SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Dozens of protesters gathered on Putnam Pike in Smithfield on Saturday afternoon against a proposal to fine unvaccinated residents $50 a month.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Sam Bell, would apply to all Rhode Islanders who are eligible for the vaccine.

“Forcing someone to get a vaccine or fining them $50 a month and doubling the amount that they owe on income tax, it’s just unconstitutional and it’s just plain wrong,” Nicholas Morrell said.

The group Rhode Island Freedom Fighters organized Saturday’s rally against Bill 2552, calling it a violation of their rights.

“How dare you, how dare you, this is America and for you to basically give people an ultimatum on giving up their hard earned money or getting a vaccine they don’t want to get,” Morell said. “This is America and we have that right to choose, and that’s what America is about, that’s what this is about.”

Earlier this week, 12 News spoke with Bell about his proposed legislation. He said on top of that monthly fine, unvaccinated Rhode Islanders would also be required to pay twice the amount of their personal income taxes.

“It’s really important that we take all of the precautions we can to make sure that everyone in Rhode Island is vaccinated,” Bell said.

The fine would apply to all unvaccinated Rhode Islanders over the age of 16. The fine for unvaccinated Rhode Islanders under the age of 16 would fall on the parent or guardian.

Bell likens his proposed fine to getting a speeding ticket.

“Plenty of people break all sorts of rules and if they get caught they pay a fine,” he said. “It’s not a particularly severe penalty.”