This bill would authorize the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Block Grant Program to provide $50 million in annual grants over the 2018-2020 period that’d aim to help federal, state, and local agencies for combat gang crime and developing prevention initiatives, like community outreach. Of the total funding, 30 percent would go to regional task forces in areas with a significant or increased presence of gangs and localities. Localities receiving grants would be given the greatest practical flexibility to focus funds on problems they’ve identified. The PSN program — which has previously been authorized under other grant programs — would become a standalone grant program.
What is House Bill H.R. 3249?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 3249
In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) introduced this bill to curb the rise in gang activity and violence by authorizing the Project Safe Neighborhoods grant program to give local law enforcement agencies grants to combat gangs:
“I have seen firsthand the good work that gang task forces can do to remove the gang threats in our community. They are an important tool in crime prevention, and this legislation will make sure they have the tools they need to take on violent gangs like MS-13. The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act will help steer federal funding toward frontline regional gang task forces like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force. The community policing involved with the Regional Gang Task Force includes officers who speak Spanish, understand gang culture, and are familiar with these communities. ICE officials complement these efforts by removing the dangerous members, allowing the Task Force to work in our highest risk schools on gang prevention and education.”
House Democrats expressed reservations about this bill despite supporting its authorization, writing in its committee report:
“We support preventing and fighting crime no matter who the perpetrator may be, but we must be careful to avoid targeting groups of young people who are not engaged in crime, and also avoid using law enforcement as a means to target anyone because of their ethnicity or national origin. Too often, the rhetoric of fighting gangs has been laced with racial bias. We cannot ignore that unfortunate reality of current times. Therefore, we must be vigilant in conducting oversight of Program funds and in protecting against such possible abuse.”
This legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee and the House as a whole on voice votes before being amended and passed by a voice vote in the Senate. It has the support of two cosponsors, both of whom are Republicans.
- Sponsoring Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) Press Release
- Republican Policy Committee
- CBO Cost Estimate
- Ripon Advance
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: Chris Yarzab via Flickr / Creative Commons)
Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2018
To authorize the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program, and for other purposes.
- EnactedJune 18th, 2018The President signed this bill into law
- The senate Passed May 16th, 2018Passed by Voice Vote
Committee on the Judiciary
- senate Committees
- The house Passed June 7th, 2018Roll Call Vote 394 Yea / 13 Nay
Crime, Terrorism and Homeland SecurityCommittee on the JudiciaryIntroducedJuly 14th, 2017
- house Committees