Senate passes bills to regulate military item acquisitions

The Senate has passed bills that require local police departments seeking surplus military equipment from the Pentagon to get approval from their local governments first.

The Senate approved the legislation Thursday. Senators also voted for a related bill that would have the state attorney general oversee the program.

The measures stem from the demonstrations after the August fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Police there used former military equipment during patrols.

State Sen. Nia Gill says the bill gives the public a voice in deciding whether police departments should have military-style weapons.

Lawmakers say New Jersey received $50 million worth of military equipment through the Defense Department program.

Local governments currently don’t have to approve acquisitions through that program.

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