The NCSL Blog


By Amber Widgery

State lawmakers across the country have moved swiftly to address issues related to policing in the wake of recent fatal police interactions across the country.

database keyboard imageSince May 25, 2020, 18 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have introduced 166 bills or executive orders addressing law enforcement issues.

Using NCSL’s new Legislative Responses for Policing State Bill Tracking Database you can track bills as they progress through state legislatures across the US and keep track of new proposals.

Measures have addressed law enforcement oversight and data collection, training, standards, certification, law enforcement technology, policing alternatives, use of force and more.

The Democratic-led Colorado Legislature was one of the first to act, introducing comprehensive legislation on June 3 that passed both chambers just eight days later. The measure, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and the support of law enforcement including the Fraternal Order of Police, is expected to be signed by Governor Jared Polis (D).

East of Colorado, the Republican-led Iowa Legislature also moved rapidly to address these critical issues. Legislation introduced on June 11, was enacted with unanimous votes in both houses and signed by Governor Kim Reynolds (R) on June 12. The measure also had the support of the Iowa State Police Association, which is the largest police association in the state.

Majority Leader Matt Windschitl (R) said that in the 14 years he’s been a legislator, he's "never seen a bill be run simultaneously through both chambers that was introduced on one day, run through committee on the same day and it's going to go to the governor's desk tonight."

Representative Ross Wilburn (D) noted that this legislation was an “important first step.”

New York lawmakers have also enacted legislation establishing an Office of Special Investigation and addressing other issues such as use of force, disciplinary records, and rendering medical attention to persons in police custody.

Amber Widgery is a program principal in NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.