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 the rest of us. Right now, these outside corporate interests are attempting to weaken our free speech rights in a way that disproportionately targets Indigenous Minnesotans and other water protectors. This provision is included in the Senate Omnibus Jobs and Energy Finance Bill, which is being finalized this week in the Minnesota Legislature. Read the letter of opposition signed by 48 organizations, representing tens of thousands of Minnesotans, here.
The provision lowers the threshold of what protesting actions constitute a felony charge AND creates two new felony charges; this is targeted at peaceful pipeline protesters who are using their free speech rights to protect our water and land. If enacted, these laws would have a chilling impact on the free speech in Minnesota and place all of us at a very high risk when we choose to exercise those freedoms near “critical infrastructure” — pipelines, airports, energy plants, etc.
Last year, the Land Stewardship Project and our allies stopped a similar attempt written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate think tank focused on advancing corporate interests at the expense of the public and democracy. 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 state legislators that free speech is critical infrastructure and that this proposal must be taken off the table — and ask Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan to speak out against this provision.