SACRAMENTO — California communities must hold public hearings before their police departments accept military equipment such as tanks and grenade launchers under a bill approved Monday in the state Assembly.
The vote came hours after President Obama announced the federal government would stop providing some combat-style gear to local law enforcement.
Police departments have received surplus military equipment for decades, but the practice faces increased scrutiny after police responded in armored trucks and in camouflage against demonstrators protesting the killings of unarmed black men.
California lawmakers said the bill, AB36, would help reduce tensions between police and the people they serve. Under the bill, local government bodies like city councils and boards of supervisors must approve the acquisition of military equipment in public meetings.
"This decision needs to be deliberative and not made in haste just because the federal government has made military equipment available," said Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood).