S. 714 (111th): National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010

111th Congress, 2009–2010. Text as of May 06, 2010 (Reported by Senate Committee).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

Calendar No. 369

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 714

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 26, 2009

(for himself, Mr. Specter, Mr. Reid, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Graham, Mr. Schumer, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Brown of Ohio, Mr. Warner, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Burris, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Cardin, Mrs. McCaskill, Mrs. Hagan, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. Whitehouse, Ms. Landrieu, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Tester, Mr. Carper, Mr. Casey, Mr. Harkin, Mr. Begich, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mr. Levin, Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Franken, Mr. Merkley, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Lautenberg, Mr. Menendez, and Ms. Klobuchar) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

May 6, 2010

Reported by , with an amendment

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To establish the National Criminal Justice Commission.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

The United States has the highest reported incarceration rate in the world, imprisoning a higher percentage of its population than any other country. The American incarceration rate is five times the world’s average incarceration rate. A total of 2,380,000 people are in prison.

(2)

Although criminal justice laws and legal procedures depend heavily on State and local law, and although a majority of those imprisoned in the United States are held in non-Federal institutions, the conditions under which Americans are incarcerated and the manner in which former inmates reenter society is a compelling national interest that potentially affects every American citizen and every locality in the country.

(3)

The American public and their elected officials at all levels of government overwhelmingly support the punishment and incarceration of violent criminals, as well as those who direct and participate in criminal enterprises.

(4)

Minorities make up a disproportionately large share of prison populations. Black males have a 32 percent chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives; Hispanic males have a 17 percent chance; white males have a 6 percent chance.

(5)

The number of persons on probation and parole has been growing along with institutional populations. There are 7,300,000 Americans incarcerated or on probation or parole, equal to 1 in every 31 adults, an increase of 290 percent since 1980.

(6)

The number of exoffenders returning to their communities from Federal and State prisons rose to 725,000 in 2007, an increase of 19.9 percent since 2000, and a more than doubling in the past 2 decades. On average, 2 out of every 3 released prisoners will be rearrested and 1 in 2 will return to prison within 3 years of release.

(7)

Spending on corrections consumes an increasingly large portion of resources at all levels of government. Corrections expenditures compete with and diminish funding for education, public health, public safety, parks and recreation, and programs specifically designed to reduce the prison population. An analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that over the past 20 years, inflation-adjusted state spending on corrections rose 127 percent while higher education expenditures rose just 21 percent.

(8)

The National Gang Threat Assessment reports that there are approximately 1,000,000 gang members in the United States. According to reporting by local law enforcement, gangs commit as much as 80 percent of the crime in some locations. Gangs are primary retail distributors of illicit drugs, some of which operate at the regional or national level. According to the 2008 National Drug Threat Survey, 58 percent of law enforcement agencies report gang involvement in drug distribution.

(9)

The combination of gang activity and the movement of illegal drugs into the country has resulted in unprecedented levels of sophisticated, organized violence along America’s southern border and in hundreds of American communities. More than 6,000 people died in Mexico in 2008 alone as a result of drug-related violence.

(10)

Despite high incarceration rates for drug-related offenses, illicit drug availability remains consistent. 86 percent of high school students report that it is very easy or fairly easy to obtain marijuana. 47 percent report the same for cocaine, 39 percent for crack, and 27 percent for heroin.

(11)

Those addicted to and abusive of illicit drugs are an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the drug using population, but account for an estimated half of all illicit drug consumption. Treating addiction will significantly help decrease demand.

(12)

Drug offenders in prisons and jails have increased 1200 percent since 1980. Nearly a half million persons are in Federal or State prison or local jail for a drug offense, compared to an estimated 41,100 in 1980. A significant percentage of these offenders have no history of violence or high-level drug selling activity.

(13)

Prisons and jails nationwide have become holding facilities for the mentally ill. There are an estimated 350,000 men and women in prisons and jails with serious mental disorders. Approximately 4 times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals. Prisoners are 2 to 4 times more likely than the general population to be schizophrenic, depressed, bipolar, or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Approximately 73 percent of mentally ill inmates suffer from a substance abuse disorder.

