S.697: Next Step Act of 2019


More specifically, the Next Step Act (S. 697) is a comprehensive criminal justice reform package that would:

1) Eliminate the racial sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.
2) End the federal prohibition on marijuana and automatically expunge the records of those convicted on charges of marijuana use and possession. (Marijuana Justice Act)
3) Establish a Community Reinvestment Fund to assist communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs. This program would be appropriated $500 annually over 20 years.
4) Reduce harsh mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses. (Smarter Sentencing Act)
5) Improve the ability of those behind bars to stay in touch with their loved ones. (Dignity Act)
6) Prohibit federal employers and contractors from asking a job applicant about their criminal history (commonly known as “Ban the Box”) until the final stages of the interview process. (Fair Chance Act)
7) Remove the barriers for people with criminal convictions to receiving an occupational license for jobs, such as hairdressers and taxi drivers. (Fair Chance Licensing Act)
8) Create a federal pathway to sealing the records of non-violent drug offenses for adults and automatically sealing, and in some cases expunging, juvenile records. (REDEEM Act)
9) Remove the ban on public assistance and federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for formerly incarcerated nonviolent drug offenders. (REDEEM Act)
10) Reinstate the right to vote in federal elections for formerly incarcerated individuals. (Democracy Restoration Act)
11) Provide better training for law enforcement officers on implicit racial bias, de-escalation, and use-of-force. (PRIDE Act)
12) Prohibit racial and religious profiling and improve the reporting of police use-of-force incidents. (End Racial and Religious Profiling Act)

H.R. 1893 is the House companion bill.

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Our Stance




Bill Number


Date Introduced

March 07, 2019


Senate Judiciary Committee

Bill Status

Introduced or Prefiled

Co Sponsors