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Will We Ever See Police Reform?

Can members of Congress stop fighting long enough to fix the problem?

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Americans have been calling for solutions after the death of George Floyd’s death in police custody. Both the House Democrats and the Senate Republicans have written bills to answer the call, but neither seems willing to consider the other’s offering. Will the Democrats and Republicans work together to fix this problem, or just keep on fighting each other for more votes?

A Sad Day For The Senate

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) proposed his “Justice Act” Wednesday, June 17, and Democrats said it was a failure from the very beginning.

The Justice Act would cut federal funding for police departments that continue to use chokeholds by 20% and would track no-knock raids. It would also require police departments to keep better records about use of force and create a federal database to track abuse.

The bill included a few things for the Democrats, such as fulfilling their long-held wish to make lynching a federal hate crime. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised an open amendment process, but the Democrats weren’t interested. When the vote happened, only Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Angus King (I-ME) joined the Republicans in support of the Justice Act – five votes less than what was needed.

Will The House Win?

House Democrats revealed their reform bill on May 25, called the “Justice in Policing Act.” The House passed the bill Thursday, June 25, but it will likely fail in the Senate. This bill also cuts funding for departments that use chokeholds, but only by 10%. It, too, would establish a national database for tracking police use of force.

This legislation would also make it easier for officers to get in trouble. Right now, officers are only charged if misconduct seems intentional. This bill would change that to include reckless neglect. Right now, police can use force if it’s considered reasonable. This law would require force to be necessary before use.

James is our wordsmith extraordinaire, a legislation hound and lover of all things self-reliant and free. An author of politics and fiction (often one and the same) at and, he homesteads in the Arkansas wilderness.

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