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S.

714 - National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009


XMLU.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 112 Congress - 1 Session as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate Vote Summary Question: On the Amendment (Webb Amdt. No. 750 As Modified ) Vote Number: Vote Date: 173 October 20, 2011, 12:53 PM Required For Vote Result: Amendment Rejected 3/5 Majority: Amendment S.Amdt. 750 to S.Amdt. 738 to H.R. 2112 (Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Number: Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012) Statement of To establish the National Criminal Justice Commission. Purpose: Vote Counts: YEAs NAYs Grouped By Vote Position Akaka (D-HI) Baucus (D-MT) Begich (D-AK) Bennet (D-CO) Bingaman (D-NM) Blumenthal (D-CT) Boxer (D-CA) Brown (D-OH) Brown (R-MA) Cantwell (D-WA) Cardin (D-MD) Carper (D-DE) Casey (D-PA) Conrad (D-ND) Coons (D-DE) Durbin (D-IL) Feinstein (D-CA) Franken (D-MN) Gillibrand (D-NY) Alexander (R-TN) Ayotte (R-NH) Barrasso (R-WY) Blunt (R-MO) Boozman (R-AR) Burr (R-NC) Chambliss (R-GA) Coats (R-IN) Coburn (R-OK) Cochran (R-MS) Collins (R-ME) Corker (R-TN) Cornyn (R-TX) Crapo (R-ID) DeMint (R-SC) YEAs ---57 Graham (R-SC) Hagan (D-NC) Harkin (D-IA) Hatch (R-UT) Inouye (D-HI) Johnson (D-SD) Kerry (D-MA) Klobuchar (D-MN) Kohl (D-WI) Landrieu (D-LA) Lautenberg (D-NJ) Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI) Lieberman (ID-CT) Manchin (D-WV) McCaskill (D-MO) Menendez (D-NJ) Merkley (D-OR) Mikulski (D-MD) NAYs ---43 Enzi (R-WY) Grassley (R-IA) Heller (R-NV) Hoeven (R-ND) Hutchison (R-TX) Inhofe (R-OK) Isakson (R-GA) Johanns (R-NE) Johnson (R-WI) Kirk (R-IL) Kyl (R-AZ) Lee (R-UT) Lugar (R-IN) McCain (R-AZ) McConnell (R-KY) Murray (D-WA) Nelson (D-FL) Nelson (D-NE) Pryor (D-AR) Reed (D-RI) Reid (D-NV) Rockefeller (D-WV) Sanders (I-VT) Schumer (D-NY) Shaheen (D-NH) Snowe (R-ME) Stabenow (D-MI) Tester (D-MT) Udall (D-CO) Udall (D-NM) Warner (D-VA) Webb (D-VA) Whitehouse (D-RI) Wyden (D-OR) Moran (R-KS) Murkowski (R-AK) Paul (R-KY) Portman (R-OH) Risch (R-ID) Roberts (R-KS) Rubio (R-FL) Sessions (R-AL) Shelby (R-AL) Thune (R-SD) Toomey (R-PA) Vitter (R-LA) Wicker (R-MS) 57 43
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BLOGS/NEWS ARTICLES Senator Jim Webb Webbs Landmark Criminal Justice Legislation Called Up By Majority Leader Reid for Vote this Week

National Criminal Justice Commission Act has won support across political spectrum
October 18, 2011

Washington, DCSenator Jim Webbs landmark National Criminal Justice Commission Act was called up yesterday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as the first amendment to H.R. 2112, a consolidated appropriations bill for 2012. Senator Webbs legislation has won support from Republicans and Democrats as well as more than 100 organizations, including the National Sheriffs Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Sentencing Project, the NAACP, the ACLU and Prison Fellowship. Since first introducing this bill in 2009, my office has worked tirelessly to build the case for reform with groups from across the philosophical and political spectrum, said Senator Webb. The strong endorsements for this legislation point to the crucial need for swift reform of Americas criminal justice system. We can be smarter about whom we incarcerate, improve public safety outcomes, make better use of taxpayer dollars, and bring greater fairness to our justice system. The National Criminal Justice Commission Act would create a blue-ribbon, bipartisan commission of experts charged with undertaking an 18-month top-to-bottom review of the nations criminal justice system and offering concrete recommendations for reform. It was first introduced March 26, 2009, and was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 21, 2010, with 39 bipartisan cosponsors. On July 28, 2010, it passed the U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), now Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. At the end of last year, the legislation was incorporated in the Omnibus Appropriations Act, which was blocked for unrelated procedural reasons. Senator Webb reintroduced his bill on February 8, 2011. What Theyre Saying about the National Criminal Justice Commission Act

