipelines, airports, energy plants, etc.
With the legislative session starting on Tuesday and special interests being emboldened by recent wins in other states, it is crucial that our elected officials hear from their constituents that free speech must be protected.
Free speech and protest are some of our most effective tools for fighting for our communities and defending our land and water. Free speech is also our constitutional right.
Corporate interests are pushing hard to pass this legislation. If we don’t speak up now, it could become law. We need to stand together for these cherished democratic principles that are at the core of our democracy.
Please, click here to tell your Representative that free speech is critical infrastructure and that this proposal must not be on the table in 2020 — and ask Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan to speak out against this provision.