The Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of 150 Black organizations, announced a sweeping legislative proposal on Tuesday to reform policing and address systemic racism — offering a more progressive approach than the legislation House Democrats approved last month.
The proposed bill would abolish the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as other federal programs and agencies “used to finance and expand the U.S. criminal-legal system,” according to a summary of the measure.
Organizers said they hope to have it introduced in Congress before the August recess.
The proposal is unlikely to become law. Given its progressive priorities and wide scope, it is expected to face opposition from key groups of lawmakers in Congress, such as moderate and mainstream Democrats in the House, not mention Republicans in the GOP-led Senate.
Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts have said they support the effort, but neither of them has announced plans to sponsor the measure.
Tlaib said during a virtual presser on Tuesday that she is “committed to fully engaging with this legislation seriously, and with a sense of urgency.”
“In this historic moment, it is critical that we listen to and trust the leadership of black activists around the country,” she said.
A spokesperson for Pressley told CNN the congresswoman “joins Movement for Black Lives in their calls for legislation at all levels of government to respond to this moment in time, dismantle systemic racism and the over-policing and underinvestment in Black communities.”
Pressley is having conversations with the Movement for Black Lives and her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus about timing, sequencing and legislative strategy regarding the effort, according to a person familiar with the talks.
Last month, in the wake of widespread anti-racism protests following the deaths of several Black Americans at the hands of police officers, House Democrats passed policing legislation that included provisions to overhaul “qualified immunity” for law enforcement, prohibitions on racial profiling by law enforcement and a ban on no-knock warrants in federal drug cases.
The proposal unveiled Tuesday would ban the use of “predictive policing,” facial recognition technologies and drones. The use of ankle monitors, smartphone applications and any other tool used to track location would also be prohibited. The measure would end civil asset forfeiture, abolish mandatory minimum sentencing laws, end life sentences, repeal federal laws that criminalize border entry and decriminalize drug offenses.
The proposal would also require development of a plan “to close all federal prisons and immigration detention centers.”
The measure seeks to incentivize localities to remove school resource officers, armed security, metal detectors and other surveillance equipment from schools.
It lays out grant programs to promote progressive priorities in states, including environmental justice efforts and expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act without work requirements.
The proposed bill includes a measure from Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas that would establish a commission to study reparation proposals for Black Americans. It would also establish commissions to design reparations programs for mass criminalization “including the War on Drugs, the criminalization of prostitution, and police violence,” among other concerns.
The proposed legislation would also restore voting rights to all formerly and currently incarcerated people in federal elections.