GOP-backed bill clamping down on protesters in Ohio advances

Ohio

Ohio Statehouse

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A GOP-backed bill aiming to expand the definition of obstructing justice in Ohio to include failure to follow a lawful order or diverting a law enforcement officer’s attention moved forward.

Republican lawmakers voted the House bill out of committee Thursday after weeks of intense opponent testimony, where critics said the anti-protest proposal will be selectively enforced and disproportionately impact Black people.

The bill is one of four proposals by the majority party aimed at criminalizing or increasing penalties associated with behavior at protests in the wake of mass demonstrations that swept across Ohio last year in response to the death of George Floyd.

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