Ross Bill Aims to Protect Public Safety on State Highways

January 15, 2015

Boston – In light of serious public safety concerns on several interstate highways due to several demonstrators stopping traffic, Senator Richard Ross has proposed a bill to prevent such trespassing on Massachusetts highways.

An Act Relative to Preserving Public Safety and Preventing Trespassing on State Highways would punish anyone who willfully trespasses upon a state highway without just cause, with a fine of not less than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months.

The bill comes as a result of 29 protestors being arrested after blocking I-93 northbound at East Milton Square and I-93 southbound at Mystic Avenue in Medford at 7:30am on Thursday, January 15th. Police report that the people chained themselves to 1,200 pound barrels causing massive delays. Just last month, four men were arrested after trespassing on the Massachusetts Turnpike, causing the major roadway to shut down for several minutes during peak commuter hours.

“While I respect and encourage meaningful discourse and lawful protesting, the line must be drawn when lives are put at risk. What occurred today on I-93 was inexcusable, and those who endangered not only themselves, but hundreds of others must be held accountable,” said Senator Ross. “This is first and foremost a public safety issue and the people of the Commonwealth need to know we are doing everything in our power to discourage such reckless behavior.”

“Just cause” shall be included but not limited to a disabled vehicle or medical emergency, provided the person offers proof of the situation. The current penalty for trespassing on a state highway is a fine of not more than fifty dollars or imprisonment of not more than three months.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.

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