South Dakota lawmakers discuss police reform legislation

Rep. Dusty Jonson (R-SD) voted against the 'Justice in Policing Act' drafted by Democrats.....
Rep. Dusty Jonson (R-SD) voted against the 'Justice in Policing Act' drafted by Democrats.. The House of Representatives passed the police reform package Thursday mostly along party lines. (Source: Gray DC) (GRAYDC)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 8:06 PM CDT
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With a vote mostly along party lines Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the ‘Justice in Policing Act’, a police reform package drafted by Democrats.

This comes one day after Democrats blocked competing legislation in the Senate.

“This is not the time for half measures, it’s not the time for further study, it’s not the time for sham, fake reform,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in a press conference before the vote.

The House reform proposal would create federal mandates, reform qualified immunity, and create a police misconduct registry. But South Dakota lawmakers are not on board with the bill.

“The bottom line is, Pelosi’s bill is going to make it much more difficult for us to recruit and train much need law-enforcement officers,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD). “It goes too far, there is another way.”

Rep. Dusty Johnson voted against the legislation saying he would prefer a balance between reform and government overreach. He says he’s for investing in police de-escalation training and initiatives to recruit people of color.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), who favors reform through police training and oversight, says he does not anticipate forward movement on the topic anytime soon. He also says these issues cannot be eradicated through acts of Congress alone.

“Racism is wrong, and it needs to be changed,” said Rounds. “But it is going to take more than simply passing a law. It’s going to take changing the hearts of people across this country.”

The bill will now move to the Senate where it’s not expected to progress.

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