GOP bill would target Ohio protesters with terrorism law


State Rep. Cindy Abrams, a Cincinnati Republican and former police officer, stands outside the Statehouse hearing room where her bill increasing punishments against violent protesters was approved on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. Abrams called the measure, approved by the GOP-controlled House Criminal Justice Committee along party lines, common sense legislation that supports people’s right to peacefully assemble while punishing lawbreakers. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

COLUMBUS, OH (AP) — A Republican bill moving in the Ohio House would target protesters with a provision normally used against terroristic activity.

Cindy Abrams and Sara Carruthers are GOP House lawmakers. Their proposed legislation would allow police officers harmed during riots to sue individuals or organizations that provided material support or resources, such as lodging or transportation. Material support is conduct tied in state and federal law to actions by alleged terrorist groups.

The bill also increases penalties for rioting and creates the offenses of riot assault and riot vandalism.

The American Civil Liberties Union calls the legislation an extreme attack on free speech.

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