- Douglas Smith | Context needed in Rockingham monument debate
- Editorial | Keep the Confederacy in the past, not public squares
- Group holds ‘sit-in’ downtown in honor of Juneteenth
- Petition to remove Confederate monument in downtown Rockingham has 1,000 signatures
- Rev. Dian JacksonDavis | Without justice, there will be no peace
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Richmond County’s congressman presented a bill to cut federal funding to states and localities that allow autonomous zones to exist for more than seven days.
Rep. Dan Bishop, a Republican representing North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, introduced the HOPing Cash for CHAZ Act of 2020 with Representatives Ted Budd (NC-13), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), and Matt Gaetz (FL-01).
Autonomous zones are communities which have deemed themselves separate from the presiding government that formerly controlled the area. In June, demonstrators protesting for police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody established an autonomous zone — named the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) or Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) — in a six-block area of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
CHAZ’s existence will soon come to an end, as Mayor Jenny Durkan recently said that it was time for the protesters to leave the area. That announcement came after several shootings happened within the zone. Several other groups throughout the country have attempted to establish autonomous zones. Bishop said Seattle’s autonomous zone — and the violence that took place within it — motivated him to push for change.
“We cannot have lawless, violent mobs overrunning people’s homes and businesses and declaring independent nations, if you will,” Bishop told the Daily Journal on Friday. “They’re taking territory within cities and declaring independence. There are elected officials that are putting liberal agendas over every citizen in their community.
“They’re not protecting property, they’re not protecting lives, and they’re allowing disorder to run rampant.”
If the bill is approved, government entities — states, U.S. territories, or political subdivisions such as cities or towns — that permit the existence of an autonomous zone for more than seven days would be cut off from federal funding until they reestablish eligibility by disbanding the autonomous zone. They would also need to submit a report to the attorney general detailing how they disbanded the autonomous zone and how they intend to prevent the establishment of outer autonomous zones.
Bishop said that his bill, if signed into law, would cause “very serious contemplation of sacrificing order for the sake of wokeness.”
“If we were able to pass this legislation, as a practical matter I don’t think another city anywhere would allow this particular form of disorder,” Bishop said.
The “disorder” Bishop spoke of includes the autonomous zones as well as the removal and demolition of monuments around the country, two topics Bishop said are interconnected. Some of the monuments commemorated parts of the Confederacy, but not all of them did. For example, a group of protesters, in Portland, Oregon earlier this month defaced and tore down a statue of George Washington, which they said they did because Washington owned slaves.
“Core figures in American history of the most admirable kind are being targeted for destruction,” Bishop said.
In Asheville, protesters recently tried to establish an autonomous zone but law enforcement officers quickly dismantled it. Bishop applauded Asheville police and authorities for how they handled the situation.
Bishop is calling for bi-partisan support of his bill.
“There’s undoubtedly sharp differences between Republicans and Democrats, but every member of Congress ought to be called upon to answer the basic question of whether they support anarchy or whether they support order,” Bishop said.
“That is unacceptable in America,” he said, referring to autonomous zones and the destruction of monuments. “I don’t recognize that America. I am going to do everything within my power to fight that threat to our civilization.”
The latest action taken on Bishop’s bill was a reference to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Monday.
Reach Brandon Tester at [email protected] or 910-817-2671. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.