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Racial Justice

 

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 more than 25 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.


Mural of George Floyd by Portland's Ryan Adams.



Police Reform and Civil Rights

  • H.R. 7120, Justice in Policing Act (Rep. Bass)

    • Addresses a wide range of policies and issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability, and includes measures to increase accountability for misconduct by law enforcement, enhance transparency and data collection, and eliminate discriminatory policing practices, among others.

  • H.R. 125, Police Training and Independent Review Act (Rep. Cohen)

    • Provides federal funding as an incentive for states to require enrollees at law enforcement academies to receive training on ethics, racial bias, and cultural diversity and on police interaction with the disabled, mentally ill, and new immigrants. The bill would also adopt state laws requiring independent investigations and prosecution of cases where at least one alleged offense involves an officer’s use of deadly force.

  • H.R. 4359, PEACE (Police Accountability by Raising Standard for Use of Excessive Force) Act (Rep. Khanna)

    • Changes the use of force standard for federal officers to require that force must be necessary, as a last resort, to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury when no reasonable alternatives were available. It does not permit the gross negligence of an officer to precipitate the need for such force, and incentivizes states, municipalities, and police departments to adopt a comparable standard by placing conditions on federal assistance. 

  • H.R. 7100, Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act (Reps. Crow, Jackson Lee, and Omar)

    • Directs the Department of Justice to work collaboratively to develop accreditation standards for local police departments and incentivizes departments to adopt performance-based training standards and fight misconduct.

  • H.R. 119, National Statistics on Deadly Force Transparency Act (Rep. Cohen)

    • Requires any law enforcement agency receiving federal funds to collect, compile, and submit data to the Department of Justice on the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers.

  • H.R. 1456, Marijuana Justice Act (Rep. Lee)

    • Removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who imports, exports, manufactures, distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute marijuana.

  • H.R. 7085, Ending Qualified Immunity Act (Rep. Amash)

    • Ensures that the qualified immunity doctrine cannot be used to shield law enforcement officers from accountability for misconduct or abuse of power.

  • H.R. 7133: Police Receiving Overly Traumatizing Equipment Changes Today (PROTECT) Act (Rep. Haaland)

    • Incentivizes state and local police departments to send back the military equipment they received through the DOD’s 1033 Program. Under the bill, state and local police departments that transfer certain military equipment back to the Department of Defense or did not receive military equipment in the previous 12 months would be given priority on a new grant that would provide funding for de-escalation training, racial or cultural bias training, minimal use of force training, or purchases of body cameras for officers.

  • H.R. 1714: Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (Rep. Cohen)

    • 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. 7143: 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. 7232, Juneteenth National Independence Day Act (Rep. Jackson Lee)

    • Would create a federal holiday to recognize and celebrate the ending of slavery in the United States by adding Juneteenth to the list of federal holidays.

  • H.R.: Effective Death Penalty Appeals Act (Rep. Henry “Hank” Johnson)

    • Ensures that death row inmates have the opportunity to present newly discovered evidence of innocence.

  • H.R. 4052: Federal Repeal of the Death Penalty Act (Rep. Pressley)

    • Prohibits the imposition of a death penalty sentence for a violation of federal law,, and a person sentenced to death before enactment of this bill must be resentenced.

  • H.R. 4022: Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act (Rep. Espaillat)

    • Repeals federal laws that provide for the death penalty.



Environment

  • H.R. 1243, Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act (Rep. Cartwright)

    • Develops a national strategic plan to better prepare Americans for the growing public health effects of climate change, which include pulmonary and cardiovascular illnesses, food-borne diseases, and heat-related impacts. This plan would identify and support the nation’s most vulnerable communities while enhancing research into the effects of climate change on health. This would also direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a National Strategic Action Plan to prepare for the public health effects of climate change. 

  • H.R. 5221, 100% Clean Economy Act (Rep. McEachin)

    • Requires federal agencies to use their authority to achieve the 100% clean energy economy goal. The legislation would require the EPA to evaluate each agency’s plan, recommend improvements, and make reports every year on progress made. It would also create an advisory committee of government officials and community groups to assess progress on the goals. Because environmental justice communities are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the bill includes guiding principles for federal agencies’ actions. Their plans should improve public health outcomes in low-income communities and communities of color, assure a just transition for workers by creating green jobs, and help communities prepare for the consequences of climate change.

