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House conservatives focusing on crime in new legislative proposals

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) arrives for a press conference on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 with members of the Republican Study Committee to discuss Title 42 and their recent trip to the border in Texas.
Greg Nash
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) arrives for a press conference on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 with members of the Republican Study Committee to discuss Title 42 and their recent trip to the border in Texas.

House conservatives are looking to make a push on crime with a slew of new legislative proposals as concerns regarding rising crime grow.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, penned a memo to members of the group on Monday, slamming the Biden administration for rising crime and putting forth a number of legislative priorities.

The memo, first reported by RealClearPolitics, comes as worries about crime in the U.S. have hit their highest levels in roughly six years. A Gallup survey published last month found that 80 percent of Americans worry a great deal or fair amount about crime and violence in 2022, which was the highest level tracked since 2016.

“It’s not enough for Conservatives to point out that the Left’s radical Defund the Police movement was a deadly disaster. Crime is at an unacceptable level and Americans are desperate for solutions. They need to know that Conservatives have a plan to make them safe,” Banks wrote in the memo.

Legislative proposals being advanced by the conservative include a Concerned Citizens Bill of Rights, which Banks said would link “a state’s receipt of relevant DOJ grant funding on the adoption of certain pro-law enforcement measures.”

Those pro-law enforcement measures, according to Banks, include compelling police departments to report crimes to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program and stopping money from going to states that have “no-cash bail” laws.

Banks also called on Congress to reinstate a Trump-era policy that mandated federal prosecutors to charge individuals with penalties that come with the highest offense someone is guilty of rather than a lesser one.

The memo outlines nine other legislative priorities, including one that calls for codifying qualified immunity — the doctrine that protects law enforcement from liability in civil suits unless they breach an individual’s clearly established constitutional rights.

The topic of qualified immunity was a major sticking point in police reform negotiations last year; Democrats wanted to nix the doctrine, while Republicans wanted to keep it intact.

Additionally, Banks called on Republicans to take up legislation that would increase federal punishments for crimes committed against police.

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