LAW ENFORCEMENT LEADERS: Chief Michael J. Carroll, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) President, 2/24/2011: For more than twenty years, the IACP has advocated for the creation of a commission that would follow in the footsteps of the 1965 Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice The IACP believes that it is imperative that the National Criminal Justice Commission Act be approved in a timely fashion. For far too long our nations law enforcement and criminal justice system has lacked a strategic plan that will guide and integrate public safety and homeland securitys effort in the years ahead. Chuck Canterbury, National President, Fraternal Order of Police, 2/16/2011: The recommendations made by the 1965 commission provided the basis for a legislative overhaul and modernization of the criminal justice system... Law enforcement has changed a great deal in the last few

decades. We believe that establishing a national commission...will only help law enforcement officers do their jobs more effectively, more, efficiently and more safely. Sheriff B.J. Roberts, President of National Sheriffs Association (NSA), 2/15/2011: Emerging issues in law enforcement, such as acts of terrorism and threats to homeland security, make the creation of a national commission all the more necessary to ensure law enforcementhas the tools and knowledge necessary to adapt to the continually evolving justice system. The NSA commends Senator Webb on his leadership on this critical issue and we look forward to working with him to pass S. 306 during the 112th Congress. CRIMINAL JUSTICE EXPERTS: Charles Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship, 7/22/2009: I write this from the perspective of a conservative who has always been comfortable as a reformer I dont believe this is an ideological issue at all, but one on which people of good will, conservative and liberal alike, could join forces to make prisons more effective, humane and successful We will certainly give you all the help we can to build support for your legislation. Brian W. Walsh, The Heritage Foundation, 6/11/2009: Reform experts who are serious about criminal-justice reform should draw encouragement from Senator Webbs efforts to date to reach out to elected officials on both sides of the aisle and to criminal-justice reform advocates across the conservative-to-liberal spectrum. Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, 4/20/2009: A new approach to crime prevention is necessary and the time for reform is upon us. The commission created by this legislation would establish an organized and proactive approach to studying and advancing programs and policies that promote public safety, while overhauling those practices that are found to be fundamentally flawed We strongly urge passage of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act. Professor Charles J. Ogletree of Harvard Law School, 6/11/2009: The comprehensive, timely, and important bill proposed by Senator Jim Webb will go a long way toward addressing some of the severe inequities in the criminal justice system. This effort should be pursued with great vigor to ensure that we not only hold offenders accountable, but that we implement criminal justice policies that are sensible, fair, increase public safety and make judicious use of our state and federal resources.

http://webb.senate.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/2011-10-18.cfm

Press Releases

Republicans Filibuster Criminal Justice Reform

Senator Webb: We have been here before. We will keep fighting.


October 20, 2011

Washington, DCSenator Jim Webb issued the following statement today after Senate Republicans blocked passage of legislation to establish a bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission. Over the last three years, Senator Webbs legislation has won support from more than 100 organizations, including the National Sheriffs Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Sentencing Project, the NAACP, the ACLU and Prison Fellowship.

Today Senate Republicans blocked an important opportunity to make our criminal justice system more fair and effective. Their inflammatory arguments defy reasonable explanation and were contradicted by the plain language of our legislation. To suggest, for example, that the non-binding recommendations of a bipartisan commission threaten the Constitution is absurd. But we have been here before: In 2007, our soldiers and Marines were being deployed again and again, resulting in rising mental health problems and falling retention rates. On two occasions, I offered legislation requiring active-duty troops to have equal time at home as on deployment. On both occasions, Republican Senators blocked this sensible, time-honored policy. We did not back down. We kept fighting and we changed the debate. Today proper dwell-time rotations are a top priority at the highest levels of the Defense Department. Likewise, over the last five years we have put the issue of criminal justice reform on the national agenda and changed the tone of the debate. When I first raised the issue in 2006, it was believed to be political suicide. But after years of building the case for reform, we have earned the trust and support of advocates across the philosophical and political spectrum. We will not back down. We will keep fighting for a comprehensive review of the justice system, with the help of the thousands of sheriffs, police, mayors and justice advocates who have joined us in pressing for reform. The National Criminal Justice Commission Act would create a blue-ribbon, bipartisan commission of experts charged with undertaking an 18-month top-to-bottom review of the nations criminal justice system and offering concrete recommendations for reform. It was first introduced March 26, 2009, and was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 21, 2010, with 39 bipartisan cosponsors. On July 28, 2010, it passed the U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), now Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. At the end of last year, the legislation was incorporated in the Omnibus Appropriations Act, which was blocked for unrelated procedural reasons. Senator Webb reintroduced his bill on February 8, 2011. It was blocked by Republicans in the Senate today by a vote of 57-43 (60 votes required for passage).

Senator Kay Hutchison


Dear Friend: Thank you for contacting me regarding the National Criminal Justice Act of 2009. I welcome your thoughts and comments. On March 26, 2009, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced S. 714, the National Criminal Justice Act of 2009. This act would establish the National Criminal Justice Commission, which would undertake a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system. The Commission would focus on incarceration policies, prison violence, and prison administration. After examining the current system, the Commission would be required to submit a public report to Congress and the President. S. 714 has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, on which I do not serve. Should this legislation come before the full Senate, you may be certain I will keep your views in mind. I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue that is important to you.

