TGIF, neighbors! Welcome to this week’s Neighborhood FORWARD Legislative Roundup. Which bills caught our eye this week? Keep reading to find out!
- SB 888
- Why we’re watching: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont introduced SB 888, his plan to legalize recreational cannabis, earlier this month, and the bill was slated to have its first committee hearing today. While there are valid critiques of the legislation, we can all agree that many aspects of the bill, such as automatic expungement of possession convictions prior to October 1, 2015, are huge victories in the fight for equity and justice.
- Why we’re watching: The week kicked off with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signing into law a robust criminal justice reform package. Perhaps most notably, House Bill 3653 will make Illinois the first state to eliminate cash bail. The legislation also requires police officers statewide to wear body cameras, creates a statewide database for logging police misconduct, and more. Bravo, Illinois!
- SB 26
- Why we’re watching: While Democratic legislators were able to negotiate to scale back the charges for certain protest-related offenses, this bill still penalizes nonviolent protesters for exercising their First Amendment rights. It also establishes a “Law Enforcement Bill of Rights,” portions of which local law enforcement leaders oppose, warning it could jeopardize investigations into officer misconduct. SB 26 now moves to the House for approval. We encourage all Missourians to contact their legislators and warn them of the dangers of this bill. Find your Representative here.
- SAFE Act
- Why we’re watching: Late last week, the Minnesota House killed Gov. Tim Walz’s proposal for emergency funding during the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed George Floyd. Opposition is coming from all sides; Republicans will not fall in line behind proposed police accountability measures, and progressives refuse to pass a watered-down version. With under two weeks until the trial, all eyes will be on the legislature as they try to negotiate a deal everyone can live with.
- Why we’re watching: This bill, proposed Wednesday by House Speaker Tina Kotek, would prohibit officers from arresting people for interfering with police if they are passively resisting. Speaker Kotek says that police have been abusing interference charges during protests. The bill actually brings the law in line with a 2017 Oregon Supreme Court ruling, which found that people could not be charged for interfering with police just for refusing to move when asked. For that reason, many law enforcement agencies are supporting the proposed legislation. It’s not every day that we get to meet in the middle… we’ll take it!
What do you think of the bills in this week’s roundup? Did we miss anything? Drop us a line on any of our social channels or at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact us through our contact us form. Let us know what’s happening in YOUR neighborhood!