PHOENIX - SB 1142 passed the Arizona Senate on Wednesday and now moves to the House.

The bill would add rioting to a list of offenses under racketeering law and prosecutors could charge rioting as a class 3 felony instead of a class 5 (adding years to a sentence).

SB 1142 also would allow a prosecutor to seize a protester's assets that could be used to criminally prosecute him.

Supporters said the bill is intended to deter protesters from rioting after protests have turned violent in recent months. This legislation gives prosecutors more "teeth" in court.


However, opponents said the wording of the bill is broad and may end up criminalizing innocent protesters.

They argue, in a guilt-by-association move, the new legislation may lead to nonviolent protesters being tagged and convicted as conspirators.

The bill passed the Senate in a vote of 17 to 13.