Voted YES on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes.
Congressional Summary:Adopts the definition of "hate crime" as set forth in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994: a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person. Provides technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of hate crimes, including financial grant awards.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. JOHN CONYERS (D, MI-14):This bill expands existing Federal hate crimes law to groups who are well-known targets for bias-based violence--they are sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. These crimes of violence are directed not just at those who are directly attacked; they are targeting the entire group with the
threat of violence.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LAMAR SMITH (R, TX-21): Every year thousands of violent crimes are committed out of hate, but just as many violent crimes, if not more, are motivated by something other than hate--greed, jealousy, desperation or revenge, just to name a few. An individual's motivation for committing a violent crime is usually complex and often speculative. Every violent crime is deplorable, regardless of its motivation. That's why all violent crimes should be vigorously prosecuted. Unfortunately, this bill undermines one of the most basic principles of our criminal justice system--equal justice for all. Under this bill, justice will no longer be equal. Justice will now depend on the race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or other protected status of the victim. It will allow different penalties to be imposed for the same crime. This is the real injustice.
Reference: Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act;
; vote number 2009-H223
on Apr 2, 2009
Voted YES on expanding services for offenders' re-entry into society.
H.R.1593: Second Chance Act of 2007: Community Safety Through Recidivism Prevention or the Second Chance Act (Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass). To reauthorize the grant program for reentry of offenders into the community in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, and to improve reentry planning and implementation.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. CONYERS: Some 650,000 men and women are leaving the Federal and State prisons each year. While the vast majority of the prisoners are committed to abiding by the law and becoming productive members of society, they often encounter the same pressures & temptations that they faced before prison. More than two-thirds of them are arrested for new crimes within 3 years of their release. This exacts a terrible cost in financial terms as well as in human terms. The Second Chance Act will help provide these men and women with the training, counseling and other support needed to help them obtain
& hold steady jobs; to kick their drug and alcohol habits; rebuild their families; and deal with the many other challenges that they face in their efforts to successfully rejoin society.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. GOHMERT: The programs that are sought to be renewed are ones we don't have information on how successful they were. I can tell you from my days as a judge, there was some anecdotal evidence that it looked like faith-based programs did a better job of dramatically reducing recidivism. In addition:
There are some provisions that allow for too much administration. That is going to build a bigger bureaucracy.
Dismissing all charges if someone completes drug rehab under another provision I think is outrageous. You are going to remove the hammer that would allow you to keep people in line?
We also have a provision to teach inmates how they can go about getting the most welfare before they leave prison and go out on their own.
Reference: Second Chance Act;
; vote number 2007-1083
on Nov 13, 2007
Voted YES on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons.
Vote on an amendment that would reduce the funding for violent offender imprisonment by and truth-in-sentencing programs by $61 million. The measure would increase funding for Boys and Girls Clubs and drug courts by the same amount.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Scott, D-VA;
Bill HR 4690
; vote number 2000-317
on Jun 22, 2000
Voted NO on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime.
Vote to pass a bill to appropriate $1.5 billion to all of the states that want to improve their juvenile justice operations. Among other provisions this bill includes funding for development, implementation, and administration of graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders, funds for building, expanding, or renovating juvenile corrections facilities, hiring juvenile judges, probation officers, and additional prosecutors for juvenile cases.
Reference: Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL;
Bill HR 1501
; vote number 1999-233
on Jun 17, 1999
Voted YES on maintaining right of habeas corpus in Death Penalty Appeals.
Vote on an amendment to delete provisions in the bill that would make it harder for prisoners who have been given the death penalty in state courts to appeal the decision on constitutional grounds in the federal courts ['Habeas Corpus'].
Jackson Lee co-sponsored a bill limiting capital punishment:
H.R. 1038, S.233:
To place a moratorium on executions by the Federal Government and urge the States to do the same, while a National Commission on the Death Penalty reviews the fairness of the imposition of the death penalty .
S.486 & H.R.912:
To reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed [by examining DNA evidence more thoroughly].
H. R. 912, 3/7/2001, Innocence Protection Act of 2001 (Delahunt, et. al.)
S.486, 3/7/2001, Innocence Protection Act of 2001 (Leahy, et. al.)
H.R.1038, 3/15/2001, National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2001 (Jackson (IL), Rodriguez, Clay, Hoeffel, Jackson-Lee (TX))
S.233, 1/31/2001, National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2001 (Feingold, Levin, Wellstone, Corzine)
More funding and stricter sentencing for hate crimes.
Jackson Lee co-sponsored the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act:
Title: To provide Federal assistance to States and local jurisdictions to prosecute hate crimes.
Summary: Provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any violent crime that is motivated by prejudice based on the race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim or is a violation of hate crime laws.
