2018-12-18 National Governors Association

Letter to Congress regarding First Step Act

Letter from the National Governors Association to congressional leadership supporting passage of criminal-justice reform legislation.

Full Text

December 18, 2018

  • The Honorable Mitch McConnell
    Majority Leader
    United States Senate
    US Capitol Building, Room S-230
    Washington, DC 20510
  • The Honorable Charles Schumer
    Minority Leader
    United States Senate
    U.S. Capitol Building, Room S-224
    Washington, DC 20510
  • The Honorable Paul Ryan
    Speaker
    United States House of Representatives
    U.S. Capitol Building, Room 232
    Washington, DC 20515
  • The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
    Minority Leader
    United States House of Representatives
    U.S. Capitol Building, Room 204
    Washington, DC 20515

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi:

On behalf of the National Governors Association (NGA) we write to you in support of action on S.3747, the First Step Act.

Governors have long called on Congress and the federal government to implement smarter, fairer and more cost-effective policies, just as governors have done in their respective states to improve public safety outcomes. The First Step Act emphasizes many of the key policy principles adopted by the National Governors Association. In fact, this once-in-a-generation effort to modernize our federal criminal justice system wisely builds on reform initiatives at the state level from the last decade.

Earlier this year, the NGA Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee sent you a letter requesting that Congress include key policy principles in any final bill. Additionally, last month, NGA put out a statement in support of action on the legislation, noting the inclusion of many NGA principles and policies in the bill. Policies like these will help create an opportunity for greater state-federal partnership in the critical arena of public safety.

We commend negotiators for also including the reauthorization of the Second Chance Act in the final bill. The Second Chance Act provides vital Department of Justice grant funding to states for drug treatment, vocational training and other reentry or recidivism-reduction programs.

We are pleased to see the Senate take up this legislation and encourage the House to do the same.

Sincerely,

Governor Steve Bullock
Chair
National Governors Association

Governor Phil Bryant
Chair
NGA Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee

Cc:

Senate Judiciary Chairman, the Honorable Chuck Grassley

Senate Judiciary Ranking Member, the Honorable Dianne Feinstein

House Judiciary Chairman, the Honorable Bob Goodlatte

House Judiciary Ranking Member, the Honorable Jerrold Nadler

National Governors Association

Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the nonpartisan organization of the nation’s 55 governors. Through NGA, governors share best practices, address issues of national and state interest and share innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.