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House, Senate start work on crime bill; far-reaching measure attacks gun, adds cops.

Both the House and Senate unveiled their respective versions of a comprehensive anti-crime bill late last Thursday. The few details available as Nation's Cities Weekly went to press follow. Debate over the measures are expected to begin in October.


In the Senate, Joseph Biden (D-Del.) introduced the Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1993, claiming the support of both President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno. In his introductory remarks, Biden focused on three components essential in an overall package, not all of which are in the bill introduced Thursday. They are:

* increasing by 50,000 the number of law enforcement officers on community streets,

* alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders, and

* keeping guns out of the hands of children and convicted felons.


In the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jack Brooks (D-TX) introduced a similar proposal. The bill would provide: 1) the Brady bill, which mandates a five workday waiting period before the purchase of a handgun, allowing law enforcement officials to conduct background checks; 2) Mandatory drug treatment for all state and federal inmates who need it; 3) A Safe Schools program for state and local schools districts for increased safety measures including metal detectors, cameras and anti-violence curriculum; and 4) A program to ensure the certainty of punishment for juveniles and youthful offenders. This would enable states to develop sentencing alternatives to probation, such as boot camps, home confinement, restitution or weekend incarceration.

Police Officers' Bill of Rights (POBR)

Of particular interest to municipal elected officials is the apparent absence of a federally mandated Police Officers' Bill of Rights from both the House and Senate bills, although the final word on the Senate bill could not be confirmed at press. However, the Brooks bill does contain the study provisions. It is highly expected that proponents of a POBR will continue to seek the inclusion of some variety in one or both bills.

Gun Control

One of the major bones of contention last Congress that lead to the demise of the anti-crime conference report was the inclusion of weapons control provisions. Biden announced that both the NLC-supported Brady bill and provisions to restrict the sale and ownership of assault-style weapons are not included in the Senate bill. Rather, the Brady bill will be moved as a separate bill, the support for which came from the namesake of the proposal, Jim Brady, former press secretary of President Reagan, injured in an assassination attempt on Reagan over ten years ago. Chairman Schumer will hold a hearing on the Brady bill September 29th.

Additional Law Enforcement Officers

Complimenting Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice, Biden described briefly a proposal that would move further toward completing President Clinton's campaign promise for 100,000 additional law enforcement officers.

The bill's provisions would add 50,000 additional officers to compliment the other 50,000 added through other legislative initiatives already pending or signed into law, including the summer supplemental that appropriated $150 million for hiring and rehiring additional law enforcement personnel, provisions in National Service law.

Schumer called the House bill "a tough bill" but "also fair bill."

"It strikes a balance," he said, "between Americans' rights to feel safe and secure without tossing away civil liberties." "Go to any city and you can find guns being sold from the backs of pickup trucks."

"Read the headlines, talk to people and you know it's just too easy to get a gun. Read the polls and you know Americans are demanding Brady."

Human Development Unit Has

Health Care Issue On Agenda

Tallahassee Mayor Dorothy Inman-Crews will preside over her first meeting as the Chair of NLC's Human Development Steering Committee in Alexandria, Va., October 1-2. Health care remains as the central topic before the Committee, particularly with the recent unveiling of the Clinton Administration's proposed health care reforms.

Other topics which the committee will discuss are the NLC "Task Force Report on Federal Policy and Poverty" and its connection with welfare reform initiatives of the Clinton Administration.

The Youth, Education and Families Subcommittee under new co-chairs Sheila Jackson-Lee, councilmember, Houston, and Kathryn Nack, councilmember, Pasadena, Calif. will examine all the committee's discussions from this special perspective which is receiving special emphasis.

A review of NLC's policies on AIDS begun in June will also continue as well a discussion of NLC's anti-mandates campaign.
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Author:Quist, Janet
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Sep 27, 1993
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