Republican lawmaker and Donald Trump supporter, Sen. Doug Ericksen, claims he is drafting a bill to label protesting as “terrorism.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Washington state senator explained that he is crafting a bill that would permit felony prosecution of protestors who “intentionally break the law…by obstructing economic activity.”
Ericksen’s bill is centered around the notion of protection from so-called “economic terrorism.” This terminology is vague and could be applied to virtually any form of protest, seeing as most — if not all — forms of protest could be seen as interfering with business interests. Without a doubt, the bill is an assault on citizens’ First Amendment rights.
The senator claims that he will propose the creation says he will propose the creation of “a new crime of economic terrorism” that could be used against protesters participating in activities that which could be “block transportation and commerce, cause property damage, threaten jobs and put public safety at risk.”
As President-elect Donald Trump’s former deputy campaign director in Washington, Ericksen claimed in his statement that he actually supports acts of civil disobedience. However, he is also spearheading the effort to criminalize forms of protest that are constitutionally protected as freedom of speech and assembly.
Ericksen claims that his effort, undoubtedly to silence protestors, will, not only threaten the protestors themselves, but also those who support them.
“We are not just going after the people who commit these acts of terrorism. We are going after the people who fund them. Wealthy donors should not feel safe in disrupting middle-class jobs.”
Unsurprisingly, the senator is known by many to be tied to lobbyists. An Associated Press investigation in 2013 found that Ericksen was “the biggest beneficiary of lobbyist expense accounts” of all Washington’s lawmakers. Furthermore, the Washington State Democrats communications director Jamal Raad said in a statement earlier this year that,
“When big oil asks Doug Ericksen to jump, his only question is ‘how high?'”