GANGS LEGISLATION PASSES OUT OF SENATE COMMITTEE
The Senate Judiciary Committee today voted on and passed gang legislation introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), which is closely tied to the Fighting Gangs and Empowering Youth Act of 2007 introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and co-sponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ). The legislation also included two specific provisions from the New Jersey legislators' bill that would provide demonstration grants for innovative approaches to gang prevention and increase funds for mentoring programs for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.
"I am proud that Sen. Feinstein included provisions from our bill in her own, and grateful that the Judiciary Committee has shown a commitment to fighting gang activity," said Menendez. "Gangs are ravaging our communities, and a comprehensive, national approach to combating this problem is long overdue. We must focus on prevention, empowerment and enforcement in order to stop the scourge of violence in our towns and cities."
"I believe that overcoming the gang crisis takes more than just law enforcement, it takes an entire community," Pallone said. "That is why I applaud Senator Menendez's work to ensure that key provisions of our Fighting Gangs and Empowering Youth bill were included in Senator Feinstein's comprehensive gang legislation. These are encouraging developments, which will only help me press for action in the House."
"Gang violence finds its way into our schools, our neighborhoods and even our homes and we're working to stop it on the street, where it happens most," Lautenberg said. "Our bill would help communities work with at-risk youth to show them the possibilities of a productive life out of gangs and off the streets."
Law enforcement officials recently reported that gang activity in New Jersey is increasing and becoming more sophisticated and aggressive in recruiting and preying on young people in all communities. According to a survey by the State Police, the number of gang members has nearly doubled to slightly more than 17,000 in 2005, up from about 10,000 in 2000.
Senators Menendez and Lautenberg are both co-sponsors of Sen. Feinstein's legislation. For further details on the similarities between the two bills, visit: