ryan lips_0008.jpg

The New Orleans Police Department and Louisiana State Police meet face-to-face with protestors as they block I-10 by the Orleans Ave./ Vieux Carre exit in New Orleans, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. A viral video of police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck while he was handcuffed sparked nationwide protests. The officer was later charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death.

Legislation that will set up a 25-member task force to study police practices statewide won final legislative approval Thursday when the Senate approved it 33-0.

The measure, Senate Concurrent Resolution 7, won House approval 99-0 Wednesday after some slight changes, and angry exchanges at the end of the debate.

The Senate, which earlier endorsed the plan 34-0, went along with the House changes without discussion.

Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, chief sponsor of the panel, has said the work will serve as a forerunner to legislation later this year or in 2021 aimed at making major changes to police departments.

The task force stemmed from the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis on May 25 after being held on the ground with a White police officer's knee on his neck for nearly eight minutes.

Floyd's death has sparked protests nationwide.

However, references to Floyd were removed from the resolution in the House after sparking pushback from some lawmakers.

The task force is to begin its work by Aug. 15 and make recommendations to the Legislature by Feb. 1.

The panel will include state lawmakers, peace officers, a wide range of advocacy groups and professors from LSU and Southern University.

Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.