Connecting the dots to make sure Minnesota understands why we need stronger public safety rules for pipelines, railroads, power lines and other important facilities.

Like many of you, I wonder why some things happen and some do not at the State Capitol and why certain laws or rules get changed and others do not.  That’s not the case when it comes to supporting: SF 3463/ HF 3693.

The law would do two things:

First, people who damage things like pipelines, railroads, and powerlines would be liable and responsible for paying the cost of damaging property, trespassing, vandalism, etc.  You wouldn’t think we’d need a law for that but we do.  The second part is equally important.  It would make it a felony for anyone “training or recruiting protesters” who damage things like pipelines, railroads, and powerlines.

People can protest, march, and express their opinion about things like Line 3 or mining or any other sort of “thing” they do not like, but what they can’t do is takes things to an unacceptable level that includes violence, damage to people and property, and threatening the same.  That is wrong!

The response from some regarding SF 3463 and HF 3693 was amazingly predictable yet needs to be called out for purposely trying to mislead people about something that unfortunately is very important.  What is a common sense way to make sure what happened in North Dakota does not happen here in Minnesota is being called un-Minnesotan.

MN350 @MN_350

All of us should have a voice in our democracy. The #guiltybyassociation measure is a threat to First Amendment rights for some so it’s a threat to First Amendment rights for all. Unconstitutional, unnecessary and un-Minnesotan. #mnvalues Please oppose @GovMarkDayton @KathyLohmer

People have the right to say what they think and protest things they don’t like or agree with.  This bill does nothing to change that.  Damaging property, vandalizing equipment, and attacking or threatening people is not free speech.  It is using violence or the threat of it to intimidate others.  Definetly not “Minnesota Nice”….

Others would like to pretend the riots in North Dakota were not the violence we all saw, but were instead progress for the environmental movement.

Mary Dylkowski @marydyl

The #guiltybyassociation measure is merely Big Oil’s clever bid to regain ground lost to the environmental movement. It would hit native communities and water protectors hardest. Tell #mnleg that’s not how MN works. #mnvalues, not corporate influence. @GovMarkDayton @EricLucerMN

This not about regaining lost ground but making sure people who live in work in communities across Minnesota are safe when we finally get the chance to build the Line 3 replacement.  The idea that sending a clear message that Minnesota will not stand for violence will “hit native communities and water protectors” is beyond misleading.  It is trying to justify violence before it happens.

Which brings back the broader question as to why would Minnesota need to do makes these changes to our laws.

Let me remind you of the video that continues to scare me and should scare others across Minnesota.  Irene Folstrom works for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership and told lawmakers that:

“We have worked hard on this to try to convey the message and plead with you please don’t approve the pipeline because you will be met with violence. We have been trying to prevent this from happening. We know it’s going to happen.”

While Irene spent time threatening legislators, her friends have been spending time coordinating trainings and workshops that aid the resistance to the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline project.”

Join the resistance to the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline! Get the skills to stop the pipeline through a series of direct action trainings designed for everyone, from beginners to experienced organizers. 

We come from a framework of direct and collective action, and strive to dissolve all structures of oppression.  It is our hope that these trainings will help to equip people to resist Line 3, to take care of themselves and their communities, and to form a broad resistance to the deadly industry of fossil fuel extraction.

So let’s summarize things.

An environmental activist threatens violence while others are holding training sessions to help people “get the skills to stop the pipeline.”  Legislators through this much-needed bill want to send a clear message that while we respect people’s opinions and right to free speech, violence, threats, and damaging property does not belong in Minnesota or anywhere else for that matter.

Activist opponents say the law change is an overreach intended to chill public protests.  What is beyond an overreach is trying to rationalize the idea of ignoring rules and the law as being acceptable.  Violence in any form is and always will be wrong and is always going to be illegal.

Join me and let lawmakers and the Governor know you support these two important bills. Let them know that Minnesota is better than this and that we will not accept violence that pretends to be something it is not.  Let’s protect “Minnesota Nice” and support SF 3463 and HF 3693.