The House passed their version (H.4860) of the Senate’s police reform bill (S.2820) on Friday. Key reforms include improving accountability by instituting a certification and decertification process and an oversight commission, limiting qualified immunity in cases where an officer is decertified, limiting the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, chokeholds, and facial recognition technology, and requiring officers to certify that no children or elderly people are at home before being issued a No-Knock warrant.
Now the bill goes back to the Senate for reconcilation, because there are major differences between the Senate bill and the House bill that must be negotiated before they can send anything to the Governor. While that is going on, I thought it might be worthwhile to talk through how you can find out how your Rep voted.
Often bills and amendments thereto are passed by “voice vote” which means that no individual legislator’s vote is recorded, but H.4860 was afforded a slightly more transparent process wherein some of the amendments and the final bill were voted on via Roll Call. This means you can find out exactly where your legislator stands, if you know how to look for it.
First, you really need to know the bill number. You can do a text search of bills on the State House website, but if you don’t know exactly how the subject has been phrased in the title, you might not get there. One of the things I pledge is to always link bill discussions to the official legislative webpage where the bill text, sponsors, and history can be found. For now, you can find H.4860, along with the amendments, at the following link: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H4860
If you want to know how your legislator voted, you’ll need to do some digging. When the Senate votes via Roll Call, you can usually find those votes linked in from the bill history. But when the House does it, the Roll Call is described as something like,”See YEA and NAY in Supplement, No. 226″ and there isn’t a clear direction for how to find this Supplement. On the “Amendments” on that page, these #s are described simply as “Roll Call” with the #. So in the following graphic, I’m providing a handy cheat-sheet to the Roll Call numbers for key amendments, so you can look for yourself to see how your State Rep voted.
Simply open the House Journal page and type the the Roll Call # into the search bar: https://malegislature.gov/Journal/House. This should trigger the automatic download of a PDF listing the individual votes. Note: Votes are indicated on the left of the Rep’s name.
For the record, I would have voted Yes for the whole bill, Yes to ban no-knock warrants, Yes to ban tear gas, and Yes to ensure that municipalities have transparent, recorded votes when the local police department gets military equipment.
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