DRCNet Activist Guide 9/94

Crime Bill Report

At long last Congress has completed its Crime Bill odyssey, producing an expensive, draconian, poorly thought out mess that will do little or nothing to reduce crime. The result is not as bad as expected, however, and there are a few bright spots. Crime Bill spending totals $30.2 billion over 6 years; this money will be spent on four general categories:

We summarize here the major provisions of the bill that are relevant to the drug laws:

The commission will be composed of 28 members appointed as follows (assuming that the commission will not be convened before January 1995 and the House and Senate remain in democratic control): 10 persons by the President, not more than 6 of whom shall be of the same major political party. (President Bill Clinton appoints 6 Democrats and 4 Republicans.); 5 by whoever replaces Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine) in conjunction with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Delaware); 4 by Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kansas) in conjunction with the ranking minority member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah); 5 by Speaker of the House Tom Foley (D-Washington) in conjunction with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jack Brooks (D-Texas); 4 by the new House Minority Leader, who will probably be Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia), and the ranking minority member on the House Judiciary Committee, probably Carlos Moorhead (R-California).

At least 1 member appointed by the President, at least 2 members appointed by the Senate, and at least 2 members appointed by the House must be persons well-qualified to participate in the commission's examination of the subject area of the causes of the demand for drugs, with education, training, expertise, or experience in such areas as addiction, biomedicine, sociology, psychology, law, and ethnography and urban poverty (including health care, housing, education, and employment).

The commission is to give its report not later than two years from the date of its inception, and has been allocated $1.0 million for fiscal year 1996.

The Crime Bill actually contains some modest reforms of forfeiture law, including an annual audit of every State and local law enforcement agency that receives forfeiture funds, and a requirement that the government pay state and local property taxes that have accrued from the date of the forfeiture order.

The full text of the Crime Bill can be found on pages H8772 - H8867 of the Congressional Record dated Sunday, August 21, 1994.

Thanks to NORML, ACLU, FEAR, FAMM and the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation for compiling this information.

Next: Forfeiture News from F.E.A.R.
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DRCNet Activist Guide 9/94

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