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House Judiciary Committee Advances 8 Bills to House Floor

Washington, September 16, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) issued the following statement after the Committee voted to advance eight pieces of legislation to the full House of Representatives:

“The Judiciary Committee passed several important pieces of legislation today that will reform our criminal justice system by expanding protections for pregnant and post-partum incarcerated women, authorizing funding to create centralized reentry intake and coordination centers for individuals released from correctional facilities, and safeguarding elders from physical, emotional, and financial abuse. The Committee also passed vital legislation to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on hair texture, combat notario fraud against our immigrant community, and modernize access to court records. I’m especially proud that many of the bills reported favorably out of our Committee were done so with bipartisan support. I thank all the members for their work to advance these bills to the full House.”

The Committee favorably reported the following bills:

H.R. 7718, the Protecting the Health and Wellness of Babies and Pregnant Women in Custody Act of 2020

The Protecting the Health and Wellness of Babies and Pregnant Women in Custody Act, introduced by Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), mandates the development of specific policies, guidelines and trainings for the Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service that pertain to pregnant and post-partum women, and bans restraints and restrictive housing pregnant and post-partum women. The bill also directs the GAO to study the services and protections in local and State correctional settings that are available for incarcerated pregnant women, and establishes a grant program, to be administered by the Department of Justice, to provide support to State and local facilities to implement programs equivalent to the federal programs developed by this bill.

H.R. 8161, the One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act of 2020

The One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act of 2020, introduced by Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), would authorize grants to community organizations to create centralized reentry intake and coordination centers that would guide individuals recently released from correctional facilities through the difficult process of rejoining their communities. Upon release from jail or prison the reentry centers would pick up an individual or facilitate their transportation to the reentry center and would immediately start the process of finding housing for the recently released individual. Additionally, the proposed community centers would provide job training and would assist returning individuals with applying for benefits for which these individuals are eligible.

H.R. 8169, the Elder Abuse Protection Act of 2020

The Elder Abuse Protection Act of 2020, introduced by Representative Sylvia R. Garcia (D-TX), would establish the Elder Justice Initiative as a permanent Department of Justice coordinating element; require the Elder Justice Initiative to post online materials for the public to help identify elder abuse and report it; and require the Initiative to translate into Spanish the materials it prepares aimed at the public.

H.R. 6813, the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act

The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, introduced by Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), requires the Justice Department to ensure that its training materials under the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act include information specifically targeted at treating, protecting and caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The bill also establishes a new requirement for the Justice Department to develop training materials to address situations in which individuals living with Alzheimer’s or dementia may be involved in a criminal case or proceeding as a victim or a witness.

H.R. 5309, the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2019 or the CROWN Act of 2019

The CROWN Act, introduced by Representative Cedric Richmond (D-LA), explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of hair texture or hairstyles commonly associated with a particular race or national origin in employment, housing, federally-funded programs, public accommodations, and the making and enforcement of contracts. California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, and Maryland have enacted state versions of the CROWN Act.

H.R. 7636, the Custodial Interrogation Recording Act

The Custodial Interrogation Recording Act, introduced by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), provides grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to implement audio and video recording of custodial interrogations. The legislation would bring needed transparency to the custodial interview process and protect against coerced confessions.

H.R. 8225, the Fight Notario Fraud Act of 2020

The Fight Notario Fraud Act, introduced by Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), criminalizes the unfortunately common practice of providing legal services—often fraudulently—in immigration matters to unwitting victims, despite having no legal authorization to practice law. The bill also requires the Attorney General to create at least 15 Special United States Attorney positions to prosecute notario fraud crimes, and it assigns the authority to prosecute and coordinate these cases to the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section within the Department of Justice.

H.R. 8235, the Open Courts Act of 2020

The Open Courts Act, introduced by Representative Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (D-GA) and Doug Collins (R-GA), provides a meaningful and modernized way to access court records by directing the judiciary to establish a consolidated system with certain standards for searchability and accessibility that meet the 21st-century public’s needs. It also requires that court records be freely available to the public, eliminating the PACER paywall and bringing the judiciary’s records systems into the modern age.
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