Batista introduces legislation to reform
Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights


STATE HOUSE – Rep. José F. Batista today introduced legislation to reform the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) to empower police chiefs to enforce discipline for misconduct within their departments in a timely manner.

Representative Batista’s bill would convert the LEOBOR hearing panel into an appeals panel by allowing chiefs to implement discipline immediately, as opposed to waiting months or years for a LEOBOR hearing to conclude. 

“The current LEOBOR statute in Rhode Island provides police officers accused of misconduct with ‘supersized’ due process rights. Indeed, only seven states in the nation offer police officers a hearing prior to issuing discipline; only four states compose a hearing board made up entirely of police officers. Only two states allow the accused officer to actually pick one of the officers on the panel as well. The current Rhode Island LEOBOR statute provides all of the above and more. Therefore, this bill maintains all due process owed to police officers by labor law while also repealing those provisions of LEOBOR that go above and beyond what is required by law such that they serve as obstacles to accountability,” said Representative Batista (D-Dist. 12, Providence).

Adopted in Rhode Island in 1976, the LEOBOR establishes a process and set of rights for  officers accused of wrongdoing on the job, preventing them from being immediately fired or put on leave without pay, and allowing their continued employment to be decided by a panel of other police officers. The law has been widely criticized by many who believe it prevents justice from being served when officers are abusive.

Representative Batista’s bill does not repeal LEOBOR, and it adheres to requirements of existing labor laws. It maintains provisions that allow accused officers to have what is called a “Loudermill” hearing, where they are presented with accusations against them and have the opportunity to retain an attorney and respond to the allegations if they choose.

Under the bill, a police chief would be able to implement discipline immediately after the Loudermill hearing. Currently, discipline doesn't go into effect until after the LEOBOR panel holds its hearing and issues a decision — which can take months or even years.

Instead, matters would go to a LEOBOR panel only if the officer disagrees with the discipline and files an appeal. The panel would then handle that appeal.

The bill also closes a loophole that was recently on display in Rhode Island due to the case of Daniel Dolan, the Pawtucket Police officer involved in an off-duty shooting of a teen driver. Under LEOBOR, Pawtucket was required to pay Dolan $123,934 in back pay because he was acquitted of criminal charges. Under the bill, an officer who is acquitted of a crime but ultimately terminated by the municipality would not be awarded back pay.

“Being acquitted of a crime does not mean you are automatically entitled to be back on the job. As we have seen in numerous recent cases in Rhode Island, officer conduct can be so egregious as to warrant termination even if the officer is acquitted of a crime. An officer in that scenario should not be rewarded with six figures in taxpayer dollars,” said Representative Batista.

“Ultimately, this bill is aimed at public safety and justice. Police departments should be better able to remove the bad actors from their ranks swiftly. Those officers are a threat to the public and harmful to their own department’s ability to serve,” said Representative Batista.

Representative Batista has been a strong voice for criminal justice reform. In 2021, he was the sponsor of successful legislation establishing a statewide body camera program for police. He has also sponsored bills to reform various components of our criminal justice system including bail, probation, policing and the decriminalization of drug addiction. 



Former President Donald Trump is in Washington, D.C. huddling with Republican lawmakers. Trump told reporters today Republicans are unified and he expects to take back the White House in November. He said he plans to "bring common sense back to the government" and secure the southern border if he wins the election.        The Supreme Court is keeping widely used abortion pill mifepristone [[ mif-ah-pris-tone ]] available to Americans. The high court unanimously ruled that a group of anti-abortion doctors who challenged the FDA's actions to make mifepristone [[ mif-ah-pris-tone ]] more accessible did not have legal standing to sue and threw out the case. The ruling will allow the pill to be mailed to patients without an in-person doctor's visit.       Wisconsin Republicans are coming to the defense of Donald Trump after the former President allegedly criticized Milwaukee during a meeting with Congressional Republicans. Punchbowl News reported that Trump called Milwaukee a "horrible city." Wisconsin Congressman Derrick Van Orden said Trump was specifically referring to the crime rate in Milwaukee, while Representative Bryan Steil said Trump didn't say the comment at all. This comes as Milwaukee is set to host the Republican National Convention next month.       There are growing fears in the U.S. that the Israeli-Hamas war is widening. This as attacks between Israel and the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah are increasing. The Iran-backed group has been shelling Israel's northern border in retaliation for Israel's assassination of a senior Hezbollah commander. Israel has since sent fighter jets to hit "Hezbollah military structures."       A U.S. Navy submarine is now in Cuba a day after two Russian war ships arrived at the Havana Port. The U.S. Southern Command confirmed the USS Helena arrived at Guantanamo Bay Thursday. It said it's part of a routing port visit and the vessel's location and transit were previously planned. The arrival of a Russian frigate and submarine at the Havana Port has been seen as a show of force by the longtime ally of Cuba, but both the U.S. and Cuba said it posed no threat.       The Eagles are next in line to play the Sphere in Las Vegas. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will play a total of eight shows over four weekends at the cutting edge venue this fall. The residency will kick off on September 20th and end on October 19th. U2 opened the venue last year and have been followed by residencies from Phish and Dead & Company.