Sincerely, Kay Bailey Hutchison United States Senator

http://stash.norml.org/sen-kay-bailey-hutchison-r-tx-on-the-national-criminal-justice-act Senator Patrick Leahy


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee On S. 714, "The National Criminal Justice Commission Act" Executive Business Meeting January 21, 2010 Today, we have the opportunity to consider a criminal justice initiative that has bipartisan support. At Senator Webb's request, I have again included his proposal to establish a criminal justice commission to analyze our criminal justice system and make recommendations to us on how to make it work more fairly, efficiently, and effectively. Senator Webb has worked very hard over the last several months to make this legislation responsive to concerns raised by law enforcement, state and local government officials, and Committee members from both sides of the aisle. In response to those concerns, he has offered a substitute bill with the hope that we can move this important piece of legislation through Committee with the strong bi-partisan support it deserves. I want to thank Senator Specter and Senator Durbin for their work with Senator Webb to bring this bill through Committee. The National Criminal Justice Commission Act offers an opportunity to examine our criminal justice system, identify what we are doing right, and what we can do better. As a former prosecutor, I have long been interested in finding ways to improve our criminal justice system, whether through improved policing techniques, additional resources for prosecution, or innovative ways to prevent crime and improve reentry to our communities for those leaving prison. I am proud of the work we have accomplished through legislation such as the Second Chance Act, and I am continuing to seek innovative solutions through legislation like the Juvenile Justice and Detention Prevention Reauthorization Act. I believe strongly in securing tough and appropriate prison sentences for people who break our laws. But it is also important that we do everything we can to prevent crime and improve the reentry process so that we can start to reverse the dangerous cycle of recidivism and violence. I hope that the findings of a National Criminal Justice Commission will help give us the information we need to do that. I want to thank Senator Webb for responding to concerns raised by the law enforcement community, and by Senators Feinstein and Klobuchar, among others. While I share Senator Webb's sense that these are important issues that need to be addressed, we need to do so in a way that takes into consideration many perspectives, including the important insights of State and local law enforcement. With bipartisan cosponsors including Senator Hatch and Senator Graham, I look forward to a good discussion about this proposed commission.

http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/testimony.cfm?id=e655f9e2809e5476862f735da155cbdd&wit_id= e655f9e2809e5476862f735da155cbdd-0-0

Senator Charles Leahy

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2009

Grassley Says Webb Commission Should "Do What We Tell Them To Do"
Posted by LEAP

Sen. Charles Grassley, author of the censorship amendment to the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, was asked about his anti-speech tendencies by a reporter on a conference call today. The full transcript is below, but here's the most interesting part of what Sen. Grassley said: "[T]he point is, for them to do what we tell them to do. And one of the things that I was anticipating telling them not to do is to -- to recommend or study the legalization of drugs." Also of note,the reporter then follows up to ask if his amendment would also ban discussion of medical marijuana by the commission, and the senator says "yes." The best part just might be where Sen. Grassley tells the reporter that, "you want everything on the table." Yeah, except for sensible policy options like legalization, right? Read on, and enjoy... QUESTION: I hear there was an amendment to a bill tomorrow that would legally prevent some of the government's top advisers from -- according to some of the memos we've seen -- even discussing the idea of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs. Can you talk a little bit about that? I understand that you pulled that amendment, but, nonetheless, I wanted to ask you what your intent is with that. GRASSLEY: Well, my intent on that amendment isn't any different than any other amendments that are coming up. The Congress is setting up a commission to study certain things. And the commission is a -- is an arm of Congress, because Congress doesn't have time to review some of these laws. And -- and -- and the point is, for them to do what we tell them to do. And one of the things that I was anticipating telling them not to do is to -- to recommend or study the legalization of drugs. Their -- their program would be what we tell it it is. And one of the reasons that maybe there's -- there are several amendments that I floated around. And I probably only anticipated offering two or three of them anyway. You always circulate more amendments than you want to offer because you want everything on the table because once the agenda goes out, then it's too late to put something on the table without unanimous consent. So -- and this isn't one of them. But, getting back to what I started to say -- I got -- digressed there a little bit on explaining how the system works -- and that is that one of the things I think is going to come up is whether or not this commission on making recommendations has to have a simple majority or a super majority or maybe even by consensus. And the extent to which you get a larger percentage, particularly if it's consensus recommendations, you're probably going to get more reasonable and -- recommendations, and probably a narrower set of recommendations.

Actually, this is similar to, for instance, you probably don't remember this, but I was involved in rewriting the bankruptcy laws. Well, we set up a commission in the early 1990s, or maybe it was mid 1990s. They studied for two or three years and made recommendations. And -- and that was the basis for our legislation. And so, this commission that Webb is suggesting would be a -- a basis for possible legislation in the future. QUESTION: Would your amendment have even stopped the discussion of legalized marijuana for medical purposes? GRASSLEY: I think that would not -- let's see. Yes, the extent to which it would be decriminalization, the answer is yes. QUESTION: OK. OK. GRASSLEY: Yeah. QUESTION: OK. Thank you. Thank you, Senator. GRASSLEY: Yes, you bet. The good thing is that Sen. Grassley seems to indicate that he is going to withdraw his amendment, but let's not take that for granted; please contact your senators right now and tell them to oppose censorship if they have to vote on this. Audio of the senator defending his censorship amendment can be found here.