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Congresswoman Kelly Introduces State Attorneys General Empowerment Act

Press Release

Date: July 23, 2020
Location: Chicago, IL

Congresswoman Robin Kelly has introduced the State Attorneys General Empowerment Act (H.R. 7536), legislation to expand the power of state Attorneys General to investigate and resolve unconstitutional patterns and practices by law enforcement agencies within their states.

"Unconstitutional patterns and practices by law enforcement unfairly strip citizens of their rights and erode police-community trust, a critical element to ensuring public safety," said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. "Tragically, this Administration, particularly under AGs Sessions and Barr, has turned a blind eye to significant abuses by police departments. By refusing to do their jobs, they have hurt our communities and left unconstitutional, unfair and unjust practices unchecked. This is wrong! If the federal government, under President Trump or any President, refuses to step up, our state Attorneys General, the top elected law official in each state, should be empowered to conduct their own critical investigations and take necessary steps to correct these practices."

The legislation was introduced with Congressmen Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD), both members of the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) is also a cosponsor.

The original legislative idea was proposed in a letter to Congressional leaders from Illinois Attorneys General Kwame Raoul and seventeen other state Attorneys General.

"Meaningful police reform means attacking the decades-old, systemic unconstitutional policing in communities around the country, instead of taking a piecemeal approach that seeks to get rid of a few "bad apples.' The status quo is not and has not been working for too long," Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. "In Illinois, I am engaging in conversations with heads of law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to discuss measures that will ensure professionalism, accountability, and transparency within police departments. We also need action at the federal level, which is why it is crucial that Congress supports our state efforts to restore trust between the community and hardworking law enforcement by enacting the real police reform people around Illinois and the nation are demanding."


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