(14)

Prisons have become public health risks. The number of State prisoners with HIV is 2.5 times greater than the general population. The number of State prisoners with hepatitis C is 9 times that of the general population.

(15)

Prison administration is uneven, lacking clear, affirmative standards of training and performance, varying greatly from institution to institution, locality to locality, and among Federal, State and local jurisdictions.

(16)

According to a 2007 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey, an estimated 60,500 inmates (or 4.5 percent of all Federal and State inmates) experienced 1 or more incidents of sexual victimization involving other inmates or staff. Analyses suggest that official records of assault in prison (both physical and sexual) only reflect 10 to 20 percent of all assaults in prison.

3.

Establishment of commission

There is established a commission to be known as the National Criminal Justice Commission (referred to in this Act as the Commission).

4.

Purpose of the commission

The Commission shall undertake a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, make findings related to current Federal and State criminal justice policies and practices, and make reform recommendations for the President, Congress, and State governments to improve public safety, cost-effectiveness, overall prison administration, and fairness in the implementation of the Nation’s criminal justice system.

5.

Review and findings

(a)

General review

The Commission shall review all areas of Federal and State criminal justice costs, practices, and policies.

(b)

Specific findings

In conducting the review, the Commission shall make such findings as it deems appropriate, including—

(1)

the statistical areas of increase in the United States incarceration rate compared to historical standards of incarceration in the United States and the reasons for this increase;

(2)

a comparison of incarceration policies, including juvenile incarceration policies, in countries with similar political systems including Western Europe and Japan, denoting the different standards applied for types of crime, length of sentences, standards of prison administration, quality of reentry programs for exoffenders, and recidivism rates;

(3)

an examination of prison administration policies at the Federal, State, and local levels, to include the availability and quality of preemployment training programs and the availability of meaningful career progression within the profession;

(4)

the costs of current incarceration policies at the Federal, State and local level, including the relevant costs of law enforcement, the proportion of that cost associated with gangs and drug enforcement, the costs of constructing and administering prison facilities, the costs of post-incarceration supervision and reentry programs, and the cost of lost economic opportunities associated with the stigma of incarceration;

(5)

an examination of the impact of gang activities in the United States, including the proportion of these activities that are directed by foreign-based gangs and syndicates, and outlining the impact of these activities in terms of violence, intimidation, and all areas of criminal activity;

(6)

an examination of current drug policy and its impact on incarceration, crime and violence, sentencing, and reentry programs, to include an analysis of the general availability of drugs in our society, the impact and effectiveness of current policies on reducing that availability and on the incidence of crime, and in the case of criminal offenders, the availability of drug treatment programs before, during, and after incarceration;

(7)

an examination of the legal and administrative changes in policies regarding those who suffer from mental illness, including mandatory and voluntary commitment to institutional care, the effectiveness and availability of alternative methods of treatment, the impact of these policy changes on incarceration, and the availability of government sponsored or assisted programs to address mental illness;

(8)

an examination of the historic role of the military (active duty, National Guard, Coast Guard, and reserve forces), in the prevention of crime, the apprehension of criminals, the protection of American citizens, and the maintenance of stability along the national borders; and

(9)

any other area that the Commission in its judgment believes relevant to a full understanding of the present criminal justice system in the United States.

6.

Duties of the commission

(a)

Recommendations

After conducting a review of the United States criminal justice system and making findings as required by section 5, the Commission shall make recommendations for changes in policies and laws designed to—

(1)

refocus incarceration policies to reduce the overall incarceration rate while preserving public safety, cost-effectiveness, and societal fairness;

(2)

decrease prison violence, with particular reference to protecting those incarcerated from physical abuse;

(3)

improve prison administration, including Federal standards of competence and the creation of a career path for prison administrators;

(4)

institute the use of policies and practices proven effective throughout the spectrum of criminal behavior;

(5)

establish a system for the reintegration of exoffenders that provides productive skills and opportunities and improves communities' ability to assimilate former offenders;

(6)

restructure the approach to criminalization of, and incarceration as a result of the possession or use of illegal drugs, decreasing the demand for illicit drugs, and improving the treatment for addiction;

(7)

improve and streamline the treatment of mental illness, both in our society and in the criminal justice system;

(8)

improve Federal and local responses to international and domestic criminal activity and violence carried out by gangs, cartels, and syndicates, particularly in relation to drug smuggling and distribution; and

(9)

improve and reform any other aspect of the United States criminal justice system the Commission determines is required.

