Another Lesson Learned From Occupy
February 7, 2012 1 Comment
Though this legislation died in committee, it highlights just how important it is to pay attention when state legislatures and Congress react to very specific events like Occupy Wall Street:
“The bill, SB 1534, would make it a felony to use “electronic communication to solicit two or more persons to commit [a] specific crime at [a] specific time and location.” The punishment could include up to 5 years in prison and a $125,000 fine.”
Commenter John Ford summarizes, so aptly, just why this legislation is A Bad Idea:
“But committing a crime isn’t necessarily a felony. Setting aside that it is ill-advised AT ALL, but making it felony to conspire to commit what might only be a misdemeanor is just….stupid. And dangerous. But mostly stupid. “
Many times, what happens when legislatures legislate in response to very specific events is they fail to consider the broader applications of the law they are considering. This will happen especially when they have very negative feelings toward whatever it is they are reacting to legislatively–namely here, the Occupy movement. The reaction may well be extreme, as it is here, making this action a felony.
Whatever one’s feelings on Occupy, or whatever event that will inspire legislation next week, month, or year, legislation like this will affect everyone. In this case, Oregon would have felt the immediate impact–but state legislatures play copycat like nobody’s business. This legislation would certainly, had it made it to the floor, been duplicated in other states. It’s vital that everyone pay attention. Also vital, is that state legislatures know that we are paying attention.