Text: H.R.1636 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/07/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 1636 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1636

To establish the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, 
to study and make recommendations to address social problems affecting 
              Black men and boys, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             March 7, 2019

Ms. Wilson of Florida introduced the following bill; which was referred 
                   to the Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To establish the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, 
to study and make recommendations to address social problems affecting 
              Black men and boys, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Commission on the Social Status of 
Black Men and Boys Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Black men and boys face disproportionate hardships that 
        result in disparities in areas including: education, criminal 
        justice, health, employment, fatherhood, mentorship, and 
        violence. These hardships have negative consequences for 
        national productivity, especially for Black families and 
        communities.
            (2) A Commission to study and examine issues which 
        disproportionately have a negative impact on Black men and boys 
        in America will signal that the issues facing the Black male 
        population are a national priority, will develop solutions to 
        these hardships, and will help eliminate the obstacles facing 
        Black men and boys.
            (3) A Commission will also be able to investigate potential 
        civil rights violations affecting this population that attract 
        national attention.
            (4) Black babies are three times more likely to be born in 
        poverty and rapidly fall behind their White counterparts in 
        cognitive development.
            (5) By fourth grade, Black students are expected to be 
        three years behind White male students. According to the 
        Educational Testing Service Policy Informational Center, only 
        12 percent of Black eighth-grade male students are proficient 
        in math, compared to 44 percent of White eighth-grade male 
        students.
            (6) The Educational Testing Service Policy Informational 
        Center also found that nationally, more than 50 percent of 
        Black male students attending urban schools will drop out.
            (7) The low rate of high school retention among Black male 
        students directly relates to high rates of joblessness and 
        incarceration among this population. This barrier to employment 
        exacerbates cycles of poverty, which in turn results in health 
        inequalities, including higher levels of diabetes, obesity, and 
        HIV/AIDS. According to a study by the American Academy of Arts 
        and Sciences, more than 66 percent of Black male dropouts are 
        expected to serve time in State or Federal prison.
            (8) Black men are subjected to unequal profiling by the 
        police and disproportionately harsh sentences in the judicial 
        system. The Black male population is six times more likely to 
        become incarcerated than their White counterparts. Although the 
        Black male population comprises approximately six percent of 
        the United States population, of the 2,300,000 people 
        incarcerated nationwide, 1 million are Black males. Black males 
        receive ten percent longer Federal sentences than White males 
        who commit the same crime.
            (9) According to the Bureau of Statistics and the Pew 
        Research Center, Black male unemployment is consistently almost 
        double that of White male unemployment.
            (10) Black fathers are more than twice as likely to live 
        apart from their children as White fathers.
            (11) Young boys with male mentors are more likely to 
        progress further in school and have greater financial success 
        in life.

SEC. 3. COMMISSION ESTABLISHMENT AND MEMBERSHIP.

    (a) Establishment.--The Commission on the Social Status of Black 
Men and Boys (hereinafter in this Act referred to as ``the 
Commission'') is hereby established within the United States Commission 
on Civil Rights Office of the Staff Director.
    (b) Membership.--The Commission shall consist of 19 members 
appointed as follows:
            (1) The Senate majority leader shall appoint one member who 
        is not employed by the Federal Government and is an expert on 
        issues affecting Black men and boys in America.
            (2) The Senate minority leader shall appoint one member who 
        is not employed by the Federal Government and is an expert on 
        issues affecting Black men and boys in America.
            (3) The House of Representatives majority leader shall 
        appoint one member who is not employed by the Federal 
        Government and is an expert on issues affecting Black men and 
        boys in America.
            (4) The House of Representatives minority leader shall 
        appoint one member who is not employed by the Federal 
        Government and is an expert on issues affecting Black men and 
        boys in America.
            (5) The Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) shall 
        be a member of the Commission, as well as five additional 
        Members of the CBC who either sit on the following committees 
        of relevant jurisdiction or who is an expert on issues 
        affecting Black men and boys in America, including--
                    (A) education;
                    (B) justice and Civil Rights;
                    (C) healthcare;
                    (D) labor and employment; and
                    (E) housing.
            (6) The Staff Director from the United States Commission on 
        Civil Rights shall appoint one member from within the staff of 
        the United States Commission on Civil Rights who is an expert 
        in issues relating to Black men and boys.
            (7) The Chair of the United States Equal Employment 
        Opportunity Commission shall appoint one member from within the 
        staff of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity 
        Commission who is an expert in equal employment issues 
        impacting Black men.
            (8) The Secretary of Education shall appoint one member 
        from within the Department of Education who is an expert in 
        urban education.
            (9) The Attorney General of the Department of Justice shall 
        appoint one member from within the Department of Justice who is 
        an expert in racial disparities with the criminal justice 
        system.
            (10) The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall 
        appoint one member from within the Department of Health and 
        Human Services who is an expert in health issues facing Black 
        men.
            (11) The Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban 
        Development shall appoint one member from within the Department 
        of Housing and Urban Development who is an expert in housing 
        and development in urban communities.
            (12) The Secretary of the Department of Labor shall appoint 
        one member from within the Department of Labor who is an expert 
        in labor issues impacting Black men.
            (13) The President of the United States shall appoint two 
        members who are not employed by the Federal Government and are 
        experts on issues affecting Black men and boys in America.

