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Take Action: Advocate for Police Reform Initiatives in the Senate Bill

Wednesday, July 8, 2020  
Posted by: Jamie Klufts
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Help Us Take Action for Police Reform Initiatives in the Senate Bill Just Released

Contact Your State Senators Today!

 

On Monday, the Massachusetts State Senate released its police reform bill: An Act to reform police standards and shift resources to build a more equitable, fair and just Commonwealth that values Black lives and communities of color (SB2800). This bill incorporates many of the components included in two bills NASW-MA has already endorsed: An Act Relative to Saving Black Lives and Transforming Public Safety (Sen. Creem & Rep. Miranda) and An Act to Secure Civil Rights (Rep. Michael Day).
 
SB2800 will be debated on the Senate floor TOMORROW, Thursday 7/9. Can we count on you to help advocate for police reform by contacting your state senator TODAY?
 
Specifically, we are grateful that the Senate included provisions in Senate Bill 2800 that would:
  • Fix the existing Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (MCRA)
  • Limits qualified immunity
  • Create a process for certifying and de-certifying police
  • Set clear limits on the use of force
  • Create a Community Policing and Behavioral Health Advisory Council on which NASW-MA, NAMI, MOAR, and other groups would have a seat. The Council's charge is to review and evaluate current and potential crisis intervention models that would move our system away from a police-first response.
 
There are many amendments to the bill that have been proposed, many of which we would support. Specifically, these amendments are important and we support them:
  • Amendments 58 & 67 would ban choke holds (Sens. Welch & Eldridge)
  • Amendment 65 would ban tear gas and other chemical weapons (Sen. Rausch)
  • Amendment 119 would ban no-knock warrants. Breonna Taylor was murdered after police broke down her front door without warning under the auspices of a no-knock warrant. SWAT teams with no-knock warrants disproportionately terrorize Black and Brown people. (Sen. Hinds)
  • Amendment 128 would make it clear that the Council on which NASW-MA, NAMI, MOAR, and others would sit prioritize non-police community-based interventions and services (Sen. Friedman)
 
Please call or email your state senator TODAY to express support for amendments 58, 65, 67, 119, and 128. Look up your senator's contact information here.

In coalition with our allies at the ACLU of Massachusetts and others, we oppose the following amendments that would weaken the qualified immunity provisions of the bill: 6, 74, 85, 109, 122, 137, and 145.

 

In the Commonwealth, we must prioritize saving Black lives. We have the ability to position Massachusetts as leader in police reform and prevent unnecessary deaths by advancing bills like this one that create ways to hold the police accountable for their actions while also shifting resources to build a more equitable Commonwealth.
 

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