WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas federal lawmakers are weighing in on what they think of the Justice in Policing Act.
There has been quite a bit of talk from politicians about police reform in the last few weeks and Kansas congressmen have varying opinions about the bill.
The legislation includes changes that civil rights advocates have long been pushing for.
Some politicians said they’re on the fence while others are against some items.
“I’m a heck no,” said Rep. Roger Marshall. “I’m the son of a police chief in El Dorado for 25 years. I’m always going to see this problem through the eyes of the son of a police officer.”
Marshall said he has issues with the qualified immunity aspect of the bill.
Qualified immunity is a controversial standard that protects police officers from being sued for alleged misconduct.
The legislation would make it easier for people to file civil lawsuits against officers, something Rep. Marshall does not agree with.
“I just had a nice visit with the sheriff officers yesterday across Kansas,” said Rep. Marshall. “The day before and the police chiefs across Kansas. They’re very adamant that they need this qualified immunity to be able to recruit qualified officers and to keep officers. If this legislation would become a law, we would have a mass exodus from our police and sheriff’s offices. Any legislation that has this qualified immunity in, I’m a big no on that.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Ron Estes said he understands the public’s outcry for change.
“It’s a terrible thing, the terrible killing of George Floyd and that shouldn’t have happened,” said Rep. Estes. “It should never happen and it’s appearing the officer there probably shouldn’t have been in that role based on previous problems and previous complaint.”
Rep. Estes said politicians need to come to a compromise.
“We need to work together; Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate and come up with something that we can pass,” said Rep. Estes. “Right now, passing a bill that is not going to get taken up in the Senate, the President already said he’s not gonna sign it, that doesn’t make things better because that doesn’t become law.”