Award grants to assist State and local law enforcement officials with extraordinary expenses for interstate hate crimes.
Award grants to State and local programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.
Prohibit specified offenses involving actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
Increase criminal sentencing for adult recruitment of juveniles to commit hate crimes.
Collect and publish data about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on gender.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1343 on Apr 3, 2001
Require DNA testing for all federal executions.
Jackson Lee co-sponsored the Innocence Protection Act:
Title: To reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed.
Summary: Authorizes a person convicted of a Federal crime to apply for DNA testing to support a claim that the person did not commit:
the Federal crime of which the person was convicted; or
any other offense that a sentencing authority may have relied upon when it sentenced the person with respect to such crime.
Prohibits a State from denying an application for DNA testing made by a prisoner in State custody who is under sentence of death if specified conditions apply.
Provides grants to prosecutors for DNA testing programs.
Establishes the National Commission on Capital Representation.
Withholds funds from States not complying with standards for capital representation.
Provides for capital defense incentive grants and resource grants.
Increases compensation in Federal cases, and sets forth provisions regarding compensation in State cases, where an individual is unjustly sentenced to death.
Adds a certification requirement in Federal death penalty prosecutions.
Expresses the sense of Congress regarding the execution of juvenile offenders and the mentally retarded.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR912 on Mar 7, 2001
Establish a domestic violence volunteer attorney network.
Jackson Lee co-sponsored establishing a domestic violence volunteer attorney network
National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act - Authorizes grants to the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence to work in collaboration with the American Bar Association Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and other organizations to create, recruit lawyers for, and provide training, mentoring, and technical assistance for a National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network.
Requires the Office on Violence Against Women of the Department of Justice to designate five states in which to implement the pilot program of a National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Referral Project and distribute funds under this Act.
Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and report to Congress on the scope and quality of legal representation and advocacy for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, including the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
Source: Domestic Violence Attorney Network Act (S.1515/H.R.6088) 07-S1515 on May 24, 2007
Increase funding for "COPS ON THE BEAT" program.
Jackson Lee co-sponsored increasing funding for "COPS ON THE BEAT" program
COPS Improvements Act of 2007 - Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to make grants for public safety and community policing programs (COPS ON THE BEAT or COPS program). Revises grant purposes to provide for:
the hiring or training of law enforcement officers for intelligence, antiterror, and homeland security duties;
the hiring of school resource officers;
school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities, and other problems facing elementary and secondary schools;
innovative programs to reduce and prevent illegal drug (including methamphetamine) manufacturing, distribution, and use; and
enhanced community policing and crime prevention grants that meet emerging law enforcement needs.
Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to:
assign community prosecutors to handle cases from specific geographic areas and address counterterrorism problems, specific violent crime problems, and localized violent and other crime problems; and
develop new technologies to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in crime prevention.
Source: COPS Improvements Act (S.368/H.R.1700) 07-S368 on Jan 23, 2007
Reduce recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance.
Jackson Lee co-sponsored reducing recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance
Recidivism Reduction and Second Chance Act of 2007
Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to expand provisions for adult and juvenile offender state and local reentry demonstration projects to provide expanded services to offenders and their families for reentry into society.
Directs the Attorney General to award grants for:
state and local reentry courts;
Comprehensive and Continuous Offender Reentry Task Forces;
pharmacological drug treatment services to incarcerated offenders;
technology career training for offenders;
mentoring services for reintegrating offenders into the community;
pharmacological drug treatment services to incarcerated offenders;
prison-based family treatment programs for incarcerated parents of minor children; and
a study of parole or post-incarceration supervision violations and revocations.
Legislative Outcome: Became Public Law No: 110-199.
Source: Second Chance Act (S.1060/H.R.1593) 08-S1060 on Mar 29, 2007
Sponsored providing defense lawyers for all indigent defendants.
Jackson Lee co-sponsored House Resolution on court policy
Congressional RESOLUTION supporting the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, the right to counsel.
WHEREAS on March 18, 1963, the Supreme Court recognized in Gideon v. Wainwright that counsel must be provided to indigent defendants in all felony cases;
WHEREAS the Supreme Court held that providing counsel to indigent defendants in all felony cases meets the essential requirements of the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution; and
WHEREAS the Supreme Court held in Argersinger v. Hamlin that absent a knowing and intelligent waiver, no person may be imprisoned for any offense, whether classified as petty, misdemeanor, or felony, unless they were represented by counsel at their trial:
Now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives--
supports the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, the right to counsel; and
supports strategies to improve the criminal justice system to ensure that indigent defendants in all felony cases are ade
First step: reduce recidivism & mass incarceration.
