House Passes Sweeping Police Reform Measure

House Passes Sweeping Police Reform Bill; Attempt to Remove Qualified Immunity Provision for Police Fails on Tie Vote

The House capped off marathon negotiations and a 22-hour-long special session with passage of a sweeping police reform bill early this morning.  The vote was largely along party lines — 86-58 with 7 not voting.   A Republican amendment to remove qualified immunity as a valid defense for police, in certain circumstances, in civil suits died on a tie vote—72-72.

Following are some of the highlights of HB 6004- An Act Concerning Police Reforms. Among other things, the bill calls for:

  • Mandatory certification of state and municipal police officers within 1 year of hire.
  • Revocation/cancellation/suspension of certification for undermining public confidence in law enforcement.
  • Inclusion of implicit bias training in all police training programs.
  • No future collective bargaining or arbitration award going forward may include prohibition of disclosure of disciplinary actions.
  • Changes to make up of the Police Officer Standards and Training Council.
  • Periodic (no less than once per five years) mental health assessments for all officers.
  • Subpoena power for Civilian Police Review Boards.
  • Mandatory body cameras/dashcams for all officers/vehicles.
  • Creation of an Office of the Inspector General within the Division of Criminal Justice.
  • Qualified immunity changes.
  • Each law enforcement unit to obtain and maintain accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.
  • Allocating $4 million in bonding for state grants to municipalities for body and vehicle cameras.

The Senate is scheduled to come into special session on July 28th to consider the four bills acted upon by the House in special session (see earlier Capitol Beat summary of the bills voted on in the House Thursday).  We will keep you apprised of the Senate’s debates and votes.

Finally, there is ongoing discussion among leadership about coming in for another special session in September to take up unfinished business from last session and perhaps COVID-19-related issues, but nothing has been confirmed.  We will keep you posted on any developments.

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