The racial profiling bill – officially titled An Act Concerning Traffic Stop Information and sponsored by Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield – died in the Planning and Development Committee Wednesday.
Holder-Winfield said the legislation would have clarified the Alvin Penn Racial Prohibition Act, which passed in 1999 and requires municipal police departments to report traffic stop data to the state on an annual basis.
The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association said it didn’t necessarily oppose the legislation, but wondered whether the new requirement which says the motorist will get a copy of the form would force them to install printers in their cruisers. They viewed the bill as an unfunded mandate. The Office of Policy and Management opposed the legislation because it didn’t want to have to collect the data.
Only a portion of the police departments have complied with the law for the past 12 years, providing the data to the African-American Affairs Commission that was charged with ascertaining whether racial profiling is occurring.
But the law has been largely ignored and the partial data has not been analyzed or collated. The commission suggests that no funding was ever provided for that effort, but it’s no secret newspapers have volunteered to help the commission collect and compile the data.
Holder-Winfield said the bill died because it deals with race, but Rep. Linda Gentile, co-chairwoman of the committee, said it was defeated because of “technical and procedural obstacles,” not its merits.
The bill wasn’t seconded by any member of the Planning and Development Committee Wednesday outside the hall of the House, but the committee ended up voting on it and defeated it 7-11.
Gentile said that the committee uses Mason’s Rules of Order, which means there’s no need for a bill to be seconded for a vote in committee.
Sources say Republicans were told the bill had already died and were upset to learn voting was taking place on it when there was no debate. The bill was then quietly killed to keep the peace between the two parties, according to sources.
Meanwhile, Holder-Winfield, said he is diligently looking for another bill to use as a vehicle for the legislation.