Jackson Lee voted YEA First Step Act
TITLE I--RECIDIVISM REDUCTION: establish a risk and needs assessment system to evaluate the recidivism risk of prisoners; to guide housing assignments; and to reward participation in recidivism reduction programs.
TITLE II--BUREAU OF PRISONS SECURE FIREARMS STORAGE: allow federal correctional officers to securely store and carry concealed firearms on BOP premises outside the security perimeter of a prison.
TITLE III--RESTRAINTS ON PREGNANT PRISONERS PROHIBITED: limits the use of restraints on federal prisoners who are pregnant or in postpartum recovery.
TITLE IV--SENTENCING REFORM: reduces the enhanced mandatory minimum prison terms for certain repeat drug offenses.
Opposing press release from Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1):: The reform sentencing laws in this bill may compromise the safety of our communities. Criminals convicted of violent crimes would have the opportunity to
achieve 'low risk' status and become eligible for early release. California already has similar laws in place--Propositions 47 and 57--which have hamstrung law enforcement and caused a significant uptick in crime.
Supporting press release from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10):: S. 756 establishes a new system to reduce the risk that [federal prisoners] will commit crimes once they are released. Critically, S. 756 would not only implement these reforms to our prison system, but it also takes a crucial first step toward addressing grave concerns about our sentencing laws, which have for years fed a national crisis of mass incarceration. The bill is a 'first step' that demonstrates that we can work together to make the system fairer in ways that will also reduce crime and victimization.
Legislative outcome: Concurrence Passed Senate, 87-12-1, on Dec. 18, 2018; Concurrence Passed House 358-36-28, Dec. 20, 2018; President Trump signed, Dec. 21, 2018
Source: Congressional vote 18-S756 on Dec 20, 2018
Rated 85% by the NAPO, indicating a tough-on-crime stance.
Jackson Lee scores 85% by the NAPO on crime & police issues
Ratings by the National Association of Police Organizations indicate support or opposition to issues of importance to police and crime. The organization's self-description: "The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) is a coalition of police units and associations from across the United States. NAPO was organized for the purpose of advancing the interests of America's law enforcement officers through legislative advocacy, political action, and education.
"Increasingly, the rights and interests of law enforcement officers have been the subject of legislative, executive, and judicial action in the nationís capital. NAPO works to influence the course of national affairs where law enforcement interests are concerned. The following list includes examples of NAPOís accomplishments:
Enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act
Enactment of the National AMBER Alert Act
Enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
Enactment of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
Enactment of the Law Enforcement Officers' Safety Act (Right to Carry Legislation)
VoteMatch scoring for the NAPO ratings is as follows:
0%-50%: soft on crime and police issues;
50%-75%: mixed record on crime and police issues;
75%-100%: tough on crime and police issues.
Source: NAPO ratings on Congress and politicians 2014_NAPO on Dec 31, 2014
Sponsored stricter rules for police accountability.
Jackson Lee co-sponsored George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
This bill addresses policing practices and law enforcement accountability:
lowers the criminal intent standard--from willful to knowing or reckless--to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution,
limits qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer, and
grants administrative subpoena power to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in pattern-or-practice investigations.
Rep. Elise Stefanik in OPPOSITION (3/1/21): I voted against H.R. 1280--this bill poses a grave danger to law-abiding police officers, as it would eliminate qualified immunity protections, lower the standard for federal civil rights lawsuits, and limit access to necessary equipment during emergencies and natural disasters. Democrats rushed this bill to the House Floor without accepting any input from Republicans, expert testimony, or significant data. I am proud to sponsor the JUSTICE Act with Senator
Tim Scott, to provide necessary reforms to end police brutality while protecting our law-abiding officers.
OnTheIssues explanation of "qualified immunity": "Qualified immunity" means that police officers (and other government officials) cannot be sued for actions on duty, unless knowingly taking unreasonable actions. This bill would limit "qualified immunity," which means the family in cases like George Floyd's could sue the police for civil damages.
Biden Administration in SUPPORT (3/1/21): We must begin by rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect. We cannot rebuild that trust if we do not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and tackle systemic misconduct--and systemic racism--in police departments.
Legislative Outcome: Passed House 220-212-0 on March 3, 2021, rollcall #60; received in Senate on March 9; no further Senate action during 2021.
Megan's Law: public list of sexually violent offenders.
Jackson Lee co-sponsored Megan's Law: public list of sexually violent offenders
Megan's Law - Amends the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to require the release of relevant information to protect the public from sexually violent offenders:
require (current law authorizes) State and local law enforcement agencies to release relevant information that is necessary to protect the public concerning persons required to register under the Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act; and
provide that any information collected under such a program may be disclosed for any purpose permitted under the laws of the State.
Legislative Outcome: Became Public Law No: 104-145
Source: Megan's Law (H.R.2137) 95-H2137 on Jul 27, 1995