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Sen. Schatz, Rep. Dean Introduce Legislation to Reestablish Science Advisory Board at the Department of Justice

On July 25, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representative Madeleine Dean (D-PA) introduced S. 2286 and H.R. 3989, the Improving Justice Programs through Science Act. If enacted, the bill would reestablish a Science Advisory Board at the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) within the Department of Justice to better integrate scientific knowledge to inform crime reduction nationwide and provide scientific backing and evidence-based policies in the OJP’s programs and activities, including grants.

The Board was originally chartered by the Obama Administration in 2010 and since then provided OJP with guidance in several proactive criminal justice reform efforts, including: the importance of trauma-informed care, procedural justice and building trust between police and communities, and youth brain development and implications for juvenile justice programs.

On September 3, COSSA released a statement in support of the bill, which can be read in full on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 3), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

President Issues Executive Order to Reduce Number of Federal Advisory Committees

On June 14, the White House released an executive order directing federal agencies to eliminate at least one-third of their advisory committees by October 2019. The executive order applies to committees established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and provides exemptions for committees authorized in statute and merit review panels that are “necessary to fund extramural research.” While merit review panels are exempt from the order, science advisory committees—important for delivering scientific advice and guidance to agency leaders across the government—are not.

Agencies are directed to terminate at least one-third of their advisory committees by the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2019. Agencies can seek waivers from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) if committees are “necessary for the delivery of essential services, for effective program delivery, or because it is otherwise warranted by the public interest.” The order can be read on the White House website and a database of FACA committees is available online. COSSA will be monitoring these developments and will report on any changes within agencies important to the social science community.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 25), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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