Sen. Tim Scott says it will be “a few more weeks” before police reform bill text finished
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Sen. Tim Scott says his group of lawmakers are still working on solidifying the language for the federal bipartisan police reform bill. He says the bill will be ready in a matter of weeks rather than days.
“We are very close to alignment on four or five big issues but we still have work to do on those last two big issues - no-knock warrants, chokeholds - and we are still working on those small but really important issues as well,” he said.
Scott says he has already spoken to a lot of local groups, including the SC Sheriff’s Association, about the bill and is now focusing on hearing from federal officials.
“The deeper I dive into this the more I appreciate how slow this sausage-making process is,” Scott said.
Sen. Scott also said his group has come to broad agreements on some topics, but still needs to refine points on other important issues.
“I think we’ve landed that plane on the military equipment transfers. We’re still debating that list. We are still working on issues around mental health whether that’s PTSD for the officer, whether that’s a 2-2-1 type system for a response from the community or co-responders. Those are buckets of the overall legislation that has been presented to us that we are still working through,” Scott said.
When asked about the infrastructure bill that would reportedly bring billions of dollars into South Carolina to improve the state’s roads, bridges, and expand access to broadband, Sen. Scott didn’t answer on how he’d vote.
“There are 27-hundred pages to read through so not only should we think about what we should do for the state but what we are doing to the state,” he said.
He explained he is concerned about what such a large bill would do to the country’s economy.
“There’s a lot more money than we’ve seen in my lifetime being printed to cover these costs. I know I’m a young dude but at the end of the day that’s a whole lot of money and a lot of it is unpaid for,” he said.
Sen. Scott said adding to the deficit now is different because the big-ticket bills he supported during the Trump administration were voted on in the midst of a pandemic.
“It’s because of the five packages where at least 90 senators voted for it that we are not in a crisis today. So, passing more spending now when we are not in a crisis? That is irresponsible,” he said.
On the issue of mask and vaccine requirements for businesses, the Senator said as a former business owner himself he wouldn’t make any decisions for them.
“I will simply say that getting everyone in our community vaccinated should be our priority. Mandating is not our question. It’s very simple the higher the vaccination the fewer variants you’ll have,” he said. “In the end, we need to have the highest percentage of folks vaccinated possible.”
However, the Senator did not want to weigh in on the debate about masking in South Carolina schools.
“I don’t know that to be the case,” he said when asked if he believes mandating masks for all students, regardless of vaccination status, would keep children safe this school year.
On his recent comments that Democrats have “weaponized” race, Scott elaborated what he meant by that term.
“When you look at all the challenges facing people today it seems the nexus to all challenges is race and that’s simply not true...we should not pretend all things aren’t perfect but we shouldn’t pretend some things haven’t changed,” he said.
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