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Public Statements

Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 6185, the Local Courthouse Safety Act. This measure will provide critical assistance to State and local governments to provide courthouse security.

To begin with, many State and local courthouses face serious security challenges. Serious violence often occurs in these facilities, but many courthouses across the Nation still lack basic security protections such as metal detectors. H.R. 6185 responds to this critical problem by giving sheriffs, as well as State and local courthouses, access to training, equipment, and other resources to help them improve security.

H.R. 6185 accomplishes these goals by making use of existing resources. This legislation requires the General Services Administration to make available to State and local courts--at no cost, except for shipping, handling, and maintenance--surplus security equipment that is used to detect weapons, such as metal detectors, wands, and baggage screening devices. To qualify to receive such security equipment, a State or local courthouse must have less security equipment than necessary to meet the security needs of that courthouse. Because these devices are surplus and not otherwise being utilized by any Federal agencies, it is a wise use of taxpayer money to allow this equipment to be put into service at the State and local level.

Another important aspect of the bill is that it expands the scope of the grants awarded by the State Justice Institute to include the improvement of the safety and security of State and local courts. As a result, H.R. 6185 strengthens the Institute's current authority to award grants to support education, training, and technical assistance projects to improve the administration of justice in the State courts. This measure addresses, in a meaningful way, the serious security challenges that State and local courthouses face.

Not surprisingly, H.R. 6185 enjoys a broad range of support, including the National Sheriffs' Association, the National Association for Court Management, the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators, American Judges Association, the National Court Reporters Association, and the Center for Judicial and Executive Security.

I commend my colleague, the gentlelady from Florida (Mrs. Adams) for her work in developing the bill, and I urge my colleagues to support the legislation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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