The Rutherford Institute’s letter to the Virginia General Assembly (House Bill No. 1601)
RICHMOND, Va. — Warning that attempts by the political establishment to blacklist groups espousing unpopular ideas will endanger and undermine legitimate First Amendment activities across the political spectrum, The Rutherford Institute is calling on the Virginia General Assembly to denounce House Bill No. 1601.
Introduced by Del. Marcia Price and drafted with the help of Attorney General Mark Herring, H.B. 1601 broadly and vaguely defines “domestic terrorism” in such a way as to create a new criminal class of “domestic terrorist organizations” by labeling organizations that are even minimally affiliated with individuals engaged in so-called “acts of terrorism” such as misdemeanor assault, trespass, and damaging property on the land of another. Moreover, once an organization is designated a “domestic terrorist organization,” it becomes a crime to provide that group with a service, whether that be food, lodging, transportation, communication or commerce for any purpose whatsoever.