Tuesday, April 28, 2015


WASHINGTON - Today, Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) and Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) issued the following statement after an officer in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, serving as part of the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team (associated with the U.S. Marshals Service) was involved in the fatal shooting of a suspect while serving a warrant at a west side Detroit home on Monday, April 27:

“People of good conscience around the nation are examining the conduct of our law enforcement agencies with a heightened sense of scrutiny.  This most recent shooting in Detroit again raises concerns about police-involved shootings in our communities.  It is important to note that this incident is under investigation by both Michigan and federal authorities.  Our offices will continue to monitor the status of the investigations to ensure that justice is served for the families involved and our community.”

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Bipartisan bill to be marked up on Thursday, April 30th

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI.), Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY) will introduce the USA Freedom Act.  This bipartisan bill builds on the Committee’s extensive work on this issue last Congress, containing even stronger protections for Americans’ civil liberties, providing for even greater transparency for both the private sector and government, and preventing government overreach, while enhancing national security.  The House Judiciary Committee will mark up this legislation on Thursday, April 30th at 10:00 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.

In June 2013, unauthorized disclosures of classified information revealed to the American people that the National Security Agency had been collecting bulk telephony “metadata” under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  Following the revelation of this information, the House Judiciary Committee worked extensively last Congress to end the NSA’s bulk collection program: it conducted aggressive oversight of our nation’s intelligence-gathering programs operated under FISA and approved bipartisan legislation in Committee, which was ultimately passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives. However, the Senate failed to pass legislation on this issue.   

Crime Subcommittee Chairman Sensenbrenner, Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, and Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Nadler praised the introduction of the bill in the joint statement below. 

“As several intelligence-gathering programs are set to expire in a month, it is imperative that we reform these programs to protect Americans’ privacy while at the same time protecting our national security. The bipartisan bill introduced today builds on the Committee’s work on this issue last year. It enhances civil liberties protections, increases transparency for both American businesses and the government, ends the bulk collection of data, and provides national security officials targeted tools to keep America safe from foreign enemies. We look forward to expeditiously moving this strong, bipartisan bill through the House Judiciary Committee and then through Congress so that we rein in government overreach and rebuild trust with the American people.  We thank Senators Lee and Leahy for working on this issue and introducing companion legislation in the Senate.”

Key Components of the USA Freedom Act:

Protects civil liberties: 
·         Ends bulk collection: Prohibits bulk collection of ALL records under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the FISA pen register authority, and national security letter statutes.
·         Prevents government overreach: The bulk collection prohibition is strengthened by prohibiting large-scale, indiscriminate collection, such as all records from an entire state, city, or zip code. 
·         Allows challenges of national security letter gag orders:  NSL nondisclosure orders must be based upon a danger to national security or interference with an investigation. Codifies procedures for individual companies to challenge nondisclosure orders.  Requires periodic review of nondisclosure orders to determine necessity.

Improves transparency and better information-sharing with the American people:
·         Expertise at the FISA court:  The bill creates a panel of amicus curie at the FISA court to provide guidance on matters of privacy and civil liberties, communications technology, and other technical or legal matters.
·         Declassified FISA opinions: All significant constructions or interpretations of law by the FISA court must be made public.  These include all significant interpretations of the definition of “specific selection term,” the concept at the heart of the ban on bulk collection.
·         Robust government reporting: The Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will provide the public with detailed information about how they use these national security authorities.
·         Robust company reporting:  Tech companies will have a range of options for describing how they respond to national security orders, all consistent with national security needs.  

