NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A bill in Tennessee would make obstructing a highway a felony. It would also grant immunity to drivers who unintentionally injure or kill someone blocking a highway.
That would include protesters who illegally block roadways.
Under HB 513, if a driver “who is exercising due care” unintentionally injures or kills someone blocking a highway, the driver would be immune from prosecution for the injury or death.
The House Criminal Justice Committee was scheduled to take the legislation on Wednesday.
The bill would upgrade the offense of obstructing a highway or street from a Class B or C misdemeanor to a Class E felony. It would also apply to obstructing a railway, waterway, hallway “or any other place used for the passage of persons, vehicles or conveyances.”
Class E felonies are punishable by up to six years in prison. The bill would also impose a mandatory $3,000 fine.
The Senate version of the bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.