Demonstrators who block traffic at Trump rally could face stiffer penalties

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If protesters try to block traffic like they did in March of 2016, they could face harsher penalties. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) If protesters try to block traffic like they did in March of 2016, they could face harsher penalties. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Republican State Senator John Kavanagh introduced the proposal tougher penalties. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Republican State Senator John Kavanagh introduced the proposal tougher penalties. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Politically motivated road blocking is now a class 1 misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Politically motivated road blocking is now a class 1 misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

If demonstrators block roads outside Tuesday’s rally for President Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center, they could face stiffer penalties that were put in place after a previous Trump event.

[RELATED: Public safety officials say they're ready to handle Trump rally & protests]

Obstructing a roadway is a class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by up one month in jail and a $500 fine, but lawmakers voted to boost penalties last year for people who intentionally block roads to prevent access to a political event or government meeting.

Politically-motivated road blocking is now a class 1 misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

[RELATED: Police preparing for demonstrators during Trump visit]

Republican State Senator John Kavanagh introduced the legislation after anti-Trump protesters locked themselves to vehicles in Fountain Hills in March 2016, blocking traffic for hours outside a Trump campaign event.

[READ MORE: Trump Rally protests have lawmakers rethinking traffic laws (April 21, 2016)]

“When you take away somebody's First Amendment, Bill of Rights, Constitutional right to listen to somebody or to attend a government meeting then you're doing more than inconveniencing them. You're striking at the heart of democracy,” Kavanagh said.

[RELATED: Biker group offering protection for President Trump's visit]

Kavanagh, a strong Trump supporter, said he hopes the law will act as a deterrent at Tuesday’s event, but said he expects disruptions from President Trump’s political opponents.

“I believe that the far left, which is attempting to disrupt and stop any conversation that they don't agree with, will take it up another notch,” he said.

The Republican state senator said he would like to attend the rally but cannot because it conflicts with the annual conference of the League of Cities and Towns. 

Still, he said he would be watching it closely to see if any other legislation is needed. 

More stories on Trump's rally:

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Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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