Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, pre-filed a proposal last week that may delight some manufacturers and other businesses, but seems tailor made to set civil libertarians on edge.
His proposed Preventing Economic Disruption Act, calls for extra jail time for any protest or demonstration that causes “economic harm by impeding economic activities.”
It would cover any demonstration to influence a government policy and delays trains, planes, automobiles – and just about anything else that carries cargo – or interferes with a pipeline, oil terminal or power plant.
So it would seem to apply to a protest similar to the one against the Dakota Access Pipeline, but not necessarily one like the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, since there was no commercial activity being blocked there.
Ericksen heads the Energy Committee, so the bill would get a hearing if it’s assigned there. It’s longer term prospects are more uncertain.