(Natural News) A newly proposed bill by Indiana State Representative Jim Banks seeks to ban protesters who have been convicted of serious crimes while rioting from receiving federal unemployment assistance.
Banks’ bill, which is known as the “Support Peaceful Protest Act,” will see protesters who are convicted of crimes like vandalism, looting and violence become ineligible for unemployment benefits. They would also be held financially liable for federal policing and other similar expenses related to their crime.
In a press release, Banks commented: “Antifa thugs are descending on suffering communities, disrupting peaceful protests and leaving violence, looting and vandalism in their wake. They turned Milwaukee, Seattle and Portland into warzones, and now they’re moving the chaos to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Who knows which community is next?”
He said he was inspired to introduce the bill after protesters harassed an elderly couple who are his constituents while they left President Trump’s Republican nomination acceptance speech at the White House last week. Banks tweeted an image of the couple being taunted by a masked man, accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of not doing enough to stop this type of behavior.
Banks, who was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the U.S. Navy Reserve, added that many rioters have the time to commit this violence because they are unemployed and receive government benefits, including the higher federal benefits that are aimed at people who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
He added that while peaceful protests are part of being American, hurting other people and damaging federal property is unacceptable. “Due to enhanced federal benefits, taxpayers are giving wages to jobless rioters that are destroying our communities. We need to cut them off from their funding and make them feel the full financial consequences of their actions,” he stated.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in protest-related damages
This plan may never make it out of the House, but it would be a good start. However, more needs to be done about the groups behind the protests, like antifa and Black Lives Matter, and those who are funding them.
There is no question that the ongoing protests are costing American cities significant amounts of money. In Minneapolis, for example, the costs related to protests are on track to exceed $500 million, Fox News reported recently. This is on top of the $12.7 million expense for National Guard deployment. It will cost at least $10 million for the city to rebuild the Third Police Precinct, plus another $289,000 to replace 911 equipment, $225,000 for cleanup, and $1 million in overtime for police, firefighters and other public employees.
The city has seen at least $55 million in looting and property damage, and the rebuilding costs for damages inflicted to more than 400 businesses could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition, more than 150 Minneapolis police officers are dealing with injuries and post-traumatic stress and could be receiving disability, which will be yet another expense we can thank rioters and looters for causing.
Meanwhile, these months of mayhem in Portland, Oregon, have already cost the city $23 million in damages as well as lost revenue for businesses, including $4.8 million in damages to businesses, $7 million for police overtime for protests, and $300,000 in damage to public buildings. However, that figure is from early July and has likely risen dramatically since then as violent thugs continue to wreak havoc on the city.
New York City is also dealing with huge protest-related bills, which come as the city was already struggling to manage costs related to the coronavirus crisis. The protests have cost the city $115 million so far, plus $179 million in overtime. More than 300 officers have been injured and more than 300 police cars have been vandalized; the cost of damages related to those vehicles is just shy of $1 million.
These protests are taking a huge toll on the nation financially and emotionally, and rioters absolutely need to be held accountable for the destruction they are causing.
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