Take Action: The Senate Votes Tomorrow on Policing Reform

Tomorrow, the MA Senate will be voting on a bill to reform how policing is done in Massachusetts.

Although it contains many important provisions, it also leaves far too much on the table, and it contains language that undercuts the ability of the reforms to provide meaningful change.

 

Here's how you can help.

Tell your senator to support Amendments #10, 21, 27, 31, 37, 64, 65, 67, 75, 81, 108, 113, and 119. These amendments will reinvest in communities, limit the scope and presence of police, ban dangerous police tactics, and protect the rights of the incarcerated.

Find their number here and give them a call.

Tweet at them to support the amendments.

Send them an email in support of these amendments.

 

What These Amendments Do

 

Reinvesting in Communities

#81: Removing The Cap On Justice Reinvestment (Jehlen): The bill reinvests money from the Department of Corrections into a fund for job training and workforce development for communities disproportionately targeted by the criminal-legal system. The fund, based on the savings produced by reduced incarceration rates, could reach as high as $38 million a year, but the bill caps the fund at $10 million. This amendment would remove the cap.

 

Limiting the Scope & Presence of Police

Amendment #10: Promoting racial justice by decriminalizing homelessness (Rausch), which guarantees the right of those experiencing homelessness to use public spaces in the same manner as any other person without discrimination based on their housing status

Amendment #31: Banning pretextual stops (Chandler), which prohibits a practice too often employed by police to harass Black and Brown drivers

Amendment #108: Protecting Students from Profiling (Jehlen), which disrupts the school-to-prison pipeline by preventing the transmission of student information to a Fusion Center, the Boston Regional Intelligence Center, or any other agency that keeps a gang database

 

Banning dangerous police tactics

Amendment #64: Relative to Facial recognition (Creem): The Senate bill bans the use of facial surveillance for law enforcement for only one year. This amendment extends that ban until legislation is passed to implement such a ban permanently.

Amendment #65: Banning tear gas and other chemical weapons (Rausch): The Senate bill bill allows tear gas to be used in certain circumstances, offering no real deterrent to its use. Police should never use tear gas or chemical weapons against civilians. This amendment would prohibit the use of tear gas and chemical weapons altogether.

Amendment #67: Banning choke holds (Eldridge): Under the extremely narrow definition in the bill, the restraint used against George Floyd could be found lawful until the moment he was rendered unconscious and killed. This amendment clarifies that all neck restraints are prohibited.

Amendment #75: Clarifying the Reasonableness of an Officer’s Actions (Eldridge), which creates a higher standard for the use of force

 
Amendment #119: Banning no-knock warrants (Hinds): The Senate bill allows no-knock warrants in certain circumstances. Breonna Taylor was murdered after police broke down her front door without warning in the middle of the night under the auspices of a no-knock warrant, and no-knock warrants are disproportionately used to terrorize Black and Brown communities. This amendment would ban them altogether.

Protecting the Rights of the Incarcerated

Amendment #21: Strengthening visitation of incarcerated persons (Rausch), which removes harmful limitations on visitation imposed by the Department of Corrections

Amendment #27: Correctional Officers (Eldridge), which prevents decertified officers from working in prisons and jails

Amendment #37: Transitional Assistance for Wrongfully Convicted Persons (Jehlen), which guarantees $5,000 in transitional financial assistance as well as access to physical and mental health services upon release for those who have been wrongfully convicted

Amendment #113: Prison Use of Force Records (Eldridge), which ensures that an inmate and the inmate’s legally designated representative shall have the right to obtain a copy of all records relating to any use of force incident involving the inmate

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