The murder of George Floyd was not an isolated incident of police brutality against Black people. Since 2013, police officers have shot and killed nearly 1,000 people every year, and Black men are nearly three times more likely to be killed by police than their white peers. After endless reports documenting excessive use of force, it is more important now than ever for Congress to step up to condemn racial profiling and police brutality and work to dismantle unjust systems that harm and kill Black people in this country. For George Floyd and too Black Americans many before him who’ve had their lives cut short at the hands of police, I have signed onto the following legislative initiatives that would help address the well documented problem of police brutality toward Black Americans and begin to dismantle systems that contribute to racial inequities in the first place. You can read more about these pieces of legislation below.
However, the racial injustices that permeate our country aren't limited to issues of police brutality. Systemic racism has perpetuated longstanding disparities in education, employment, housing, health care, the justice system, environmental issues, and more. Below you will find a list of some of the bills I support that would help to dismantle these inequities.
If you have feedback for me or want me to sign on to a specific piece of legislation, please click here to email me.
This bill would explicitly note in statute that the elements of qualified immunity outlined by the Supreme Court are not a defense to liability.
H.R. 1280: George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (Rep. Bass)
Hold police accountable in our courts by:
Amending the mens rea requirement in 18 U.S.C. Section 242, the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct, from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard;
Reform qualified immunity so that individuals are not entirely barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights;
Improve the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and incentivizing state attorneys general to conduct pattern and practice investigations;
Incentivize states to create independent investigative structures for police involved deaths through grants; and
Create best practices recommendations based on the Obama 21st Century Policing Task force.
Improve transparency into policing by collecting better and more accurate data of police misconduct and use-of-force by:
Creating a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problem-officers from changing jurisdictions to avoid accountability; and
Mandate state and local law enforcement agencies report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
Improve police training and practices by:
Ending racial and religious profiling;
Mandating training on racial bias and the duty to intervene;
Banning no-knock warrants in drug cases;
Banning chokeholds and carotid holds;
Changing the standard to evaluate whether law enforcement use of force was justified from whether the force was reasonable to whether the force was necessary;
Limiting the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement;
Requiring federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras; and
Requiring state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
Make lynching a federal crime by making it a federal crime to conspire to violate existing federal hate crimes laws.
H.R. 1694: Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (Rep. Johnson)
Would prevent the transfer of weapons inappropriate for local policing under DOD’s 1033 program and require precincts to certify that they can account for all military weapons and equipment under the program.
H.R. 3227: Demilitarizing Law Enforcement Act (Rep. Velazquez)
Would fully repeal the 1033 program that transfers military equipment to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
H.R. 616: Emergency Water is a Human Right Act (Rep. Tlaib)
Prohibits water shutoffs to all households during the COVID-19 national emergency; authorizes $1.5 billion in grants to assist low-income households that pay a high proportion of household income for drinking water and wastewater services; and uses Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to administer low-income household drinking water and wastewater assistance.
H.R. 516: Environmental Justice Screen and Mapping Act (Rep. Bush)
Creates an interagency environmental justice mapping committee as part of the effort to document environmental racism and ensure a minimum of 40% of upcoming environmental and economic investments go to support frontline communities.
This resolution aims to use future stimulus and recovery measures to build a society that enables dignified work, increased racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice, healthy communities, and a stable climate.
This legislation creates a Water, Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability (WATER) Trust Fund dedicating $35 billion for water infrastructure improvements across the United States. This investment also creates tens of thousands of jobs across the United States and encourages the use of union labor for water infrastructure projects.
H.R. 1393, Justice for Black Farmers Act (Rep. Adams)
This landmark legislation is aimed at addressing and correcting historic discrimination within the USDA in federal farm assistance and lending that has caused Black farmers to lose millions of acres of farmland and robbed Black farmers and their families of the hundreds of billions of dollars of inter-generational wealth that land represented. Specifically, the Justice for Black Farmers Act aims to end discrimination within the USDA, protect remaining Black farmers from losing their land, provide land grants to create a new generation of Black farmers and restore the land base that has been lost, and implement systemic reforms to help family farmers across the United States.
H.R. 959: the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (Rep. Underwood)
A compilation of nine bills to address maternal mortality among black women:
Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition.
Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes for Black women.
Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing women veterans and invest in VA maternity care coordination.
Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives maternity care and support from people she can trust.
Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it.
Invest in maternal mental health care and substance use disorder treatments.
Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated women.
Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.
Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of health insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to 1 year postpartum.
Would expand voting rights, limit partisan gerrymandering, strengthen ethics rules, and limit the influence of private donor money in politics
H.R. 40: Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans (Rep. Jackson Lee)
Establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. The commission shall examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. Among other requirements, the commission shall identify (1) the role of federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African Americans and society.
H.Res. 215: Resolution Recognizing the Forthcoming Centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre (Rep. Jackson Lee)
Acknowledges the historical significance of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, condemns the continued legacy of systemic racism, and encourages education about this Massacre and the history of racial violence in the US.