Strengthens national security:
·         Gives the government the tools it needs:  Creates a new call detail records program that is closely overseen by the FISA court.
·         Contains an additional tool to combat ISIL:  The bill closes a loophole in current law that requires the government to stop tracking foreign terrorists when they enter the U.S. This provision gives the government 72 hours to track foreign terrorists when they initially enter the United States (it does not apply to U.S. persons) – enough time for the government to obtain the proper authority under U.S. law.
·         Increases the statutory maximum prison sentence to 20 years for providing material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. 
·         Enhances investigations of international proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
·         Protects United States’ maritime activities from nuclear threats, weapons of mass destruction, and other threats by implementing the obligations of various treaties to which the United States is a party.
·         Provides strictly limited emergency authorities:  Creates new procedures for the emergency use of Section 215 but requires the government to destroy the information it collects if a FISA court application is denied.

Learn more about the USA Freedom Act by clicking here.
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WASHINGTON – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) released the following joint statement in support of their bills, the End Racial Profiling Act (H.R. 1933) and the CADET Act (H.R. 1810) respectively, that would enhance and Federalize much-needed data collection in law enforcement practices:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“For the last eight months, our nation has been shaken by a continuing stream of police-involved deaths arising from traffic and pedestrian stops.  Unfortunately, the Republican majority in Congress has failed to take action on any legislation that would address community concerns or offer greater accountability from law enforcement. 

“Since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, over 15 bills have been referred to the Judiciary Committee to address discriminatory policing practices, two of which feature data collection as a major component: the End Racial Profiling Act and the CADET Act.  These vital pieces of legislation will help address the lack of data of discriminatory police practices and of deaths in police custody.  Law enforcement leaders, such as FBI Director James Comey, have acknowledged and requested the need for mandatory reporting of this data.

“Dating back to the leadership of Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), where the House twice passed the Traffic Stops Statistics Study Act and in 2001, when President Bush called for legislation to end racial profiling, bipartisanship has been has been the hallmark of congressional action on law enforcement accountability.  Given the heightened level of concerns, the same should be true in the 114th Congress.  

“Next month, we and others plan to introduce comprehensive legislation to address the broader scope of law enforcement accountability issues.  That legislation will provide police officers -- the vast majority who are concerned about their communities -- the tools necessary to work with their communities and to enhance their professional growth and education.  As we move into the month of May, which includes Law Enforcement Week, we hope to continue building a bipartisan coalition to reestablish community confidence in law enforcement which has been seriously undermined by these recent incidents.”

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Thursday, April 23, 2015


WASHINGTON – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released the following statement after the U.S. Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch, currently the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to be the next U.S. Attorney General of the Department of Justice by 56 – 43 vote:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Despite an unprecedented delay, I am relieved that Senate Republicans were able to resolve their differences and prioritize the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as our first female African American Attorney General.  Our outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder has done tremendous work during his extensive tenure and his tenacity will be missed.  I am confident Ms. Lynch will assume the role seamlessly and get right to work.  The Department of Justice will be in good hands under her sturdy leadership and I look forward to working with her on critical issues that are impacting the nation.”

Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) is the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over protecting constitutional freedoms and civil liberties, oversight of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, legal and regulatory reform, innovation, competition and anti-trust laws, terrorism, crime and immigration reform.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C. -   Today, at a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) announced he will reintroduce the End Racial Profiling Act of 2015 (H.R. 1933).  Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has introduced the Senate companion.  Rep. Conyers was joined by House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Member, and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CPAC), Hilary Shelton, NAACP Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy, Jennifer Bellamy, Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Tamika Mallory and marchers from NY’s Justice League 250 mile March 2 Justice from New York City to Washington, D.C. 

“The killing of Walter Scott – arising from a traffic stop – along with the deaths of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Sean Bell, Tamir Rice,  Oscar Grant and many more highlight the fact that racial profiling remains a divisive issue in communities across our nation. ” said Rep. John Conyers.  “We know a majority of police officers perform their duties professionally– but several recent incidents of police-involved violence have severely damaged the ties between community and law enforcement to the degree that federal action is needed to being addressing the core issue.  This is a systemic issue plaguing men of color in America, stigmatizing them from youth throughout adulthood.  The bill introduced by Sen. Cardin and I would make for the first time, use of racial profiling a federal offense.  By ending use of racial profiling in police tactics and prioritizing community relations, we can cultivate community focused; smart policing that rebuilds trust in law enforcement.”

