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Governor Dunleavy Introduces Legislation to Penalize Obstructing Public Access

Feb 21, 2024

Today, Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced legislation that addresses concerns related to persons who obstruct access to public places and organizations that encourage and conspire with them.

The proposed legislation seeks to enhance public safety by imposing penalties for obstructing highways, navigable waterways, airport runways, and other public places specifically in situations where there is a significant risk of physical harm or interference with emergency response efforts.

HB 386 (SB 255) addresses civil liability of persons and organizations that conspire with or encourage anyone who engages in public obstruction.

“This legislation ensures that our public spaces remain safe and accessible for all Alaskans,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “It is important to distinguish between peaceful expression of rights and actions that pose risks to public safety and emergency response efforts.”

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Increased penalties for obstructing highways and navigable waterways.
  • Criminal liability for obstructing airport runways.
  • Establishment of a new crime of obstruction in public places
  • Creation of a new civil cause of action for individuals obstructed in public places, with provisions for damages in addition to compensatory and other damages.
  • Extension of liability to persons and organizations that conspire with or encourage obstruction in public places.