Illinois is on the Verge of Curbing Our Civil Liberties

UPDATED MAY 30: HB1633 has been tabled by Senator Michael Hastings, the bill’s Chief Sponsor in the Senate! This wouldn’t have happened if not for your calls and witness slips. Thank you to everyone who helped combat this draconian and unnecessary bill. We worked with many, many groups to stop this bill - read the press release here.

We will continue to monitor this bill for any signs of life during the Fall veto session.

The Illinois Senate is close to sending a bill to the Governor’s desk which was crafted by conservative and energy industry think tanks to deter environmental activists and silence marginalized voices.

HB 1633, a bill very similar to this model bill, drafted by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is currently being pushed by conservatives and Oil & Gas industry lobbyists in dozens of state legislatures. This bill’s express purpose is to have a chilling effect on our First Amendment rights, specifically targeting environmental activists, under the guise of additional protections for critical infrastructure while invoking the familiar refrain of “terrorism” as a tool to chip away at civil liberties.

This bill modifies current statute to elevate a patchwork of locations and equipment to the same level of protection currently exclusively afforded to nuclear power plants. This “industry protection list” includes everything from telephone poles, cell towers, TV stations, railroad tracks, and ports to steel plants, coal mines, and pipelines.

Indivisible Chicago shares the ACLU’s concerns about the true purpose of bills like HB 1633, “These bills are a direct reaction from politicians and corporations to the tactics of some of the most effective protesters in recent history, including Black Lives Matter and the water protectors challenging construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.”

Incredibly, this bill already passed the Illinois House. You can view the vote tally here to see how your Representative voted.

This bill is unnecessary and its passage would be a further assault on civil liberties, silencing voices at the exact time it’s imperative that they be heard. Trespassing is already a criminal offense. Destruction of property is already a criminal offense. Terrorism is already a criminal offense.

We currently face an unprecedented threat from climate change along with right-wing threats to our civil liberties. It’s imperative that concerned citizens and activists continue to fully exercise their rights of assembly and free speech, without fear of felony charges while peacefully protesting.

Put simply, our Democratic Governor and a Democratic super-majority should not consider, let alone pass bills crafted in the labs of right-wing think tanks.

Here is how you can help protect your civil liberties and and take action today:

  1. Call your state senator. If your senator is listed below it’s imperative that you call them by Tuesday and ask them to vote AGAINST HB1633. They are on the Criminal Law Committee which will consider this bill on Tuesday. If your senator isn’t listed below, it is still important to call them to ensure they will vote NO if this comes to a floor vote. If you do not know who your senator is or their contact info, look it up here.

  2. Call Governor Pritzker and ask him to vow to veto HB1633. Phone: 217-782-6830 or 312-814-2121.

  3. On Twitter, follow #StopHB1633 and amplify opposing tweets. Tweet your opposition to:

    • @GovPritzker

    • The committee members: @ScottBennett52 @SenMulroe @ElgieSims @SenatorVanPelt @CBelt4Senate @Rachelle4Senate @RobertJPeters

    • The bill’s sponsors: @49JBT @SenCunningham @HastingsforIL @SenatorHolmes @PatMcGuire43

    • Your senator

  4. Fill out two witness slips in opposition to HB1633 before 5pm on Tuesday, May 28. One is for the commitee and one is for the sub-committee. If you already filled out witness slips for the 5/21 hearing, each hearing requires new slips. Please submit again.

  5. Sign up for Indivisible Chicago’s Daily Actions and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date on our latest actions!

About Indivisible Chicago

Indivisible Chicago is a progressive coalition of neighborhood chapters throughout the Chicago area, launched in January, 2017. We are leaders in the grassroots movement to advance progressive values, candidates, and elected officials who will join us in supporting policies and programs that align with these values. Our proven track record includes field operations to help elect Illinois Representatives Sean Casten (IL06) and Lauren Underwood (IL14), knocking on 20,000 doors in the election’s last weekend alone. We also serve as reliable partners for impacted communities seeking to elevate their cause. This includes our role as the safety marshals for the 2018 March for Our Lives and coordinating logistics for the 2018 Families Belong Together rally, drawing 60,000 to Daley Plaza in support of immigrants seeking refuge at our southern border. To join our efforts as a member of an Indivisible Chapter or sign up for our mailing list, visit indivisiblechicago.com. To work with us in partnership, contact: info@indivisiblechicago.com




Steve Held