It’s time yet again for our statist of the week. Who is our winner this time? Who demonstrated excellence in their unswerving belief that government is the answer to all our problems?
My gosh, with so many candidates, I hate to say it … but this week’s winners are once again …
Republican Rep. Greg Chaney and Democrat Rep. Brooke Green. Yes, they are back once again. A repeat performance on the same issue as when they got the nod last time. Chaney and Green have another bipartisan anti-”targeted picketing” bill.
Their newly-minted House Bill 288 is so bad, it’s even worse than their last attempt to keep protestors away from the houses of elected officials and bureaucrats.
The new bill would make it “unlawful to publish, post, disseminate, or disclose an individual’s residential address other other information … with the intent to cause another person to engage in targeted residential picketing.”
So now, under this bill, the conduct of the picketer isn’t in question. It’s the conduct of the person or persons supplying the information that leads to picketing. That’s a misdemeanor.
This is super concerning. Because consider this: Idaho has 105 state lawmakers. It’s not hard to find the addresses of every single last one of them.
Many of those legislators list their address in the Legislative Directory, published each year, and available in hard copy and online.
So if I were to say “Hey, you should pick up a copy of the Legislative Directory and let Greg Chaney and Brooke Green know your opinion of House Bill 288” and then people use that information to picket Greg and Brooke, I may now be guilty of a crime, under their bill.
Now, proponents of this idea might say, “well, Wayne, there’s probably no proof in this case that you intended protestors to show up at a person’s house.” But a prosecutor does not need to prove his case to file a charge. They only need to have the pieces necessary to bring a criminal action, in order to make an example out of me, or silence me, or make people fear from their government that they could be next.
Listen, I have said it before and I will say it again. I do not like the idea of people going to people’s personal residences and protesting them. People have tried it with me, and I do not care for it one bit. But freedom of speech is a constitutionally-protected God-given right, and I will not yield one inch on this. Passing new laws that have the effect of silencing people, or criminalizing free speech, or criminalizing the facilitation of free speech, or criminalizing intent as it applies to free speech, is dangerous. It is horrid. It is unamerican. And it is the kind of thing that only a statist could love.
Which is why Greg Chaney and Brooke Greene … you’re again the Statists of the Week. Congratulations!
Who should be the statist of the week next time? Would you kindly drop me a note: [email protected]. Let me know what you think! Until next time!