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11 January 2007
 
FedCURE News:

The Second Chance Act- Hill Meetings - Next Work Group on 24 January 2007


The next meeting of the reentry working group will be on Wednesday, January 24th at 10:30 am in the Open Society office. Those outside of the District of Columbia may participate by calling 1-888-234-4229 and entering 9066#.

-----------------

The following Hill meetings are scheduled. Please let Gene know if you
can participate.

Friday, Jan 12

10:00 am - Office of Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) with Andrew Lattanner in 1218 Longworth. Scheduled by Kara Gotsch.

11:00 am` - Office of Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN) with Lori Pepper in 223 Cannon. Scheduled by Kara Gotsch.

Thurs, Jan 18

10:30 am - Office of Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) with Kara Stencel in 1221 Longworth. Scheduled by Phyllis Lawrence.

-----------------------------

The reentry working group met on January 11.
 
Participating were: Phyllis Lawrence, Greg Mitchell, Sara Paterni, Jonathan Harwitz, Shannon Jones, Eric Schultz, Bill Broydrick, John Broehm, Gene Guerrero, Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, Jody Kent, Sarah Kahn, Steve Berg, Kara Gotsch, Erica Dusenberry, Tom Angell, Abeo Anderson, Tom Petersik, Bill Mefford, Gwen Smith Ingley, Jeremy Rosen, Natasha Williams, Jay Hutchins.

Gene and others reported on the Jan 10th meeting with Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL) and Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) - the original Democratic House sponsors of the Second Chance Act. Key congressional staff attending the meeting included Caleb Gilchrist (Davis), Jorge Castro (Tubbs Jones), Rachel Dresen (Chris Cannon), Keenan Keller (John Conyers) from the House and from the Senate Dave Turk (Biden), Lisa Owings (Specter), and LaRochelle Young (Brownback). Approximately 30 members of the reentry working group attended.

Both Davis and Tubbs Jones reaffirmed their commitment to the Second Chance Act and stressed the importance of passage this year. They suggested that working group members reach out to congressional leaders including Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer to urge quick action.  House Judiciary staffer Keenan Keller said that they were working for reintroduction of the Second Chance Act around the first week in February.  The bill will move through the House under regular order (hearings, committee mark-up). They hope for passage by the Memorial Day recess. Dave Turk, Senator Biden's Judiciary staffer, reported that they also plan to move the bill promptly through the Senate. There the bill will be considered by the full Judiciary Committee rather than first going through a subcommittee.  He, Lisa Owings, and LaRochelle Young will be meeting with Senator Coburn's staff to continue looking for ways to address his concerns. Outreach to the Senate leadership will also be very helpful to encourage early action.

Also at the Jan 10th with the Members and congressional staff there was discussion of holding a series of Hill forums or briefings on criminal justice reform issues. The congressional people were generally interested. Keenan Keller suggested an early Hill briefing on the Second Chance Act itself.

At the reentry working group meeting Gene agreed to seek a meeting with Speaker Pelosi's criminal justice staffer Michael Tecklenberg. Bill Broydrick volunteered to seek a meeting with Majority Leader Hoyer's office. On the Senate side Jeremy Rosen volunteered to seek a meeting with the office of Senator McConnell. Bill Broydrick will reach out to Senator Durbin's office.

Gene reported on a Jan 10th meeting with the office of Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA). His legislative director, Amy Smith, indicated that her brother is in prison. She was very familiar with the work of Prison Fellowship and interested in the Second Chance Act. Sara reported on the meeting with the office of Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) with Greer Illingworth who was interested. Both meetings were scheduled by Greg Mitchell. There was discussion of the importance of scheduling these
meetings with new Members as soon as possible. John Broehm volunteer to reach out to newly elected Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI).

There was discussion of the proposed Hill forums/briefings. There was consensus that a Hill briefing on the Second Chance Act should be held soon after reintroduction. Friday, Feb 9th was suggested for the briefing which would be sponsored by various organizations in the working group. There was agreement that it would be good to have someone speak who had been helped by reentry - perhaps someone from the Rebecca Project or another program. And also have someone from corrections or law enforcement. Then it might be helpful to have a conservative spokesperson such as Pat Nolan of prison Fellowship and someone from the progressive community such as Hilary Shelton of the NAACP.

Gene reported that he, Jane Browning, and Jessica Nickel had previously volunteered to help coordinate the series of Hill forums. Bill Mefford, Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, Kara Gotsch and Shannon Jones volunteered to help with that.

