The “flash mob” bill, an Oregon legislative proposal to make it a felony to summon people by Twitter or email to commit a crime at a designated place, became a flash-in-the-pan when it died in committee this week, according to the Oregonian. “It’s dead,” said Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Eugene Democrat who gets to decide such things as chair of the Senate judiciary committee.
Eleven Republicans and one Democrat had signed onto the bill, which would have created the crime of “aggravated solicitation.” Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, said he asked for the bill because he heard from retailers about being victims of flash mobs that steal. It wasn’t meant to stifle free speech, he said, but to bring law enforcement up to date with the modern era of social media and instant communication. But critics say it was an unusual — and dangerous — incursion into the freedom to protest. “I would expect a law like this in Myanmar, Turkmenistan, North Korea or Zimbabwe,” said Dan Meek, a Portland attorney.