Through a “collaborative, open, and consensus-building process, we have identified and resolved previously-raised concerns about the legislation,” says the final paragraph of the Report of the Community Safety Act Working Group. The report, put together by Nick Freeman, manager of policy and research for the Providence City Council, has been authorized and signed off on by every member of the CSA Working Group.
The biggest reveal? The new name of the ordinance is the “Providence Community-Police Relations Act.” The entire act, with all changes made by the working group noted in red, can be read at the link.
The CSA Working Group was “charged with identifying concerns within the proposed ordinance, known as the Community Safety Act (CSA), and to develop recommendations for alleviating those concerns before June 1st.” After five, always civil, sometimes contentious meetings, the CSA Working Group “sought to find consensus on each proposed change to the ordinance” while being “careful not to alter the purpose or intent of the ordinance, instead focusing on improving and clarifying the language in the legislation.”
Not altering the purpose or intent of the ordinance was important, because any substantial changes to the CSA would negate the Providence City Council’s first vote for passage, and once more require two successful votes for passage. Under Rule 409 of the Home Rule Charter, “No ordinance shall be so amended in its second passage as to change its original purpose.” Rule 410 (b) reads, “No ordinance shall be passed until it has been read on two (2) separate occasions at least forty-eight (48) hours elapsing between the first and the second readings…”
“Each recommended amendment of the legislation was approved unanimously by the Working Group as a ‘friendly amendment,’ i.e. a change found by all parties to be an improvement to the original language,” says the report, later noting that all the members of the working group “are satisfied with the attached changes and strongly urge the members of the City Council to approve the ordinance with the recommended amendments.”
The Providence City Council is expected to vote on the revised Community Safety Act at the Thursday, June 1 city council meeting.
The members of the CSA Working Group were Providence City Councilors Bryan Principe (Ward 13), Terrence Hassett (Ward 12), and Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11), Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré, Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements, President of the Providence FOP Sgt Robert Boehm, Justice Gaines, Courtney Hawkins, Linda Heng, Kathryn Sabatini and Martha Yager. Linda Heng replaced attorney Shannah Kurland for the last two meetings.