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GOP lawmaker to introduce bill putting D.C. protesters on the hook to pay for police

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Protests and Washington go hand in hand, given that this is the official seat of the U.S. government.

But with the radical left increasingly relying on civil disobedience as a means to get media attention, drawing on more and more police resources to maintain order, a bill is being proposed that would force protesters to foot the bill for the added costs.

Rep. Jim Banks, R – Ind., plans to introduce new legislation that would force people arrested at demonstrations in Washington to pay for law enforcement overtime and other expenses stemming from illegal protests, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“Illegal protests harm public discourse,” Banks told the Free Beacon. “We need to hold illegal protesters accountable and let taxpayers off the hook for subsidizing their illegal activity.”

In many instances around the country, protesters arrested for things such as blocking traffic and shutting down roadways are released with out being charged, or the charges are later dropped — in effect, there are few consequences for breaking the law to draw attention to their warped causes.

Banks is hoping to change that by adding a financial obligation to actions that cost taxpayers more money.

“One of the side effects of this bill is that it would cause groups like Antifa to pay police for their unlawful counter-protest,” the Republican lawmaker said.

Of course, given that many in Antifa likely live in their mother’s basement and do not hold steady jobs, it’s not clear how they would pay these costs.

Banks is hoping for bipartisan support for his bill, but given that the worst offenders are on the left, the Democrat-controlled House is not motivated to make it happen.

“I think this bill is common sense, so I think it’ll get bipartisan support,” Banks said. “People in New York, Michigan, etc. don’t want to subsidize illegal protests in D.C.”

“Climate justice” activists snarled traffic in DC on Monday by parading in the heavily trafficked streets, as the Free Beacon reported, to the chagrin of the city’s workforce.

“I’m in Washington, DC, at the intersection of 16th and K, in order to block commuter traffic attempting to come into work today,” one demonstrator said in the video below. “Because we’re shutting down DC for climate justice.”

Now that doesn’t sound like someone who fears any real consequences for her self-serving actions.

Taking to social media, Banks shared some details of the legislation he plans to introduce.

“Under my bill, a person will be responsible for public safety response costs incurred by the District of Columbia’s response to a demonstration if, in connection with the demonstration, the person is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense,” tweeted the lawmaker.

“Washington, D.C. collects over $4 billion in federal funding,” Banks said in a second tweet. “Hoosier taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for illegal protests—it is a violation of their 1st Amendment rights.”

The Republican also took care to note that his bill would not affect legal protests.

“To be clear, my bill will not prohibit other demonstrations or protests on the National Mall like the annual March for Life or Women’s March,” he wrote. “Those protests are legal because they obtained official permits. My bill would only apply to illegal protesters who are arrested.”

Tom Tillison

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