(b)

Coordination with international and domestic government and nongovernment representatives

The Commission shall—

(1)

consult with government and nongovernmental leaders, including State and local law enforcement officials; and

(2)

include in its final report required by subsection (c) summaries of the input and recommendations of these leaders based on the recommendations required by subsection (a).

(c)

Report

(1)

Report

Not later than 18 months after the selection of the chair and the Executive Director of the Commission, the Commission shall prepare and submit a final report that contains a detailed statement of findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Commission to Congress and the President.

(2)

Public availability

The report submitted under this subsection shall be made available to the public.

7.

Membership

(a)

In general

The Commission shall be composed of 11 members, as follows:

(1)

One member shall be appointed by the President, who shall serve as Chairman of the Commission.

(2)

Two members appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary.

(3)

Two members appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, in consultation with the ranking member of the Committee on Judiciary.

(4)

Two members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary.

(5)

Two members appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the ranking member of the Committee on Judiciary.

(6)

One member appointed by the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

(7)

One member appointed by the Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

(b)

Membership

(1)

Qualifications

The individuals appointed from private life as members of the Commission shall be individuals who are nationally recognized for expertise, knowledge, or experience in such relevant areas as—

(A)

law enforcement;

(B)

criminal justice;

(C)

national security;

(D)

prison administration;

(E)

prisoner reentry;

(F)

public health, including drug addiction and mental health;

(G)

victims' rights; and

(H)

social services.

(2)

Disqualification

An individual shall not be appointed as a member of the Commission if such individual possesses any personal or financial interest in the discharge of any of the duties of the Commission.

(3)

Terms

Members shall be appointed for the life of the Commission.

(c)

Appointment; initial meeting

(1)

Appointment

Members of the Commission shall be appointed not later than 45 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2)

Initial meeting

The Commission shall hold its initial meeting on the date that is 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(d)

Meetings; quorum; vacancies

(1)

Meetings

The Commission shall meet at the call of the chair or a majority of its members.

(2)

Quorum

Six members of the Commission, including at least one member chosen by the minority leader of the Senate, minority leader of the House of Representatives, or Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, shall constitute a quorum for purposes of conducting business, except that 2 members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for purposes of receiving testimony.

(3)

Vacancies

Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made. If vacancies in the Commission occur on any day after 45 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, a quorum shall consist of a majority of the members of the Commission as of such day, so long as at least one Commission member chosen by a member of each party, Republican and Democratic, is present.

(e)

Actions of commission

(1)

In general

The Commission—

(A)

shall act by resolution agreed to by a majority of the members of the Commission voting and present; and

(B)

may establish panels composed of less than the full membership of the Commission for purposes of carrying out the duties of the Commission under this title—

(i)

which shall be subject to the review and control of the Commission; and

(ii)

any findings and determinations made by such a panel shall not be considered the findings and determinations of the Commission unless approved by the Commission.

(2)

Delegation

Any member, agent, or staff of the Commission may, if authorized by the chair of the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take pursuant to this Act.

8.

Administration

(a)

Travel expenses

Members shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in performance of services for the Commission.

(b)

Staff

(1)

Executive director

The Commission shall have a staff headed by an Executive Director. The Executive Director shall be paid at a rate equivalent to a rate established for the Senior Executive Service under section 5382 of title 5, United States Code.

(2)

Staff appointment

With the approval of the Commission, the Executive Director may appoint such personnel as the Executive Director determines to be appropriate.

(3)

Experts and consultants

With the approval of the Commission, the Executive Director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.

(4)

Detail of government employees

Upon the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal agency may detail, without reimbursement, any of the personnel of such agency to the Commission to assist in carrying out the duties of the Commission. Any such detail shall not interrupt or otherwise affect the civil service status or privileges of the Federal employee.

