Democrats made a big show about introducing their new police reform bill Monday, complete with an 8 minute, 46 second kneeling demonstration while wearing West African kente cloth scarves. Behind the scenes, they were quietly killing a 2019 bill that would've strengthened police unions, Axios reported.
What was the bill? The now-dead bill, H.R. 1154, would've allowed state and local public safety workers to collectively bargain with the government over hours, wages, and terms and conditions of employment.
The bill had 225 co-sponsors, and 206 of those were Democrats.
Things have changed: That was all before the country saw a rash of large-scale protests and destructive riots in major cities over the killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis Police Department Officer Derek Chauvin. Now the power of police unions is under heavy scrutiny, and people on both sides of the political spectrum are calling for them to be weakened or dismantled.
The new legislation aims for more restrictions, regulation and accountability for police officers and departments. From CNN:
According to a summary document obtained by CNN, the legislation includes a ban on chokeholds, as well as the creation of a National Police Misconduct Registry "to prevent problem officers from changing jurisdictions to avoid accountability."
The bill also incentivizes states and localities to mandate racial bias training and teach officers about their "duty to intervene." The bill sets certain restrictions on the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement and requires federal uniformed police offers to wear body cameras.
The obstacles to reform: The power of police unions could be one of the primary obstacles to reform efforts, including efforts to make it easier to fire officers who have committed misconduct.
Democrats, who are typically in favor of organized labor, will now have to walk the line of attempting to enact reforms without contradicting themselves too badly when it comes to unions. Axios reports:
Democrats may try to thread the needle by arguing that police unions should be treated differently than other public employee unions, because police misconduct can be the difference between life and death. Rarely is that the case in a classroom or a department of motor vehicles.
(H/T The Daily Wire)