Republican lawmakers push for harsher penalties against protesters

Since the 2016 election, there have been a lot of mass demonstrations against President Donald Trump and his administration. Now, Republican lawmakers across the country want to crack down on protesters.

At least 18 states are considering legislation aimed at deterring demonstrators.

Most proposed laws ramp up the penalties for blocking traffic. Some even protect drivers who hit protesters with their cars from prosecution. But others go a lot further.

SEE MORE: Obama Tells Trump Protesters To Keep Protesting

Michigan’s House passed a bill in December restricting “mass picketing.” If signed into law, authorities could hand out $ 1,000 fines to picketers and $ 10,000 fines to organizing groups each day if the demonstration is deemed illegal.

A more recent Arizona bill would make organizers financially liable for any damage if protests turn violent. It would also reclassify riots as racketeering, which can have a penalty of more than a year in prison.

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Protests erupt throughout US cities over Trump immigration ban

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Demonstrators gather in Copley Square for the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

An international traveler smiles as she walks past the protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman

Demonstrators yell slogans during protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui

Sarah Ijaz joins the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

BOSTON – JANUARY 29: People hold signs as they march from Copley Square to the Mass. State House in Boston on Jan. 29, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Muslim women pray during the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

People gather to pray in baggage claim during a protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman

Eight year-old Esma, an Irish-Moroccan-American, prays with other Muslim women during the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Demonstrators spell out “# No Muslim Ban” during the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Izzy Berdan (R) joins the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Muslim women pray during the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Muslim women pray during the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Demonstrators gather in Copley Square for the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

An activist holds a sign outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Activists gather outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Activists gather outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Activists gather outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Samah Mansur, from Egypt, takes part in the “Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders” to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Activists gather outside the White House to protest President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

People gather to protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order, at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman

BOSTON – JANUARY 29: People hold signs as they gather in Copley Square in Boston on Jan. 29, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

BOSTON – JANUARY 29: People gather in Copley Square in Boston on Jan. 29, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – JANUARY 29: Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., speaks with an ACLU legal observer during the protest at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Protests erupted at airports around the country following President Trump’s executive order restricting travel from several Islamic countries. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MIAMI, FL – JANUARY 29: A protester holds up a sign that reads, ‘Banning Immigrants is UnAmerican!,’ as she stands with others at the Miami International Airport against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FL – JANUARY 29: Protesters stand together at the Miami International Airport against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FL – JANUARY 29: Susan Barimo joins with other protesters as they stand together at the Miami International Airport against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

People gather outside Terminal 4 during a protest against Donald Trump’s travel ban at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

International travelers walk past protestors holding signs as they protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman

Protesters at Discovery Green Park during Super Bowl events in Houston, Texas, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Trish Badger

Dozens of pro-immigration demonstrators cheer and hold sign as international passengers arrive at Dulles International Airport, to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order baring visitors, refugees and immigrants from certain countries to the United States, in Chantilly, Virginia, in suburban Washington, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Activists march to the US Capitol to protest President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Activists march to the US Capitol to protest President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Activists gather at the US Capitol to protest President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration in Washington January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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Those penalties concern the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues the proposed Arizona law is “intended to chill First Amendment speech.”

Some of the bills cite the need to combat so-called “paid protesters.” But no evidence suggests demonstrators are turning a profit.

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