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Nevada lawmakers passed legislation on Saturday that would ban chokeholds in the state.

The bill, passed by the state Assembly over the weekend, would also codify a “duty to intervene” for police witnessing colleague misconduct, The Associated Press reported. The measure would permit “only the amount of reasonable force necessary” to make an arrest.

The measure passed the chamber 38-4 with bipartisan support and is set for a Senate vote in the days ahead, according to the AP.

A separate state bill introduced Saturday would partially undo a 2019 law increasing legal protections for officers accused of misconduct, the AP noted. Among its provisions, it restricts plaintiffs’ ability to use officer testimony during departmental misconduct investigations. It also requires police departments to provide officers with the evidence against them before questioning by internal affairs.

“I fundamentally believe that people should be treated fairly in the workplace. A lot of what you saw on that bill came from that very good notion,” Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D) said in July, according to the news service.

“That said, we also know that we have to do better and we have to do more to make sure people have faith in community that protects them and also to hold people responsible for their lack of accountability," she added.

Although the rollback measure passed committee on a party line vote Saturday, criminal justice reform advocates have called anything less than complete repeal a half-measure.

The May 25 death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes has led numerous jurisdictions to ban neck restraints.

Minnesota lawmakers banned the practice in July, while the Seattle Police Department announced it would ban both neck holds and “carotid restraints.” Reform advocates, however, have warned that such steps may not be enough practically, as the New York Police Department had banned chokeholds at the time of the 2014 death of Eric Garner.

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November ballot: San Jose voters to make decisions on casino taxes, police auditor powers

San Jose voters in November will be asked to increase taxes on cardrooms, provide the city’s independent police auditor with additional powers and expand the city’s planning commission.

After nixing a proposed ‘strong mayor’ ballot measure last week, the San Jose City Council decided to place two measures on the upcoming November 3 ballot.

While one of the measures focuses entirely on changes to gambling operations within the city, the other measure combines three separate changes to the city’s charter — expanding the authority of the independent police auditor, increasing the number of members on the city’s planning commission and allowing the council to establish new timelines to conduct redistricting following a census.

Card rooms 

The city’s cardroom revenue measure would raise taxes on the city’s two card rooms — Bay 101 and Casino Matrix — and increase the number of table games in the city by 30 — or 15 per cardroom.

If approved by voters in November, taxes on card rooms would increase from 15% to 16.5%, generating an additional $15 million annually that would flow into the city’s general fund, according to city estimates.

The San Jose City Council voted 10-1 Tuesday night to put the measure on the ballot, arguing that it would provide welcome revenue to ease budget shortfalls and make San Jose card rooms more competitive with those in other Bay Area cities.

Mayor Sam Liccardo was the only person on the council to vote against placing this measure on the ballot. Although he supported raising card room taxes, he felt that expanding gambling options in the city could lead to more crime and other social ills such as domestic violence and mental health issues.

“I believe there are ample studies that demonstrate the expansion of gambling is correlated if not causative of serious problems in our community and it’s not worth the long-term costs,” Liccardo said during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Under the San Jose city code, the council must get voter approval before expanding gaming activity in San Jose. In June 2010, voters approved Measure K, which hiked the cardroom tax from 13 percent to 15 percent and increased the maximum number of card tables per cardroom from 40 to 49.

Amendments to the city charter

Under the city’s second ballot measure, amendments would be made to three separate areas of the city charter.

First, the measure would increase the number of members on the city’s planning commission from seven to 11. The idea — championed by members of the Latino caucus on the council — is part of a greater effort to increase more racial and geographical diversity on the commission, which historically has been filled by residents from mostly white, wealthier neighborhoods.

Secondly, it would allow members of the city council to enact a new ordinance giving them the authority to establish timelines for redistricting after they recieve results from the Census.

And most notably, it would amend the city charter to expand the power of the Independent Police Auditor, including allowing unredacted review of officer-involved shootings and use of force that resulted in death or significant bodily injury and review department-initiated investigations against police officers, as agreed to by the San José Police Officers Association.

This idea was conceived by Mayor Liccardo following protests by San Jose residents in early June over the death of George Floyd, which were met with an aggressive response from officers on the city’s police force and led hundreds of residents to call for defunding the city’s police department. Although Liccardo did not support defunding the city’s force, he issued a detailed plan of police reforms that included expanding the powers of the independent police auditor.

The city and the police officers association reached an agreement regarding the expansion of the independent auditor’s review authority in June 2020, including to allow the auditor access to certain unredacted and redacted records. But a city charter amendment is required to provide the auditor with any further review authority.

The city had set aside $2.7 million for the November 2020 election — or enough funding for two ballot measures, according to City Clerk Toni Taber. So rather than reallocate funding from an already tightly strapped budget, the council decided to combine the three items into one measure and stay within its budget.

“I think the community knows equity when they see it in terms of the planning commission, I think the planning commission dovetails into redistricting as it’s going into the redistricting process and I think, frankly, the community understands the need for IPA reform,” Councilmember Maya Esparza said in support of combining the items.

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