Billboards latest push to fight protest bill

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – There is a new large red billboard along Manheim Pike that says “keep free speech free”.

The billboard is one of four paid for by Lancaster Against Pipelines. It’s their newest push to stop Senate Bill 323.

The bill introduced by state Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) would allow for the recovery of emergency response costs from people convicted of crimes while participating in protests.

“This kind of bill is threatening the foundation of what our country is based on,” said Malinda Harnish-Clatterbuck, a founding member of Lancaster Against Pipelines who was arrested multiple times while protesting the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

“There are already laws in place that charge people for any damage they do to property,” she said. “This law is unnecessary.”

Martin says he supports the right of law-abiding citizens to assemble and speak their mind. In his bill, he sites the ramifications from 2016 pipeline protests in North Dakota that cost the state and its taxpayers more than $38 million. 

“It’s wrong for people to get violent,” Harnish-Clatterbuck said. “I believe in paying taxes. I believe in paying police officers salaries. I am glad police officers are there to protect us when we need it. That’s not what this is about. This is about something else. I think this is going above and beyond, and I think it’s meant to scare people.”

The bill is currently pending in the Senate Government Committee.

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