Protesters rally against Hill's bill to protect drivers who harm protesters


People rallied against a proposed bill in Tennessee that would protect drivers, involved in injuring protesters.

The bill is proposed by local state representative Matthew Hill. It would protect drivers from civil liability if a protestor is hit in the public right of way, and only if the driver is using due care.

But protesters see this bill as an attack on free speech.

"Are the lives of protesters not valued at all in Matthew Hill's eyes?" protester Ruth Taylor Read said. "We are the state with the road kill law. Is that how he considers protesters?"

The group was only able to stay in front of Hill's radio station for about half an hour. That's because they were advised by Sullivan County Sheriff's deputies that they were on private property.

Hill said the bill would prevent protesters from standing where they shouldn't. And he said he does not challenge the right to protest.

"Be safe, stay safe," Hill said. "If you want to protest, that's fine, whatever the issue is. But do it safely, do it peacefully, and do it out of our roads."

The group that organized this protest is holding a meeting at Covenant Presbyterian Church at 4 p.m on Sunday. They've invited local legislators to come and talk about their bills. According to the group, so far, only state representative Bud Hulsey has accepted the invitation.