New Bill Would Make Rioters Pay for Property Damage

( – Ohio lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at punishing protestors who cause property damage while rioting, likely as a response to the ongoing anti-Israel demonstrations taking place at college campuses throughout the United States.

Ohio’s state senate introduced the measure, also called Senate Bill 267, after anti-Israel protestors started hosting protests in front of various Ohio government buildings. Protestors have also called for Ohio legislators to stop supporting Israel, a common sentiment shared amongst demonstrators across the United States.

Ohio State Senator Tim Schaffer (R) introduced the legislation and said his reasoning for sponsoring the bill was fairly straightforward. According to Schaffer, protestors who cause property damage should be held responsible for it, regardless of the circumstances that led to the destruction or damage of another person’s property. Schaffer cited the various protests over the past few years in Ohio as another reason he supports the bill, as several protests within the state have resulted in heavy property damage. Ohio’s government had to pay for the property damage as the authorities didn’t hold protestors responsible, a policy Schaffer said must stop.

While the bill features provisions about forcing protestors to pay for any property damage they cause, it also grants Ohio’s law enforcement more authority regarding how they end protests or demonstrations. If passed, Senate Bill 267 would prevent members of Ohio’s state government from interfering or limiting the state’s law enforcement officers’ authority when attempting to end protests. Schaffer claims that Ohio legislators have to allow for the state’s law enforcement to end protests via whatever means necessary and that by limiting police authority, they’d be preventing officers from upholding their oath to the United States Constitution.

Senate Bill 267 comes as lawmakers in various states have weighed potential resolutions to the widespread anti-Israel protests across the country. Some lawmakers have ignored the protests entirely, citing the First Amendment as a protection for protestors. Other lawmakers, including President Joe Biden, have criticized protestors for going beyond peaceful demonstrations and damaging public and private property. While the protests have primarily wound down throughout the country, some political experts believe more protests could erupt following the heavily contested 2024 presidential election’s conclusion.

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