Reps. Roy, Trone, & Biggs lead bipartisan effort to simplify federal criminal code

Last week, Representatives Chip Roy (TX-21), David Trone (MD-06), and Andy Biggs (AZ-05) introduced the Count the Crimes to Cut Act of 2024 that would mandate collaboration between the Attorney General and federal agency heads to compile a comprehensive report detailing all federal criminal statutes and regulations entailing criminal penalties.

Representative Roysaid, “People cannot live free when government buries them under incomprehensible and never-ending criminal laws. Almost any adult in this country could be indicted for some kind of infraction at any given time, whether or not they were even aware they were in violation. This needs to change; getting a proper inventory is a necessary first step to fixing this problem."

In the United States, there are an estimated 4,500 and 5,000 criminal statutes plus up to 300,000 regulations that carry criminal penalties. This bill would ensure each offense requires providing the following details:

  • The elements of each offense.

  • The potential penalties for each offense.

  • The number of prosecutions brought in the last 15 years for each offense.

  • The mens rea required for each offense.

The legislation is endorsed by Heritage Action, the Due Process Institute, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National District Attorneys Association, and the R Street Institute.

“For decades, Americans – disproportionately people of color – have suffered from overcriminalization, often of nonviolent but highly penalizing crimes. The Count The Crimes To Cut Act will take a closer look at these offenses and identify those that have no real bearing on the safety of our communities,”said Representative Trone, Co-Founder of the Second Chance Task Force. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort to help ensure our criminal justice system is actual ‘just’ for all Americans.”

Full text of the legislation is available here.


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