Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards praised congressional passage of The First Step Act, a bipartisan bill that mirrors many of the reforms made in Louisiana to improve the criminal justice system. The bill overwhelmingly passed each chamber of Congress by a vote of 87-12 in the U.S. Senate and 358-36 in the U.S. House of Representatives. In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a separate piece of legislation that was supported by five out of six members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation. The bill will now head to President Donald J. Trump’s desk for his signature.
“Criminal justice reform is a bipartisan issue, evidenced by the coalition of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, as well as conservative and progressive groups, who have come together on this issue. These reforms will reduce recidivism and improve public safety,” said Gov. Edwards. “Just like we did in Louisiana, Congress has worked across the aisle and recognized that what this country is doing, as it relates to criminal incarceration, just hasn't been working. We have been spending too much money on a system that is broken, and our communities have not been any safer for it. Louisiana followed the lead of other southern, conservative states, and I’m proud to see that Congress, as polarizing as it can be sometimes, united to get this done. I am proud to work with President Trump on this issue, and I look forward to partnering with his administration as we continue implementing reforms in Louisiana and as the federal government begins this process.”
In August, Gov. Edwards met with President Trump in Bedminster, along with a bipartisan group of governors, to discuss criminal justice reform on the federal level.