Restrictive Legislation Hurts Us All
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Restrictive Legislation Hurts Us All

What do people who identify as one or
more of the following have in common? They are all targets of restrictive
legislation often by the very same lawmakers. ISPU gathered hard data from over 3,100
bills filed across all 50 U.S. states and found that between 2011 and 2017
lawmakers have proposed restrictive bills that limit access to the polls,
immigration and asylum seeking, women’s reproductive rights,
the rights of LGBTQ people, labor unions, and Muslim religious freedom. Among those proposed laws were 177
anti-shariah bills introduced in 37 state legislatures. But what do anti-shariah bills have
to do with other kinds of restrictive legislation? Let’s look at one of
these states. In North Carolina, legislators passed the Family, Faith and Freedom Protection Act or HB695. HB695 was promoted as an anti-shariah
bill to prevent implementation of Islamic law in a state where Muslims make
up less than 1% of the population. But at the last minute, state legislators slid in a measure
that would restrict abortion rights. This isn’t an isolated incident. 85% of lawmakers who sponsored anti-shariah
measures also supported a restrictive law in another issue area.
So, who is proposing this legislation? Our research shows that states
dominated by Republicans have the most restrictive state house agendas.
However, only a minority of Republican lawmakers, just 3% are involved in supporting
anti-shariah legislation. And 13% are involved in supporting
any type of restrictive legislation. So what should you do?
Educate yourself. Increase self awareness and
education on multiple issue areas. Get intersectional. Recognize potential organizations and
communities that have experienced similar strategies of targeted
legislation and build coalitions. Talk back.
Engage lawmakers, especially those who support
restrictive legislation. Why should you care about
anti-immigration, anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ,
right-to-work, anti-shariah and anti-refugee laws.
Because it affects your neighbor, friend, spouse, co-worker, you. To learn more about our research
and to use our interactive map, visit

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