MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Assembly judiciary committee has approved a package of legislation designed to crack down on riots.
The Republican-authored bills (see Related Links) define a riot as a public disturbance during a gathering of at least three people that includes violence or a threat of immediate violence.
Participants in such gatherings, including anyone armed, could be charged with a felony. Anyone who blocks a thoroughfare during a riot could be charged with a misdemeanor.
Rep. John Spiros and Sen. Van Wanggaard introduced the bills in response to riots that followed a police shooting in Milwaukee last year.
Critics charge the legislation could result in the arrests of peaceful protesters.
Thursday's approval clears the way for a full Assembly vote.
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