As state legislatures gear up for session, let’s look at some of the policies and bills that caught our eye this week!
- Police Transparency and Accountability Task Force
- Why we’re watching: Two years after beginning its effort to improve policing in Connecticut, the Police Transparency and Accountability Task Force endorsed creating of crisis intervention teams, employing mental health experts, and reducing the number of traffic stops to make policing safer for all.
- John Lewis Voting Rights Act
- Why we’re watching: On Monday, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Senate is expected to vote on abolishing the filibuster. Without that action, states will continue to obliterate minority voting rights across the country, as we saw in the months following the election. We cannot think of a better way to honor a man such as John Lewis than by creating a codified right to vote in his name. Get it done, Senate.
- School Closures
- Why we’re watching: In one of the biggest stories of the year thus far, Chicago schools are asking teachers to do their jobs even if they display mild symptoms of COVID-19. Additionally, students testing positive have been grouped together in unsafe spaces, leading to several walkouts to protest such insufficient learning conditions.
- Why we’re watching: If passed, this bill, dubbed the Economic Justice and Racial Reconciliation Act, would create a commission to study the period of history between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and how public policy impacted Black Marylanders – and still does today. The commission would then create a system for providing reparations to offset the institutional racism for Black communities in the state. While this progress likely won’t happen in just one legislative session, we must start somewhere.
- HB1995 and HB1474
- Why we’re watching: These two bills, introduced as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” on one of the first days of session, would ban critical race theory and give legal standing to parents who felt their kids were learning inappropriate subjects. Both bills leave teachers and schools vulnerable for doing their jobs: teaching our youth about the importance of Black and Brown history.
What do you think of the news in this week’s legislative roundup? Did we miss anything? Drop us a line on any of our social channels or hit us up through our contact us form. Let us know what’s happening in YOUR neighborhood!