Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted unanimously, passes two police reform proposals

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass two pieces of a police reform proposal Wednesday, June 24.

This comes 24 hours before the 2021 Philadelphia City Council's revised budget announcement.

Thursday, June 25, Philadelphia City Council approved the city's revised 2021 budget in 14 to 3 vote which includes a $33.3 million reduction in Philadelphia's police budget.

State Representative Jordan Harris of the 186th Legislative District views the passing of two police reform bills as a win for Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia.

"Well I think today which you saw was a historic move in the Pennsylvania house," said Harris. "Where one looks at ensuring that we look at the mental health of our police officers."

Harris says many police officers see a lot of horrific things daily and it's extremely important that their mental health is checked.

"The second bill looks to create a database so that when police officers get misconduct charges, those things follow them," said Harris.

Harris believes the passing of these bills is critical when addressing police reform.

"Far too often, we see police officers from jump district to district, and there's no record of the misconducts that they had in the department they were with before," said Harris. "So this bill creates that database so that when a police department is hiring an officer, that officer has misconducts at other departments, this gives the hiring department the information."

Harris also states if that specific department decides to hire that police officer, they have to fill out an official document that explains why they're hiring an officer that has prior misconducts attached to them.

With talks surrounding defunding the city's police department, Harris believes there are other strategic methods to address gun violence in Philadelphia.

"There's a misnomer that policing communities stop gun violence or stops crime," said Harris. "The fact is police may help solve the crime but the truth of the matter is that we've seen that investments in education, diversionary programs, and recreation activities are the true way to stop crime in our communities."

Tuesday, The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed the two pieces of police reform bill. In just 15 days, police reform legislation has moved through the House and Senate.

The next step Harris says is awaiting Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's signature into law.

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