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Michigan Senators Introduce Bills Addressing Police Reform

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​Murder of George Floyd helped spur bipartisan legislation that would require updated use-of-force policies, lawmakers say.

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A State Senate committee is scheduled to take up a package of police reform bills this week.  

Democratic Sen. Stephanie Chang of Detroit announced the package with Republican Sen. Roger Victory of Hudsonville. They are the ranking members of the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, which will begin hearings on the legislation. 

The bipartisan bills unveiled Tuesday would require updated use-of-force policies and make changes designed to hold police accountable for misconduct a year after the slaying of George Floyd in Minnesota. 

Among them, each law enforcement agency would have to adopt a use-of-force policy and require an officer to exhaust all other alternatives before using deadly force.  

This situation has opened the eyes of so many people, not only the people who have post-traumatic stress for being an African American in this country, but also many others because we have the opportunity to see with our own eyes, what really goes on when it comes to communities of color.” —Democratic State Sen. Sylvia Santana of Detroit   

The Senate legislation would also let a state agency revoke the license of an officer who has used excessive force causing death or serious injuries. The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards also would be required to develop guidelines for independent investigations of officer-involved deaths. 

Democratic State Sen. Sylvia Santana of Detroit says Floyd’s death a year ago helped develop bipartisan support for the legislation.  

This situation has opened the eyes of so many people, not only the people who have post-traumatic stress for being an African American in this country, but also many others because we have the opportunity to see with our own eyes, what really goes on when it comes to communities of color,” she said.  

Democratic Sen. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor says this past year of social action has had an effect.  

George Floyd was murdered. We had a summer of activism. And yet our legislature failed to act. But we have another opportunity this year and I’m very excited that we have now introduced a bipartisan package of bills that could improve policing here in the state of Michigan,” he said. 

Michigan is one of 19 states to have not enacted some sort of police reform in the past year.     

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Russ McNamara, Host, All Things Considered

Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He’s been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.

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Dorothy Hernandez is Digital Editor for 101.9 WDET, creating digital editorial content. Her love of radio began when she had a radio show in college when she and her roommate played ‘80s music in the middle of the night.


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