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As I See It

We don’t need more rioting laws, especially not this one



Free speech sure is in the political crosshairs these days. Lawmakers in Madison want to punish students in the UW System who protest speakers on campus. But they’re not stopping there. Now they want to create new, and unneeded, laws on rioting. A bill under consideration would make rioting a felony in Wisconsin. Apparently they don’t like all those protesters. But the wording of this language is so vague it could never pass constitutional muster. For example, three people assembling together could be considered a riot. Even if nothing happens. Even if no one is hurt. Even if no actual threat is even made. Under this bill, that could be considered a riot, and now, a felony. Apparently it would be enough if something could happen for people to face up to three and a half years in prison, and a $10,000 fine. Look at someone the wrong way, and face prison time? Besides being unconstitutional, this bill is unnecessary. We have plenty of laws on the books that are designed to punish those to take part in riotous behavior. Disorderly conduct, vandalism, failing to disperse. We have plenty of laws. This idea is unneeded and unconstitutional.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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