Senate

Tim Scott says he’s talking with House Democrats about reviving police reform bill

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said Wednesday he’s talking with House Democrats about potentially reviving his GOP police reform bill.

Scott, who is the only Black Republican senator and had taken the lead in writing the GOP’s police reform legislation, said he had spoken with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, about compromising on points of his bill, including qualified immunity.

The South Carolina senator’s bill had previously stalled after Democrats blocked it, saying it didn’t do enough. But Scott expressed optimism, saying he was hopeful that agreements would happen in the next couple of weeks.

“Folks who are now calling me about the legislation from the other side suggest that perhaps it’s not dead,” he said, speaking alongside Attorney General William Barr in Columbia, S.C. “We may have a Lazarus moment. We may not.”

“The more [Bass] has taken a look at the bill, the more she has suggested that perhaps that half or two-thirds of a loaf might be better than none,” he added.

Scott said he thinks lawmakers are back to the “drawing board” with the bill. He cited the potential inclusion of a proposal to collect data on racial profiling by police, which is included in the House’s bill.

Scott also said victims and families should be able to sue police departments and cities but added that there should be a “moat around the officer” to protect them from civil liability. 

“If they don’t come to the table with that type of concessions made, that means that they’re more interested in winning elections than they are in police reform,” he said. “The good news is the folks I’ve spoken to over the last three or four days are all at the table and they’re all Democrats who are interested in getting to a yes.”

Floyd’s death after a white officer, who has since been fired, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes led to eruptions of protests that rocked cities across the country in which demonstrators called for police reform

In response, the House passed a large police reform bill last month, which the GOP-majority Senate has not taken up.

President Trump also signed an executive order in June that prioritized federal funding for police departments that emphasize de-escalation tactics and ban chokeholds except when the officer’s life is in danger. 

Tags demonstrations Donald Trump George Floyd George Floyd death George Floyd protests GOP police reform legislation Karen Bass police reform Protests Qualified immunity Racial profiling Tim Scott William Barr

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