Home Opinion Letters Krupski: Proposed public assembly bill would have threatened basic rights

Krupski: Proposed public assembly bill would have threatened basic rights

In July, more than 100 people marched in downtown Riverhead against police violence against blacks. Photo: Denise Civiletti

To the Editor:

It was gratifying see the swift response from the public to the recent proposal for a local law from the County Executive’s office, which, if it had been enacted, would have hindered free speech and the right to peacefully assemble in any town or village which falls under the jurisdiction of the Suffolk County Police Department.

IR 1190-2017 would have required groups of 100 or more to apply for a permit to assembly six month prior to an event. Additionally, groups would have to pay for that permit which could run from $200 to $1,000, depending on the size of the group.

It is my sincere belief that the unintended consequences for civil rights contained in this piece of legislation were an oversight on the county executive’s office and I am glad it has been withdrawn.I don’t necessarily disagree with requiring permits for events like parades which would temporarily close roads and would require a police presence.

But to require citizens, who may or not be organized under a group and who may find the need to spontaneously gather, say to peacefully protest or attend a vigil, to meet the requirements outlined in the legislation would place an undue and unrealistic burden on the people of Suffolk County to assemble, which is a basic right as an American.

Thank you to the District 1 residents who called or emailed my office about this issue. Government, and our democracy, always functions better when more people are informed and engaged. I want to take this opportunity to reassure my constituents that I will continue to fight any legislation which threatens our rights.

Legislator Al Krupski