The End Racial Profiling Act has a multi-pronged approach to healing the rift between community and law enforcement.  It will eliminate the well documented problem of racial profiling by establishing a prohibition on the practice and mandating retraining and data collection by federal law enforcement agencies.  The legislation also provides grants for the reinforcement and/or development of effective, positive policing practices.  For the first time, this bill will make federal cause of action for racial profiling, meaning victims will be able to seek redress in a court of law.

“Tragic events in Baltimore and New York, North Charleston and Ferguson, and elsewhere around the country have shown us that federal legislation finally ending racial profiling is essential.  While the vast majority of law enforcement work with professionalism and fidelity to the rule of law, we can never accept the outright targeting of individuals based on the way they look or dress,” said Senator Cardin.  “As a matter of practice, racial profiling just doesn’t work and it erodes the trust that is necessary between law enforcement and the very communities they protect.  I am proud to stand once again with Rep. Conyers in introducing this legislation.  We share the wish that it wasn’t necessary in America today.”

“It is difficult for our faith in the American judicial system not to be challenged when we cannot walk down the street, drive down an interstate highway, go through an airport, or even enter into our own homes without being stopped merely because of the color of our skin.  The End Racial Profiling Act will help stop this insidious practice and to begin to restore the confidence of communities of color throughout the United States in federal, state and local law enforcement and thus restore the necessary trust and integrity necessary to be effective,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

Added Rep. Judy Chu, “The recent spate of unarmed civilians shot and killed by police is truly alarming.  But while more stories have made their way into national headlines in recent months, we know that these are not exceptions, but rather common experiences that communities of color face all too often.  And that will not end until law enforcement officials are trained to see minorities as people, not threats.  That is why I am proud to support the End Racial Profiling Act.  This important bill will grant protections to victims of profiling and mandate that federal law enforcement officials receive adequate training to finally put an end to this ineffective practice.  Through smart legislation like ERPA, we can end the mistrust bred by profiling and ensure that no one feels unsafe, unequal, or un-American because of the way they look or the faith they practice.”

"We carried the End Racial Profiling Act on a journey by foot from NYC to Washington, DC to send a message that change must come and police departments must engage in transparency and accountability.  The work begins today and we will continue to mobilize and organize communities to end police brutality, end racial profiling and demand government invest in our communities,” said Tamika Mallory, co-chair of the March2Justice and board member of The Gathering for Justice. 

“Biased profiling not only ruins the trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they are hired to protect and serve, but in too many cases, the practice of racial profiling has led to injury or death,” said Hilary Shelton, the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior VP for Policy and Advocacy.

Rep. John Conyers, Jr. and former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) originally introduced the End Racial Profiling Act in 2001 with bipartisan support.  Rep. Conyers has reintroduced the legislation every Congress since. 

