Oregon: New law makes it specific crime to (falsely) yell “fire” in a courthouse

As I noted when this bill was first introduced last spring

It’s a somewhat tired and shopworn statement derived from a U.S. Supreme Court decision (Schenck v. U.S.) that while the First Amendment assures freedom of speech “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.” A new bill introduced in Oregon would make it clear the “falsely shouting fire and causing a panic” won’t be accepted in a courthouse any more than it is in a theater.

One version of that bill (SB 919) was signed into law in June with an effective date of January 1, 2016. The law amends the state’s existing first degree disorderly conduct statute (ORS 166.023) that makes it a crime to falsely shout fire in a school to include court facilities and all public buildings (new language in bold)

A person commits the crime of disorderly conduct in the first degree if, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or knowingly creating a risk thereof, the person initiates or circulates a report… Stating that the hazardous substance, fire, explosion, catastrophe or other emergency is located in or upon a court facility or a public building, as those terms are defined in ORS 166.360.

First degree disorderly conduct is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class C felony if previously convicted under the same statute.