Early Tuesday morning, ten (10) State Senators stood bravely apart from the hurriedly formed, submitted and rushed-to-vote Senate bill S.2800. The votes cast do not detract or reject police reform, but rather focuses our attention on reforms that are sound, attainable, and well- reasoned. We wish to extend our thanks to Senators Collins, DiZoglio, Fattman, Gobi, Moore, O Connor, Rush, Tarr, Tran, and Velis for their commitment to drafting and passing meaningful and well-thought legislation.
There has been some confusion about what is a present vote. Voting present is not a vote in favor of the bill. While it is not as strong an opposition as a nay vote, it does allow for the Senator to preserve their support and advocacy for those amendments that were accepted and incorporated into the bill that are favorable to law enforcement. It is a way to express both support and opposition to comprehensive legislation like this, which tackles a number of complicated issues and was adopted abruptly. Lastly, voting present in no way diminishes the Senator s standing or ability to fight passionately on critical issues within the bill such as qualified immunity and due process, especially if such topics are a part of the future conference committee.
We again extend our utmost thanks for those courageous few and look forward to seeing positive future legislation on police reform. The bill now moves on to the House, where we also expect they will introduce their own bill dealing with police reform. We ultimately expect a conference committee to be formed between the House and Senate to reach a consensus on the legislation before the final version is sent to the Governor.
Secretary, State Police Association of Massachusetts