Representative John Andrews (R-Paris) has introduced an after deadline bill, "An Act to Ensure that Assemblies, Protests, and Demonstrations in Maine Remain Peaceful," that will be considered in January unless the Speaker and Senate President hold discussions with Republican leaders on a session focused on emergency items.
The legislation seeks to create state law that would protect Maine law enforcement officers, citizens, and public and private property. Under current law, only a “group” can be charged with rioting. Proposed legislation would allow for individuals to be charged with “aggravated reckless conduct” if they seek to bring mayhem to Maine towns.
“Maine is the safest state in the nation and we need to keep it that way,” said Rep. Andrews. “Given what is happening around the country, we cannot assume that outside agitators will not hijack peaceful protests in Maine to further their national agenda. We need to be proactive in protecting our heroes, businesses, and public property from those who would come here to destroy, not build up our society through peaceful protests.”
“If the Speaker and Senate President decide to hold discussions with Republican leaders on a session limited to emergency items, I hope this bill will be included for consideration. We must act to create a new area of law that allows the police to protect vulnerable citizens, businesses, and their property by charging irresponsible individuals causing mayhem.”
The proposed legislation would establish harsher penalties for individuals who:
Destroy public property, art, or statuary.
Destroy business infrastructure or looting.
Use of fireworks, combustible materials, bodily fluids, frozen liquids, bottles, bricks, rocks, fire as a weapon, or a designated or improvised instrument as a dangerous weapon.
Ignition of a fire to ignite property not of the individual (Flag Burning) during the course of a protest, demonstration, or assembly to ignite property not belonging to the individual ignitor.
Assault of a Law Enforcement Officer or Public Official during the course of a public assembly/demonstration/protest.
Amends State Statute 213 ‘Aggravated Reckless Conduct’ which is triggered by ‘Terroristic Intent’ to include ‘willful destruction of public and private property’. Class B Crime.
Representative John Andrews is hoping this bill will gain broad bipartisan support and will provide a means for Maine law to catch up with current events to protect law enforcement and our communities.
Representative John Andrews is serving his first term in the Maine legislature representing District 73. The district includes the towns of Buckfield, Hebron, and Paris. He believes in the Constitution and protecting our communities.