<strong>By DENISE LAVOIE Associated Press<\/strong>\n<strong>RICHMOND, Va. (AP) \u2014<\/strong> The Virginia House of Delegates advanced legislation Friday that would require cities and counties across the state to establish civilian review boards with the authority to investigate citizen complaints and take disciplinary action against police officers.\nThe bill sponsored by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, sets a deadline of July 1, 2021, for localities to set up the review boards, which have become one of the leading police reforms pushed by protesters across the country since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.\n"These boards are intended to help increase public trust in law enforcement," Herring said. The measure is expected to win final approval in the House next week.\nThe boards would investigate and issue findings on incidents including the use of force, abuse of authority and misconduct. They would also be authorized \u2014 after consulting with an officer's supervisor \u2014 to make binding disciplinary determinations in cases involving serious breaches of department and professional standards.\nA separate bill making its way through the Senate would give localities the authority to set up civilian review boards but would not make them mandatory. The House bill includes police officers and sheriffs, while the Senate bill would exempt sheriffs, who are elected and argue they are already accountable to the public.\nDuring Friday's debate, Republican Del. Tony Wilt proposed an amendment to the bill to require anyone appointed to serve on a civilian review board to observe a law enforcement officer for at least 24 hours, including going on a ride-along with police.\nWilt said the job of the review boards is to "sit as judge and jury over our law enforcement officers," so board members should have some training and at least a glimpse into the job of a police officer and the "split-second decisions" they face on a daily basis.\nThat amendment was defeated after Herring said it should be up to each locality to decide what kind of training board members receive.\nThe Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police opposes the bill, saying it should be left up to individual cities and counties to decide if they want to set up civilian review boards.\nExecutive Director Dana Schrad said establishing civilian review boards would be "overkill" for more than 100 small police departments in the state with 15 or fewer officers.\n"We are strongly opposed to a mandate," Schrad said. "We don't believe that the General Assembly should be interfering with the ability of local government in making these decisions."\nThe House and the Senate on Friday also passed their versions of legislation aimed at making absentee voting easier amid the coronavirus pandemic, including having the state prepay postage, setting up drop boxes and establishing a process for voters to fix paperwork issues on improperly submitted ballots.\nDemocrats said the measure was needed to ensure a safe and fair Election Day, which is two months away. Republicans said the measure was rushed and could make it easier for criminals to commit voter fraud.\nBoth chambers will approve each other's version before it can go to Gov. Ralph Northam for final approval.\nThe General Assembly is considering dozens of bills during a special legislative session focused on addressing the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread calls for police and criminal justice reforms after the killing of Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer put a knee on his neck for several minutes.\n___\nAP writer Alan Suderman contributed to this report.