Introduction of the Racial Profiling Prevention Actby Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton
Posted on 2013-02-26
of the district of columbia
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a bill, the Racial
Profile Prevention Act, to reestablish a federal grant program for
states that desire to develop racial profiling laws, collect and
maintain data on traffic
stops, design programs to reduce racial profiling, and train law
enforcement officers, which we were successful in getting included in
the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A
Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) in 2005. Although that grant program was
just a small piece of the large SAFETEA-LU bill, nearly half of the
states participated in the program for multiple years. This experience
speaks to the usefulness of the program to states. Racial profiling is
a form of racial discrimination that was thrust back into the forefront
of national concern by the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin, who died
one year ago today.
Racial profiling on roads built with federal funds is a violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, because it amounts to a government subsidy of discrimination. However, while racial profiling remains more widespread in our country than most other forms of discrimination, there is little experience in developing legislation in this sensitive area to address racial profiling while allowing for appropriate law enforcement. My bill would help states to better develop their racial profiling laws and help train law enforcement to avoid these problems.
My bill imposes no mandates on states. Instead, it simply authorizes a grant program, but does not require states to participate. However, it provides resources that many states and localities clearly need if they are to curb racial profiling.