GEORGIA - Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure" Anti-Protest Bills

  • Posted on: 18 February 2019
  • By: Connor Gibson

See Full Report: State Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest of Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure"

2017 SB 1:

  • Introduced January 1, 2017
  • Failed in committee after third reading on March 28, 2017

ICNL analysis:

Would have broadened the definition of “domestic terrorism” under Georgia law to potentially include demonstrations, boycotts, and other forms of protest and political expression. Under the bill, the previously high bar for committing domestic terrorism – harm caused to a group of 10 or more individuals – is lowered to include causing harm to at least one individual or disabling “critical infrastructure.” The new target, “critical infrastructure” is in turn very broadly defined to include “public or private systems, functions or assets, whether physical or virtual, vital to the security, governance, public health and safety, economy, or morale of this state or the United States.” The bill also introduces a new provision targeting actions that have a political or ideological component, such that domestic terrorism would include an action intended to advance “any ideology or belief,” whether held individually or as part of a group. Commission of domestic terrorism as defined by the bill would be a felony punishable by prison sentences ranging from five years to life. Given the broad language of the bill and extreme penalties involved, rights leaders feared that it was aimed to monitor, punish, and chill free speech activities including protests. 

ALEC legislators:

CSG legislators:

4 of 7 sponsors are confirmed affiliates of the Council of State Governments, and a CSG regional division, the Southern Legislative Council.

  • Sen. David Shafer was on the CSG SLC Executive Committee in 2015-2016, and in 2016-2017, and 2017-2018.

  • Sen. Steve Gooch was on the CSG SLC Executive Committee in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. Gooch served on the SLC host state committee in 2015, and attended a CSG event in 2013.

  • Sen. Tyler Harper attended the SLC 2014 annual meeting.

  • Sen. Mike Dugan is a CSG Henry Toll fellow in 2018 - it is unclear if Dugan was affiliated with CSG or SLC in early 2017.

Oil & Gas Campaign Contributions:

Co-sponsors received $102,950 from oil and gas companies & employees