115th Congress Achievements
The bipartisan FIRST STEP Act is the nation's largest criminal justice reform bill in decades. Introduced by Rep. Jeffries and Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, it passed the House overwhelmingly, 360-59, in May 2018. If signed into law, the bill will:
- Transform lives by providing access to mental health counseling, education, vocational services and substance abuse treatment to help incarcerated individuals get back on their feet
- Shorten sentences by ensuring inmates can earn the 54 days of good time credit per year Congress intended
- Retroactively apply the good time credit, immediately helping thousands of currently incarcerated individuals
- Provide $250 million over the next five years to expand re-entry programming, including education and vocational training, which dramatically reduces recidivism and helps prepare incarcerated individuals for a successful transition back into society.
- Require the Bureau of Prisons to house incarcerated individuals within 500 driving miles of their relatives and permits lower risk inmates to be transferred to home confinement in order to strengthen family relationships
- Ban the immoral practice of shackling women during pregnancy, child birth and for three months post-partum
Each year, 47 million Americans visit wildlife refuges, generating almost $2 billion in local economic activity. The bipartisan Keep America's Refuges Operational (KARO) Act will ensure those refuges can continue being valued resources to their communities, by supporting the volunteers who dedicate thousands of hours to make sure we can all experience the vast natural beauty our great nation has to offer.
KARO passed the House in December 2017, and was signed into law (Public Law No: 115-1689) by the President in April 2018.
As the opioid crisis ravaged the nation, Rep. Jeffries passed a bipartisan bill to address the serious issue of synthetic drug use by teenagers. The Synthetic Drug Awareness Act passed the House in June 2018, and was incorporated into the opioid package (Public Law No: 115-271) signed into law in October 2018. It directs the Surgeon General to study the public health effects of synthetic drug use among teenagers.
The bipartisan Music Modernization Act (MMA) passed the House in April 2018 and was signed into law (Public Law No: 115-264) in October 2018. It will improve the music licensing process so songwriters, artists and musicians can continue sharing their creativity with the world. As a result of the MMA, songwriters are more likely to get paid a fair price for their work, and digital music providers like Spotify and Pandora will be able to operate more efficiently.
Currently pending before the Senate, the bipartisan 21st Century Respect Act passed the House in November 2017. It requires the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to remove racially insensitive terminology from federal regulations, including words such as "negro","oriental" and "eskimo".
The Judges Protection Bill reauthorizes Section 105(b)(3)(E) of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 which extends the authority of the Judicial Conference to redact sensitive information contained in their financial disclosure reports in order to protect the safety of judges. The bill, which was cosponsored by both the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, passed the House in September 2017. It was added to the omnibus bill (Public Law No: 95-521) which became law in March 2018.
The Fry Scholarship Enhancement Act became law in August 2017 with the passage of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Public Law No: 115-48). The legislation enables Fry Scholarship recipients to qualify for benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program, thereby allowing the VA and approved institutions of higher learning to offer assistance for tuition and fees that aren’t covered .
Supported by digital artists, photographers, songwriters and others, the CASE Act creates a small claims court for the creative middle class in order to fairly and swiftly resolve disputes about infringement on their creative works. In September 2018, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill.
114th Congress Achievements
Signed into law on May 11, 2016 (Public Law 114–153) by President Obama, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) of 2016 gives companies standing to sue when trade secrets have been stolen. The law also replaces the patchwork of state laws that had previously governed trade secrets with a uniform federal standard.
After the assassinations of New York Police Department Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, Rep. Jeffries authored the bipartisan Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015, which extends the tax deadline so that individuals making charitable donations to organizations supporting the families of Detectives Liu and Ramos could apply such tax deductions to the prior year’s tax return. The bill was signed into law (Public Law No: 114-7) by President Obama in April 2015.
113th Congress Achievements
The bipartisan United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Law Clinic Certification Program enables law students to practice trademark or patent law under the guidance of a faculty supervisor, giving them real experience while still in school. It was signed into law (Public Law No: 113-227) by President Obama in December 2014.
The Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument Preservation Act directs the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to study the feasibility of designating the Prison Ship Martyrs’ mausoleum in Brooklyn as a national monument. It passed the House in April 2014 and became law as part of the National Defense Authorization package (Public Law No: 113-291).