(5)

Other resources

The Commission shall have reasonable access to materials, resources, statistical data, and other information such Commission determines to be necessary to carry out its duties from the Library of Congress, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of State, and other agencies of the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government. The chair of the Commission shall make requests for such access in writing when necessary. The Office of National Drug Control Policy shall make office space available for day-to-day Commission activities and for the scheduled quarterly full Commission meetings.

(c)

Obtaining official data

The Commission may secure directly from any agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out this Act. Upon the request of the Chair of the Commission, the head of that department or agency shall furnish that information to the Commission.

(d)

Mails

The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States.

9.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 such sums are as necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.

(b)

Availability

Any sums appropriated under the subsection (a) shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.

10.

Sunset

The Commission shall terminate 60 days after it submits its report to Congress.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010.

2.

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

it is in the interest of the Nation to establish a commission to undertake a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system;

(2)

there has not been a comprehensive study since the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration and Justice was established in 1965;

(3)

that commission, in a span of 18 months, produced a comprehensive report entitled The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, which contained 200 specific recommendations on all aspects of the criminal justice system involving Federal, State, tribal, and local governments, civic organizations, religious institutions, business groups, and individual citizens; and

(4)

developments over the intervening 45 years require once again that Federal, State, tribal, and local governments, civic organizations, religious institutions, business groups, and individual citizens come together to review evidence and consider how to improve the criminal justice system.

3.

Establishment of commission

There is established a commission to be known as the National Criminal Justice Commission (referred to in this Act as the Commission).

4.

Purpose of the commission

The Commission shall undertake a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, encompassing current Federal, State, local, and tribal criminal justice policies and practices, and make reform recommendations for the President, Congress, State, local, and tribal governments.

5.

Review and recommendations

(a)

General review

The Commission shall undertake a comprehensive review of all areas of the criminal justice system, including Federal, State, local, and tribal governments’ criminal justice costs, practices, and policies.

(b)

Findings and recommendations

After conducting a review of the United States criminal justice system as required by section 5(a), the Commission shall make findings regarding such review and recommendations for changes in oversight, policies, practices, and laws designed to prevent, deter, and reduce crime and violence, improve cost-effectiveness, and ensure the interests of justice at every step of the criminal justice system.

(c)

Prior commissions

The Commission shall take into consideration the work of prior relevant commissions in conducting its review.

(d)

State and local government

In making its recommendations, the Commission should consider the financial and human resources of State and local governments. Recommendations shall not infringe on the legitimate rights of the States to determine their own criminal laws or the enforcement of such laws.

(e)

Public hearings

The Commission shall conduct public hearings in various locations around the United States.

(f)

Consultation with government and nongovernment representatives

(1)

In general

The Commission shall—

(A)

closely consult with Federal, State, local, and tribal government and nongovernmental leaders, including State, local, and tribal law enforcement officials, legislators, public health officials, judges, court administrators, prosecutors, defense counsel, victims’ rights organizations, probation and parole officials, criminal justice planners, criminologists, civil rights and liberties organizations, formerly incarcerated individuals, professional organizations, and corrections officials; and

(B)

include in the final report required by subsection (g) summaries of the input and recommendations of these leaders.

(2)

United States Sentencing Commission

To the extent the review and recommendations required by this section relate to sentencing policies and practices for the Federal criminal justice system, the Commission shall conduct such review and make such recommendations in consultation with the United States Sentencing Commission.

(g)

Report

(1)

Report

Not later than 18 months after the formation of the Commission, the Commission shall prepare and submit a final report that contains a detailed statement of findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Commission to Congress, the President, State, local, and tribal governments.

(2)

Goal of unanimity

It is the sense of the Senate that, given the national importance of the matters before the Commission, the Commission should work toward unanimously supported findings and recommendations.

(3)

Public availability

The report submitted under this subsection shall be made available to the public.

(4)

Votes on recommendations in report

Consistent with paragraph (2), the Commission shall state the vote total for each recommendation contained in its report to Congress.

6.

