Criminal Justice Issues
August 29, 2016
- The Senate and House introduced the long anticipated civil asset forfeiture reform bill prior to the August recess. The bill is different from past discussion drafts in that it removes the provisions that would have eliminated the equitable sharing program. The bill still contains many procedural changes to the way the civil asset forfeiture program operates. NDAA has engaged with Hill staff once again on the legislation.
- In a major legislative victory for NDAA and other coalition members, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act passed the House as a slightly amended version, passed the Senate again, and was signed into law by President Obama. NDAA was personally invited to attend the official enrollment ceremony for the legislation as a key stakeholder helping to get the bill passed into law.
- Prior to the August recess, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced S. 3270, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act. The bill’s main goal is to prevent elder abuse and exploitation and improve the justice system’s response to victims in elder abuse and exploitation cases. Congressional staff reached out over the recess asking for NDAA input which is currently being worked on.
- The Email Privacy Act, which would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary Committee over objections by all national law enforcement organizations. The legislation then passed the House overwhelmingly. NDAA is working with Senate staff to address concerns in the House bill. The Senate version was taken up by the Judiciary Committee, but after lots of debate and several amendments being offered that were requested by law enforcement, the bill was pulled from consideration and has not moved at this point.
- NDAA is preparing to brief the House Encryption Working Group at some point in September to provide the prosecutor’s perspective on how smartphone encryption is impacting investigations in the field.
- The Justice for All Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes a number of forensic science grant programs including the Coverdell program, passed out of the Senate by unanimous consent earlier this summer. As the House Judiciary Committee reviewed the legislation, it was determined that a House protocol requiring offsets for authorization of programs that have previously expired would need to be addressed. NDAA and other coalition members have been working with Judiciary Committee staff and House leadership offices to try and find a path forward for the legislation in September.