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Senate Considers Bill Preventing Cities From Being Able To Defund Their Police

Four years following nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality, with activists advocating to "defund the police," #Arizona is taking legislative steps to prevent such measures within the state. A bill currently under consideration by the state Senate seeks to prohibit cities and towns from reducing their #police operating budgets below the previous year's levels. Should a city reduce police funding, the state treasurer would withhold an equivalent amount of state funds from the city until the cuts are reversed.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. David Marshall from Snowflake, emphasizes the bill as a preventative measure against the defunding movement, citing crime increases in cities that have reduced police budgets. Although no Arizona cities have attempted to defund their police departments, Marshall describes the bill as proactive, designed to address issues before they arise. The bill, similar to a previous session's attempt but with minor adjustments, allows some flexibility for cities facing specific financial constraints.

Critics argue the bill threatens local governance by undermining the autonomy of cities to manage their budgets according to their needs. Concerns are raised about the potential requirement for across-the-board budget cuts in other departments if police funding is reduced. Supporters, however, argue it is necessary to maintain public safety and deter crime. The bill is moving forward to the full Senate for consideration, highlighting a continuing debate over police funding and the balance between state oversight and local control.

We vehemently oppose this legislative move, which not only stifles local autonomy but also perpetuates the status quo of over-policing and underinvestment in marginalized communities.

Link: AZ Mirror 


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