There was general agreement with a proposed series of Hill forums (1)overview of the problem, (2) housing, (3) mentally ill, (4) education for employment, (5) dealing with the corrections explosion, (6) faith in action, (7) families and reentry, (8) preparing prisoners for reentry. There was agreement with Bill Mefford's suggestion that the series be held in the spring, perhaps beginning in March. There were differences of opinion regarding what day of the week to hold the forums and whether they should be more like staff briefing or more like forums involving more advocates in broader discussions of needed policy reforms. Gene will organize a conference call of the steering committee to put together a proposed series to present to key Hill staff.

Gene Guerrero
Open Society Institute/Open Society Policy Center
1120 19th Street, N.W., 8th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
202-721-5607
fax 202-530-0128

15 December 2006
 
Subject: Quick Action Coming on The Second Chance Act - Change in Next Meeting

****The next meeting of the reentry working group previously scheduled for Jan 9th is being changed. We will next meet on Wed, Jan 3rd at 10:00 am in the Open Society Office. Those outside of the District of Columbia may participate by calling 1-888-234-4229 and entering 9066#.****

A number of us had a very good meeting yesterday afternoon with most of the House and Senate staffers who were most directly involved in the efforts to pass the Second Chance Act this fall. We met with Lisa Owings (Specter), Dave Turk (Biden), Noah Bookbinder (Leahy), Mike Volkov (Lamar Smith), Keenan Keller (Conyers), and Bobby Vassar (Scott).

They believe it may be possible to move the Second Chance Act through Congress very early in the coming new Congress. In the House it is a priority for Judiciary Democrats and apparently they will not have a lot of other pressing business early in the next session. The plan is this:

*Hold staff briefings on the Second Chance Act in the House and Senate on Friday, January 5 featuring the actor Richard Gere.

*Reintroduce identical versions of the Second Chance Act in both houses during the second or third week in January. Hold a big news conference with notables and organization leaders present to stand with original sponsors who announce the bill's reintroduction.

*Quickly get lots of cosponsors

*Seek House passage during the third week in January

None of this is yet set in stone. Richard Gere's participation on Jan 5th is not yet confirmed. He is very committed to the Second Chance Act and helped out in significant ways in the past. Hopefully he can help again on the 5th. We should know by the middle of next week. As we've often seen, projected timetables for congressional action often slide.  But the staffers are determined to act quickly, and quick action is very much possible.

We in the reentry working group have a lot to do very quickly:

*The key staffers are interested in any suggested revisions any of us have to their working draft of the Second Chance Act. They have agreed among themselves that major new revisions will not be considered. But they have also agreed to seek to include all of the provisions that have been included in various versions of the bill. Dave Turk has emailed me the current version of Second Chance they will be using as the basis of the 2007 bill. If you would like a copy let me know.

*We will be working closely with key congressional staff on the Jan 5th Hill briefings. If there are particular ways you and your organization can help, please let me know. THE BRIEFING WILL BE SPONSORED BY ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING THE SECOND CHANCE ACT. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOUR ORGANIZATION CAN BE LISTED AS A SPONSOR. THERE IS NO FINANCIAL COMMITMENT IMVOLVED.

*We have to quickly get lots of cosponsors as soon as the bill is reintroduced. Please look over the list of sponsors from this past Congress and the list of newly elected Members and let me know which offices you will be able to contact early in January to get them ready to cosponsor the Second Chance Act. As in the past if you schedule a meeting and want others to join you, let me know and I can send out a notice to everyone.

*We told the staff that we would have a sign on letter ready by the second week in January urging all Members of Congress to cosponsor the Second Chance Act.  I am working on a draft of the letter and hope to have a final version ready to circulate by the close of business on Monday. If you can help edit and revise the draft letter please let me know.

We'll have a fuller report on yesterday's meeting when the reentry working group meets on Jan 3 at 10 am. PLEASE IDENTIFY MEMBER OFFICES
YOU CAN REACH TO GET THEM TO COSPONSOR AND LET ME KNOW.  It is critical.

Many thanks.

Gene Guerrero
Open Society Institute/Open Society Policy Center
1120 19th Street, N.W., 8th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
202-721-5607
fax 202-530-0128


 
07th December 2006

Subject: The Second Chance Act - Status [H.R. 1704/S.1934]

FedCURE NEWS: The Second Chance Act - CURE's Charlie Sullivan's Conversation Today with Sen. Coburn.

