Senate Close To Agreement On Bipartisan Police Reform Bill

A bipartisan bill on police reform is close to being finalized, but the bill still has hurdles as Republicans don’t want to be viewed as soft on crime and progressives don’t want to compromise.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) are continuing negotiations on police reform. According to Yahoo News, Scott wants a deal in place by the end of June and is rounding up support in order to break a potential filibuster.

The three senators have agreed on certain reforms including funding for additional de-escalation training and eliminating no-knock warrants and chokeholds.

The politics around police reform has changed since last summer when the Black Lives Matter was at its peak. Police departments across the country cut their police budgets to put more money into social services such as metal health, homelessness and drug addiction.

However, some cities are already going back on police budget cuts. Just one year after Los Angeles lawmakers cut $150 million from their police budget, they have reversed course amid a crime spike.

The bill still has a long way to go. Republicans may be unwilling to make certain concessions because they don’t want to be seen as soft on crime. At the same time, progressives may be unwilling to support the bill if the end of qualified immunity isn’t included.

Qualified immunity protects police officers and other government employees from civil lawsuits. Progressives want to eliminate qualified immunity, but Republicans want to protect officers. Sen. Scott is trying to find compromise by making it easier for citizens to sue police departments in civil court but not individual officers.

Both Jim Pasco the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police and NAACP President Derrick Johnson have expressed they are willing to consider Scott’s compromise, but some lawmakers including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) are unwilling to compromise.

“That’s a no-go for me,” Hawley said according to CNN.

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