SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Police reform is in question tonight after Senate Democrats blocked a GOP backed bill in the nation’s capital.
Utah Representative Chris Stewart is still confident the two sides can come together. He says it’s a critical issue he and his colleagues need to take on with urgency.
“I think we are in a generational moment, and I don’t think since the 1960s have we got a moment like we have today where we actually go in and fix some of these problems,” said Stewart, (R) Utah.
Right now there is trouble, a collision course between a Democratic House bill and a GOP Senate bill.
Wednesday, Democrats stopped the bill in the Senate.
“This bill lost because it was woefully inadequate. It never would have passed and McConnell provided no path to improve it,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, (D) New York.
The Minority Leader is calling for bipartisan talks, Stewart is doing the same in the other chamber.
“They won’t allow us to have any input at all to the House bill on police reform, and all we’re asking for is a seat at the table,” said Stewart.
Stewart says he likes the Senate bill, but admits it’s not perfect and he would take it further.
“I think we should just bar chokeholds all together. Whereas Tim Scott’s bill, the Senate bill, just precludes funding, federal funding for any police force that doesn’t,” he said.
Stewart wants to see stricter reporting requirements for use of force and no-knock warrants, and more funding for cameras to documents interactions.
He’s a no on defunding the police, but says there is room for compromise.
“Immunity is an area that I would be willing to compromise. I think we could probably find some language that would satisfy both sides.”
And, despite the Senate setback and the frustration he’s holding on to hope.
“It is going to have to come back to a conference, and I think we’re going to have an opportunity to find a piece of legislation in compromise both sides can support,” said Stewart.