Membership

(a)

In general

The Commission shall be composed of 14 members, as follows:

(1)

1 member shall be appointed by the President, in consultation with the minority leader of the Senate and the minority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall serve as co-chairman of the Commission.

(2)

1 member shall be appointed by the President, in consultation with the majority leader of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall serve as co-chairman of the Commission.

(3)

2 members appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary.

(4)

2 members appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, in consultation with the ranking member of the Committee on Judiciary.

(5)

2 members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary.

(6)

2 members appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the ranking member of the Committee on Judiciary.

(7)

2 members, who shall be State and local representatives, shall be appointed by the President in agreement with the minority leader of the Senate and the minority leader of the House of Representatives.

(8)

2 members, who shall be State and local representatives, shall be appointed by the President in agreement with the majority leader of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(b)

Membership

(1)

Qualifications

The individuals appointed from private life as members of the Commission shall be individuals with distinguished reputations for integrity and nonpartisanship who are nationally recognized for expertise, knowledge, or experience in such relevant areas as—

(A)

law enforcement;

(B)

criminal justice;

(C)

national security;

(D)

prison and jail administration;

(E)

prisoner reentry;

(F)

public health, including physical and sexual victimization, drug addiction and mental health;

(G)

victims’ rights;

(H)

civil liberties;

(I)

court administration;

(J)

social services; and

(K)

State, local, and tribal government.

(2)

Disqualification

An individual shall not be appointed as a member of the Commission if such individual possesses any personal financial interest in the discharge of any of the duties of the Commission.

(3)

Terms

Members shall be appointed for the life of the Commission.

(c)

Appointment; initial meeting

(1)

Appointment

Members of the Commission shall be appointed not later than 45 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2)

Initial meeting

The Commission shall hold its initial meeting on the date that is 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. If not all Commission members are selected by that date, the Commission shall hold its initial meeting within 15 days of the appointment of all Commission members.

(3)

Ethics

At the initial meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall draft appropriate ethics guidelines for commissioners and staff, including guidelines relating to conflict of interest and financial disclosure.

(d)

Meetings; quorum; vacancies

(1)

Meetings

The Commission shall meet at the call of the co-chairs or a majority of its members.

(2)

Quorum

Seven members of the Commission, including at least 2 members chosen by either the Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, or Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House in agreement with the President and 2 members chosen by either the Senate Minority Leader, House Minority Leader, or Senate Minority Leader and House Minority Leader in agreement with the President, shall constitute a quorum for purposes of conducting business, except that 2 members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for purposes of receiving testimony.

(3)

Vacancies

Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made. If vacancies in the Commission occur on any day after 45 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, a quorum shall consist of a majority of the members of the Commission as of such day, so long as at least 1 Commission member chosen by a member of each party, Republican and Democratic, is present.

(e)

Actions of commission

(1)

In general

The Commission—

(A)

shall act by resolution agreed to by a majority of the members of the Commission voting and present; and

(B)

may establish panels composed of less than the full membership of the Commission for purposes of carrying out the duties of the Commission under this title—

(i)

which shall be subject to the review and control of the Commission; and

(ii)

any findings and determinations made by such a panel shall not be considered the findings and determinations of the Commission unless approved by the Commission.

(2)

Delegation

Any member, agent, or staff of the Commission may, if authorized by the co-chairs of the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take pursuant to this Act.

7.

Administration

(a)

Staff

(1)

Executive director

The Commission shall have a staff headed by an Executive Director. The Executive Director shall be paid at a rate established for the Certified Plan pay level for the Senior Executive Service under section 5382 of title 5, United States Code.

(2)

Appointment and compensation

The co-chairs of the Commission shall designate and fix the compensation of the Executive Director and, in accordance with rules agreed upon by the Commission, may appoint and fix the compensation of such other personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to carry out its functions, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that no rate of pay fixed under this subsection may exceed the equivalent of that payable for a position at level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code.

(3)

Personnel as Federal employees

(A)

In general

The executive director and any personnel of the Commission who are employees shall be employees under section 2105 of title 5, United States Code, for purposes of chapters 63, 81, 83, 84, 85, 87, 89, and 90 of that title.