This bill has the support of 82 original cosponsors, all House Democrats: Reps. Alma Adams [NC-12], Karen Bass [CA-37], Joyce Beatty [OH-3] Donald Beyer, Jr. [VA-8] Sanford Bishop, Jr. [GA-2], Earl Blumenauer [OR-3],  G.K. Butterfield [NC-1], Corinne Brown [FL-5], Andre Carson [IN-7], Matt Cartwright [PA-17], Judy Chu [CA-27], David Cicilline [RI-1], Yvette Clarke [NY-9], Wm. Lacy Clay [MO-1],   James Clyburn [SC-06],  Emanuel Cleaver [MO-05], Steve Cohen [TN-9],  Bonnie Coleman-Watson [NJ-12],  Elijah Cummings [MD-7], Danny Davis[IL-7],  Diana DeGette [CO-1],  John Delaney [MD-6], Suzan DelBene [WA-1] Ted Deutch [FL-21], Debbie Dingell [MI-12], Donna Edwards [MD-4], Keith Ellison [MN-5], Sam Farr [CA-20], Chaka Fattah [PA-02], Marcia Fudge [OH-11], Al Green [TX-09], Raul Grijalva [AZ-3], Luis Gutierrez [IL-4], Alcee Hastings [FL-20], Denny Heck [WA-10], Rueben Hinojosa [TX-15], Mike Honda [CA-17], Sheila Jackson Lee [TX-18], Hakeem Jeffries [NY-8], Eddie Bernice Johnson [TX-30], Henry C. "Hank" Johnson [GA-4], Kathy Castor [FL-14], Robin Kelly [IL-2], Joseph P. Kennedy III [MA-4], Brenda Lawernce [MI-14], Barbara Lee [CA-13], John Lewis [GA-5], Zoe Lofgren [CA-19], Carolyn B. Maloney [NY-12], Betty McCollum [MN-4],Jim McDermott [WA-7], James P. McGovern [MA-2], Gregory W. Meeks [NY-5], Gwen Moore [WI-4], Jerrold Nadler [NY-10], Grace F. Napolitano [CA-32], Eleanor Holmes Norton [DC], Beto O’Rouke [TX-16], Donald M. Payne, Jr. [NJ-10], Scott Peters [CA-52], Pedro R. Pierluisi [PR], Stacey Plaskett [VI], Mark Pocan [WI-2], Charles B. Rangel [NY-13], Cedric L. Richmond [LA-2], Lucille Roybal-Allard [CA-40], Bobby Rush [IL-01], Linda Sanchez [CA-38], John P. Sarbanes [MD-3], Janice D. Schakowsky [IL-9], David Scott [GA-13], Robert C. "Bobby" Scott [VA-3], Jose E. Serrano [NY-15], Terri A. Sewall [AL-7], Louise McIntosh Slaughter [NY-25], Adam Smith [WA-9], Eric Swalwell [CA-15], Bennie G. Thompson [MS-2], Chris Van Hollen [MD-8], Marc Veasey [TX-33], Maxine Waters [CA-43], Frederica S. Wilson [FL-24].
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Peters, Conyers, Dingell Meet with Detroit Entrepreneurs at USPTO Patent and Innovation Forum

DETROIT, MI – On April 17, 2015, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) and U.S. Reps. John Conyers (MI) and Debbie Dingell (MI) today met with local entrepreneurs and small business owners at a patent and innovation forum at the Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Detroit. They were joined by Michelle Lee, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director, and A. Christal Sheppard, Director of the Elijah J. McCoy USPTO Office in Detroit.

During the forum, the participants highlighted the need to reduce the patent backlog at the USPTO and discussed ways to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across Michigan so that start-ups have access to resources they need to succeed. As of February 2015, the USPTO had a backlog of more than 600,000 patent applications with an average review time of more than two years before applications were granted patent protection.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters at
Detroit USPTO
“Southeast Michigan has more engineers per capita than anywhere else in the country, and I was glad to highlight innovation and entrepreneurship at the first USPTO satellite office outside of Washington, D.C.,” said Senator Peters.“Michigan has the innovative tradition, strong colleges and universities, and entrepreneurial spirit to become the startup capital of the Midwest, and we must do all we can to help ensure small businesses and inventors can develop their ideas and get them to market. I will continue focusing on ways to reduce the USPTO backlog so that innovation is not stifled and small businesses and startups have greater opportunities to succeed.”

Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives John Conyers (Right)
With Elijah McCoy (Grandson) and his wife at Detroit USPTO
“The opening of the Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office in Detroit nearly three years ago sent a strong signal to businesses, innovators, and educators all over the Nation and the world that Detroit is a top notch technology destination,” said Rep. John Conyers, Jr. “The USPTO plays a critical role in the continued success of innovation in America.  Locally, the Detroit USPTO satellite office is bringing a much-needed jolt to the economy and serves as a hub for innovation and inspiration for entrepreneurs to come and stay here.  I look forward to continuing to work with the USPTO to ensure that this office becomes the model satellite office and the hub of innovation in the country.”
“Innovation has always been at the heart of the Michigan economy, and it will continue to form the backbone of our success,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell. “Our state is home to outstanding and innovative companies, one of the best and highly-educated workforces in the country, and world-class research universities that continue to train our future leaders and innovators. We have what it takes to lead the country in entrepreneurship and innovation, and today’s forum was an excellent opportunity to discuss the importance of protecting intellectual property.”

