Police Reform: Senate in Work Sessions, House Has Wave of Bills

With police reforms being among the most high-profile topics expected to mass out of this General Assembly session – what are the bills in play, and where do they stand? Here’s a quick update.

Police reform has gathered the national attention since multiple deaths at the hands of officers elevated the tenor and debate – pushing action in many cities and States. Maryland’s General Assembly has been working toward advancing multiple bills this session since the fall, and many bills are now past their hearings, and into the less clear process of stakeholder negotiations, informal work groups, and full Committee-level work sessions.

Senate Committee Holding Open Work Sessions

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has been holding open air (for remote viewers) voting sessions, with a wave of amendments being offered and debated – that actually work and feel more like a “work session” than a conventional voting session. The next voting session is scheduled for 6pm Monday, and will be live streamed through the General Assembly’s YouTube channel.

Visit this link (and scroll down to the Judicial Proceedings Committee, look for the miniature camera link when the meeting is live around 6pm) to watch the Committee discussions, which will surely continue to focus substantially on SB 627, a broad proposed change to police discipline laws.

House Hearings Mostly Wrapped, Work Ahead on Multiple Bills

The House has a wide range of proposals pending, including the Speaker’s “repeal and replace” bill on police discipline laws and multiple other topics, but a range of other narrower bills targeting specific components of social justice advocates’ priorities.

For a comparison, and context, for these multiple bills, Conduit Street commends the coverage on Maryland Matters, which details the facets of each bill along with the political backing behind the various proposals (most of which are in the House of Delegates, but also including certain Senate bills), including these topics:

Re-establishing local control of the Baltimore Police Department

Limiting no-knock warrants

Giving more teeth to the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission

Independent investigations

Use of force

The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights

Read the thorough coverage on Maryland Matters, courtesy of reporter Hannah Gaskill.


Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties