Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik released the following statement on House Democrats’ partisan policing bill and Senate Democrats blocking debate on the JUSTICE Act, legislation led by Senator Tim Scott that Congresswoman Stefanik cosponsors in the House.
“Republicans reached out to House Democrats following the tragic murder of George Floyd to begin what we hoped would be bipartisan conversations on a police reform bill,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Unfortunately, Democrats completely shut us out of the process and drafted a partisan bill with zero input from their colleagues across the aisle. I am a proud cosponsor of the JUSTICE Act, an important bill with many bipartisan provisions to improve police-community relations, increase transparency and accountability in police forces, and end police brutality. Shamefully, Senate Democrats blocked even having a debate on this legislation.
“Our North Country law enforcement has strong relationships with our communities and local leaders, and the House Democrats’ partisan bill will impede the ability of officers to do their jobs effectively, deprive them of necessary surplus safety equipment, and will have extremely negative consequences for our public safety. I continue to urge House Democrats to work across the aisle and consider the JUSTICE Act – a meaningful legislative proposal filled with bipartisan provisions.”
The Democrats’ partisan bill includes these provisions that inhibit law enforcement from effectively doing their jobs:
- Eliminates qualified immunity protections for federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, which protects officers in placed in high pressure situations by criminals through no fault of their own, as long as they do not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights.
- Lowers the standard for federal civil rights lawsuits to allow officer convictions even if the officer’s intent was to protect themselves and the suspect and not deprive a person of a federal right.
- Creates an overly broad registry of police misconduct, that includes complaints that would not hold up in a court of law.
- Limits access to surplus equipment through the Department of Defense’s 1033 program that law enforcement agencies use to protect officers and serve communities in life threatening situations such as natural disasters.