Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Secret Service has new power to suppress protest

Look what sneaked through Congress this year: H.B.347, The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011.

Sounds nice, eh? Who would be against improving federal buildings and their grounds?

Except, that's not was the new law does. It's really about more federal control, and an ACLU blog says we may get to see it used later this week:
The forthcoming summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, set for May 20 and 21 in Chicago, could be the first public test of H.R. 347, the recently passed law that expanded the ability of the Secret Service to suppress protests in or around certain restricted zones near individuals under its protection. We've written about H.R. 347 here and here.
The law is a true bipartisan creation. Cooked up and passed in the Republican controlled House, it was also approved by the Democrat controlled Senate, and signed into law by President Obama in March.

Some call it the anti-Occupy bill, but its provisions might just as easily be used to silence a Tea Party protest outside a protected candidate's rally. And it moved right through the Congress and into law without so much as a discernible hint that conservatives raised questions or voiced protest.

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