07.23.16

Two Bills Championed By Leahy Signed Into Law

Two Bills Championed By Leahy Signed Into Law

Comprehensive Addiction And Recovery Act Supports Community-Based Approaches To Combatting Opioid Addiction

POLICE Act Supports Active Shooter Training For Officers and First Responders

Leahy Calls On Congress To Pass Criminal Justice Reform In September

WASHINGTON (SATURDAY, July 23, 2016) – Two bills championed by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to promote public safety were signed into law Friday by President Obama.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) will help promote community-based responses to prevent and treat heroin and opioid addiction – an approach that Vermont has employed and that Leahy highlighted at a field hearing in Rutland in 2014. The bill includes Leahy-authored provisions to expand Medication Assisted Treatment programs and to help rural communities obtain the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. Leahy, who participated in Senate-House negotiations of the bill, has fought for additional resources and a more targeted response to the opioid epidemic through his work on the Judiciary and Appropriations Committees. Most recently, he joined with Democratic Senators to introduce legislation to provide $920 million in funding for states to improve and expand treatment and recovery programs.‎

The POLICE Act enables law enforcement officers and other first responders in Vermont and throughout the country to use federal Justice Department grant funds to train and better prepare for active shooter situations. Leahy is the lead Democratic cosponsor of the bill, which unanimously passed the Senate in May and passed the House earlier this month.Leahy also recently introduced complementary legislation to allow law enforcement officers to use Homeland Security Department grant funds for similar training. And earlier this year, Leahy’s bill to reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program was signed into law.‎

“The bills signed into law this week are important, bipartisan priorities that I was proud to champion in Congress,” Leahy said. “We must do more to ensure that our communities and the brave men and women serving in law enforcement have the tools they need. That includes active shooter training, and it also includes supporting prevention and treatment programs to effectively address the crisis of addiction affecting so many communities in Vermont and throughout the country.”

Leahy, a former prosecutor, added that Congress must build on these efforts by passing additional bills to support law enforcement and ensure the criminal justice system functions fairly. Specifically, Leahy called on Senate Republican leaders to allow a vote on the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act to enact long-overdue reforms of the criminal justice system.

“Congress has an historic opportunity to correct some of the worst injustices in our criminal justice system by approving the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act,” said Leahy, who hosted a roundtable in Burlington in May to discuss the issue. “This bill is supported by a range of law enforcement and civil rights organizations and a clear majority of Senators. It will begin to bring fairness to our sentencing laws, and it will save us money that can be reinvested into our communities. When we return in September, I hope the Republican Leader will finally allow a vote on this important legislation.”

# # # # #

Press Contact

Press Contact
David Carle: 202-224-3693