police accountability bill

Senate to Take Up Police Accountability Bill Today

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The Senate is set to take up the debate over a controversial police accountability bill today.  The 71-page bill passed the House of Representatives after hours of emotional debate last week.

The special session begins in the Senate at 10:30 a.m.  The Police Transparency & Accountability Task Force is holding a meeting and a subcommittee meeting today.  It's unclear when a vote could happen.

The bill calls for more oversight of police in Connecticut.

It includes several items like implicit bias training and an inspector general to review the use of deadly force.

It would also require police departments to store body camera footage for one year, which some said could add a big financial burden to municipalities.

Lawmakers worked into the early hours Friday during a special session and have passed a police accountability bill.

One of the big sticking points in the House was removing a qualified immunity clause that protects individual officers from civil lawsuits.

The House changed that clause to protect the officer unless their action was malicious or reckless. It's the same federal court standard.

"The municipality would still be named in the lawsuit and they would still pay, but the municipality can then go to the officer to collect those damages," said Majority Leader Sen. Bob Duff.

Lawmakers in the state House of Representative voted this morning on an amendment to a police accountability bill that would have kept qualified immunity for officers and it has failed.

The Senate has to vote on the bill as is. They are not able to make changes and send it back to the House because their session ended. If the Senate does not pass it, it's dead.

"The results of this bill and that vote will prioritize all communities in this state or it will fall short of meeting this moment of racial reckoning in our state," said State Treasurer Shawn Wooden.

Republican Len Fasano, the Senate Minority Leader, sent a letter to Democratic leadership requesting a delay in today's vote to give the Attorney General time to look the bill over and make sure it holds up in court. It's unclear if that delay will happen.

If the bill becomes a law, it wouldn't go into effect until July 2021.

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