Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) on Monday vowed to introduce legislation that would hold protestors responsible for law enforcement overtime and fees related to their demonstrations. Those who would be on the hook for police costs would be those who partake in illegal protests, where no permits were issued and the person was convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense.
Banks' plan comes after "Shut Down DC" blocked an intersection in Washington, D.C., where people demanded Congress take up and pass the Green New Deal.
In response to today’s #ShutDownDC, I will be working on introducing a bill that would force protesters arrested at demonstrations in D.C. to pay for police overtime and other fees related to the action.— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) September 23, 2019
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.— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) September 23, 2019
Washington, D.C. collects over $4 billion in federal funding. Hoosier taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for illegal protests – it is a violation of their 1st Amendment rights.— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) September 23, 2019
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. Those protests are legal because they obtained official permits. My bill would only apply to illegal protesters who are arrested.— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) September 23, 2019
A bill like this would be a win for taxpayers and those who follow the law. Groups that obtain permits pay for the permitting process and law enforcement is able to adequately plan for these events. When they have to deviate from their normal staffing needs to deal with crazy disruptive protestors, it hurts everyone: taxpayers who are on the hook for the cost; residents who may require emergency services; and law enforcement personal who are put in a dangerous situation because they're understaffed.