Tom Cotton to introduce Bill blocking unemployment funds for rioters


A protester carries a U.S. flag upside down, a sign of distress, next to a burning building, in Minneapolis during protests over the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) will introduce the Support Peaceful Protest Act, a bill that would make people convicted of federal offenses as part of riots ineligible for virus-related federal unemployment funds.

The Bill would also mandate that those convicted of such riot offenses face fines to help cover the cost of federal policing of these riots.

Representative Jim Banks (R-Indiana) originally introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

From the bill:

In the case of an individual convicted of a Federal offense related to the individual’s conduct at and during the course of a protest with respect to which a Federal law enforcement officer was engaged in policing activity, the court shall, in addition to the penalty for such conviction, order the individual to pay an order of restitution to the appropriate Federal law enforcement agency in an amount that is equal to the cost of such policing activity, as determined by the court.

Banks said it’s designed to crack down on violence and looting. He introduced the “Support Peaceful Protest Act” on Friday; the measure seeks to impose sanctions on individuals convicted of federal offenses during a protest.

Tom Cotton, (Ark.-R)

“Currently, thugs and insurrectionists savaging communities around the country are eligible for unemployment benefits, paid for by the very taxpayers whose property they’ve destroyed. The federal government should not be subsidizing looting and arson. Our bill will not only halt unemployment benefits for rioters but also fine them to help cover additional policing cost,” said Cotton.

Tom Cotton, Ark-R
Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. (Ark.-L)

Cotton’s running against Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. (Arkansas-L) for U.S. Senate in November.

According to Harrington’s website, one of his platforms he’s running for is criminal justice reform.

“Every state that accepts block grant federal funds will be mandated to institute sweeping State and Federal criminal justice reforms, including a national standard for the release of public records (Freedom of Information Acts), Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training for all certified law enforcement officers, Civilian Advisory Boards to resolve citizen complaints against police, elimination of mandatory minimum sentences, and Federal legalization of marijuana,” according to Harrington’s website.

KNWA/FOX24 has reached out to Harrington for comment.

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