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Floyd killing has prompted state reforms, but not everywhere

George Floyd’s killing last year and the protests that followed led to a wave of police reforms in dozens of states. Other states have done little or nothing around police and racial justice reforms, and several have moved in the opposite direction.

4/22/2021 9:31:00 AM

George Floyd ’s killing last year and the protests that followed led to a wave of police reform s in dozens of states. Other states have done little or nothing around police and racial justice reforms, and several have moved in the opposite direction.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — George Floyd 's killing last year and the protests that followed led to a wave of police reform s in dozens of states, from changes in use-of-force policies to greater accountability for officers. At the same time, lawmakers in a handful of states have had success addressing racial inequities. But those changes mask a more complicated legislative legacy to a movement that many hoped would produce generational change: Other states have done little or nothing around police and racial justice reforms, and several have moved in the opposite direction. In Texas , where Floyd was raised and laid to rest, state Sen. Royce West this year helped introduce the “ George Floyd Act' to overhaul policing. But the bill has languished for weeks after getting one hearing, and West, one of the state's most prominent Black lawmakers, acknowledges it faces long odds in the Republican-dominated Legislature .

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — George Floyd’s killing last year and the protests that followed led to a wave of police reforms in dozens of states, from changes in use-of-force policies to greater accountability for officers. At the same time, lawmakers in a handful of states have had success addressing racial inequities.

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But those changes mask a more complicated legislative legacy to a movement that many hoped would produce generational change: Other states have done little or nothing around police and racial justice reforms, and several have moved in the opposite direction.

In Texas, where Floyd was raised and laid to rest, state Sen. Royce West this year helped introduce the “George Floyd Act” to overhaul policing. But the bill has languished for weeks after getting one hearing, and West, one of the state’s most prominent Black lawmakers, acknowledges it faces long odds in the Republican-dominated Legislature. headtopics.com

“We have members of the Senate that just refuse to pass a bill with his name on it,” he said.He now hopes to take a different approach in hopes of getting a win — stand-alone bills without Floyd’s name that would make piecemeal changes such as banning police chokeholds.

“You have to ask yourself whether or not you want symbolism over substance,” West said. “And so if you don’t have the votes to pass a bill named after George Floyd, then we got to make certain that we do some single-shot bills.”Across the country, the murder conviction Tuesday of a white Minneapolis police officer who held a knee to Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes has renewed calls for policing reforms and legislative action to address long-standing racial inequities.

ADVERTISEMENTThey will test over how far states will go in addressing police brutality and systemic racism in everything from education to health care to housing. Some seized on the verdict to promote legislative action or calls for change.On Wednesday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, signed a policing bill that will require officers to report any use of force and when they point a weapon at someone. Another GOP governor, Ohio’s Mike DeWine, announced a legislative proposal to boost police oversight. And in Nebraska, the Legislature advanced a bill requiring greater law enforcement accountability and training, especially on how to de-escalate conflicts.

Ahead of the verdict Tuesday, members of California’s Legislative Black Caucus gathered outside the Capitol to highlight police and criminal justice reform bills they hope to advance. Several of the proposals, including the creation of a system to decertify officers accused of misconduct, failed last year. headtopics.com

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“The time is now for us to act,” said state Sen. Steven Bradford, a Democrat who chairs the caucus. “No more kneeling and social media posts -- we’ve had enough of the performative acts. Real police reform is needed now.”Over the past year, at least 36 states have signed into law measures that would reform some police practices, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The new laws come from at least 1,800 police reform bills filed in statehouses across the U.S. since Floyd’s killing, with the majority being introduced this year.

The proposals include statewide bans on chokeholds, limits on no-knock warrants, ending qualified immunity for officers and restrictions on use of tear gas and other crowd-control techniques. Statehouses also have focused on changing how fatal police shootings are investigated.

Earlier this month, Maryland lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto to repeal what had been the nation’s first Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, replacing those protections with procedures that give civilians a role in the disciplinary process. Washington lawmakers, over some objections from law enforcement unions and Republicans, are moving ahead with nearly a dozen bills overhauling police tactics, use of force and oversight.

ADVERTISEMENTMany of the successful bills had bipartisan support, but sweeping reforms have been more difficult, even in heavily Democratic states, in part because of opposition from police unions. Several states have moved in the opposite direction, expanding the rights of officers or passing legislation that targets protesters like those involved in last summer’s demonstrations. headtopics.com

In Oklahoma, where proposals to ban the use of police chokeholds never received a hearing in the GOP-controlled Legislature, a new law that targets protests grants immunity to motorists who kill or injure rioters. Other legislation targeting protesters has advanced in Arizona, Florida and Tennessee.