Dear Friends,
 
I sent out an email this morning that I was going to the Capitol to try and assist in the passage of the Second Chance Act or S. 1934.
 
I didn't know exactly what I was going to do, but Pauline and I were going to first have breakfast in the Dirksen Cafeteria with a friend.

As I finished my grits, I looked up and said to Pauline that the person who just walked in the cafeteria looks a lot like Sen. Coburn.  I have never met Sen. Coburn, but Pauline and I became even more convinced that it was him as he left.

I then took off after him and caught him at the elevator going to his office. We rode the elevator together and I started off by saying that I direct a national prison reform organization. Also, I do have a great deal of respect for him on many issues (and I do!).

When I began to talk about a specific issue where I respect him, he brought me up short by saying "It is not going to pass this Congress, but it will pass in the next Congress. I want to place some amendments on it."

At first, I thought he was talking about the specific issue I was talking about, but he made it clear he was talking about the Second Chance Act.

This happened on the Senate side and, of all things, I ran into Cong. Chris Cannon on the House side about thirty minutes later. Cong. Cannon is the Republican who is cosponsoring the 2nd Chance Act in the House with Democrat Cong.Danny Davis.

Again, I had never met Cong. Cannon before, but I shared with him what Sen. Coburn had just told me. He was very upset and said that he would call Sen. Coburn immediately.
 
Finally, I went to Cong. Danny Davis's Office. Cong. Davis was not there, but his staffer Jill Hunter-Williams said that Sen. Coburn called Cong. Davis this morning and said that the bill would not pass this Congress, but that "he wanted to work" with Cong. Davis on it in the next Congress.

Also, I suggested to Cong. Davis's staff that the Congressman suggest to the new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that the bill be included in the first 100 hours agenda that Speaker Pelosi is putting together. Cong. Davis is on the Pelosi leadership team.

Jill said that this agenda was already set. This was echoed by Bobby Vassar who is to be the Counsel for the majority in the next Congress on the Judiciary Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Second Chance Act.

However, I still think it is something for us to consider to keep the momentum on the bill.
 
 I'll close with expressing great admiration for our leader Gene Guerrero and others such as Jessica Nickel, Pat Nolan and Art Wallenstein who have worked so hard for years for this bill. Also, for our Oklahoma leadership from our CURE director Lynn Powell and longtime CURE life member Jack Cowley. And all of you for calling and emailing.
 
As I said in a previous email, Rosemary Collins, our Alabama CURE leader, said that the 2nd Chance Act sounds like "a dream come true". The bad news is that this dream will not become a reality immediately. But the good news is that it will definitely become a reality soon!

Charlie Sullivan, Director,
International CURE
202-789-2126
 
 
Message One - from Gene Guerrero of OSI:
 
Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:45 AM
Subject: Second Chance Act Status

The intense efforts in the Senate to pass the Second Chance Act this year failed late yesterday afternoon. Below is a report Jessica Nickel sent out to the Reentry Policy Council. I have been in touch with all of the key Senate staffers since we learned of Senator Coburn's final "no."  All are determined to get a quick start with the new Congress and believe that we have laid a strong foundation for action next year.

We have been very fortunte to have committed and savy staffers working on the Second Chance Act. They have worked very hard on it and have much appreciated the work of the reentry working group. If you want to do so, I am sure that they would appreciate any emails of thanks you may want to send after this Congress adjourns this week. Below are the email addresses for those staff:

Dave_Turk@Judiciary-dem.senate.gov  (Biden)
Lisa_Owings@Judiciary-rep.senate.gov  (Specter)
LaRochelle_Young@Brownback.senate.gov (Brownback)
Michael.Volkov@mail.house.gov (Coble/Sensenbrenner)
Bobby.Vassar@mail.house.gov (Scott)
Rachel.Dresen@mail.house.gov (Cannon)
Caleb.Gilchrist@mail.house.gov (Davis)
Jorge.Castro@mail.house.gov (Tubbs Jones)

The next meeting of the reentry working group will be on Tuesday, January 9 at 9:30 am  at the Open Society Office.


Hill Update: Effort to Pass the Second Chance Act Stalls in the Senate
------------------------------------------------------------------------

In a final attempt to pass the Second Chance Act (S. 1934/H.R. 1704) before the end of the 109th Congress, Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) tried to fast track the bill for passage. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), however, stalled that process by putting a hold on the bill.

Key staff redrafted some of the language to reach a compromise with Senator Coburn, but all efforts at negotiations failed. Senator Coburn's hold on the bill prevents the legislation from being considered on the floor and will ultimately halt any further movement during the 109th Congress.

