This week, I had the honor to introduce two new bills. I look forward to providing updates as we work to pass and forward them to the Senate. Your questions and concerns are welcome as you keep up with these two legislation!
Rejecting Military Models In Peace Execution
Bill HF 487 will prohibit local law enforcement from accepting military-grade equipment from the federal government. This is an important first step to move us away from a military model for our peace officers. This is a bill that is being sponsored by Sen. Marty on the senate side. It prohibits local and municipal law enforcement agencies from acquiring military grade weapons from Pentagon’s 1033 program. The 1033 program began in 1997 and allows the Department of Defense to get rid of excess equipment by passing it off to local authorities, who only have to pay for the cost of shipping. A lot of the equipment local law enforcement get are very standard- clothing, tools, radio, etc. That’s why this bill was specifically targeting military-grade equipment, items like rifles, armored vehicles and grenade launchers.
The militarization of our police has been going for far too long. Sending a heavily armed team of officers to perform “normal” police work can dangerously escalate situations that do not need to involve violence, and the use of military equipment is too often paralleled by a corresponding change in attitude whereby police conceive of themselves as “at war” with communities rather than as public servants concerned with keeping their communities safe. This law would be an important first step in moving our police forces back to being “peace officers” rather than at war with the community.
Extended Equity Stripping Protections
The second bill, HF 418, aims to increase protections around equity stripping for people who are facing foreclosures or are overdue on their property tax. Equity stripping is a scam where a “real estate investor” offer the desperate homeowner a "miracle refinancing" and/or say they can "save the home" from foreclosure.They buy the home, and then rent the property back to the prior owner, often at a much higher rate than the original mortgage.
The original equity stripping bill didn’t cover individuals who owed back taxes; this new bill makes sure that even those with tax debt are protected from equity stripping. This is an especially important bill, because we know that many folks during the COVID-19 pandemic have struggled to stay on top of their mortgage and/or property tax payments.