SEC. 4. OTHER MATTERS RELATING TO APPOINTMENT; REMOVAL.

    (a) Timing of Initial Appointments.--Each initial appointment to 
the Commission shall be made no later than 90 days after the Commission 
is established. If any appointing authorities fail to appoint a member 
to the Commission, their appointment shall be filled by the United 
States Commission on Civil Rights.
    (b) Terms.--Except as otherwise provided in this section, the term 
of a member of the Commission shall be four years. For the purpose of 
providing staggered terms, the first term of those members initially 
appointed under paragraphs (1) through (5) of section 3 shall be 
appointed to two-year terms with all other terms lasting four years. 
Members are eligible for consecutive reappointment.
    (c) Removal.--A member of the Commission may be removed from the 
Commission at any time by the appointing authority should the member 
fail to meet Commission responsibilities. Once the seat becomes vacant, 
the appointing authority is responsible for filling the vacancy in the 
Commission before the next meeting.
    (d) Vacancies.--The appointing authority of a member of the 
Commission shall either reappoint that member at the end of that 
member's term or appoint another person meeting the qualifications for 
that appointment. In the event of a vacancy arising during a term, the 
appointing authority shall, before the next meeting of the Commission, 
appoint a replacement to finish that term.

SEC. 5. LEADERSHIP ELECTION.

    At the first meeting of the Commission each year, the members shall 
elect a Chair and a Secretary. A vacancy in the Chair or Secretary 
shall be filled by vote of the remaining members. The Chair and 
Secretary are eligible for consecutive reappointment.

SEC. 6. COMMISSION DUTIES AND POWERS.

    (a) Study.--The Commission shall make a systematic study of the 
conditions affecting Black men and boys, including, but not limited to, 
homicide rates, arrest and incarceration rates, poverty, violence, 
fatherhood, mentorship, drug abuse, death rates, disparate income and 
wealth levels, school performance in all grade levels including 
postsecondary levels and college, and health issues. The Commission 
shall also document trends under the above topics and report on the 
community impacts of relevant government programs within the scope of 
the above topics. All reports shall be made public via a Federal agency 
website.
    (b) Proposal of Measures.--The Commission shall propose measures to 
alleviate and remedy the underlying causes of the conditions described 
in the subsection (a), which may include recommendations of changes to 
the law, recommendations for how to implement related policies, and 
recommendations for how to create, develop, or improve upon government 
programs.
    (c) Suggestions and Comments.--The Commission shall accept 
suggestions or comments pertinent to the applicable issues from members 
of Congress, governmental agencies, public and private organizations, 
and private citizens.
    (d) Staff and Administrative Support.--The Office of the Staff 
Director of the United States Commission on Civil Rights shall provide 
staff and administrative support to the Commission. All entities of the 
United States Government shall provide information that is otherwise a 
public record at the request of the Commission on Black Men and Boys.

SEC. 7. COMMISSION MEETING REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) First Meeting.--The first meeting of the Commission shall take 
place no later than 30 days after the initial members are all 
appointed. Meetings shall be focused on significant issues impacting 
Black men and boys, for the purpose of initiating research ideas and 
delegating research tasks to Commission members to initiate the first 
semiannual report.
    (b) Quarterly Meetings.--The Commission shall meet quarterly. In 
addition to all quarterly meetings, the Commission shall meet at other 
times at the call of the Chair or as determined by a majority of 
Commission members.
    (c) Quorum; Rule for Voting on Final Actions.--A majority of the 
members of the Commission constitute a quorum, and an affirmative vote 
of a majority of the members present is required for final action.
    (d) Expectations for Attendance by Members.--Members are expected 
to attend all Commission meetings. In the case of an absence, members 
are expected to report to the Chair prior to the meeting and allowance 
may be made for an absent member to participate remotely. Members will 
still be responsible for fulfilling prior commitments, regardless of 
attendance status. If a member is absent twice in a given year, he or 
she will be reviewed by the Chair and appointing authority and further 
action will be considered, including removal and replacement on the 
Commission.
    (e) Minutes.--Minutes shall be taken at each meeting by the 
Secretary, or in that individual's absence, the Chair shall select 
another Commission member to take minutes during that absence. The 
Commission shall make its minutes publicly available and accessible not 
later than one week after each meeting.

SEC. 8. ANNUAL REPORT GUIDELINES.

    The Commission shall make an annual report, beginning the year of 
the first Commission meeting. The report shall address the current 
conditions affecting Black men and boys and make recommendations to 
address these issues. The report shall be submitted to the President, 
the Congress, members of the President's Cabinet, and the chairs of the 
appropriate committees of jurisdiction. The Commission shall make the 
report publicly available online on a centralized Federal website.

SEC. 9. COMMISSION COMPENSATION.

    Members of the Commission shall serve on the Commission without 
compensation.
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