  • H.R. 5986, the Environmental Justice for All Act (Rep. Grijalva)

    • Creates a Federal Energy Transition Economic Development Assistance Fund, paid for through new fees on oil, gas and coal companies, to support communities and workers as they transition away from greenhouse gas-dependent economies; requires federal agencies to consider cumulative health impacts under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act when making permitting decisions and helps ensure that newly permitted projects do not harm human health; strengthens the Civil Rights Act to permit private citizens and organizations facing discrimination to seek legal remedies, and provides $75 million in annual grants for research and program development to reduce health disparities and improve public health in environmental justice communities.

  • H.Res. 109: The Green New Deal (Rep. Ocasio-Cortez)

    • The goals of a Green New Deal include: achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, establishing millions of high-wage jobs and ensuring economic security for all; investing in infrastructure and industry; securing clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all; and promoting justice and equality by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth



Health

  • H.R. 6142, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020 (Rep. Underwood)

    • The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, with Black women dying at 3 to 4 times the rate of their white peers. This legislation is a comprehensive effort to collect data on racial disparities, invest in access to health care, and diversity the maternal health workforce.




Education

  • H.R. 727, Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act (Rep. Hastings)

    • Prohibits the Department of Education from providing education funding to any educational agency or institution where corporal punishment is allowed as a form of punishment, which is disproportionately applied to students of color and students with disabilities.

  • H.R. 6902, Black History is American History Act (Rep. Fudge)

    • Ensures the inclusion of Black history in federally-funded American history and civics curriculum development and promotes use of the resources offered by the National Museum of African American History and Culture for teachers and students.




Labor

  • H.R. 3760, Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act (Rep. Jayapal)

    • Domestic work is a large and growing sector of the economy, and one that is predominantly made up of women of color. However, many of these workers lack basic workplace protections. This bill would extend federal labor protections to domestic workers, including requiring minimum wage and overtime pay and prohibiting racial and gender discrimination.



Armed Services

  • H.R. 7217, Honoring Real Patriots Act (Rep. Clarke)

    • Requires the Department of Defense to change the name of all military property named after any individual who took up arms against the United States during the Civil War.



Voting

  • H.R. 1, For the People Act (Rep. Sarbanes)

    • Expands voting rights, limits partisan gerrymandering, and limits the influence of private donor money in politics

  • H.R. 4, Voting Rights Advancement Act (Rep. Sewell)

    • Restores the full protections of the Voting Rights Act and combats voter suppression, including allowing the Attorney General authority to request federal observers be present anywhere in the country where there is a serious threat of racial discrimination in voting.




Commissions

  • H.R. 1636, The Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act (Rep. Wilson)

    • Establishes a bipartisan commission with the Commission on Civil Rights’ office tasked with examining the social disparities that disproportionately affect Black men and boys in the US. The commission will recommend policies and practices to improve upon current government programs. Recommendations will be sent to the president, president’s cabinet, and Congress and relevant committees of jurisdiction.  

  • 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.




Resolutions

  • H.Con. Res. 100, Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Resolution (Rep. Lee)

    • Establishes a commission, based on the truth and reconciliation commission model that would examine the effects of slavery and racism against people of color, on American history, and its impact on laws and policies we have today.

  • H. Res.988, Resolution to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and excessive use of force (Reps. Pressley, Bass, and Lee)

    • This resolution calls on Congress to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and the use of excessive force, and to take urgent action in response, including promoting accountability for law enforcement officers and police departments, and adopting sound and unbiased law enforcement policies at all levels of government.

  • Resolution Memorializing Black Women Victims of Police Brutality (Rep. Kelly)

    • This resolution expresses the sense of Congress that the wrongs and hardships of Black women are often equal to those experienced by Black men yet receive less attention and justice, and any legislation passed by the House to remedy racial inequities in the US, especially those in the criminal justice system, must include reforms to address concerns for Black women.

  • Resolution on the 2020 Observance of Juneteenth Independence Day (Rep. Jackson Lee)

    • This resolution recognizes this Juneteenth as the 155th anniversary of the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

  • H.Res.990, Resolution recognizing racism as a national crisis (Rep. Beatty)

    • This resolution, among other things, recognizes racism as a public health crisis, condemns the long- term impacts of racism in America, and offers support for a truth and reconciliation process to address the United States’ enduring structural racism embedded in our society.

  • Resolution Recognizing the Centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre (Rep. Jackson Lee)

    • Summary: 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.


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