A Senate committee began hearings Monday on two bills that would affect protests and policing in the state. Senate Bill 60 would create more accountability for police officers. It bans the use of chokeholds, increases penalties for sexual misconduct in the police force, and limits the use of chemical agents. The bill drew support from leaders throughout the state, including organizations like the Fraternal Order of the Police and the Missouri NAACP. The committee also heard Senate Bill 66, which involved people’s rights to protest. It would mean drivers wouldn’t be liable if they hit a protester blocking the street and would prevent towns and cities from defunding the police. Brad Lemon from the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police said the bill would help police maintain control during protests.


While the bill had widespread support, the committee heard dissent from Reverend Darryl Gray, a seasoned protestor and civil rights advocate.


Opponents of the bill saw it as a violation of first amendment rights to assemble and said it wasn’t the way to make protesting more peaceful.