State Senator Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) has proposed legislation to ban “unlawful interference with traffic.” The Senator says he is introducing this legislation in light “recent demonstrations that have shut down highways in some U.S. communities” that “have the potential to threaten the public welfare.”
Fare enough, there are concerns that recent protests in Boston may have delayed care for a patient travelling in an ambulance to Boston.
Under the Raptakis legislation, a person will be found to have committed the crime of unlawful interference with traffic if he or she “stands, sits, kneels or otherwise loiters on any highway or roadway under such circumstances that the conduct could reasonably be construed as interfering with the lawful movement of traffic” or if that action causes “the interruption, obstruction, distraction or delay of any motorist operating a motor vehicle” on the roadway or highway.
Criminalizing being in the roadway as “reasonably construed” by law-enforcement seems a dangerous precedent to me.