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Today, negotiations between the United States of America and the European Union regarding data protection standards have ended in an Umbrella Agreement. Once in place, this agreement will ensure increased protection of personal data between international law enforcement agencies.

The Judicial Redress Act, introduced by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner earlier this year, would be the final step in procuring much needed data and technological security between friendly nations. Congressman Sensenbrenner released the following statement, applauding the agreement and urging the passage of the Judicial Redress Act.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Technological advances have not only spurred progress in our world, but also new, sophisticated methods of criminal activity. To help combat this, I introduced the Judicial Redress Act to improve cooperation between United States law enforcement and our international allies. The recent agreement on data sharing between nations is a great step forward for international safety and prosperity. The Judicial Redress Act, however, remains a critical piece in our partnership with the European Union and is critical to ensure continued sharing of law enforcement intelligence.  I am optimistic that it will not only be brought before Congress, but will be passed with bipartisan support.”

This past week, students throughout the Fifth District kicked off the new school year, but for a select few, the school year began nearly two months ago. They’ve been hard at work training, studying, and preparing to accept roles as America’s future leaders at the United States Service Academies.

Each year I have the honor and privilege of nominating local young leaders to the United States Air Force, Military, Naval, and Merchant Marine Academies. These upstanding institutions provide students with a world-class education at no-cost and a full-time service commitment immediately following graduation.

I encourage all local students interested in future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math to apply for a nomination through my office. Click here to visit my Academy Nominations page where you will find eligibility requirements and information on each academy I can nominate students to. The deadline for completed applications for the 2016-2017 academic year is Thursday, October 15, 2015.

Best of luck to all Fifth Congressional District students in the new school year. 
 
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner announced today that he is accepting applications for nominations to attend the United States Air Force, Military, Naval, or Merchant Marine Academies for the 2016- 2017 academic year. 

Upon submitting an application, candidates will be interviewed by a member of the Congressman’s Academy Selection Committee, composed of local community leaders.  The interview is an assessment of the candidate’s leadership potential, character, motivation, and interests. The Congressman will make his nominations based on the recommendations of his committee. The deadline for completed applications is Thursday, October 15, 2015.  Late or incomplete applications will not be considered for nomination.  

Applications are only accepted from United States citizens with residency in Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District. Applicants must also be at least 17 years old but not past their 23rd birthday as of July 1, 2016, and must have reached their senior year of high school.  

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “As a Member of Congress, I have the distinct pleasure of nominating to the service academies the best and the brightest young leaders from the Fifth Congressional District. I urge those who wish to receive an offer of appointment at any one of these prestigious institutions to contact my district office in Brookfield for details relating to the application process.” 

Congressman Sensenbrenner’s district office can be reached at 120 Bishops Way, Room 154, Brookfield, WI 53005, or by calling (262) 784-1111.  Information is also available on Congressman Sensenbrenner’s website at Sensenbrenner.house.gov.   
 

I'll See You in Washington

August 21, 2015

There are a lot of things to do and see in our Nation’s Capitol, but one of the most notable experiences Washington, D.C. has to offer is the free tour of our Capitol building. 

Experienced tour guides bring history to life while leading visitors through grand halls and underground tunnels. America’s greatest leaders are honored throughout the Capitol in paintings and statues, and imaginations are unleashed through detailed accounts of events, feuds, compromises, and the creation of laws. 

However, one of the highlights of the Capitol tour is the opportunity to see legislation being debated, voted on, and passed in the present day. With special gallery passes, visitors can enter the Senate and House Chambers and watch as real bills are brought to the floor and discussed. 

My staff and I are pleased to help schedule a tour for you during your visit to Capitol Hill, as well as provide you with special gallery passes. So if you’re planning a trip to Washington, D.C., I hope you’ll visit my website at http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/tour_signup/default.aspx and take advantage of all the free resources available to you as my constituent. 

In addition to a Capitol Hill tour, I can also help you request tours at various iconic locations, including:

• The White House
• The Library of Congress
• The Supreme Court
• The Pentagon
• The Bureau of Engraving and Printing
• The FBI Visitor Center
• The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

It’s my pleasure to serve as your representative, and I look forward to helping you make your trip a success. See you in Washington! 
 
It is my great honor to serve as your Congressman, and one of the highest privileges of the job is to spend time in the district, learn from my constituents, and make a positive difference in people’s lives. 

I’ve always believed that cultivating personal connections is the key to success, not only in governmental affairs, but in everyday life. That is why I spend as much time as possible visiting people and attending events in every community throughout the Fighting Fifth. It’s only through conversation and face-to-face meetings that I can truly feel the pulse of the district and understand the issues most important to those I represent. 

Last month I celebrated my 100th public meeting of 2015, but I’m not stopping there. I’m looking forward to continuing my travels throughout the district, hosting meetings, attending events, and connecting with constituents. 

