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Tue Feb 28, 2017, 09:00 PM

Arizona House Speaker declares controversial 'protest' bill dead

Gov. Doug Ducey and the Republican leader of the Arizona House declared dead Monday a controversial bill that would punish organizers of public protests that turn violent with racketeering charges.

Senate Bill 1142's demise came as it gained national attention and was widely panned as an unconstitutional attempt to silence liberal groups protesting the agenda of Donald Trump and congressional Republicans.

Its fate was sealed over the weekend, as House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, a Chandler Republican, fielded phone calls from the public to complain about the bill. The House leader's personal cellphone number is listed on his personal website.

As he listened to the callers, Mesnard realized their belief that the legislation was intended to curb free-speech rights outweighed any merits its supporters might put forward. He carefully read the legislation and by the time he returned Monday to his office, where there were more than 100 messages about the bill awaiting him, he decided he would kill the measure.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2017/02/27/why-gov-doug-ducey-wont-have-weigh-arizonas-controversial-protest-bill/98474882/

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