In Kentucky, lawmakers want to criminalize “offensive or derisive” words – but only when they’re directed at law enforcement officers.

Under Senate Bill 211, anyone who “accosts, insults, taunts, or challenges a law enforcement officer with offensive or derisive words, or by gestures or other physical contact, that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response” would be guilty of a misdemeanor and face up to 90 days in jail plus the possibility of fines.

The controversial measure, which passed the state Senate on Thursday and awaits the approval of the Kentucky House of Representatives, comes nearly a year after Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker, was fatally shot by Louisville police officers executing a “no-knock” warrant. She was 26 and unarmed. Her death set off a wave of protests across the country, including dozens – some destructive – in Louisville.

Kentucky’s 89.3 WFPL News reports on additional features of Senate Bill 211:

It also creates new protest-related crimes, requiring anyone charged with “rioting” to be held in jail for a minimum of 48 hours and making it a Class D felony to resist arrest during a ‘riot.’”

According to Louisville Courier Journal, “Louisville Metro Police recorded 871 protest-related arrests — including 252 with at least one felony charge — between May 29 and Sept. 28. Black people made up 53% of the total arrests and 69% of arrests with a felony.”

Sen. Gerald Neal, a Democrat who represent a largely Black area of Louisville, said the bill targets social justice advocates and is “unwise. It’s provocative. It’s unnecessary. It’s unreasonable.

This is another hammer on my district,” Neal said. “This is a backhand slap. And I resent it. I personally resent it.”

But Republican Sen. Danny Carroll, the legislation’s sponsor and a former assistant police chief, said the bill would protect Kentuckians.

I will not apologize for passing laws to protect the people of this commonwealth, to protect the property of the business owners in this commonwealth, to protect our first responders,” Carroll said.

Several Republican Senators voted against the bill, citing First Amendment concerns, but it passed 22-11. Republicans enjoy a supermajority in both chambers of the state legislature.

A watered-down bill curbing the use of “no-knock” warrants is also making its way through the Kentucky legislature.