Posted by 25 June 2020
With minimal GOP support, the House of Representatives this week passed legislation that would mandate changes to how state and local police operate.
By a vote of 236-181, the House passed HR 7120, legislation named after the late George Floyd. Among the things this bill would do are:
- Banning the use of police chokeholds
- Removing immunity from lawsuits for police officers
- Requiring the use of body cameras
- Prohibiting the use of military-style weapons and equipment in police work
- Establishing a national database for officers who have a record of abuse complaints
House Democrats argued these measures were necessary to stop law enforcement abuses that led to the death of George Floyd and other people in police custody. They contended that systemic racism is plaguing police departments nationwide, and their reforms can help alleviate some of the negative effects of heavy-handed law enforcement. No Democrats voted against the bill.
Republicans were not buying these arguments, however. Only three GOP House members supported HR 7120. They noted that this was a huge federal imposition on what is typically a state or local issue. They noted that the federal government has no constitutional role to mandate how non-federal law enforcement operates. They also said that at a time of rioting and looting, it was counterproductive to impose new restrictions on police.
The Senate is unlikely to consider this legislation, but Senate Republicans have introduced their own police reform bill.
Do you think Congress should pass a federal law to change the way state and local police departments operate?