Arizona Democrats request special session on coronavirus, police reform

Jun 25, 2020, 4:05 AM
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Capitol Museum)...
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Capitol Museum)
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Capitol Museum)

PHOENIX — Arizona Senate and House Democrats on Wednesday called for a special session to forward policy proposals regarding the coronavirus pandemic and police reform.

“We can’t keep waiting for the governor to take action,” Democrats stated in a press release.

“As elected leaders, it is our duty to look out for and protect the people of Arizona. This is especially critical as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic that is only getting worse.”

To alleviate economic hardship caused by the spread of COVID-19, Arizona Democrats are proposing an increase in unemployment benefits, an extension on the eviction moratorium for renters, federally-funded child care subsidies and a bolstering of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Democrats are proposing that child care subsidies and the TANF expansion be funded by allocating funds via the federal coronavirus relief bill.

The party is also calling for a small businesses grant fund and a bill of rights for Arizona workers as well as increased funding for education, medical workers and medical facilities.

Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Doug Ducey announced $850 million would be allocated to Arizona schools from the the coronavirus relief bill. Roughly $270 million will help schools implement reopening strategies during the upcoming academic year.

Regarding police reform, the Democratic Party proposals are intended to increase law enforcement accountability and decrease the likelihood of fatal altercations when officers interact with the public.

Democrats want law enforcement personnel to receive additional training on cultural sensitivity and deescalation tactics as well be being required to wear cameras that have the capacity to record audio in addition to video.

The party also believes in implementing limited qualified immunity for officers and stated there should be a public database whereby citizens can find the discipline records of all law enforcement personnel.

When use-of-force investigations are conducted, the proposal said that outside oversight should be conducted by both an outside jurisdiction and county attorney.

Earlier this month, the Phoenix City Council passed a budged that included $3 million for a civilian oversight board of the Phoenix Police Department.

Councilman Carlos Garcia had proposed the plan for a civilian review board, which the Council voted to adopt in February.

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Arizona Democrats request special session on coronavirus, police reform