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Pingree, House Democrats Pass Legislation to Build Safer Communities

The legislation will help to save lives and support public safety

Maine’s First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and House Democrats today passed a robust public safety package to prevent crime, save lives, and serve justice. The four bills passed in the legislative package include the bipartisan Invest to Protect Act (H.R. 6448), the Mental Health Justice Act (H.R. 8542), the Break the Cycle of Violence Act (H.R. 4118), and the Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods (VICTIM) Act (H.R. 5768). 

“This public safety package provides important tools and resources to help protect communities across Maine. I’m pleased that these bills will fund evidence-based violence prevention programs and critically needed mental health response teams, and ensure that small towns can invest in training,” said Pingree. “On the heels of President Biden signing the Safer Communities Act, today’s vote further solidifies the Democratic majority’s commitment to keeping communities safe from firearms and supporting victims of gun violence.” 

The public safety package passed today includes:

  • The Invest to Protect Act: This bipartisan legislation establishes a grant through the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to help small law enforcement agencies fund training, mental health support, recruitment, and retention. The bill gives agencies the flexibility to spend money where it will have the most impact for their unique circumstances and make meaningful investments in their officers and communities. Find more information here.

  • The Mental Health Justice Act: This legislation helps state and local governments to create mental health first responder units to better respond to calls involving individuals with mental illness and disabilities and connect these individuals to appropriate health care resources. Click here for a breakdown of this bill.

  • The Break the Cycle of Violence Act: This legislation authorizes $6.5 billion over 8 years to invest in effective community-based violence intervention programs and provide opportunities to youth in communities disproportionately impacted by violence. Click here for more information.
  • The VICTIM Act: This legislation establishes a grant program at the Department of Justice to help bolster the ability of State, Tribal, and local law enforcement to solve homicides, sexual assaults, shootings, and other violent crimes. These grants will also be used to train police personnel to better address the needs of victims and family members of homicides and non-fatal shootings, and provide victims and family members with mental health resources and assistance. Find more details on the VICTIM Act here.

Throughout her time in Congress, Pingree has supported and cosponsored legislation to curb gun violence, increase transparency and accountability in policing, and build safer communities. She is an original cosponsor of the bicameral Justice in Policing Act, which has twice passed the House.  

In June, Pingree helped pass bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation, the Protecting Our Kids Act, and the Safer Communities Act. Pingree and the House also recently voted to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban and establish an AMBER Alert-style warning during shootings. These measures strongly support law enforcement while saving lives.  

Click here to learn more about how Pingree is working to keep Maine communities safe.


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