Senator Doug Jones introduces legislation to help Alabama residents

Senator Doug Jones and Congresswoman
Terri Sewell

Senator Doug Jones has been a U. S. Senator, representing Alabama since his victory in the December 2017 Special Election. He has been working to introduce legislation, some with bi-partisan Republican sponsors to improve the life of Alabama residents.
Senator Jones sends press releases each time he introduces and passes legislation to benefit the lives of ordinary people in Alabama and across the nation. Some of his recent press releases on legislation are described below.
Jones will have to run for re-election for a full six-year term in November 2020. He is expected to have strong Republican opposition. He will be running on his record of positive and progressive legislation enacted by the Senate and Congress during his time in Washington D. C.
Senators Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced that their bipartisan Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act   was signed into law by the President on January 8, 2019. Their legislation requires the review, declassification, and release of government records related to unsolved criminal civil rights cases. Senators Jones and Cruz have led a months-long bipartisan effort to provide public access to unsolved civil rights crime documents through their legislation. Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) led the companion legislation in the House of Representatives. 
 “This moment has been years in the making. I want to thank my colleagues Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Bobby Rush for their strong partnership throughout this effort, which started with a group of talented high school students who encountered a problem and wanted to find a solution.I am excited that their classroom idea and the solution we worked on together has now been signed into law by the President of the United States.
I also appreciate the comments the President made in his signing statement in support of our legislation and his encouragement that Congress appropriate funds for its implementation. This law sends a powerful message to those impacted by these horrific crimes and to young folks in this country who want to make a difference. I know how deeply painful these Civil Rights-era crimes remain for communities so by shedding light on these investigations I hope we can provide an opportunity for healing and closure,” said Senator Jones.
U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on January 15, 2019 re-introduced their Automotive Jobs Act legislation, which would delay President Trump’s proposed 25-percent tariff on imported cars, trucks, and auto parts. In May 2018, the President directed the U.S. Commerce Department to initiate a Section 232 investigation to determine whether imported automobiles, trucks, and parts are a threat to U.S. national security and to subsequently levy tariffs. The Commerce Department is expected to finish its investigation and make its recommendation to the President in February. The Jones-Alexander legislation would require the International Trade Commission (ITC) to conduct a comprehensive study of the well-being, health, and vitality of the United States automotive industry before tariffs could be applied.
 “Automobile tariffs are nothing but new taxes on American consumers and only serve to threaten an industry that is vital to Alabama’s economy and supports 57,000 good jobs,” said Senator Jones, who heard concerns from representatives of all four Alabama automakers during a roundtable discussion in Mobile this fall.
“As the son of a steelworker, I know well that there is a need to address the bad actors like China who’ve taken advantage of us on trade and I share the President’s goal of reviving our domestic manufacturing industry. However, that should be done in a way that doesn’t hurt other major job-creating industries and increase costs for American consumers. By having a deeper look at the state of the auto industry, an ITC study would shed light on the impacts that tariffs would have and would make it undeniably clear to the President that this industry is not a national security threat.”
 U.S. Senator Doug Jones on January 25, 2019 introduced legislation that would require federal workers who were impacted by the shutdown to receive their full back-pay plus any interest accrued. Last week, Congress passed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019, which would require that all impacted federal employees receive compensation for wages lost during the government shutdown. While this is an important step, the shutdown has forced many federal workers to incur additional costs associated with loans, late bill payments, and the other effects of missing paychecks. 
  “If the federal government can charge you interest for being late on your taxes, then it should be paying interest on late paychecks,” said Senator Doug Jones, who has also requested his paycheck be withheld until federal workers receive their back pay. “The more than 5,500 federal workers in Alabama didn’t ask for a shutdown and shouldn’t be punished for it. It’s only fair that the government pays them back with interest for putting them out of work indefinitely or forcing them to work without pay.”

Newswire : Senator Doug Jones of Alabama sponsors Civil Rights Cold Case legislation

The civil rights movement gave millions of people a new share in the American Dream. Tragically, many violent crimes committed against Black families struggling for equality during this time remain unsolved. Last Wednesday, the Senate moved one step closer to passing bipartisan legislation that would help these families find justice, when the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs passed the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act. This crucial bill, so sponsored by Jones and Ted Cruz (R-TX), would release information on cold cases from the civil rights era, with the hope that additional sunlight and public interest will bring revelation, justice, and closure where these things have long been lacking. Through the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, activists fought for racial equality at great cost, suffering beatings, bombings, lynching, and other forms of harassment and violence simply for seeking to fully realize their rights as Americans under the Constitution. Some crimes, such as the murder of Emmitt Till and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, remain branded on our national consciousness as among the darkest days in American history. Others, like the car bombing of NAACP Natchez chapter treasurer Wharlest Jackson in 1967, are less widely remembered – though his murder was the focus of a massive FBI investigation at the time – and remain unsolved to this day. Still others, such as the 1955 shooting of 16-year-old John Earl Reese in Gregg County, Texas, resulted in the release of perpetrators with little or no punishment. While most of the perpetrators of these horrific crimes have never been identified and brought to justice, there have been notable successes like the convictions of Byron De La Beckwith for the murder of Medgar Evers, Sam Bowers for the murder of Vernon Dahmer, and Tommy Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for the murder of four young girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. However, in many cases, witnesses were intimidated into silence and evidence was intentionally brushed under the rug by corrupt officials. Victims and their families were often afraid to pursue justice against their attackers. And despite the best efforts of law enforcement in many cases, they did not have access to modern forensic methods, and trails went cold. Records and evidence from many of these cases sits locked away in files and vaults, outside of the public eye. As memories fade and witnesses, victims, and perpetrators of decades-old crimes pass away, our window to solve these cold cases shrinks. The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act would address this problem by disclosing case records so that private detectives, historians, victims, and victims’ families can access these files, pursue leads, and document these tragic events. The legislation would require government offices to submit files and records about civil rights cold cases to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This office would then create a collection of documents that would be publicly disclosed, although for certain reasons, disclosure of some information may be postponed. Postponement would be appropriate where disclosure would clearly and demonstrably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to national security, military defense, law enforcement, intelligence operations, or foreign relations; pose substantial unwarranted harm to a living person; constitute a grave breach of personal privacy; compromise a confidentiality agreement between law enforcement and a cooperating individual; or interfere with ongoing law enforcement proceedings This legislation establishes a Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board as an independent agency of impartial private citizens to facilitate the review, transmission to NARA, and public disclosure of government records related to these civil rights cold cases. The Board would also be empowered to hold hearings and render decisions on determinations by government offices that seek to postpone the disclosure of such records, while acting as a conduit for information volunteered by the public. Many journalists and organizations like the Center for Investigative Reporting have called for a decentralized, crowdsourced approach to breaking cold cases by making their information public, which is exactly the intent of our legislation. Senators Jones and Cruz are hopeful that the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act will add another victorious footnote to the legacy of the civil rights movement, and allow the American people to seek justice for their countrymen who were wrongly persecuted for the color of their skin and their fight for equality.