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Washington Report – July 2, 2020

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: July 2, 2020

As the Senate adjourns for a two week recess July 3, police reform legislation hangs in the balance.  On June 24, Democrats in the Senate blocked the motion to proceed on Senator Tim Scott’s (R-SC) police reform legislation, the Just and Unifying Solutions To Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act (S. 3985), essentially filibustering the bill. Democrats do not feel the JUSTICE Act goes far enough and want Republicans to negotiate a bipartisan solution for the Senate to vote on. Majority Leader McConnell reserved the right to call up the bill for a vote at any point if progress is made. The House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 7120) June 25 by a vote of 236-181, with only three Republicans joining Democrats in voting for the bill. NAPO sent a letter to all Members of Congress voicing strong opposition to the bill. The Senate is not expected to move on the House-passed bill and the President has issued a statement saying he will veto it; NAPO is opposing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal 2021.  Amendment #2252 would restrict state and local law enforcement’s access to surplus military equipment through the Department of Defense and other federal grant programs. NAPO spoke with staff of Senate leadership and sent a letter to every member of the Senate advising them of our strong opposition to any attempt to amend NDAA to limit our access to this life saving equipment. The Senate is scheduled to bring the amendment up for unanimous consent when it returns July 20; NAPO pledged support for the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act (S. 4051) which would bolster national security and end the use of warrant-proof encryption that shields criminal activity from law enforcement. Attorney General William Barr issued a rare statement of support for the legislation; NAPO’s Executive Director Bill Johnson was quoted in a June 21, 2020 Washington Times article entitled, “Tear gas ban will force police to use more physical tactics to disperse crowds, professionals warn”. After weeks of protests and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, law enforcement’s use of tear gas and pepper spray to disperse unruly crowds has come under fire. Several proposals banning law enforcement’s use of such chemical agents have been introduced in Congress and some state and local governments are considering prohibiting them.

For more information on these and other legislative issues, please click on the July 2, 2020 Washington Report below and related information.

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