Bill Passes House: Protests Near Secret Service Protected Folk Effectively Outlawed

Bill Passes House: Protests Near Secret Service Protected Folk Effectively Outlawed:

In case you question the value of having a Justin Amash or a Ron
Paul in the House of Representatives, they were two of only three
votes against H.R. 347, the "Federal Restricted Buildings and
Grounds Improvement Act of 2011."

As reprinted in this
angry Salon blog post
, Rep. Amash's reasons for objecting:

a more truthful moniker for HR 347 would be the "First Amendment
Rights Eradication Act". As Representative Amash lamented on his
Facebook page:

"Current law makes it illegal to enter or remain in an area
where certain government officials (more particularly, those with
Secret Service protection) will be visiting temporarily if and only
if the person knows it's illegal to enter the restricted area but
does so anyway. [H.R. 347] expands current law to make it a crime
to enter or remain in an area where an official is visiting even if
the person does not know it's illegal to be in that area and has no
reason to suspect it's illegal... [And to] show you the extent to
which the public is misled and misinformed about the legislation we
are voting on, read one prominent media outlet's coverage of the
same bill: The
report mischaracterizes not only current law but also the changes
proposed by the bill."

text of the bill
, which includes all its penalties for
attempting or conspiring to do the forbidden disruption as well.
Those penalties are:

 The punishment for a violation of subsection (a)

‘(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than 10 years, or both, if--

‘(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses
or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or

‘(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as
defined by section 2118(e)(3); and

‘(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than one year, or both, in any other case.

 And the laws own language on how you run afoul of

 In this section--‘(1) the term ‘restricted
buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise
restricted area--

‘(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice
President’s official residence or its grounds;

‘(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other
person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily
visiting; or

‘(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction
with an event designated as a special event of national
significance; and

‘(2) the term ‘other person protected by the Secret Service’
means any person whom the United States Secret Service is
authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by
Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such

Russia Today with more about how this
law could be abused

The new legislation allows prosecutors to charge anyone who
enters a building without permission or with the intent to disrupt
a government function with a federal offense if Secret Service is
on the scene, but the law stretches to include not just the
president’s palatial Pennsylvania Avenue home. Under the law, any
building or grounds where the president is visiting — even
temporarily — is covered, as is any building or
grounds “restricted in conjunction with an event
designated as a special event of national significance."

It’s not just the president who would be spared from protesters,

Covered under the bill is any person protected by the Secret
Service. Although such protection isn’t extended to just everybody,
making it a federal offense to even accidently disrupt an event
attended by a person with such status essentially crushes whatever
currently remains of the right to assemble and peacefully

Hours after the act passed, presidential candidate Rick Santorum
was granted Secret Service protection. For the American protester,
this indeed means that glitter-bombing the former Pennsylvania
senator is officially a very big no-no, but it doesn’t stop with
just him. Santorum’s coverage under the Secret Service began on
Tuesday, but fellow GOP hopeful Mitt Romney has already been
receiving such security. A campaign aide who asked not to be
identified confirmed last week to CBS News that former House
Speaker Newt Gingrich has sought Secret Service protection as

In the text of the act, the law is allowed to be used against
anyone who knowingly enters or remains in a restricted building or
grounds without lawful authority to do so, but those grounds are
considered any area where someone — rather it’s President Obama,
Senator Santorum or Governor Romney — will be temporarily visiting,
whether or not the public is even made aware. Entering such a
facility is thus outlawed, as is disrupting the orderly conduct
of “official functions,” engaging in disorderly
conduct “within such proximity to” the event or
acting violent to anyone, anywhere near the premises. Under that
verbiage, that means a peaceful protest outside a candidate’s
concession speech would be a federal offense, but those occurrences
covered as special event of national
don’t just stop there, either. And neither
does the list of covered persons that receive protection....

With Secret Service protection awarded to visiting dignitaries,
this also means, for instance, that the federal government could
consider a demonstration against any foreign president on American
soil as a violation of federal law, as long as it could be
considered disruptive to whatever function is occurring.

The vote
tally of shame.
Where is your Dennis Kucinich now,