Over the past few months the cosponsors of the Second Chance Act and other supporters of the legislation have worked with Senator Coburn to address his concerns. He objects to the bill on grounds that there is no federal role in prisoner re-entry and contends that states - including Oklahoma - have the resources to reduce recidivism and improve re-entry without federal support. Senator Coburn was the only Senator that requested a hold on the bill.

Bill sponsors plan to reintroduce the measure in the 110th Congress and will continue to reach out to Senator Coburn and his staff to reach a compromise on the measure.

Gene Guerrero
Open Society Institute/Open Society Policy Center
1120 19th Street, N.W., 8th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
202-721-5607
fax 202-530-0128
 
 
Message two - from Charles Sullivan, Co-Director, International CURE:
 
Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 8:20 AM
Subject: CURE NEWS .2nd Chance Act-S. 1934
 
Dear Friends,
 
I am walking over to Capitol Hill shortly to try again to assist in the passage of this most important legislation. Below is a piece that Milt Jordan, the leader of North Carolina-CURE, wrote on how important S. 1934 is.

I am inspired by this and hope you are too. Why not make two phone calls to your two U.S. Senators at 202-224-3121 and ask them to pressure Sen. Coburn to take his block on the passage of this bill. We are down to the final hours before Congress adjourns. But, there is still time to pass it. Charlie 202-789-2126

I know of no more compelling reason for this act to become law than my personal story!

Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006 is the 38th anniversary of my release from prison after spending 98 months of the 120 during the 1960s incarcerated. On release date, I was a high school dropout, from an illegitimate, poverty stricken background with a long crime and prison record. Yet during the past 38 years, I have been a hotel janitor (my first job after prison), a journalist, professional writer, radio station manager, television program producer, professional free-lance writer, adjunct college professor and a successful homebased business owner. Therefore, I know that second chances can work.
 
No! They don't work because they are extended! Rather, second chances work when the following components operate systematically:

Criminals must become change activists and first denounce their former lifestyles and cohorts; accept complete responsibility for their circumstances; accept that innocent people have paid for the criminal's transgressions and turn from crime to make the arduous trek to contribution. To accomplish this, criminals must change their thinking, beliefs, attitudes, behavior, and habits, because those changes produce new character and leads to a new destiny,. The steps of this process include the following: 1) get started; 2) become and remain teachable; 3) become and remain coach-able; 4) learn to master systems and process thinking; 5) learn to work S.M.A.R.T.; 6) learn to work hard; 7) don't quit!
  
Other stakeholders in this process must become Change Advocates! Change advocates come alongside and help change activists make this arduous trek from crime to contribution. I won't take the space to explain that component fully.
  
Suffice it to say that the Second Chance Law would provide foundational impetus to help more and more criminals become change activists and go on to being contributing community citizens.
 
###
 

 
01 December 2006
 
Subject: Second Chance Act - URGENT

I just spoke with Dave Turk (Sen Biden). Everything is in place to pass the Second Chance Act early next week except that Senator Coburn (R-OK) is not agreeing to let the bill move through the Senate with a voice vote.

The issues regarding BOP community corrections and elederly prisoners apparently have been resolved in a way that is satisfactory to the various parties. In the past both Senator Coburn and his staff have told a number of people here in Washington and in Oklahoma that he would not stand in the way of passage of the Second Chance Act. Earlier this fall his staff indicated that he wanted a way that he could vote "no." Now his staff have clearly said that Senator Coburn will not allow the legislation to proceed with a voice vote.

Recently Jane Treet with Couburn's Judiciary staff told Oklahoma CURE that they have concerns because states are not spending reentry money
they already have. Oklahoma has $16.5 million in Workforce Investment Act fund they have not spent and it can, she says, be used to train
offenders.

If you have ways of reaching out to Senator Coburn or his staff today and on Monday please do so.  Please contact his staff if you have
information regarding their substantive concerns.

Many thanks.

Gene Guerrero
Open Society Institute/Open Society Policy Center
1120 19th Street, N.W., 8th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
202-721-5607
fax 202-530-0128
 

CURE Note:
 
If you know any prison reformers in Oklahoma, ask them to call Sen. Coburn's Office at 202-224-5754.
 
Charlie 202-789-2126

 

29 September 2006
 
Update:   H.R. 1704/S. 1934, The Second Chance Act out of the DOD Bill
 

The Second Chance Act will not be included in the DOD Authorization bill that will move through Congress on this last day before the recess. It is out because of the strong opposition to the other two Judiciary measures that were also being considered for
inclusion.

