Police accountability legislation advances with Shusterman’s support

PAOLI, July 2 – Two pieces of legislation that aim to reform Pennsylvania’s police force are expected to be signed into law next week, both with support and action from Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery.

Shusterman voted in favor of H.Bs. 1910 and 1841 in the House Judiciary Committee, where they were amended and approved unanimously. She again voted in favor of these bills in the House chamber where they passed unanimously. Both bills also unanimously passed the Senate this week and the governor is expected to sign them into law soon.

Shusterman said that these bills are the most significant police reform measures that Pennsylvania has seen in the last several decades.

“Police accountability and reform bills have been sitting in committees as early as January 2019, so I’m proud to finally see action being taken,” Shusterman said. “These bills would help ensure that our police force is properly trained and equipped to serve every resident of this commonwealth with equal respect and dignity. Too many lives have been lost because of lax policing laws, so I’m proud to see swift, bipartisan support on this extremely important issue.”

Shusterman worked with Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, on his H.B. 1910 which would require officers to undergo training on the use of force, de-escalation techniques, cultural awareness and bias; and amended to include training on trauma-informed care, specifically PTSD. Shusterman’s proposed amendment to establish PTSD evaluations for law enforcement officers who are required to be trained under the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission was adopted in the House Judiciary Committee last month.

“Systemic racism, implicit biases and police brutality are all issues that have gone unaddressed in Pennsylvania for far too long, but passing these bills is a major step toward starting a dialog and saving lives throughout the commonwealth,” Shusterman said.

Shusterman said she intends to co-sponsor each of the remaining 17 bills brought forth by the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus regarding justice reform.

For more information, contact Shusterman’s office at (484) 200-8260.