House consolidates dozens of amendments to MA police reform bill

BOSTON — By day two of debate in the house on a sweeping police reform bill, lawmakers filed 217 amendments ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.

“There’s many amendments to go, so right now, it’s one amendment at a time,” Rep. Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge) said.

On Thursday, the house adopted amendments that mandate additional training for law enforcement responding to situations involving people with autism and other intellectual disabilities.

An amendment that would create a permanent commission on the status of Latinos was also adopted.

But an amendment banning the use of tear gas by police was rejected Thursday afternoon.

“If it’s immoral to use on battlefields, then it’s certainly immoral to use to clear a path for a bible photo-op,” Rep. Jack Lewis (D-Framingham) said. “It’s immoral to use on mothers and the mayor of Portland as we saw last night. And it’s immoral to use on protesters in Brockton or anywhere else in our Commonwealth.”

Rep. Connolly filed it in response to its use outside the White House and claims that it was used in Boston and Brockton.

“This is an unwise prohibition on how police can control a violent situation in which deescalation has been attempted, techniques have been exhausted and our officers must protect themselves and the crowd in a non-lethal way,” Rep. Michael S. Day (D-Stoneham) said.

A heated debate over language regarding the standard of evidence to decertify an officer ended in a no-vote of 46 to 113, as lawmakers consolidated 24 amendments dealing with the peace officer standards and training or “post” system.

“Many across the political spectrum have said black lives matter and are saying let black and brown leaders lead, now is the perfect time to demonstrate so,” Rep. Andres Vargas (D-Haverhill) said.

Wednesday, the house approved amendments creating a commission on the status of black men and boys and a ban on no-knock warrants.

Lawmakers who spoke to Boston 25 news say they expect a vote this week after considerable opposition from law enforcement groups saying this bill endangers their safety and public safety, and some advocacy groups and other lawmakers who say this bill doesn’t go far enough.

Gov. Baker files police reform bill, proposal to ban chokeholds