Urgent Action: Protect your Civil Liberties and 1st Amendment Rights in Illinois!

Updated: Apr 2

From Indivisible Chicago Blog: HB1633 has been rescheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, May 21 @ 5pm. This requires new witness slips and more phone calls to be filed before 5 pm on 5/21. ASAP. Click here to jump to the updated call to action!


Illinois is on the verge of curbing our cicvil liberties! The Illinois Senate is close to sending a bill to the Governor’s desk which was crafted by conservative and energy industry think tanks to deter environmental activists and silence marginalized voices.


What can you do? Fill out two witness slips in opposition to HB1633 before 5pm on Tuesday, May 21. The Senate has scheduled two hearings on this bill, one minute apart. If you already filled out witness slips for the 5/14 hearing, each hearing requires new slips. Please submit again.

Click here to submit the Criminal Law Committee witness slip for the 5/21 hearing.

Click here to submit a witness slip to the subcommittee hearing this bill for the 5/21 hearing.


More information: HB 1633, a bill very similar to this model bill, drafted by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is currently being pushed by conservatives and Oil & Gas industry lobbyists in dozens of state legislatures. This bill’s express purpose is to have a chilling effect on our First Amendment rights, specifically targeting environmental activists, under the guise of additional protections for critical infrastructure while invoking the familiar refrain of “terrorism” as a tool to chip away at civil liberties.


This bill modifies current statute to elevate a patchwork of locations and equipment to the same level of protection currently exclusively afforded to nuclear power plants. This “industry protection list” includes everything from telephone poles, cell towers, TV stations, railroad tracks, and ports to steel plants, coal mines, and pipelines.


Indivisible Chicago shares the ACLU’s concerns about the true purpose of bills like HB 1633, “These bills are a direct reaction from politicians and corporations to the tactics of some of the most effective protesters in recent history, including Black Lives Matter and the water protectors challenging construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.” Incredibly, this bill already passed the Illinois House. You can view the vote tally here to see how your Representative voted.


This bill is unnecessary and its passage would be a further assault on civil liberties, silencing voices at the exact time it’s imperative that they be heard. Trespassing is already a criminal offense. Destruction of property is already a criminal offense. Terrorism is already a criminal offense.


We currently face an unprecedented threat from climate change along with right-wing threats to our civil liberties. It’s imperative that concerned citizens and activists continue to fully exercise their rights of assembly and free speech, without fear of felony charges while peacefully protesting.


Put simply, our Democratic Governor and a Democratic super-majority should not consider, let alone pass bills crafted in the labs of right-wing think tanks.


Here is how you can help protect your civil liberties and and take action today:

Call your state senator to ask them to oppose HB1633. If you do not know who your senator is or their contact info, look it up here. This is the #1 most impactful thing you can do! If you already called, call again.


Fill out two witness slips in opposition to HB1633 before 5pm on Tuesday, May 21. The Senate has scheduled two hearings on this bill, one minute apart. If you already filled out witness slips for the 5/14 hearing, each hearing requires new slips. Please submit again.

Click here to submit the Criminal Law Committee witness slip for the 5/21 hearing.

Click here to submit a witness slip to the subcommittee hearing this bill for the 5/21 hearing.


If your senator is listed below it’s even more imperative that you call them, they are on the Criminal Law Committee which will consider this bill on Tuesday. Call them before Tuesday, May 21 to express your opposition and concerns about HB1633, and ask them if they will commit to voting AGAINST this bill. If you do not know who your senator is or their contact info, look it up here.


Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (Chair)

Scott M. Bennett (Vice-Chair)

John G. Mulroe

Patricia Van Pelt

Christopher Belt

Rachel Crowe

Robert Peters


To learn more about how to fill out a witness slip, here is a brief tutorial from State Matters.


#indivisiblechicago #indivisible #civilliberties #firstamendment #freespeech #climatechange #peacefulprotest #indivisible

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