WASHINGTON – Rep. Peter Welch on Wednesday night voted to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This comprehensive reform bill would begin to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, change the culture of policing, and hold law enforcement accountable for their actions. The bill, named in honor of George Floyd, would also prohibit controversial police tactics like the chokehold that killed him and implement other important law enforcement reforms.
“This critical police reform bill will help set us on a path to a more equal and just society,” said Welch. “We have seen too many brutal videos of Black Americans being killed by police. These long overdue reforms will promote accountability and begin to change a culture of impunity that is pervasive in too many police departments. I am proud to vote for this bill and hope to see it signed into law soon, but this is just one step in our fight for racial justice. We have more work to do in Congress and in each of our communities.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 1280) will take key steps to achieve transformative, structural change to combat the pattern of police brutality and racial injustice, including:
- Banning all chokeholds;
- Banning no-knock warrants in drug cases, like the one that killed Breonna Taylor;
- Ending racial, religious and discriminatory profiling;
- Eliminating qualified immunity for police officers, allowing citizens to hold police accountable if they violate their Constitutional rights;
- Establishing a National Police Misconduct Registry to improve transparency and prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability;
- Requiring data collection, including mandatory body cameras and dashboard cameras;
- Establishing new standards for policing and the Public Safety Innovation grants for community-based organizations to help reimagine policing in their communities.
In September 2020, Rep. Welch held a virtual roundtable with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the sponsor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and Vermont racial justice leaders to discuss police reform, systematic racial bias and racial equity. The bill passed the House 220-212.