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Democracy North Carolina Urges N.C. Senate to Protect Free Speech

Morrisville, N.C. (5/13/2021) — On May 3, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore introduced HB 805, a bill aimed to stifle free speech and discourage protests by imposing extremely harsh criminal penalties on our state’s already vague and problematic riot laws.

HB 805 quickly passed the House and now heads to the Senate floor for an official vote. 

If enacted, this bill would bring severe criminal charges against someone simply present at a gathering meeting the vague definition of riot— even if they’ve caused no harm or property damage.

Tomas Lopez, executive director of voting rights advocacy group Democracy NC, rejects lawmakers’ attempt to stifle free speech and fears the harsh criminal charges outlined in HB 805 would strip away the right to vote for thousands of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.

“N.C. ranks in 31st place for highest incarceration rates, with Black and brown populations representing a large majority of those imprisoned. By increasing criminal charges associated with acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, HB 805 threatens to strip away the right to vote for thousands of Black, brown and indigenous people, further disenfranchising communities of color. HB 805 does nothing to address the underlying systemic issues that motivate people to protest or engage in civil disobedience, and threatens the very foundation of a participatory democracy.”

Democracy NC calls on all North Carolinians to send a message to their N.C. Senator demanding they vote “NO” on HB 805.

Take action TODAY at demnc.co/h805.

 

“HB 805 does nothing to address the underlying systemic issues that motivate people to protest or engage in civil disobedience, and threatens the very foundation of a participatory democracy.” –Tomas Lopez

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Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to increase civic participation, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and remove systemic barriers to voting and serving in elected office. Learn more at democracync.org.