Police Accountability Enacted!
Landmark police accountability legislation is now a reality in our state! With our support, the Maryland General Assembly passed five comprehensive measures to transform the way policing is done throughout the state and make transparent the process of holding officers accountable for misconduct. Governor Hogan vetoed three of the bills on Friday, and on Saturday, the Legislature overrode those vetoes. The Governor allowed the other two bills to go into effect without his signature.
The measures include a new Use of Force policy with significant consequences for excessive force, restrictions on no-knock warrants, independent investigations of police misconduct, disclosure of the results misconduct investigations, and replacement of the obstructive Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights with new procedures for administrative discipline.
SB 71 - Body-Worn Cameras, Employee Programs, and Use of Force
SB 178 - Search Warrants and Inspection of Records Relating to Police Misconduct (Anton's Law)
SB 600 - Surplus Military Equipment and Investigation of Deaths Caused by Police Officers
HB 670 - Police Discipline and Law Enforcement Programs and Procedures
SB 786 – Transfers Control of the Baltimore Police Department to the City
In related news, the General Assembly also overrode the Governor’s veto of SB 494 - Juvenile Restoration Act, a measure that will prohibit imposing a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a juvenile and authorize courts, when sentencing a minor convicted as an adult, to impose a sentence less than the minimum term required under law. It also authorizes an individual convicted as an adult for an offense committed as a minor and who has served 20 years to file a motion to reduce the duration of his/her sentence. Notably, Senator Chris West (R-Baltimore County) gave a moving and eloquent speech in support of override that stressed the need to allow redemption for young offenders.
The UU Legislative Ministry of Maryland thanks the many UUs and allies who contacted their lawmakers in support of what we believe will be a transformational change in state and local government institutions, one that will truly help to make Black Lives Matter in Maryland.