Hartford - The House voted Monday to strengthen a state law that forbids police officers from racially profiling motorists when making traffic stops.
The bill passed 142 to 1, and now awaits the governor's signature. Last month it cleared the Senate on a 31-3 vote.
The new legislation modifies the 1999 Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act which prohibited racial profiling by law enforcement and required departments to collect data from traffic stops, including the race, age, gender and ethnicity of each individual they pull over.
But only a few dozen departments fully complied with the collection requirements, officials said, and the legislature's African-American Affairs Commission lacked the resources to analyze the data.
Under the modification, police departments would again start collecting traffic stop data in July 2013 using new standardized forms and methods.
The state Office of Policy and Management would develop the new standards and take over from the commission the duty of analyzing the data. The agency could withhold public safety-related state funds from communities that do not comply with the requirements.
The new standardized forms must record race, age, gender and ethnicity of all stopped motorists, as perceived by the officer who makes the stop.
The motorist also must be given notice that he or she can file a complaint if they believe they were stopped solely because of race, color, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.
State Rep. Patricia Miller, D-Stamford, who is black, told House colleagues that she twice was subjected to improper traffic stops in a certain suburban town because of racial profiling.
Those incidents occurred two decades years ago, said Miller, who did not name the town. But more recently she overheard at her gym one suburban police officer tell another officer that "when those people come through, we stop them to say 'don't you come through this town anymore.'''