Kamala Harris Is Dedicating Her First Major Legislative Effort To Bail Reform

By Taryn Finley, HuffPost Black Voices

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Ca.) is seeking some major criminal justice reform, starting with bail.

Along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Harris has introduced a bipartisan bill which calls for states to “reform or replace the practice of money bail, the requirement that individuals awaiting trial remain in jail unless they pay for their release.”

David McNew via Getty Images

Titled the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017, the bill would authorize a $10 million grant over three years to encourage states to reform or replace the ineffective money bail system that requires people who haven’t been convicted of a crime to be detained pretrial unless they can afford to bail themselves out.

Harris and Paul’s bill also asks states to give individualized, pretrial assessments with risk-based decision-making in order to do away with the inaccurate risk-assessments currently given that lead to unwarranted disparities.

“This is such an important conversation and it does not ever receive the kind of attention it deserves, based just on the prevalence of it in terms of the number of people that are impacted,” Harris, who visited Central California Women’s Facility prior to her speech, said.

“And also, and I say this with a strong sense of optimism, that there is just so much that we can actually do to fix what is broken. And it’s not going to require us to be that creative,” she continued. “The solutions, some of them, are pretty obvious, and the more attention we give to the issue, I think, the more obvious they will be to a larger number of people.”

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Senate bill would allow Frederick Douglass statue in Capitol

From the Washington Post

Douglas's Statue may come to the Capital

Douglas’s Statue may come to the Capital

The D.C. spending bill approved by a Senate panel this week would help the District government stay open in the event of a federal shutdown and would allow the city to place a statue of abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass in the halls of the Capitol, advancing a pair of key priorities for local leaders.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has also been working for years to win for the District the right to put statues of two local luminaries in the halls of Congress, a privilege currently afforded to the 50 states but not U.S. territories. Completed statues of Douglass and architect Pierre L’Enfant have been sitting at One Judiciary Square awaiting permission to enter the Capitol.

Read more of the story here.