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Congress, administration put crime bill on fast track.

Congress has put anti-crime legislation on a fast track. Jack Brooks (D-Tex.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has announced that the full committee will markup his bill, HR 3131 as early as the week of October 18th. In the Senate, S. 1488, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman, Joseph Biden (D-Del.) is also expected to move quickly.

The administration has placed passage of a crime bill on the short list of "must pass" legislation this year. According to Justice Department officials, both the House and Senate desire to compete floor action on the measures by Thanksgiving.

Because the House and Senate have completed action on the FY 1994 Commerce, Justice appropriations bills, none of the grants programs to cities and towns contained in S. 1488 and HR 31:31 could be funded before 1995.

For city leaders, the key issues in the pending bills include:

Brady Bill

Although the Senate anti-crime bill specifically omits the so-called Brady bill--requiring a five day waiting period before a licensed dealer, importer, or manufacturer may sell, deliver, or transfer a handgun to a private purchaser, the NLC-supported is back and has a very good chance of passage in Congress this session.

The Brady bill was dropped from S. 1488 at the request of Sarah and Jim Brady, for whom the bill is named, to eliminate the possibility that the crime bill would be again bogged down as it was during the 102nd Congress. However, the Brady bill is contained in the House bill. Therefore, it is poised to move one way or another, as a separate bill or as part of a comprehensive package.

Police Officers' Bill of Rights

Both the House and Senate bills contain identical provisions requiring the Attorney General to conduct a one-year study of the procedures followed in internal, non-criminal, investigations of state and local law enforcement officers to determine if such investigations are conducted fairly. The Attorney General must report the results of that study to Congress no later than one year after the date of enactment. Efforts are expected to be made to include a full-blown POBR at any step of the way during the legislative process.

Cops on the Beat

This program outlined in the accompanying chart, is designed to compliment the recently released $150 million "Police Hiring Supplemental Program" - a further step to realize the Clinton campaign promise of placing 100,000 additional police officers on the streets of the nation's cities and towns. The "Cops on the Beat" is authorized to fund approximately 50,000 additional officers.

Substance Abuse Grants

Cities would be eligible to apply for grants as part of a seven-member coalition that must include law enforcement, schools, health and social service agencies, clergy, business, youth, parents, and others. This bill world authorize $15 million for FY 1995, $20 million for FY 96, and $25 million for FY 1997.

Drug Emergency Areas Grants (DEA)

The House bill world authorize $100 million for grants of up to $25 million to states or localities identified by the President as having a "major drug-related emergency." Such an emergency is defined as "any occasion or instance in which drug smuggling, drug trafficking, drug abuse, or drug-related violence reaches such levels, as determined by the President, that Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives, and to protect property and public health and safety."

A version of this program has been in effect in passed years as the Bush administration's High-Intensity Drug Area program under which five such areas are designated. They are: New York City, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, and the Southwest Boarder of the United States.

Police Corps

The Police Corp proposals differ between the House and Senate bills mainly on scale. The $100 million authorizing level would establish a National Police Corp (NPC) program under which participants could receive up to $7,500 per year for education or $10,000 if in a year-round program. The maximum limit per individual is $30,000 with a commitment to work in either state or local law enforcement for four years. State and local law enforcement agencies which hire program participants would receive $10,000 per participant per year.

The greatly scaled down House version would authorizes $5 million per year (FY 1994-98) and does not establish an NPC program. Rather, it would provide funds for a maximum of 10 Community Police Corp programs across the country. Participants would have to commit to work for the jurisdiction which sponsors the program for four years. Such a sponsor would have to agree to hire participants but does no receive a grant per participant.

Drug Testing Upon Arrest

One hundred million dollars is authorized for grants to develop, implement, or continue drug testing projects when individuals are arrested and during pre-trial periods. Provisions are the same in both bills.

Low Enforcement Family Support Grants

Both bills authorize $5 million for grants to states and local law enforcement agencies and to organizations representing state and local law enforcement personnel. Such services could include: counseling for law enforcement families, marital and adolescent support groups, stress reduction programs, child care on a 24-hour basis, hypertension clinics, and seminars regarding alcohol, drug abuse, gambling, and overeating.

The main differences between the House and Senate bills involve the distribution of funds. In the House bill, all grant recipients would receive a maximum grant award of $100,00 for a maximum grant life of 5 years. In the Senate, however, State and local law enforcement agencies could receive a maximum grant of $100,000 while the maximum grant award to organizations representing law enforcement personnel could be $250,000 over a maximum five year period.
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Title Annotation:includes related information on anti-crime proposals
Author:Quist, Janet
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Oct 11, 1993
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