My meetings are open to the public and I encourage you to stop by, say hello, and let me know your concerns; or make me aware of a problem you are experiencing with the federal government. You can find the full list of upcoming meetings at http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/contact

If you cannot make it to a meeting, I hope you get in touch through letters and emails. I see every letter I receive and respond as quickly as possible, so rest assured your voice is being heard. You can submit your thoughts at http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/contact/email.htm

Thank you for entrusting me with the great responsibility of representing your interests in the United States Congress. It’s my honor to continue serving the great state of Wisconsin, and the wonderful people of the Fifth District. 
Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent the following letter to United States Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz requesting an independent, objective study into the effects advanced biofuel blends have in small engines. 

Dear Secretary Moniz:

We write to you regarding the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed study entitled Advanced Biofuel Blends in Small Engines. We support studying this issue, but request that DOE conduct the study in an independent, objective, and wholly scientific manner. 

DOE’s 2009-10 Catalyst Study on the effects of E-15 gas on automobiles raised concerns from consumer and industry groups. Organizations including, but not limited to, the Milk Producers Council, Friends of the Earth, American Petroleum Institute, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, National Turkey Federation, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and the National Black Chamber of Commerce cosigned a letter addressing this issue. Meanwhile, the Renewable Fuels Association stated that the Coordinating Research Council’s (CRC) study on E-15 was flawed. DOE also stated that the CRC’s study was deeply flawed. 

To prevent the Advanced Biofuel Blends in Small Engines study from becoming a political football, DOE should partner with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct research on this topic. The NAS will provide independent and objective advice to DOE that would satisfy interested parties and stakeholders.

As Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology your answers to the following questions may be helpful as we conduct oversight of your research on advanced biofuel blends in small engines. Please answer the following questions by August 27, 2015.

1. Do you agree that there was a significant amount of concern regarding studies on the effects of E-15 in automobiles, including the DOE and CRC studies?

2. What is the best way to conduct an independent, objective and scientific study on advanced biofuel blends in small engines?

3. How much do you estimate that a study on this issue will cost? 

4. What are your goals for the small engine study?

5. Would it be unusual for DOE to partner with NAS on a scientific study?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.
Member of Congress
Each and every human life is sacred. We have a profound obligation to protect the right to life, especially for the unborn. 

Over the past month, I have received many phone calls and letters from you, my constituents, expressing your views on the recent videos that have surfaced which expose the horrific practice of harvesting and selling fetal tissue that has been acquired through abortion. 

These revelations are tragic and are certainly a misuse of taxpayer dollars. In response, I introduced a bill to prohibit the sale of fetal tissue acquired through an abortion. Due to a poorly drafted section of federal law, Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics are currently able to legally sell fetal tissue from aborted babies to research institutions. My bill will make it illegal to do so, preventing these clinics from continuing to profit from victimizing the defenseless.

It’s not enough to defund Planned Parenthood.  We also need to change the law that allows abortion clinics to profit from this disgusting practice.

I also signed a letter with more than 150 of my colleagues, urging Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice to launch an immediate and thorough investigation into the practices of Planned Parenthood. 

I will continue to fight on behalf of the innocent and advocate for the unborn. Thank you for your many comments on this issue.
 

Yesterday, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner reintroduced the Charitable Giving Act, legislation that would support and encourage charitable giving by carving out the limitations imposed on charitable deductions. 

In January 2013, the “Pease rule” reinstated and made permanent the overall limitation on all itemized deductions for those with adjusted gross income above the statutory limit. This limits itemized deductions for charitable donations, de-incentivizing individuals from contributing to worthwhile organizations such as hospitals, veterans’ organizations, universities, and disaster relief services. 

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Non-profits and charitable organizations are the country’s safety nets that provide services and funding beyond what our financially-limited government programs can provide. These organizations heavily rely on the generosity of private donors, and they, as well as the countless people and causes they serve, would suffer from the continued upholding of the Pease rule.”

 
Over the past three decades, America's federal prison population has more than quadrupled — from 500,000 in 1980 to more than 2.3 million today. Prison spending has increased alongside it, placing a heavy burden on American taxpayers. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, between 1980-2013, prison spending has increased by 595 percent, a staggering figure that is both irresponsible and unsustainable. Currently, the federal prison system consumes more than 25 percent of the entire Department of Justice budget.

This redirects funding from enforcement and other criminal justice programs and reduces our system's efficiency and effectiveness. The growth in prison population and spending, plus the massive human and social costs of mass incarceration, creates an urgent need for federal criminal justice reform.

The current high incarceration rates are a result of sweeping tough-on-crime initiatives, specifically the introduction of drug mandatory minimums in the 1980s. While minimums have proved successful in some circumstances, too often low-level, non-violent individuals have been caught up in the system. Instead of considering the unique circumstances of each case, taking into account the personal and criminal history of the offender, judges are forced to comply with federally mandated minimums that lock up millions of people without discretionary judgment.

