Cindy Hyde Smith

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., seen at a debate with Democrat Mike Espy, prevailed and has to run again in 2020 for a full term.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde- Smith (R-Miss.) decried Democrats’ decision to deny Senate debate on significant police reform legislation, asserting that blocking the bill leaves the nation with “irresponsible demands to defund the police, destruction of public property and violence.” 

One week after the introduction of the JUSTICE Act (S.3985), Democrats blocked a procedural vote to begin debate on the bill. The legislation incorporates broad bipartisan reforms to restore public trust by improving community safety through police training reforms and greater law enforcement accountability. 

“I’m ready to take up this legislation if and when the Democrats choose to do the right thing for our nation,” Hyde-Smith said. “I am disappointed that given the chance to back up a lot of big talk about reform and change, Senate Democrats decided to simply stop the debate. Instead of deliberating and amending a strong bill to implement public safety changes the American people believe are needed, we will get nothing. 

“We’re missing an opportunity to work together to help bind the nation together. By refusing to even consider a debate, Senate Democrats leave the American people with irresponsible demands to defund the police, destruction of public property, and violence.” 

Hyde-Smith, an original cosponsor of the JUSTICE Act, was prepared to file an amendment authorizing a report on the officer training at law enforcement training academies, as well as a demonstration program for standardization of training at these academies. 

Authored by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the bill would expand reporting, transparency in hiring and training for de-escalation. It also incorporates bipartisan measures, such as Closing the Law Enforcement Consent Loophole Act, National Criminal Justice Commission Act, Justice for Victims of Lynching, Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act and Reauthorization of COPS program. 

Earlier this month, Hyde- Smith cosponsored Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) resolution (S.Res.613), which calls for justice for George Floyd and opposes calls to defund the police. Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blocked consideration of the measure. 

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