(B)

Members of commission

Subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to apply to members of the Commission.

(4)

The compensation of commissioners

Each member of the Commission may be compensated at not to exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay in effect for a position at level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day during which that member is engaged in the actual performance of the duties of the Commission. All members of the Commission who are officers or employees of the United States , State, or local government shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their services as officers or employees.

(5)

Travel expenses

While away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission, members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in the same manner as persons employed intermittently in the Government service are allowed expenses under section 5703(b) of title 5, United States Code.

(b)

Experts and consultants

With the approval of the Commission, the Executive Director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.

(c)

Detail of government employees

Upon the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal agency may detail, without reimbursement, any of the personnel of such agency to the Commission to assist in carrying out the duties of the Commission. Any such detail shall not interrupt or otherwise affect the civil service status or privileges of the Federal employee.

(d)

Other resources

The Commission shall have reasonable access to materials, resources, statistical data, and other information such Commission determines to be necessary to carry out its duties from the Library of Congress, the Department of Justice, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of State, and other agencies of the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government. The co-chairs of the Commission shall make requests for such access in writing when necessary.

(e)

Volunteer services

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1342 of title 31, United States Code, the Commission is authorized to accept and utilize the services of volunteers serving without compensation. The Commission may reimburse such volunteers for local travel and office supplies, and for other travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by section 5703 of Title 5, United States Code. A person providing volunteer services to the Commission shall be considered an employee of the Federal Government in performance of those services for the purposes of chapter 81 of title 5 of the United States Code, relating to compensation for work-related injuries, chapter 171 of title 28 of the United States Code, relating to tort claims, and chapter 11 of title 18 of the United States Code, relating to conflicts of interest.

(f)

Obtaining official data

The Commission may secure directly from any agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out this Act. Upon the request of the co-chairs of the Commission, the head of that department or agency shall furnish that information to the Commission. The Commission shall not have access to sensitive information regarding ongoing investigations.

(g)

Mails

The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States.

(h)

Administrative reporting

The Commission shall issue bi-annual status reports to Congress regarding the use of resources, salaries, and all expenditures of appropriated funds.

(i)

Contracts

The Commission is authorized to enter into contracts with Federal and State agencies, private firms, institutions, and individuals for the conduct of activities necessary to the discharge of its duties and responsibilities. A contract, lease or other legal agreement entered into by the Commission may not extend beyond the date of the termination of the Commission.

(j)

Gifts

Subject to existing law, the Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.

(k)

Administrative assistance

The Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, the administrative support services necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities under this Act. These administrative services may include human resource management, budget, leasing, accounting, and payroll services.

(l)

Nonapplicability of faca and public access to meetings and minutes

(1)

In general

The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Commission.

(2)

Meetings and minutes

(A)

Meetings

(i)

Administration

All meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public, except that a meeting or any portion of it may be closed to the public if it concerns matters or information described in section 552b(c) of title 5, United States Code. Interested persons shall be permitted to appear at open meetings and present oral or written statements on the subject matter of the meeting. The Commission may administer oaths or affirmations to any person appearing before it.

(ii)

Notice

All open meetings of the Commission shall be preceded by timely public notice in the Federal Register of the time, place, and subject of the meeting.

(B)

Minutes and public availability

Minutes of each open meeting shall be kept and shall contain a record of the people present, a description of the discussion that occurred, and copies of all statements filed. The minutes and records of all open meetings and other documents that were made available to or prepared for the Commission shall be available for public inspection and copying at a single location in the offices of the Commission.

(m)

Archiving

Not later than the date of termination of the Commission, all records and papers of the Commission shall be delivered to the Archivist of the United States for deposit in the National Archives.

8.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 such sums are as necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act, not to exceed $7,000,000 per year for each fiscal year, and not more than $14,000,000 total. None of the funds appropriated under this Act may be utilized for international travel.

(b)

Availability

Any sums appropriated under the subsection (a) shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.

9.

Sunset

The Commission shall terminate 60 days after it submits its report to Congress.

May 6, 2010

Reported with an amendment