The historic USPTO satellite office in Detroit opened in 2012 and was the first satellite office opened outside of Washington, DC, highlighting Michigan’s strength as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. The Detroit USPTO works to increase outreach, improve retention and recruitment of patent examiners, decrease the patent application backlog and improve the quality of examination, while serving and assisting entrepreneurs across the region.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Reps. John Conyers, Jr. and Debbie Dingell & Sen. Gary Peters to Meet with Detroit Entrepreneurs at USPTO Patent & Innovation Forum

DETROIT, MI –U.S. Reps. John Conyers (MI-13) and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D - MI) will meet with entrepreneurs and local small business owners at a patent and innovation forum TOMORROW, April 17th, at 4:00 PM at the Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Detroit.  They will be joined by Michelle Lee, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, USPTO, and A. Christal Sheppard, Director of the USPTO in Detroit.

WHAT:           Elected officials to meet with Detroit Entrepreneurs at USPTO Patent and Innovation Forum

WHO:             U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI)
                        U.S. Representative John Conyers (MI-13)
                        U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (MI- 12)
Michelle Lee, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, USPTO
A.    Christal Sheppard, Director, USPTO in Detroit

WHEN:           TOMORROW, April 17, 2015  -  4:00 PM

WHERE:        The Stroh Atrium - Detroit USPTO Office
                        300 River Place, Detroit, MI (map)
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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Women and Children's Nutrition: America's Best Investment

This month marks the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court case Goldberg v. Kelly, which held that some public benefits are so essential to human survival that they cannot be legally terminated without a formal notice and a hearing. This month also marks the start of Congress' annual appropriations season, the time when Members of Congress deliberate over what to fund for the next fiscal year, and, regrettably, a time when many of the safety net programs that the Supreme Court deemed so essential come under threat from our colleagues. In this year's appropriations process, we have a simple message: Providing a safety net is not only morally right but fiscally responsible. This is especially true of the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which is effective in addressing urgent human needs and critical for empowering the next generation of citizens and workers.

Since Congress voted to establish WIC in 1972, the program has provided nutrition education and vouchers for nutrient-rich food items to pregnant, breastfeeding and post-partum women, infants, and young children to promote healthy growth and development. Numerous studies have demonstrated that mothers who participate in the program have fewer premature births, a greater likelihood of healthy birth-weight babies, fewer infant deaths, and higher intake of key prenatal nutrients including iron, protein, calcium, and Vitamins A and C.

This isn't just important for women's wellbeing. It's essential for our nation's long-term health and economic prospects.

By John Conyers, Jr. and Gwen Moore

Dean of the U.S.. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Nutrition and care during the 1,000 days between conception and a child's second birthday are the biggest determinants of whether a child is able to lead a healthy and prosperous life. Poor nutrition and low birthweight have been linked to conditions including heart disease and diabetes. Infants and children who lack the nutrients WIC provides also lack absolute prerequisites for healthy brain development. It should therefore come as no surprise that international studies have shown that poor access to nutrition among young children can cost can a country 2-3 percent of GDP due to lower productivity.

Funding WIC is a proven way to fight poverty now and to invest in America's future.
That's why we recently took the lead in submitting -- with support from 116 Members of Congress -- a request to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture to provide $6.68 billion for the coming fiscal year. This funding level will help this program meet current and future caseload needs and ensure that millions of participants can maintain access to the scientifically appropriate WIC food package.

