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Congressional updates

NCSC’s Gavel to Gavel provides weekly updates on state-by-state legislative activity focused on: changes to court structure, alterations to judicial selection procedures, court security (both physical and cybersecurity), and access to justice.

Updates on relevant legislation that has both been proposed and recently passed will be posted below. If you would like  information on specific legislation or would like us to add certain legislation to this page, please reach out to our Director of Government Relations Chris Wu or our Government Relations Associate Priya Koliwad.

John Tanner and Jim Cooper Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act

This bill establishes requirements regarding congressional redistricting, including that redistricting plans must be developed by an independent redistricting commission.

A state that has been redistricted after an apportionment of Representatives may not be redistricted again until after the next apportionment unless the state is ordered by a court to conduct a subsequent redistricting in order to comply with the Constitution or enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Each state must establish an independent redistricting commission to develop redistricting plans that meet specified criteria. If such a plan is not enacted into law, a state's highest court may select a plan developed by the state's commission. If the state court does not select a plan, a U.S. district court must develop a plan.

The Election Assistance Commission must make payments to states to carry out redistricting.

Pretrial Reporting Act

This bill would require the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to report to Congress information on individuals charged with violent felonies (as defined) who are released on bail by state courts.

Witness Security and Protection Grant Program Act of 2023

This bill directs the Department of Justice to award competitive matching grants to state, local, and tribal governments to establish or maintain witness protection programs in cases involving (1) a homicide, serious violent felony, or serious drug offense; or (2) gangs or organized crime.

SERVE Our Communities Act

This bill authorizes the Bureau of Justice Assistance to make grants to states and local governments for mentoring, transitional services, and training to help offenders successfully reintegrate back into the community after incarceration. To be eligible for a grant, a state or local government must take steps to prevent repeat offenses by violent offenders and allow a state court or magistrate to consider the danger an individual poses to the community when determining bail or pretrial release conditions.

Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2023

This  legislation would create a federal “red flag” law, empowering family members and law enforcement to restrict access to guns, after due process, for those who pose a danger to themselves or others. It would also give states guidance and grants to set up and implement extreme risk protection order laws at the state and local level.