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► Senate Republicans have finally countered a police reform plan put forth by the House of Representatives. It’s a bit light.
Senate Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a policing reform bill that would discourage, but not ban, tactics such as chokeholds and no-knock warrants, offering a competing approach to legislation being advanced by House Democrats that includes more directives from Washington.
The Republican proposal, which Senate leaders said would be considered on the floor next week, veers away from mandating certain policing practices, as the Democratic plan does.
Instead, it encourages thousands of local police and law enforcement agencies to curtail practices such as chokeholds and certain no-knock warrants by withholding federal funding to departments that allow the tactics or do not submit reports related to them.
The legislation also requires local law enforcement agencies to report all officer-involved deaths to the FBI — an effort pushed by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who is spearheading the GOP bill, since 2015 — and it encourages broader use of body-worn cameras for officers.
On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order outlining new policies to deal with police brutality — as he offered effusive praise for law enforcement officials. From CNN:
Speaking during a discursive noontime event in the Rose Garden, Trump initially sought to adopt a unifying tone as he announced an executive order that, among other steps, creates a federal database of police officers with a history of using excessive force.
But later he veered from that topic and that tone to assault his political rivals and tout the stock market’s recent rally.
It was a performance that laid bare the balance Trump faces as he continues to embrace a hard line “law and order” mantle, which he believes benefits him politically, even as he confronts a national reckoning over systemic racism in police departments and outcry over violent police tactics.
Don’t feel bad: We also had to look up the meaning of “discursive.”
Denver7 looks at how Trump’s executive order compares to legislation passed in Colorado over the weekend:
“The federal executive order is more of a guideline,” said Andre Andeli, a lecturer in the criminal justice and criminology department at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
► As The New York Times reports, China is shutting things down again as a new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading through the country:
With a fresh outbreak of coronavirus infections tied to a market — 137 cases after an additional 31 were reported on Wednesday — Beijing has started living through a milder, and so far limited, version of the disruptive restrictions that China enforced earlier this year to stifle its first tidal wave of infections. Residents in the capital have been sharply reminded that even in China — with its array of authoritarian powers — the virus can leap back to life, triggering new rounds of limits on their lives.
The new outbreak in Beijing has brought embarrassment and a tough response from the Chinese Communist Party. Officials had been proud to the point of gloating in recent weeks about their success in stifling the pandemic in the country. Now the virus is back.
Here in the United States, Texas, Florida, and Arizona set new records for daily COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence says not to worry…so, yeah, you should probably start to worry a little.
► The Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate held their final pre-Primary debate on Tuesday. As The Denver Post reports:
Racial justice was a big topic during the debate, given the protests that have been taking place on the streets of Denver and multiple other cities following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who was pinned by the neck under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee.
Both candidates conceded that they had not done enough to address the issue during their time in politics. Hickenlooper said despite efforts to reform police conduct in Denver when he was mayor of the city during the 2000s, “we didn’t go far enough and I regret that.”
Romanoff echoed those sentiments, saying “none of us have done enough.”
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
Now Only Partially Coronavirus-Related…
► POLITICO features Colorado in a story about how to responsibly re-open your state after a COVID-19 outbreak.
► The Denver Post reports on a significant piece of legislation signed by Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday that may have gotten lost in today’s bonkers news atmosphere:
Thousands of Colorado state employees will now be able to negotiate their pay, benefits and workplace conditions after Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill expanding their union powers Tuesday.
One day after the legislative session ended, Polis signed House Bill 1153, which passed earlier this month and was sent to his desk last week.
The bill will allow the employees to collectively bargain through their union. Previously, Colorado was one of 14 states where state employees couldn’t negotiate their pay and benefits. Polis expressed his support for the bill when it was announced in January after opposing a similar bill last year.
Colorado Workers for Innovative and New Solutions, the union representing more than 28,000 state employees, called the bill a win after a 12-year fight to allow collective bargaining with the state, helping to address issues of systemic inequality for workers who have traditionally been excluded from the right to organize.
► It was inevitable that someone was going to be shot by a gun-toting, “Call of Duty” cosplay “militia” member in the United States. That’s what happened in New Mexico on Monday. In the wake of that shooting, the Colorado Springs Independent takes a look at the people behind the “Call of Duty” gear in their neck of the woods.
► According to a new report, the United States could see 500,000 fewer births next year because of the coronavirus recession. It even has a catchy nickname: “Covid Baby Bust.”
The United States Justice Department Donald Trump’s personal law firm is suing to block the forthcoming release of a new book from former National Security Adviser John Bolton that may be unflattering for President Trump. If the goal here was to help Bolton sell more books, then this stunt is probably going to work really well.
► Colorado Public Radio considers whether the Black Lives Matter protests will translate into a bunch of new active voters in November.
► The director of the Centers for Disease Control appears to have played a significant role in lowering health safety guidelines at a meat processing plant in Greeley, which saw numerous workers infected with COVID-19 (including several deaths).
► 9News does a “Truth Test” on Sen. Cory Gardner’s attack ad against Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper. Unfortunately, 9News doesn’t get to the bottom of why there are so many crunched-up tissues all over the place.
► The Colorado Springs Independent follows up on an investigation into Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) in his role as State Republican Party Chairman.
► Republican Casper Stockham, a perennial candidate now running for Congress in CO-7, appears to regularly shift campaign funds into a business he owns.
► Alcohol takeout and delivery will be legal in Colorado for at least another year.
► Plagiarism is bad, mm-kay?
► The State of Colorado released additional COVID-19 safety guidelines. The gist of the new information is this: You should probably avoid bars and gyms. Do your drinking and exercising at home.
► You probably missed this (we definitely missed it), but there was some significant political movement in West Virginia last week. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:
Last Tuesday in West Virginia, something remarkable happened: 10(!) sitting Republican state legislators — including the state Senate president and a former House majority leader — lost in primaries.
That’s a stunning number — especially when you consider that Republicans control a total of 78 seats in the state House (58) and state Senate (20). A little math reveals that almost 13% of all Republicans in the West Virginia state legislature appear to have lost their seats a week ago. (Absentee and provisional ballots are still being counted, but are not expected to overturn any of the results.) In the state Senate, three Republican incumbents were defeated as compared to seven who won their primaries. (Only half of the state’s 34 state Senate seats are on the ballot in 2020.)…
…But it’s also worth noting that none of the 13 Democrats in the state House and state Senate who were seeking re-nomination lost. So what happened last Tuesday doesn’t appear to be solely about throwing the bums (of both parties) out.
► Colorado jury trials have been delayed until August because of coronavirus.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► President Trump said on Tuesday that former President Obama never did anything to address police brutality in the United States. This is…not at all true.
► Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-disease expert in the United States, hasn’t talked with President Trump about the coronavirus outbreak in at least two weeks.
► Just standing around yelling, ‘Yay America!’ isn’t going to be enough for Republican candidates in 2020.
► Solid work here:
Narrated by Sir David Attenborough #TrumpIsNotWell
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) June 16, 2020
► In the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, polling guru and poker shark Andrew Baumann explains everything you ever wanted to know about political polling.
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