AP

Senate GOP to propose policing changes in ‘Justice Act’

Jun 17, 2020, 6:36 AM
FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2020, file photo, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., arrives at the Senate at the Capi...
FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2020, file photo, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., arrives at the Senate at the Capitol in Washington. Senate Republicans are proposing changes to police procedures and accountability with an enhanced use-of-force database, restrictions on chokeholds and new commissions to study law enforcement and race, according to a draft obtained by The Associated Press. The package is set to be introduced Wednesday by Scott, the GOP's lone black Republican, and a task force of GOP senators assembled by Republican leadership. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans are proposing changes to police procedures and accountability with an enhanced use-of-force database, restrictions on chokeholds and new commissions to study law enforcement and race, according to a draft obtained by The Associated Press.

The JUSTICE Act — Just and Unifying Solutions To Invigorate Communities Everywhere Act of 2020 — is the most ambitious GOP policing proposal in years, a direct response to the massive public protests over the death of George Floyd and other black Americans.

The package is set to be introduced Wednesday by Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the GOP’s lone black Republican, and a task force of GOP senators assembled by Republican leadership.

The 106-page bill is not as sweeping as a Democratic proposal, which is set for a House vote next week, but it shows how swiftly the national debate has been transformed as Republicans embrace a new priority in an election year.

The GOP legislation would beef up requirements for law enforcement to compile use of force reports under a new George Floyd and Walter Scott Notification Act, named for the Minnesota father whose May 25 death sparked worldwide protests over police violence, and Scott, the South Carolina man shot by police after a traffic stop in 2015.

It would also establish the Breonna Taylor Notification Act to track “no-knock” warrants. Such warrants used to be rare, but the 26-year-old was killed after police in Kentucky used a no-knock warrant to enter her Louisville home.

To focus on ending chokeholds, it encourages agencies to do away with the practice or risk losing federal funds. Many big city departments have long stopped their use. It also provides funding for training to “de-escalate” situations and establish a “duty to intervene” protocol to prevent excessive force.

As the contours of the package emerged in recent days, Democrats panned it as insufficient, as their own bill takes a more direct approach to changing federal misconduct laws and holding individual officers legally responsible for incidents.

But the GOP effort seeks to reach across the aisle to Democrats in several ways. It includes one long-sought bill to make lynching a federal hate crime and another to launch a study of the social status of black men and boys that has been touted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The Republican package also includes a bipartisan Senate proposal to establish a National Criminal Justice Commission Act and extends funding streams for various federal law enforcement programs, including the COPS program important to states.

The package includes a mix of other proposals, including tapping the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to create law enforcement training curriculum on “the history of racism in the United States.” Another closes a loophole to prohibit federal law enforcement officers from engaging in sexual acts with those being arrested or in custody.

Expenditures for the bill would be considered on an emergency basis, so as not to count against federal deficits.

The GOP proposal comes amid a crush of activity from Washington as President Donald Trump announced executive actions Tuesday to create a database of police misconduct.

Trump vowed a “big moment” if lawmakers could act to pass legislation. At a Rose Garden event for his executive actions, he declared himself “committed to working with Congress on additional measures.”

The Senate could vote as soon as next week.

___

Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick and Colleen Long contributed to this report.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

Residents stand in front of building destroyed by missiles in Ukraine...
FRANCESCA EBEL Associated Press

Russian missiles kill at least 19 in Ukraine’s Odesa region

The Ukrainian president's office said three Kh-22 missiles fired by Russian bombers struck an apartment building and a campsite.
15 hours ago
Ketanji Brown Jackson takes the oath for the Supreme Court....
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, will be sworn as the court's 116th justice Thursday, just as the man she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, retires.
2 days ago
The Supreme Court is pictured. The court just limited the EPA...
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited how the nation's main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
2 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
2 days ago
A Rite Aid logo is displayed on its store...
HALELUYA HADERO, AP Reporter

Amazon, Rite Aid cap purchase of emergency contraceptives

Retailers limiting purchases is standard practice that helps retailers prevent stockpiling and reselling at higher prices.
2 days ago
FILE - Hershel "Woody" Williams, center, the sole surviving U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of ...
The Associated Press

Last remaining WWII Medal of Honor recipient dies at 98

A 98-year-old man from West Virginia, who was the last Medal of Honor recipient from World War II has died.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Senate GOP to propose policing changes in ‘Justice Act’