Key congressional staff remain committed to passing the Second Chance Act this year. Congress returns around Nov 13th for a lame duck session.

The reentry working group meets again next Wed, Oct 4th at 4:00 pm in the OSI office, 1120 19th Street, Washington. Please plan to attend if you are able to do so. Those outside of the District of Columbia may participate by dialing 1-888-234-4229 and entering 9066#.

Gene Guerrero
Open Society Institute/Open Society Policy Center
1120 19th Street, N.W., 8th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
202-721-5607
fax 202-530-0128
 
 
FedCURE
P.O. Box 15667
Plantation, Florida 33318-5667
USA
 
Web Site:  http://www.FedCURE.org    
E-mail:      
FedCURE@FedCURE.org
 
E-fax:           (408) 549-8935
 
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WWW.FEDCURE.ORG 2002-2006.  All rights reserved.
 
Please Donate and Join Now:  http://www.fedcure.org/join.shtml
 
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26 July 2006
 
H.R 1704 Update: House Judiciary Committee Sends Second Chance Act to the Floor

On July 26, 2006 members of the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 1704, the Second Chance Act (SCA), by voice vote, sending the bill to the House floor for consideration. During the mark-up of the bill, the Committee accepted a substitute amendment offered by the Crime Subcommittee Chairman Howard Coble (R-NC) that provides additional drug treatment programs, family-based treatment resources, and an elderly non-violent offender pilot program. Also accepted were amendments from Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), which added, respectively, re-entry courts, resources for electronic monitoring of parolees, and continuity of medical care for mentally ill and chronically ill offenders. Committee members voted down several amendments proposed by Rep. Gohmert to add faith-based language into the bill.

Many committee members voiced concerns over any amendment or action that would jeopardize bipartisan support around the bill. "The language in the bill is the result of compromise and hard work from Republicans, Democrats, and faith-based organizations to make sure our prisons are not just revolving doors and to improve prisoners' chances of becoming productive, contributing citizens when they re-enter the community," said Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT), member of the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Cannon introduced the Second Chance Act with Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL), and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (R-OH).

"I commend my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee for working together in a bipartisan manner to pass the Second Chance Act," said Rep. Tubbs-Jones. "Today's action by the Judiciary Committee means that the Second Chance Act is one step closer to becoming law and assisting the ex-offender community in changing their lives for the better."

The SCA, with the new amendments, allocates $176 million to fund a variety of re-entry programs, including faith-based programs. One of the main components of the bill is the funding of demonstration projects that would provide ex-offenders with a coordinated continuum of housing, education, health, employment, and mentoring services. For more information on the bill including a list of its 112 cosponsors, please click here.

To view SCA news, frequently asked questions, and overview documents, please click here. For more information on outreach to members of Congress around the SCA, please contact Hope Glassberg.

Source :  http://www.reentrypolicy.org/rp/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=1304

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P.O. Box 15667
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USA

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24 July 2006

FedCURE Action Alert: H.R. 1704 - The Second Chance Act

Rep. Gohmert (R. TX) Amendment Raises Faith-Based Issue- Hang's Up Bill
Next Hearing WED (26 July 2006).

The House Judiciary Committee came close to passing out the Second Chance Act today but in the end action was again postponed till next Wednesday. Before the postponement amendments by Conyers and Scott were accepted by Crime Subcommitee Chair Coble. The problem came with a proposed amendment from freshman Republican Representative Louie Gohmert (TX-1st) from East Texas. He wants an amendment to bar any discrimination against faith-based groups. That opens the faith-based debate about religiously affiliated recipients of federal funds ability to engage in what is described as either "discrimination" or "preferential hiring" depending on ones point of view about whether someone's religious beliefs can be taken into account in hiring decisions. The present language in the Second Chance Act was carefully crafted to not take a position on that very contentious issue in order to have strong bipartisan support for the legislation. Subcommittee Chairman Coble and Ranking Member Conyers pleaded with Gohmert to withdraw his amendment and Republicans Cannon and Lungren indicated that they could not support it even though they strongly support faith-based groups and his intent in offering it. But Gohmert would not budge.

