Position: Support Status: United States Senate
This bill addresses a wide range of policies and issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability. It increases accountability for law enforcement misconduct, restricts the use of certain policing practices, enhances transparency and data collection, and establishes best practices and training requirements.
Oregon House cosponsors of HB 1280 were Cong. Bonamici, Blumenauer, and DeFazio. Cong. Schrader voted for the bill but was not a cosponsor.
Oregon Congressman Cliff Bentz voted against the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.
Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are expected to support the bill.
March 3, 2021: Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 220 - 212
The bill enhances existing enforcement mechanisms to remedy violations by law enforcement. Among other things, it does the following:
- lowers the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution,
- limits qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer, and
- grants administrative subpoena power to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in pattern-or-practice investigations.
It establishes a framework to prevent and remedy racial profiling by law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels. It also limits the unnecessary use of force and restricts the use of no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and carotid holds.
The bill creates a national registry—the National Police Misconduct Registry—to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct. It also establishes new reporting requirements, including on the use of force, officer misconduct, and routine policing practices (e.g., stops and searches).
Finally, it directs DOJ to create uniform accreditation standards for law enforcement agencies and requires law enforcement officers to complete training on racial profiling, implicit bias, and the duty to intervene when another officer uses excessive force.