While some in Congress have recently sought to cut funding for WIC, we contend that this approach is both callous and counterproductive. With our country ranking poorlyin international comparisons for child and maternal health, proper funding for WIC is a matter of America's standing in the world. Domestically, it's a proven way to lower future health care costs, increase education attainment, and boost workforce productivity. All this expands the economy and shrinks future deficits.

Forty-five years after the Supreme Court took a stand against the summary denial of key safety net benefits, it's clearer than ever that programs like WIC are not only essential for families' survival but also for the nation's long-run health and prosperity.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Conyers: “Doc Fix” Protects Seniors, Children, and Community Health Centers

WASHINGTON – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement after voting in support of H.R. 2, The Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which passed the House overwhelmingly with a final vote of 392-37:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“This bipartisan agreement will provide much-needed stability for patients, doctors, and hospitals, while ensuring funding for essential children’s insurance programs and community health centers.  Had Congress failed to act, doctors would have faced steep cuts in Medicare reimbursements and, accordingly, seniors with health coverage would have been left without care. For years, Medicare’s payments to healthcare providers have failed to keep pace with inflation, leading doctors around the country to refuse seeing Medicare patients.  Crucially, this permanent “doc fix” legislation protects all current beneficiaries from cost increases.

“Equally important to fixing Medicare’s broken payment system, today’s bipartisan agreement safeguards health investments for children and struggling families. The legislation includes a two year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) while avoiding the GOP’s desired funding cuts.  The legislation also includes $7.2 billion in funding over two years for the Community Health Center Program created under the Affordable Care Act.  Detroit has seven Community Health Centers that serve nearly 100,000 patients per year, 70 percent of whom are low-income. Without this funding, Detroit’s Community Health Centers would have been forced to turn away patients or even close their doors.”

“Having served as a champion for Medicare since voting for its creation in 1965, I strongly reject any attempts to shift the costs of care to struggling and vulnerable beneficiaries.  I supported this legislation because it contains important safeguards to protect people in need, and because it will help ensure that Americans—both young and old—maintain their access to quality healthcare.”

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Rep. Conyers Calls on DOJ to Investigate the Police-Involved Beating Of Floyd Dent

WASHINGTON– Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to formally investigate the police-involved beating of Floyd Dent, an unarmed African American man, which occurred in Inkster, Michigan.

On January 28, 2015, Inkster Police pulled over Floyd Dent after alleging he ran a stop sign.  Dash camera video shows Dent - a 57 year-old longtime auto worker with no criminal history – being pulled from his car by police officers, tackled to the ground, put in a chokehold, severely beaten, and tased by several officers while showing no signs of resistance to arrest. 

On Wednesday, Rep. Conyers participated in a meeting with the DOJ’s Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta, hosted by the NAACP Detroit chapter where a range of law enforcement issues were discussed.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015


WASHINGTON - Today, House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement after the White House announced the commutation of the sentences of 22 individuals- each of whom had been convicted of drug offenses:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“I welcome and applaud the commutations of the sentences of these individuals.  Incarcerating people for unwarranted lengths of time serves no constructive purpose.  The President has recognized this, as has Attorney General Eric Holder, and I hope the Administration’s Clemency Project will continue to address the multitude of cases in which sentence reductions are appropriate.  Of course, the need to engage in such a broad review of sentences exists largely because our sentencing laws and policies, particularly for drug offenses, urgently need to be changed. 

“We need to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing and let judges impose appropriate sentences based on the facts and circumstances of each case, and we should eliminate the higher penalties for crack cocaine relative to powder cocaine offenses.  I am a cosponsor of H.R. 920, the ‘Smarter Sentencing Act,’ a bipartisan bill which would constitute a good first step at addressing these issues by reducing mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses and allowing for sentences below mandatory minimums for certain low-level offenders.  This bill is supported by over fifty organizations, including Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the Sentencing Project.

“I am heartened that there is a growing, bipartisan recognition of the cyclical problem of overincarceration and I hope this will lead to much-needed sentencing reform during this Congress.”
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