It appears that Gohmert will insist on offering his amendment when the bill is taken up again next week. The central task is to urge Judiciary Committee Republicans to support the Second Chance Act as it stands without the Gohmert amendment because adoption of his amendment threatens passage and also because there is broad and strong support for the Second Chance Act as it stands from a broad cross section of the faith based community. Please do what you can to reach out to Republican Judiciary offices and urge your constituents in their home districts to do so as well.

The second task is to urge Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to be in attendance when the bill is marked up next week. Today only Conyers, Berman, Scott, Lofgren, Meehan, Wexler, Weiner, Schiff, Sanchez, and Van Hollen were there for most of the Second Chance debate.

 
Charles Sullivan,
International CURE
 

FedCURE
P.O. Box 15667
Plantation, Florida 33318-5667
USA
 
Web Site:  http://www.FedCURE.org    
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21 July 2006
 
Take Action Now
Rep. Gohmert sinks Second Chance at last minute
Dear FedCURE,
 
Despite all the rosy rhetoric about second chances, the House Judiciary Committee again failed to "markup" H.R. 1704, the Second Chance Act, on July 19, 2006.  At the end of a long session, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) proposed a controversial amendment to H.R. 1704 that would instruct the Attorney General not to discriminate against faith-based groups receiving federal grants for reentry programs.  A heated debate followed that took up all the remaining time.  Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) adjourned the committee without taking an up or down vote. 
 
The result was truly disappointing considering the bipartisan support for H.R. 1704.  As reported earlier, the Judiciary Committee last week suspended "markup" to work out some differences with committee members wary of establishing social programs for formerly incarcerated people.  But all indications from Representatives Howard Coble (R-NC) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), the chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, respectively, were that the differences were ameliorated.  Chairman Coble, whose crime subcommittee earlier considered and passed the bill, even happily approved six other, non-controversial amendments to the bill.
Then came Rep. Gohmert's amendment.  In response, Rep. Cannon (R-UT), a strong supporter of H.R. 1704, noted that while he might support Rep. Gohmert's intentions, the amendment would make H.R. 1704 too controversial and undermine bipartisan support.  Rep. Coble added that 17 faith-based groups already support H.R 1704 without Rep. Gohmert's amendment.  Finally, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, pleaded with Rep. Gohmert to withdraw his amendment and trust they would work something out.  Rep. Gohmert refused, and the Committee "markup" was adjourned without action on the bill.
 
Although this was the third "markup" for H.R. 1704, there is still one more chance for "markup" before Congress adjourns for its summer recess at the end of July.  We hope that the sponsors of H.R. 1704 can work out the differences before it's too late. 
 
If you are a constituent of Rep. Gohmert, please send a message to him. Ask that he withdraw his amendment so the committee can "markup" the Second Chance Act and send it to the full House of Representatives.   Rep. Gohmert serves the first district of Texas (Angelina County, Cass County, Gregg County, Harrison County, Marion County, Nacogdoches County, Panola County, Rusk County, Sabine County, San Augustine County, Shelby County, Smith County, and Upshur County).  (Click here for a map of the district.)  If you do not reside in his district but know others who do, please encourage them to send a message. 
 
Sincerely,

Julie Stewart
FAMM President
 
 
 

19 July 2006
 
H.R. 1704 - Update: Second Chance Act Up for a Vote in the House Judiciary Committee
 
On Wednesday, July 19, 2006 H.R. 1704, the Second Chance Act (SCA), was brought to the full House of Representatives Judiciary Committee for a vote. Members of the Judiciary Committee accepted several amendments to the bill, including a large substitute amendment that provides for additional drug treatment programs, family-based treatment resources, and an elderly non-violent offender pilot program. Debate over a final amendment by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to include additional faith-based language in the bill was met with much concern by both sides. The bill authors stated during the mark-up that "the current language is the result of a delicate compromise reached after much negotiation between Republicans, Democrats, and faith-based groups and is good for faith based groups since they will qualify to receive funding, [and it is language Democrats will support]."

Due to floor votes and timing, the Committee adjourned until next Wednesday, July 26, at which point they will resume discussion and vote on the SCA, clearing it for the consideration on the House floor. The SCA, with the new amendments, allocates $176 million towards a variety of re-entry programs. One of the main components of the bill is the funding of demonstration projects that would provide ex-offenders with a coordinated continuum of housing, education, health, employment, and mentoring services.

Senate Judiciary staff expect to hold a hearing on the companion bill, S. 1934, in the next several months. For more information on the SCA, please click here. For more information on outreach to members of Congress around the SCA, please contact Hope Glassberg.
 
 

www.FedCURE.org All Rights Reserved 2006