Charlie Baker ‘looks forward’ to signing Massachusetts police reform bill as amended by Senate

Gov. Charlie Baker says he now “looks forward” to signing an amended police reform bill after the Senate passed changes scaling back limitations on law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology and leaving training oversight under the purview of police.
But before it lands on the Republican governor’s desk, the amended bill must now clear the House, where an earlier version passed without a veto-proof majority.
State senators passed the 15-page amendment in a 31-9 vote following a Monday-night session, hours after releasing the redrafted language.
In a statement to reporters, the Baker administration said the Senate proposal “reflects the amendments that the Governor made to the bill two weeks ago.”
“After discussing the governor’s amendments with the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, the Administration believes this package addresses the issues identified by the Governor’s amendments and he looks forward to signing this version should it reach his desk,” said Lizzy Guyton, Baker’s communications director.

State Black and Latino Caucus Chairman Rep. Russell Holmes, D-Boston, told the Herald lawmakers met with Baker last week to hash out a final compromise after the Republican governor returned the bill to the Legislature and threatened a veto.
“The caucus was clear: Don’t mess with our core priorities,” Holmes said.
On the Senate floor on Monday, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz decried a process of “heartbreaking” compromise, but urged advocates to focus on what the bill does.
“This bill will establish the most genuinely powerful civilian-controlled police oversight and certification board in the nation,” she said, referring to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission that will have the authority to certify and decertify police that is the bill’s cornerstone.
In a statement, Senate President Karen Spilka said the bill “is not a magic bullet” and makes “necessary compromises” to avoid a veto.
Much of the “landmark” bill remains intact despite the compromise. It would ban police chokeholds, peels back qualified immunity protections for decertified officers, and creates commissions to study race in law enforcement.
 

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