Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

CJS Chairman Serrano Includes Funding for Police Reform, Racial Justice and Other Important Programs in FY 2021 CJS Appropriations Bill

Jul 7, 2020
Press Release
Bill Contains Major Reforms to Federal Law Enforcement Funding and Creates Several New Grant Programs Proposed in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to Bring About Real, Significant, and Lasting Change in Police Accountability

Serrano Will Chair Subcommittee Markup on the Bill on Wednesday, July 8th at 9:00 AM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MX-RNBs1Lc

Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano, Chairman of the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, released the following statement following the public release of the FY 2021 CJS bill today.  Chairman Serrano, who drafted the bill,  incorporated numerous new initiatives to address police accountability and civil rights, including funding for several grant programs authorized in the Justice in Policing Act; language rolling back the Trump Administration’s harmful limits on the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s investigations of police practices; and conditions on federal grants to incentivize change at the local level, among other efforts. The bill also rejects the Trump Administration’s efforts to gut climate change research, and instead increases funding for scientific research to understand, and respond to, climate change; increases funding to help prevent gun violence; and invests in key business and economic development programs, among other important achievements.

“This year’s CJS funding bill starts the urgent and necessary process of change by focusing on police accountability, civil rights, and justice for all. The bill boosts spending to address police misconduct, enforce civil rights, and promote racial justice, all while protecting and expanding funding for critical programs in a wide range of areas.

“This bill creates real, significant, and lasting change in police accountability by creating several new grant programs proposed in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to drive law enforcement reform and accountability practices, by rolling back limitations put in place by the Trump Administration, by increasing funding for the DOJ Civil Rights Division and for FBI and U.S. Attorney investigations of law enforcement patterns and practices, and by putting limitations on Federal grant funds to incentivize reform at the state and local level.  The bill also increases funding for the Legal Services Corporation, which provides access to civil legal aid to low-income Americans, by $25 million above last year’s record level, and for the First Step Act by $90 million. The First Step Act has helped reduce mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses and included provisions that address racial disparities in the federal prison system.”

“The Chairman’s mark also invests in key agencies that support economic development, like the Minority Business Development Agency and the Economic Development Administration.

“In other areas, I am particularly proud that this bill rejects the Trump Administration’s efforts to gut climate change research at NOAA and NASA, and instead supports further investments to understand and respond to the climate crisis we face. Since the start of my career in Congress, I have made it a priority to help protect the environment and fight for environmental justice in underserved communities like the Bronx. This increased investment to better understand and address climate change is another important step forward.

“The bill also increases funding to reduce gun violence, including significant increases for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and through the STOP School Violence Act.  It also increases funding for grants to encourage states to submit more records to the FBI’s National Criminal Background Check System.  Additionally, the bill removes several riders that unnecessarily hinder ATF efforts to promote gun safety.

“This much-needed funding is required to fund key initiatives, invest in our communities, and bring about real change at the federal, state, and local level. I look forward to moving this legislation through the process and seeing the positive impact that I am confident it will have in the Bronx and other communities throughout the country.”

Click here for a link to the full text of the bill: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP19/20200708/110864/BILLS-116--AP--CJS-FY2021CJSSubcommitteeBill.pdf

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Congressman José E. Serrano has represented The Bronx in Congress since 1990.  He is a Senior Member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee.