Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee News Roundup


News Roundup

  • On Friday Feb. 24th, Rep. Steve King introduced H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017 and the bill was immediately scheduled for markup the following Tuesday morning. The bill has sweeping federal preemption language which would impact 47 state and territory laws. Action item: H.R. 1215 will be scheduled for a vote by the Full House of Representatives as early as next Tuesday. NCSL has sent an opposition letter and we urge members to call their federal counterparts to oppose the bill and its substantial preemption of state law.
  • Cybersecurity legislation is moving in the House, with freshman Republican Representative Abraham (LA) introducing H.R. 1224, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act of 2017. The bill would codify the implementation of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework across federal agencies and establish auditing requirements. Also, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA) along with U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the State Cyber Resiliency Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation aims to help state, local, and tribal governments more effectively counter cyber threats. Under the bill, DHS would be directed to set up a cybersecurity grant program for states to support their development and implementation of cyber resiliency plans as well as to encourage states to invest in expanding a robust cybersecurity workforce.
  • President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsch to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the unexpected death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, was nominated for that post in 2006 by President George W. Bush. This NCSL blog by Lisa Soronen of the State-Local Legal Center explores what his confirmation to the Court might mean for state and local governments.
  • President Trump issued two executive orders addressing immigration issues on Jan. 25. The first—Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements— empowers state and local law enforcement to act as immigration officers and directs the Department of Homeland Security to build a wall on the southern border. The second executive order—Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States—addresses the issue of aliens who enter the U.S. illegally and those who overstay their visas. This executive order states that sanctuary jurisdictions are in violation of federal law and are not eligible to receive federal grants except as deemed necessary for purposes. See NCSL's FAQ on Sanctuary policies - a primer on what a sanctuary policy is, the state role and related actions.
  • The Department of Homeland Security issued guidance documents to provide further direction to Department employees on the implementation of the recent immigration executive orders. See NCSL's analysis of the memorandums here.
  • The nation's new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a staunch critic of marijuana legalization. Meanwhile, a bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus has formed to defend states' rights in this area. NCSL's Criminal Justice policy directive includes support of state autonomy to set marijuana policy.
  • Local jails are the front door to incarceration, and frequently serve as default mental health facilities. Often, people held are charged with low-level crimes and cannot afford monetary conditions of release. Laurie Garduque, director of justice reform for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, explains in this column for USA Today efforts underway across the country to make local justice systems fairer and more effective, under the Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge.
  • News of crime rates can be confusing and even contradictory. Here are five facts about crime in the United States, prepared by the Pew Research Center as part of their Fact Tank series.


Here is more information on officers, members and policies of the Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Please contact your Committee staff or Susan Parnas-Frederick in D.C. with any questions or needs.