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Bill would increase punishment for intentionally blocking roads

Republicans have filed legislation aimed at preventing roadways from being
illegally blocked by protesters in Tennessee.

House Bill 2031, sponsored by State Rep. Jody Barrett, R-Dickson, would
increase the penalty for intentionally obstructing roadways or other areas
used for transportation from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony. The
legislation would also allow anyone who suffered injury or loss as a result
of the crime to seek compensatory damages through legal action.

“Blocking highways and bridges for a protest without obtaining the necessary
approval beforehand creates an extremely dangerous situation for both
participants and the general public,” Barrett said. “Protests have their
time and place, but this type of behavior is unacceptable and must have more
severe consequences.”

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A Class D felony is punishable by a minimum of two years in prison and a
maximum fine of $5,000. If approved, House Bill 2031 would take effect July
1.

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