Legislation protecting public roadways from mob violence began to move through the committee process last week in Nashville. House Bill 513 promotes law and order by increasing penalties for those who obstruct a roadway and creates new criminal offenses for those who participate in rioting.
House Bill 513 increases the penalty for obstructing a highway or other passage way to a Class E felony with a mandatory fine of $3,000. Currently, the offense carries a maximum $500 fine.
This new bill would create criminal immunity for a driver who unintentionally kills someone who is blocking a road. State Representative Ron Gant from Rossville, TN stated…
House Bill 513 also enhances penalties for violence committed during a riot. The bill defines a riot as a disturbance in a public place or penal institution involving three or more people who are participating in violent behavior, creating grave danger, substantial damage to property or serious bodily injury to others, obstructing law enforcement or a government function.
Proposed Bill Summary:
Criminal Offenses - As introduced, increases the penalty for obstructing a highway from a Class B or C misdemeanor to a Class E felony and makes other related changes; creates the offense of throwing an object at another while participating in a riot; creates the offense of intimidating or harassing another while participating in a riot.
The Criminal Justice Committee will examine the bill on Wednesday (March 3, 2021).
House Bill 513:
This bill increases the penalty for obstructing a highway; provides immunity for persons who unintentionally cause harm to another who is engaging in certain conduct; and creates new riot-related offense.
• Creates a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for a person who throws an object at another with the intent of harming the other person during a riot.
• Creates a Class E felony punishable by one to six years in prison for a person who throws an object at another and causes bodily injury while participating in a riot.
• Creates a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for a person participating in a riot who intentionally intimidates or harasses an individual in public who is not participating in a riot.