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Rep. Kelly denounces anti-protest bill

Says HB 109 will deter Ohioans from exercising their free speech rights
February 16, 2022
Brigid Kelly News

COLUMBUS—State Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) issued a statement today following the House passage of House Bill (HB) 109, Republican legislation that would increase penalties and create new criminal offenses related to riots. 

HB 109 would, in effect, discourage Ohioans from participating in lawful protests and civil demonstrations for fear of running afoul of the proposed law’s broad and vague language. The bill’s wide-reaching provisions would also put philanthropic organizations at risk of prosecution due to unintended association with bad actors at a protest.

“HB 109 is a dangerous, anti-American bill that begins to chip away at core freedoms, including the rights to speak freely and peacefully protest,” said Rep. Kelly. “This bill would disproportionately impact underserved and marginalized communities who are most likely to be at the forefront of movements for democracy, peace and justice. Everyone deserves an equal voice in democracy, but HB 109 puts that at risk.” 

HB 109 now proceeds to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.