Arizona House Speaker Kills Protest Bill

Feb 28, 2017

The speaker of the Arizona House says he won't hear a bill that makes participating in or helping organize a protest that turns into a riot an offense that could lead to criminal racketeering charges.

Demonstrators march in Phoenix on Jan. 21, 2017 following the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Credit Ross D. Franklin/AP

The measure passed last week by the Senate drew nationwide attention because it added rioting to the organized crime statutes and says an overt act isn't needed to prove conspiracy to riot.

That attention led Speaker J.D. Mesnard to decide Monday to kill it for the session.

Mesnard told The Associated Press that people all across the country now believe that the Arizona Legislature is trying to enact a law suppressing their First Amendment right to assemble. Whether the bill does that or not, Mesnard said it is time to end the discussion.