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Income inequality affects people's ability to defend themselves and get proper legal representation during criminal trials, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said during an Axios event on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Bass is the lead House negotiator in talks over the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House in March but has stalled in the Senate due to Republican opposition to certain provisions, including curbing qualified immunity for police officers.

What they're saying: "If we look at our criminal justice system, income inequality is key in terms of sentences and how people are able to avoid incarceration," Bass said.

  • "I would say there are disparities from the beginning, the middle and the end that continue," she added. "I am excited that finally our nation is raising the questions, both nationally, state and local — looking at the criminal justice system."

The big picture: Bass said she believes the criminal justice system will require more reform legislation that goes beyond the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

  • Bass was also set to meet with Floyd's family in D.C. on Tuesday, which also marked the one-year anniversary of Floyd's murder in Minneapolis.
  • "The minute the President Biden signs the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, so much more is going to need to be done because we really need to look at policing in the United States," she said.
  • "We need to say in the year 2021 has policing kept up with modern technology, scientific thinking and understanding of behavior. We need to modernize policing in the United States. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is the first step in that direction."

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

Biden to meet George Floyd's family at White House

George Floyd's sister Bridgett Floyd (C) speaks, flanked by Rev. Al Sharpton (R) and Attorney Ben Crump (L), in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 23. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will meet privately with the family of George Floyd on Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary of Floyd's murder, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.

Why it matters: The White House meeting comes after Derek Chauvin was found guilty in Floyd's murder; a trial advocates saw as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades.

Updated May 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

In photos: Minneapolis marks 1st anniversary of George Floyd's death

People march during an inaugural remembrance rally for George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 23. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Members of George Floyd's family and civil rights leaders led a remembrance rally and march in his honor in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sunday — the first of three days of activities marking the first anniversary of his death.

The big picture: The George Floyd Memorial Foundation, founded by his sister Bridgett Floyd, said in a statement it's to "demonstrate our continued call for accountability and reform, because the right to equal justice should not be conditional or based upon a person's color."

May 24, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minneapolis' George Floyd Square still hasn't reopened to traffic

Photo: Christian Monterrosa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's been five weeks since Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder, but the intersection of 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed still has not reopened.

Flashback: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he would reopen the intersection, now known as George Floyd Square, after the verdict.