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Republicans Unveil Their Own Police Reform Bill

It breaks with Democratic plan on several issues
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2020 1:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – The US has around 18,000 law enforcement agencies—and two competing proposals in Congress to reform them. Senate Republicans unveiled a police reform bill Wednesday that aims to end chokeholds and reduce the use of "no-knock" warrants, CNBC reports. The proposal was introduced by Sen. Tim Scott, the chamber's only black Republican. He said there is a lot of overlap between the bill and a reform package introduced by House Democrats, though unlike the Democrats' plan, the GOP proposal does not address "qualified immunity," which shields officers from lawsuits, reports the Hill. Scott said the areas of overlap, which he put at "about 70%," include strengthened reporting requirements. The GOP bill also includes penalties for not wearing body cameras.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the GOP bill for failing to "rise to the moment," reports the Washington Post, calling it "narrower and much less effective" than what Democrats had put forth. Unlike the GOP bill, the House proposal bans the use of chokeholds, though Scott argues that a threat to withdraw federal funding for those departments that don't ban them "except when deadly force is authorized" is "by default a ban." Schumer didn't say whether Democrats would attempt to block the GOP bill, though he said it needs "dramatic improvement." "Let me be clear, this is not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good," he said. "This is about making the ineffective the enemy of the effective." (The GOP bill also makes lynching a federal hate crime, a move that has been delayed by Sen. Rand Paul.)

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