Human Rights

Senate Republicans Unveil Proposal On Police Reform

Democratic Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett says the bill waters down the provisions Democrats have put in place by "encouraging" but not "requiring."

Senate Republicans Unveil Proposal On Police Reform
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Senate Republicans are unveiling their police reform package as House Democrats debate theirs. The GOP bill, led by Sen. Tim Scott, focuses almost entirely on information gathering, including use-of-force reporting, no-knock reporting, sharing disciplinary records, training and creating studies on these issues. The Justice Act also makes lynching a federal crime and closes the loophole that lets officers engage in sexual acts with people in custody. Republicans are also proposing grants and funding to implement these ideas.

What it doesn't do: outright ban tactics like chokeholds and no-knock warrants. Scott says right now, only 40% of departments report use-of-force interactions to the FBI.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he's reshuffling the Senate schedule to bring up the bill next week, after two judicial nominees are voted on. Democrats in both chambers are criticizing the bill, saying it doesn't go far enough. 

The House bill places an outright ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants and gets rid of qualified immunity. The newly renamed bill donning George Floyd's name already has overwhelming Democratic support, ensuring its passage.

During the debate to alter the bill, Republicans offered amendments they say are important in light of the Russia investigation that would place new requirements on the FBI and law enforcement to record all interviews. 

Both bills, likely to pass in each chamber, will almost certainly need to be renegotiated to stand a chance of gaining widespread bipartisan support.