Underwood’s Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Communities from Domestic Terrorism Passes the House Homeland Security Committee

February 14, 2020
Press Release
The Safe Communities Act ensures communities have resources needed to protect themselves from domestic terrorist threats

WASHINGTON— Yesterday, the House Homeland Security Committee passed Vice Chair Lauren Underwood’s (IL-14) Safe Communities Act of 2020 (H.R. 5667). The Safe Communities Act would help target resources to rural and suburban communities, which have historically experienced funding gaps, to ensure that first responders, schools, nonprofits, and houses of worship can protect themselves against terrorist attacks. The legislation was introduced with Representative John Katko (NY-24).

“Rural and suburban communities, like mine in northern Illinois, are increasingly targets of terrorist acts, but too often don’t have access to the federal resources they need to protect themselves,” said Underwood. “As the Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, I introduced the Safe Communities Act, to help better protect critical infrastructure and soft targets in communities like mine. The bill increases access to federal resources and grants to aid local law enforcement officers, schools, places of worship, and nonprofit organizations. The bill also creates a one-stop-shop for local officials to access the information they need, along with, new requirements for proactive outreach and engagement by government officials to perform security vulnerability and terrorism risk assessments.

The Safe Communities Acts has also gained endorsements from the Jewish Federations of North America and the Anti-Defamation League.

“We applaud Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and John Katko (R-NY) for introducing this bipartisan bill, at a time where the country requires a much greater Federal response to the growing threats to Jewish and other faith-based institutions. The Safe Communities Act would improve upon these current efforts by fostering a more uniform and unified approach and structure to advance important program guidance, best practices, and other essential content, especially for the benefit of newly eligible suburban and rural communities,” said. Robert Goldberg, Senior Director of Legislation Affairs, The Jewish Federations of North America.

“We are grateful for Representative Underwood and Representative Katko’s leadership in introducing the Safe Communities Act – commonsense legislation that passed out of the House Homeland Security Committee on voice vote. At a time of increased threat to communities across America, this bill will help make it easier for organizations to get the support they need from the Department of Homeland Security to protecting Americans online and off,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.