Senator Cornyn

Cornyn Speaks with Floyd Family, Calls for Bipartisan Reforms

June 9, 2020

WASHINGTON – Today on the floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed his phone call this morning with the family of George Floyd and his bipartisan legislation to create a National Criminal Justice Commission to review the criminal justice system and propose reforms. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s floor remarks are below, and video can be found here.

“The first step in justice for George Floyd, and now that all four officers involved in his death have been arrested and charged, is for the criminal justice system to work. But these four arrests do not arrest the larger problems that exist in our society: the lack of trust, the sense that justice is not equal. In fact, they’ve only shined a brighter light on the systemic problems that we need to do our best to try to address. Making lasting changes will not be quick or easy.”

“Earlier today I was able to speak to George Floyd’s family and do just that: listen. They have gone through unimaginable pain over these last two weeks, and I told them I’m committed to making sure that George Floyd receives justice. I said, in my experience during times like this, the best comfort you can offer to someone who’s lost a loved one is that their death will not be in vain, that something goodwill come out of it.”

“We know some of the most important reforms that need to be made are in our criminal justice system. There are important conversations taking place in Texas and across the country about how we can effectively promote and improve police practices and begin to repair the damaged relationship between our minority communities and our police.”

“And to strengthen that work, there are steps we can take here in Washington, D.C., and I know many of us are engaged in active discussions about what’s the best way to create real change, and I know it’s a priority for members on both sides of the aisle.”

“One proposal I mentioned is a bipartisan bill that I introduced with Senator Gary Peters of Michigan and Chairman Lindsey Graham last year. This bill actually had 20 bipartisan cosponsors. It was endorsed not only by the Urban League and the NAACP, but the major police organizations in this country as well, and it passed unanimously in the Senate. Unfortunately, we ran out of time in the House, so it did not actually become law. Not yet.”

“This legislation creates a National Criminal Justice Commission, much like the 9/11 Commission, that would review our criminal justice system writ large from top to bottom – something that has not happened since 1965.”

“In 18 months, the Commission would report back to us and make recommendations for changes that could be considered and passed by the Congress. This would allow us to systemically look at what is working and what isn’t, at what needs to be done to modernize our criminal justice system, including repairing the broken relationship between law enforcement and some of our minority communities.”

“As I mentioned, the bill, that passed the Senate unanimously, had 20 bipartisan cosponsors and was supported by the National Association of Police Organizations, Major City Chiefs’ Associations, the National Urban League. I believe this type of legislation would give us the basic framework for the lasting changes that we are all after. “

“I’m committed to being part of the solution, and I’m eager to roll up my sleeves with all of our colleagues and get to work.”