|NEAC Family, |
Yesterday, the Massachusetts House and Senate Conference Committee reached a compromise on the two versions of the comprehensive police reform bills which had passed their respective chambers. The compromised bill will now go back to both chambers for a final vote, then to the governor for final approval.
The approved compromised package addresses many of the issues NEAC had advocated for and it goes a long way to provide greater accountability of police and to create an environment to address systemic racism in law enforcement and the action of rogue police against Black citizens.
One matter of disappointment is that the Senate’s version of Qualified Immunity was not adopted. It as the stronger of the two versions and it would have provided more accountability of police and greater protection of citizens. The police interests fought the hardest to prevent the changes in Qualified Immunity of any measure in the reform package, which means that was likely the measure which would have ensured greatest accountability of police.
During my tenure as president of NEAC, the police reform legislation and the Student Opportunity Act have been the two pieces of legislation in which NEAC, and I personally, have been the most engaged and advocated the hardest for. Even though our preferred version of Qualified Immunity was not adopted, the compromised package represents a major victory for the interests of police accountability and Black citizens’ protection from racist and lawless police.
Please take the time to read the Boston Globe coverage of the compromised package adoption by the legislative conference committee. The link is below. https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/11/30/metro/lawmakers-unveil-police-reform-compromise-after-months-secret-negotiations/
Peace and Good Health,