December 07, 2018

Thirty-Two Senators Now Cosponsoring First Step Act

Daines, Smith, Tillis, Bennet Endorse Criminal Justice Reform Package

WASHINGTON – Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) have joined the growing list of cosponsors of the new First Step Act (S.3649). A balanced bipartisan crowd of 30 senators have now sponsored the legislation—endorsed by the President—to reform America’s criminal justice system.
“Meth use has skyrocketed in Montana. We need to make sure we have every tool available to fight against an epidemic that is tearing families apart and increasing violent crimes in our state. I’m glad to have worked to keep high level meth dealers and other hardened criminals off our streets. The First Step Act also uses proven tools to reduce recidivism to help protect Montana families and communities and save taxpayer dollars. I’m happy to cosponsor the bill,” Daines said.
“I am proud to join my colleagues in cosponsoring the First Step Act, which will make meaningful changes to our federal criminal justice system to reduce disparities in sentencing, improve the fairness and effectiveness of our criminal justice system, and keep our communities safe. This bill represents a historic opportunity to implement evidence-based policy reforms and strengthen the public’s faith in the integrity of our criminal justice system,” Smith said.
“One of my proudest moments as Speaker of the House in North Carolina was passing the Justice Reinvestment Act, a landmark state law that implemented a number of commonsense, bipartisan reforms that resulted in reduced crime, fewer prisons, and lower recidivism rates in North Carolina. With the First Step Act, we now have the opportunity to implement similar, once in a generation criminal justice reforms at the federal level. These commonsense reforms will make our communities safer, modernize outdated and unfair sentencing laws and provide federal prisoners with the tools they need to return to society and become productive members of our communities. Chairman Grassley’s leadership has been unparalleled, and his relentless efforts to forge a bipartisan compromise on such a difficult issue should be applauded. I look forward to working with Chairman Grassley to build support for the First Step Act,” Tillis said.
“This bill is the result of principled bipartisan compromise—regrettably a rare sight in today’s Senate—that has earned broad support from both the law enforcement community and criminal justice reform advocates. These reforms are a first step in a longer effort to reduce mass incarceration and restore faith in our justice system. Leader McConnell should schedule a vote on the Senate floor before the end of the year,” Bennet said. 
Cosponsors of the First Step Act include:

1.     Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
2.     Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
3.     Mike Lee (R-Utah)
4.     Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
5.     Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
6.     Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
7.     Tim Scott (R-S.C.)
8.     Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
9.     Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
10.  Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
11.  Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
12.  Chris Coons (D-Del.)
13.  Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.),
14.  Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.),
15.  Pat Roberts (R-Kan.),
16.  Doug Jones (D-Ala.),
17.  Susan Collins (R-Maine),
18.  Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.),
19.  Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.),
20.  Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.),
21.  Rand Paul (R-Ky.),
22.  Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)
23.  Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
24.  Angus King (I-Maine).
25.  Todd Young (R-Ind.)
26.  Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
27.  Bill Cassidy (R-La.)
28.  Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
29.  Steve Daines (R-Mont.)
30.  Tina Smith (D-Minn.)
31.  Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)
32.  Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)

The First Step Act is backed by President Trump and endorsed by a number of law enforcement groups, including the nation’s largest police group.  It’s also now supported by 172 former federal prosecutors including two former Republican U.S. attorneys general, two former deputy attorneys general and a former director of the FBI along with sheriffs from 34 states across the country. The National Governor’s Association, which represents the governors of all 50 states, also praised the bill. And a broad coalition of conservative, progressive, and faith groups also support the First Step Act.
The bill has also been endorsed by the oft-divergent editorial boards of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as by the editorial boards of USA Today, Bloomberg and the Houston Chronicle.
More information on the legislation can be found here:
·       Bill text
·       Fact sheet