Press Releases

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Washington, DC—Last night, congressional leaders introduced the omnibus spending bill, which included several legislative proposals introduced and supported by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate. The proposals include critical school safety legislation, a bipartisan measure to close holes in the background check system, a bill to clarify law enforcement’s authority to obtain data stored overseas, and an initiative to help rural schools, among several others. This afternoon, the House of Representatives approved the omnibus, and the Senate is expected to vote on the spending measure shortly. 

 Below is an overview of Senator Hatch’s bills included in the omnibus.  

 The STOP School Violence Act, Fix NICS Background Check Legislation

 The Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018 will reauthorize and expand the Secure Our Schools program, providing up to $1.075 billion in Department of Justice grants to states, units of local government, and Indian tribes to fund evidence-based programs and technologies to prevent school violence. Fix NICS, a proposal co-sponsored by Hatch to close holes in the background check system, was also included in the omnibus spending bill.

 “Over the past few weeks, we’ve worked closely with families from Sandy Hook and Parkland, along with a number of other key groups, to advance the STOP School Violence Act,” said Hatch. “This historic, bipartisan proposal extends critical, lifesaving resources to schools to keep our students safe from harm. I’m deeply grateful to members in both parties who have worked with me to get this bill included in the omnibus. While my legislation is just a first step and not a perfect solution, we know it will save lives.”

 Senator Hatch spoke on the Senate floor earlier this month in support of the bill. Click here for the speech. He also held roundtable discussions and hosted a press conference with a bipartisan group of Senators and several families from Parkland, Florida. Click here to read more about the press conference and click here to watch the video. 

 Families of 13 victims from last month’s horrific shooting joined together to write to congressional leaders in support of both the STOP School Violence Act and the background check legislation. [LINK]

 The STOP School Violence Act now has several dozen bipartisan co-sponsors and has received the support of President Trump. The bill passed the House with a vote of 407-10.

 The text of the STOP School Violence Act [S.2495] can be found on page 1971 of the bill.

 You can find the text of the Fix NICS Act [S.2135] on page 1982 of the bill introduced last night.

 CLOUD Act

 The CLOUD Act clarifies law enforcement’s authority to compel disclosure of data stored overseas and authorizes the United States to enter into bilateral data-sharing agreements for law enforcement purposes.  

 “For over four years now, I’ve been working to update our privacy laws to account for revolutions in the way we store and access email and other data in the cloud,” Hatch said. “My efforts began with the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act, continued with the International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA), and culminated with this year's Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act, which will be enacted into law as part of the omnibus spending package. The CLOUD Act will create a clear, balanced framework for law enforcement to access data stored in other countries while at the same time encouraging our allies to strengthen their domestic privacy laws. I’m grateful to Senators Coons, Graham, and Whitehouse for their tireless efforts on this legislation and to Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan for supporting its inclusion in the omnibus.”

 Following introduction of the bipartisan bill back in February, a number of leaders issued statements of support for the CLOUD Act, including President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May [LINK]. Additionally, a number of organizations spoke out in support of the legislation, including major tech companies [LINK], tech associations [LINK], and others.

 You can find the text of the CLOUD Act [S.2383] on page 2201 of the bill introduced last night.

  Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017

 The Child Protection Improvements (CPIA) Act of 2017 allows organizations that provide care to children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities to have access to nationwide background checks of their employees, volunteers, and coaches. The bill amends the National Child Protection Act of 1993.This is an important step in keeping vulnerable populations safe from violent criminals and sexual predators who would otherwise slip through the cracks.

 You can find the text of the Child Protection Improvements Act [S.707] on page 1959 of the bill.

 Secure Rural Schools Act

 The bipartisan-supported Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program sends formulaic payments to certain “forest counties” to help maintain educational and essential infrastructure, particularly in low-tax-revenue parts of the country where timber harvesting was historically more robust. SRS payments go to counties nationwide, but they mainly go to rural, Western counties with high presence of Bureau of Land Management or National Forest System lands (“forest counties”). The decline of the US timber industry has led to significant declines in tax revenues to many such counties; SRS helps support these regions as they transition their local economies toward a sustainable future.

 Senator Hatch has championed SRS in the Senate for nearly a decade (see here and here). As the leader in Congress on SRS and in his role as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senate Hatch partnered with Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) to build a bipartisan coalition of over 35 senators, which led to the successful inclusion of a two-year SRS extension in the FY18 omnibus package. 

 SRS is supported by the Utah Association of Counties, the National Association of Counties, and the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition.

The text of the Secure Rural Schools Program [S.1027] can be found on page 1843 of the bill.