Senate Advances House Bill To Criminalize Residential Picketing Despite Protestor's Intentions

Published: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - 8:41am

Protests in the last year outside of elected officials' homes, including Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, have spotlighted the issue of residential picketing. A state Senate committee has approved a bill, HB 2715, to make residential picketing a criminal offense, regardless of the protestor’s intention. 

This measure would amend a current law that makes it a misdemeanor if a person pickets outside of a home with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm the person being targeted in the home. 

Marilyn Rodriguez with Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice does not support the bill.

“We are alarmed, members, that there is a serious consideration and support for the concept of allowing our government to impose criminal charges against a person simply for annoying another, even if they did not intend to do so," Rodriguez said. 

Sen. Martín Quezada (D-Phoenix) worries the bill would give law enforcement and judges too much discretion deciding what a crime is in these situations. 

But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), says protesters gathered outside a home can be disturbing to the homeowner and neighbors.