Further, the current system lacks the ability to effectively rehabilitate nonviolent offenders, leaving them without the skills, education and training to successfully reintegrate into society. A shocking 50 percent of the federal prison population has substance abuse issues, mental health issues or both. An estimated 53 percent of offenders entering prison are at or below the poverty line, and our current prison population houses a disproportionate number of African-Americans, who account for nearly 40 percent of inmates.

Our prisons have become warehouses that simply lock away offenders, rather than treating the underlying issues that brought them there. This neglect contributes to high recidivism rates and puts a revolving door on the gates of America's federal prisons.

While Congress has remained largely silent on the issue, states have embraced reform — enacting wide-ranging, evidence-based changes that both improve public safety and rein in prison costs. These state programs have succeeded by prioritizing incarceration for violent and career criminals, strengthening community supervision and adopting alternative sanctions for lower-level offenders.

For example, in 2007, Texas adopted prison reform policies. Its crime rate fell by 18 percent, while its imprisonment rate dropped by 10 percent. Similarly, in Wisconsin, after reforms were enacted, the state's crime rate fell 19 percent and the imprisonment rate fell seven percent.

The states are proving that bipartisan criminal justice reform is not only possible, but that it is working to reduce crime, decrease incarceration and lower the taxpayer burden throughout the country, all while maintaining public safety. It's time for Congress to follow suit.

Last year, Congressman Bobby Scott and I led a congressional task force to investigate over-criminalization, which examined the scope of mass incarceration, as well as evidence-based programs for reform. In June, we introduced the Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act, a comprehensive bill that addresses the major drivers of the federal prison population at the front and back ends of the system.

SAFE Justice promotes targeted sentencing over a one-size-fits-all approach, curtails the ballooning number of regulatory crimes, and includes policies that more effectively change the criminal behavior of the nearly 132,000 people on federal probation and post-prison supervision. The bill, which has been endorsed by House Speaker John Boehner and boasts 36 bipartisan cosponsors, advances research-based sentencing, release and supervision policies, and will enact meaningful reforms that shadow the success seen on the state level.

Our system cannot continue on its current trajectory. It's not only fiscally unsustainable, but morally irresponsible. Now is the time for criminal justice reform, and the SAFE Justice Act delivers the change necessary to enact fairness in sentencing, reduce the taxpayer burden and ensure the increased safety and prosperity of communities across the country.
 
View this op-ed online here.
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, and Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.) yesterday introduced the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015 with the support of House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and others. 

The Second Chance Reauthorization Act builds on the success of the original Second Chance Act of 2008 and continues to authorize funding for both public and private entities to evaluate and improve academic and vocational education for offenders in prison, jails and juvenile facilities. 

Congress passed the Second Chance Act with strong bipartisan support and President George W. Bush signed it into law in 2008. This legislation provides non-profit faith and community-based organizations with mentoring grants to develop support programs such as drug treatment, housing, job training, medical care, and education. Re-entry services have been improved, which resulted in a reduction in recidivism and helped ensure a successful return to society for prisoners who have completed their sentence. More than 100,000 men, women, and youth returning home from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities have benefited from Second Chance grants providing career training, mentoring, family-based substance abuse treatment, and other evidence-based reentry programs.  

This investment has also paid public safety dividends. A report from the National Reentry Resource Center highlights how numerous states have experienced drastic reductions in statewide recidivism rates as a result of robust reentry services made possible in part through Second Chance.   

The outcomes are impressive, but state and local governments as well as non-profit organizations are in dire need of resources in order to ensure that the millions of individuals returning from prison, jail, and juvenile facilities each year continue to receive coordinated evidence-based reentry services.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The Second Chance Reauthorization Act is an important component of my ongoing efforts to reform and improve our federal criminal justice system, save taxpayer money, and strengthen American families. While prisons are important deterrents in our fight against crime, they remain one part of the solution to a complex problem. Rehabilitation efforts, such as the ones in the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, will help prisoners who have paid their debt to society get back on the right path and become successful, contributing members of their communities.”

Congressman Davis: “Giving individuals a real second chance has turned lives around in neighborhoods across the country, offering a real alternative to a pervasive and damaging cyclical life of crime. We see the ripple effects everywhere where people are building stable, productive lives and neighborhoods through these federally funded programs. We must not lose this momentum.”

Chairman Goodlatte: “The Judiciary Committee recently launched a Criminal Justice Initiative to evaluate proposals to reform our nation's criminal justice system. Prisoner reentry is a key piece of any reform effort. I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, which supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT.) and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Additional information about the Second Chance Reauthorization Act:
 Bill Text
• Section-by-Section
• One Page Summary