LANSING — State Sen. Dale Zorn joined his Michigan Senate colleagues in voting for a bill Thursday that would require police to be trained on implicit bias and de-escalation techniques to minimize the use of force following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis that sparked nationwide protests.


The legislation, which passed unanimously, would also mandate, starting in 2022, that officers complete annual continuing education. Michigan is among six states without such a requirement, according to a 2017 report.


“The shocking and sickening murder of George Floyd is the latest in a long line of tragedies that illustrate that in many areas of our society, we still have a long way to go to achieve our founding principle that all men are created equal,” Zorn, R-Ida, said in a news release. “Racism in all its forms is immoral and has no place in our society. Unfortunately, George Floyd’s death shows that we still have a systemic problem that needs to be solved. It’s not going to be quick or easy. It starts by listening and improving education.


“This measure is a good step forward. It will help ensure that all law enforcement officers in our state have the best training to keep our communities safe and protect the rights of all Michigan residents.”


"Every parent with a black or brown child in America faces … the constant fear and anxiety that their children will be a victim of the police that we hire to protect and service. We must change this," the bill sponsor, Democratic Sen. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor, said while choking up.


The measure, which was passed just a week after its introduction in the Republican-led chamber, was sent to the House for further consideration.


"We can't in one day change someone's subconscious or their deeply held unconscious biases. But if we can change what goes through an officer's mind when they encounter one of our community members who doesn't look like them, we could change the outcome," said Sen. Stephanie Chang, a Detroit Democrat who also was tearful.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.