“These anti-protest bills were flying off the floor,” said state Rep. Regina Goodwin, a Democrat from Tulsa. “What that says to me is that Oklahoma is either not aware of the critical issues that America faces as it relates to racism and police abuse, or folks are looking the other way because they can.”

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In a reaction to calls for redirecting some police funding to social services, Georgia’s Republican-majority Legislature passed a bill aimed at preventing cities and counties from cutting police budgets by more than 5% a year, after Atlanta and another local government debated but rejected sharper cuts.

One of the most hotly contested bills in the Republican-controlled New Hampshire Legislature this year would prohibit teaching about systemic racism and sexism in public schools and state-funded programs. Under the so-called “divisive topics” bill, which has already passed one chamber, prohibited subjects include the notion that New Hampshire or the U.S. are fundamentally racist or sexist and that individuals are inherently oppressive due to their race or gender.

“If that’s the assumption we are going to make as a society, then we are never going to get to unity,” said Republican state Rep. Keith Ammon.Democratic state Rep. Latha Mangipudi called the bill a blow to diversity and democracy: “This refusal of truth is insidious because it denies the reality we see in our own lives, that we experience ourselves, that I have experienced,” she told WMUR-TV earlier this month.

In states with divided governments, Democratic governors have had limited success in getting specific changes but have faced opposition to more wide-ranging police and racial equity reforms.In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled legislature is expected to advance measures focused on removing problem officers and helping police with mental health needs. But lawmakers will likely avoid the larger recommendations from a task force commissioned last year by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to address racial inequities in policing, criminal justice and the court system.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, on Wednesday ordered the Wisconsin State Patrol and other state law enforcement agencies to update their use-of-force policies to bar chokeholds, unless they are a last resort. He acted after the Republican-controlled Legislature ignored a police reform package he proposed last year after Floyd’s killing.

In Minnesota, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz said after Tuesday’s verdicts that he’s ready to go on the offensive if there is no progress toward racial equity and police accountability. He said Minnesota’s politically divided Legislature gives the state a “golden opportunity” to show the world “that equity, decency and humanity should know no political boundary.”

“I will burn my political capital on this,” he said.___Farnoush Amiri, based in Columbus, Ohio, is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

___Associated Press statehouse reporters across the U.S. contributed to this report. Read more: The Associated Press »

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I will be glad when this tragedy hit these people that keep voting against police reform get hit with the tragedy that so many black and brown people have to face. What you meant to write was George Floyd's murder last year. Convicted by a jury. Guilty. The words you choose matter. The idea whose time has come is unstoppable,and will,agelessly hold true! To think differently,is to negate the exallency of orderiness,and it’s place in the universe!Thus,resistence against the inevitability of change is fool’s chisel for self skinning! Now is time for reforms!

Do you want to be financially stable or free from debt I can show you how to make $5500 weekly if you are interested send me a dm now The real question becomes this: WHY ARE BLACK PEOPLE STILL LEAVING THEIR COUNTRY OF BIRTH TO LIVE IN THE CESSPOOL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (CUSA) BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY WHILE KNOWING VERY THE CUSA IS ROOTED IN RACISM AND PURE EVIL? 🤔🤔🤔🤔 It seems they enjoy is happening! 😠

An ‘unarmed’ white teen was shot dead by police. His family asks: Where is the outrage? -- Hammond’s family released the results of a private autopsy, which concluded that both bullets entered Hammond’s body from the back. Perhaps white victims need to become more newsworthy So it was a necessary death? Are you saying the police man is a hero? Without his action we would still have Aunt Jemina

Why is it so difficult in Texas to do the right thing? Murder* The 'peaceful' protests also led to waves of crime and looting and vandalism. Thugs and animals were allowed to roam free. How much was done about that? And those 'reforms' are working quite well. Just take a look at the huge spike in crime and homicides over the past year.

George Floyd's murder* The Police policing themselves has to change. Without police who will protect you ? All you gun hating, 2nd amendment despising people. You think BLM will protect you from the White supremacists ? Come on man. Ma'Khia Bryant & Andrew Brown Jr. were murdered within 24 hours of George Floyd getting justice. Daunte Wright was murdered while Chauvin's trial was ongoing, a stone’s throw from the trial. This won't stop until we understand why.