WASHINGTON (WTRF) – Senate Democrats blocked a Republican-backed police reform bill from moving forward this afternoon, as lawmakers reached an impasse over how to respond to weeks of protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
The GOP bill, known as the JUSTICE Act, failed to move forward even with a majority vote of 55 to 45. Sixty votes were needed to begin debate on the measure. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was one of two Democrats to join Republican senators in voting to proceed with the legislation.
The Republican backed bill, spearheaded by Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, would require increased reporting of use of force by police officers and no-knock warrants, provide grants for law enforcement to be equipped with body cameras and require departments to maintain and share officer disciplinary records.
It also would establish several commissions, including one studying the conditions affecting black men and boys and one reviewing best practices for police departments. Three of our four local senators are upset that this bill did not pass.
“I think all the people who are really crying out for change and help are going to be really disappointed with this result,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
Senator Capito’s Democrat colleague from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, says he voted yes on the JUSTICE ACT “to start debate in the Senate on police reform legislation because I believe we can no longer turn a blind eye to racial injustice.” Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman also voted in favor of the legislation.
Meanwhile, the Buckeye State’s Democrat senator Sherrod Brown voted against it, saying we need to “take real action.”