Pittsburgh City Council has approved one of two controversial pieces of legislation related to G-20 protests. Members voted 8-1 in favor a bill that would allow police to charge people for carrying a variety of items that might be used in a protest: PVC pipes, locks, chains, and other equipment sometimes used to create human barriers during demonstrations.
The bill has a sunset provision, so that it will expire at the end of the month, once all the confetti has been swept up from the G-20. Council already voted down a related ordinance -- a proposed ban on masks -- earlier this week.
I had some doubts about council, but this is probably as good an outcome as we could hope for. Yes, under the new rules, it will now be harder to carry a length of pipe than a gun. And yes, public safety director Mike Huss is still making some slippery assertions in the P-G:
[Huss] said police can tell the difference between a plumber and a protester.
Really? So what's your call on this guy?
But overall, this could have been a lot worse. And props to Bill Peduto for being the lone "no" vote on this. Way to stick to your guns, Peduto! In fact, feel free to bring 'em Downtown with you next week!