Senate Republicans Unveil New Police Reform Bill That Seeks To Reach Across the Aisle


Senate Republicans unveiled new police reform legislation Wednesday aimed at holding officers accountable by enhancing a use-of-force database, adding restrictions on chokeholds, and creating new commissions to study law enforcement and race.

The “Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere” or “JUSTICE Act” was spearheaded by Sen. Tim Scott in the wake of George Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for roughly nine minutes during an arrest.

“Too often we’re having a discussion in this nation about are you supporting the law enforcement community, or are you supporting communities of color? This is a false binary choice,” the South Carolina Republican said.

“The answer to the question of which side do you support is ‘I support America.’ And if you support America you support restoring the confidence that communities of color have in institutions of authority.

“If you support America, that means you know that the overwhelming number of officers in this nation want to do their job, go home to their family. It is not a binary choice. This legislation encompasses that spirit.”

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“We hear you. We’re listening to your concerns,” Scott added. “The George Floyd incident certainly accelerated this conversation.”

The 106-page legislation is supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, James Lankford and Ben Sasse.

The legislation would require law enforcement to create a database of use of force reports under a new George Floyd and Walter Scott Notification Act — named after Floyd and a South Carolina man who was shot by police during a traffic stop in 2015.

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It would also create the Breonna Taylor Notification Act, which would track “no-knock” warrants. It is named after the 26-year-old woman who was killed after police entered her Kentucky home under such a warrant.

Police agencies are also encouraged to do away with the use of chokeholds or risk losing federal funding. Police will also be provided funds for training to “de-escalate” situations to prevent the use of excessive force.

The legislation doesn’t ban chokeholds, however, and Democrats have said that it does not go far enough, according to Fox News.

“The Senate proposal of studies and reporting without transparency and accountability is inadequate,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

“The Senate’s so-called Justice Act is not action.”

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The JUSTICE Act does include a bipartisan proposal to establish the National Criminal Justice Commission Act.

The 14-member commission created by this act will conduct a “comprehensive review of the criminal justice system” and make further recommendations for criminal justice reform.

Other proposals in the legislation include the creation of a training curriculum on the history of racism in the U.S. by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the prohibition of federal law enforcement officers from engaging in sexual activities with people who have been arrested or are in custody.

McConnell said he’ll bring the legislation to a vote on the Senate floor by next week.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith