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Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Bipartisan Bill to Help Curb Illicit Drug Trafficking on Social Media Platforms, Four Nominations

Today’s vote marks the sixth bill to advance out of the Committee that would protect children’s online safety

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bipartisan Cooper Davis Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), to the full Senate on a bipartisan vote of 16-5. The bill, as amended, would require social media companies to take on a more active role in working with federal agencies to combat the illegal sale and distribution of drugs on their platforms.

“We’ve been on a mission in the Senate Judiciary Committee: to protect children’s online safety. Today, we advanced our sixth bipartisan bill out of this Committee in support of that mission. As the fentanyl crisis continues to ravage communities across the country, we need to consider all options to curb this crisis and save lives – including by addressing illicit drug trafficking online. I thank the members of this committee for their diligent collaboration with Senators Marshall and Shaheen, the Department of Justice, the DEA, and other stakeholders, and I look forward to continued collaboration as it advances to the full Senate,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Cooper Davis Act would:

  • require social media companies and other communication service providers to report to the DEA when they have actual knowledge that illicit drugs are being distributed on their platforms or when someone who is not a practitioner or online pharmacy is distributing prescription pain medications and stimulants;
  • require the DEA to reasonably limit how long such reports are retained, and submit an annual report with information to demonstrate the efficacy of the legislation; and
  • encourage better coordination with other federal agencies and state and local law enforcement.

The bill is in honor of Cooper Davis, a 16-year-old Kansas teen who tragically lost his life to a counterfeit prescription drug laced with fentanyl in August 2021. It was later discovered that a drug dealer solicited Mr. Davis through a popular social media platform, Snapchat.

Additionally, the Committee voted to advance the following nominees with the indicated vote totals:

  • Loren L. AliKhan, to be United States District Judge for the District of Columbia: 11-10;
  • Susan K. DeClercq, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan: 12-9;
  • Vernon D. Oliver, to be United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut: 13-8; and
  • Tara K. McGrath, to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of California: approved by voice vote.

An archived video of today’s hearing can be found here.