Urge a Veto on SB 742
Call (916) 445-2841; fax: (916) 558-3160; or email via https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/ (click on CONTACT and then choose the email feature to send a message. Use the roller bar to select the subject; after entering your information, click on “CON” to indicate your position on the bill).
Below is a suggested message to copy and paste into the comment box:
VETO SB-742. It is an UNCONSTITUTIONAL INFRINGEMENT ON FIRST AMENDMENT SPEECH.
SB-742 creates an unconstitutional buffer zone around any vaccination site, defining First Amendment political speech, such as picketing and leafleting, to be forms of harassment. It will chill our First Amendment right to protest.
SB-742 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL FLOATING BUFFER ZONE
SB-742 limits behavior and speech within 30 feet of any person approaching the entrance of a vaccination site. This type of restriction is commonly referred to as a “floating buffer zone” because it follows the person approaching the vaccination site, and is not fixed.
The United States Supreme Court ruled a 15 foot floating buffer zone unconstitutional in the case of Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of W. New York because it burdens more speech than is necessary to serve the relevant governmental interests. If a fifteen foot floating buffer zone is unconstitutional, then the thirty foot floating buffer zone proposed by SB-742 is unconstitutional.
And in Hill v. Colorado, the Supreme Court upheld an eight foot floating buffer zone was constitutional because the eight foot distance “allows the speaker to communicate at a ‘normal conversational distance,’ 519 U.S. at 377, 117 S.Ct. 855, and to remain in one place while other individuals pass within eight feet.” Hill v. Colorado (2000) 530 U.S. 703, 704. But SB-742’s proposed zone of censorship is nearly four times the Hill distance. Thirty feet is not within a normal conversational distance.
SB-742 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS
“Protections against vagueness are based on due process. To satisfy the constitutional requirement of due process of law, a penal statute must (1) be sufficiently definite to provide adequate notice of the conduct proscribed, and (2) provide sufficiently definite guidelines for the police in order to prevent arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. Allen v. City of Sacramento (2015) 234 Cal. App. 4th 41, as modified on denial of reh’g (Mar. 6, 2015). SB-742 does not meet this standard.
As written, SB-742 does not define what it means to “knowingly approach.” May an advocate stand, holding a sign or offering a pamphlet, while people pass? What if the advocate turns his sign towards a person? Does this fall within the law’s definition of “harassment” in subsection (c)(3)?
The bill also does not explain how a protester could tell whether “a person is making the approach within 100 feet of the entrance of a vaccination site and is seeking to enter.” How is this provision enforceable? The wording “making an approach” presumes the person’s unspoken and objectively unknowable intent from a minimum of 100 feet away. Likewise, the phrase “is seeking to enter” is similarly vague and unknowable.
For these reasons, I urge you to VETO SB 742.