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 three legislative sessions, the Land Stewardship Project and our allies in the Protect MN Voices Coalition successfully stopped efforts by outside corporate interests to weaken our free speech rights, which would have disproportionately impacted Indigenous Minnesotans and other water protectors. LSP members know why free speech is so important. For decades, our movements have depended on our constitutional right to free speech to win civil rights, protect voting rights, and guide our public officials to serve the people above corporate interests.
Unfortunately, we anticipate these attacks to be renewed and the 2021 session started today. In recent years, the anti-free speech proposal raised the threshold of what protest actions constitute a felony charge and created two new felony charges. Existing laws already criminalize property damage and trespassing. If enacted, this law would have a chilling impact on free speech in Minnesota, not to mention how it would disenfranchise voters, as people with felonies lose their right to vote in our state. We would all be at very high risk when we choose to exercise our constitutional freedoms near “critical infrastructure” — pipelines, airports, energy plants, etc.
With today being the first day of the 2021 legislative session and special interests being emboldened by their wins in other states, it is crucial that our elected officials hear from their constituents that free speech must be protected.
Free speech is one of our most effective tools for fighting for our communities and defending our land and water. For decades, farmers have been leveraging their collective power to fight against farm foreclosures, consolidation, co-opted co-ops, and more. Free speech is 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 legislators that free speech is critical infrastructure and that this proposal must not be on the table in 2021 — and ask Governor Tim Walz to promise to veto these attacks on our freedoms, should they reach his desk.