It is well documented that the United States incarcerates a larger percentage of its citizens than any other country. This statistic weighs heavily not only on the public conscience of the nation, but also the pocketbooks of state taxpayers burdened by the price of an overcrowded prison system. The “tough on crime” mentality that dominated the 1990s is losing favor across the political spectrum, especially as rehabilitative support services show promising results and the role of mental illness in criminal behavior is explored more thoroughly. Many young legislators are leading their states in addressing prison overcrowding, police brutality, and the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders with comprehensive and bipartisan legislation. Their advancement of innovative training tactics, community support, and rehabilitation demonstrates admirable commitment to both safety and justice.
June 2017: Louisiana Future Caucus co-chair Rep. Ted James (D) championed HB 277, which required police to undergo comprehensive training that includes de-escalation, bias recognition, in-custody death, and mental illness. It was passed along with a suite of other bipartisan criminal justice reforms.
June 2017: Louisiana Future Caucus co-chairs Rep. Ted James (D) and Rep. Tanner Magee (R) co-sponsored a bill that would “ban the box” on college applications in Louisiana. This bill also passed as part of the sweeping criminal justice reform and opens the door to higher education for formerly incarcerated individuals.
May 2017: Next Generation Nebraska co-chair Sen. Adam Morfeld (D) sponsored LB 487. This bill extended liability protections to first responders and healthcare professionals who administer emergency medication including naloxone. It also exempted those witnessing or suffering from drug overdoses from criminal prosecution.
March 2017: Illinois Future Caucus co-chair Rep. Will Guzzardi (D) joined a bipartisan group of sponsors of the Neighborhood Safety Act. The bill increased access to training programs for probation officers, comprehensive trauma recovery services for violent crime victims and opportunities for probation.
June 2015: In Texas, former Young Texans Legislative Caucus co-chair Rep. Eric Johnson (D) joined a bipartisan group of legislators in sponsoring SB 158, which establishes policies for the state body-worn camera program and allows for the Department of Public Safety to apply for a grant to implement the program.
This is a sampling of legislation advanced by State Future Caucus members and other young legislators around the country. To inquire about legislation in other policy areas, or to suggest your own legislation for MAP to feature, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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