Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed a bill that would have imposed a mandatory minimum three-year sentence for stepping onto “critical infrastructure” during a state of emergency, which civil liberties advocates said infringed on their right to protest industrial development. Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday vetoed a bill that would have stiffened penalties for trespassing on pipelines, levees and a long list of other facilities in the state. The veto handed a victory to civil liberties advocates and local organizers, who said the bill would have trampled on their right to protest industrial development. The legislation would have imposed a mandatory minimum three-year sentence for stepping onto "critical infrastructure" during a state of emergency and expanded the list of what falls under that definition, to include flood control structures, which criss-cross the state. Advocates said the bill would have extended the reach of an already vague law that imposes harsh penalties for trespassing on oil and gas industry land and other sites. They argued that the law would intimidate activists who have fought pipelines and chemical plants across the state, by threatening prison sentences for minor infractions. In St. James Parish, […]

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