Long and passionate debate before the Minnesota House last night approved a measure that would increase penalties on protesters who block freeways, airports or mass transit. Saint Cloud Republican Jim Knoblach supports it saying, “People have a right to freedom of speech and I fully support that, but that doesn’t mean that, in exercising those rights, they need to put the lives and livelihoods of other people at risk.” Opponents of the measure say people fighting injustice believe blocking freeways is the only way their voices will be heard. Minneapolis Democrat Paul Thissen quoted Robert Kennedy: “He said this — and I think this really captures what we’re talking about today: ‘We shouldn’t just deplore the violence and deplore the lawlessness. We should pass the laws that remedy what people riot about.'”
Governor Mark Dayton has said he supports tougher penalties on those who block freeways, airports or mass transit.