Virginia Senate Dems to House on Stripping Qualified Immunity: Not So Fast

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to pass by indefinitely and create a joint House-Senate sub-Committee to further discuss a bill to end the qualified immunity defense for law enforcement. 

The motion to pass by indefinitely was agreed to by a vote of 12-Y 3-N with six Democratic Senators voting alongside their Republican peers on the prevailing side. 

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House Revives and Passes Bill Ending Qualified Immunity for Virginia Law Enforcement Officers

The House on Tuesday reconsidered and passed House Bill 5013, a controversial measure that allows law enforcement officers to be held liable in court for actions taken while on duty without qualified immunity as a defense.

The bill was originally defeated by the House on Friday (47-Y 48-N 3-A) with several Democrats opposing their party to vote in opposition. The bill was also defeated last Monday in the Appropriations Committee before being reconsidered and advanced.

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Bill to End Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers Defeated in House Appropriations Committee

Delegates in the House Committee on Appropriations voted against a bill Monday that removed qualified immunity for law enforcement officers, making them liable to lawsuits. 

The Bill, HB 5013, sponsored by Del. Bourne (D-Richmond City), was defeated in Committee after failing to get enough votes to advance to the House floor.

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Virginia Lawmakers Consider Removing Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers in Special Session

The Virginia legislature is considering laws that would remove qualified immunity for law enforcement officers.

On August 13, Democrats in the House announced a list of items they will introduce into the legislature’s Special Session.

Among these items is the “[elimination of] qualified immunity for law enforcement officers.”

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Virginia House Democrats to Introduce Legislation ‘Demilitarizing Police Departments,’ Ending Qualified Immunity, and More During Special Session

Virginia’s legislature will meet in a Special Session on August 18, and House Democrats are eyeing new laws and regulations that will place tighter regulations on Virginia police departments and officers.

In a statement released today, the House Democrats listed a myriad of points (detailed at the end of the article) they hope to address by introducing new legislation during the Special Session.

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Virginia Lawmakers Consider Removing Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers

The Virginia legislature is considering laws that would remove qualified immunity for law enforcement officers.

The proposed legislation would remove protection for police officers that prevents individuals from suing an officer in civil court under certain circumstances.

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66 Percent of Americans Believe Civilians Should Have the Power to Sue Police for Using Excessive Force: Poll

More than 60% of Americans support allowing people to sue police officers for using excessive force against assailants, even if such a move makes the job of police work more difficult, according to a survey published Thursday.

Two-thirds of the public believe civilians should be able to level lawsuits if police officers are engaging in misconduct, a Pew Research Center survey showed. Law enforcement officers are protected through qualified immunity, a doctrine protecting them from civil liability unless they commit clear violations of law.

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