Working Across the
Aisle & Getting

While the Senate Judiciary Committee has the reputation of being one of the most partisan committees in Congress, Thom has also focused on finding common ground and has secured a number of key accomplishments that benefit North Carolinians.

Protecting Second Amendment Rights and keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals

Thom is a strong supporter of protecting Second Amendment Rights for law-abiding citizens, and he also believes in commonsense solutions to ensure laws are enforced and that measures are in place to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals.

That is why Thom co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to ensure federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Fix NICS Act penalizes federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records and incentivizes states to improve their overall reporting. The bill also directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.

Due to the consistent advocacy of Thom and his colleagues, the Fix NICS Act became law in 2018.

If that’s not a bipartisan miracle, we don’t know what is. Kudos to Tillis and his colleagues for working across the aisle to seek a practical solution to this very real problem. This is a good start.

Winston-Salem Journal Editorial

Our View: A Common-sense gun bill

Confirming Well-Qualified Judges

The Judiciary Committee’s primary responsibility is filling federal judiciary vacancies, and Thom has worked to confirm President Trump’s judicial nominees, who are well-qualified and follow the Constitution as written. During President Trump’s first two years in office, Thom was on the frontlines to help remake the federal judiciary by confirming 100 judges, including two new Supreme Court Justices – Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – who both earned bipartisan support.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is one of the most eminently qualified individuals to be nominated to serve on the Supreme Court in recent memory. He has spent the last decade serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals, earning a reputation for being a mainstream and fair-minded jurist with excellent judicial temperament. He will be an outstanding Supreme Court justice.

Senator Thom Tillis


Fighting to reduce the national rape kit backlog

According to estimates, there is a backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits, which in turn can deny justice for sexual assault victims. In North Carolina alone, there are more than 15,000 untested rape kits.

Thom has worked to solve this problem by joining his colleagues in introducing the bipartisan SAFER Act, which reauthorizes, strengthens, and extends the Sexual Assault Forensic Registry program in an effort to help reduce the national rape kit backlog. The SAFER Act became law in 2018.

Fighting against human trafficking and sex abuse

It is estimated that upwards of 18,000 people, primarily women and children, are trafficked in the United States every year, with North Carolina ranked in the top 10 among all states. Victims are coerced into the sex trade or forced labor, robbing them of their most basic freedoms.

Thom has worked across the aisle to combat human trafficking, supporting bipartisan legislation like the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which was signed into law by President Obama. The bipartisan law gives law enforcement vital tools they need to bring down human traffickers and the criminal organizations that enable their heinous activities. It also provides victims with assistance and provides states with grant funding to develop and implement child abuse investigation and prosecution programs.

Thom also co-sponsored the Extending Justice for Sex Crime Victims Act, which clarifies that the statute of limitations for sex abuse and trafficking victims does not begin until the actual discovery of the violation or injury. This provides another avenue for victims to seek justice against their abusers.

Additionally, Thom is a co-sponsor of the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, which increases the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) resources for parents and communities to prevent and respond to child abduction and exploitation. This legislation also strengthens NCMEC’s work on child sex trafficking, children missing from care, and other critically missing children. This bill also takes steps to help protect children online.

Pursuing Justice for Child Abuse Victims

Thom has worked across the aisle on solutions that provide resources for children who are victims of sexual abuse and bring the perpetrators to justice.

  • Thom co-sponsored the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization of 2018, which was signed into law in 2018. This bipartisan law increases funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers that provide support for children who have been victimized. Centers employ multi-disciplinary teams of trained professionals to interview children that have been victimized. These interviews are admissible in court and minimize the trauma of children having to tell their account multiple times to different people. Additionally, Children’s Advocacy Centers are highly effective when utilized and lead to faster criminal charging decisions in sexual abuse cases, increased felony prosecutions of child sexual abuse and lowering average per-case cost.
  • Thom and his colleagues introduced the bipartisan Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act, which was signed into law in late 2018. The bipartisan legislation recognizes the unique kind of harm caused by child pornography and requires restitution in a manner that will support victims and give them give them the chance to receive a one-time fixed compensation payment from the existing Crime Victims Fund.
  • Thom is a co-sponsor of the CyberTipline Modernization Act, which aims to reduce the proliferation of online child sexual exploitation and prevent it from circulating online in the first place. This legislation facilitates reporting to NCMEC for imminent or planned violations—this key change responds to new dangers children face online like enticement and sextortion—and provides an opportunity for intervention before further harm to a child. In addition, this bill recognizes the increased proliferation of child pornography across the globe and strengthens NCMEC’s process for handling international reports to ensure that they are sent to the proper authorities in foreign countries. The legislation passed the Senate in 2018.

Victims of child pornography deserve justice for the traumatic experiences they live through, and we must do everything we can to help make these individuals whole again. The Amy, Vickey, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act will allow those harmed by child pornography to receive support in their recovery and begin healing from these horrific acts.

Senator Thom Tillis

Introducing the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act

In August 2017, Thom partnered with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) to introduce the Special Counsel Integrity Act, bipartisan legislation that would create a judicial review process to prevent the removal of special counsels – present and future – without good cause.

Thom then worked behind the scenes with his colleagues to build support for his legislation, culminating in a bipartisan compromise, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act which also creates a judicial review process to prevent the removal of a special counsel without good cause.

By facilitating bipartisan compromises, Thom built enough support for the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, resulting in the legislation passing the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 14-7 vote.

Political grandstanding requires no courage — independence and compromise do. The focus needs to be on achieving a legislative outcome, not a talking point…. The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act is about protecting the rule of law and producing an outcome that is good for our country. It’s not about producing an outcome for one political party.

Senator Thom Tillis

Washington Post op-ed

Advancing Research of Medical Marijuana

Thom believes that when it comes to our nation’s efforts to cure diseases and improve the quality of life for people suffering from ailments, burdensome government regulations shouldn’t be an impediment to legitimate and responsible medical research. That is why Thom has co-sponsored commonsense, bipartisan efforts to remove unnecessary barriers that will give scientists the ability to study the biochemical processes, impact, dosing, risks, and possible benefits of cannabidiol and other components of the marijuana plant.

Tillis said his interest in the issue dates back to his time in the North Carolina General Assembly. The legislature considered the effectiveness of cannabinoids, compounds derived from marijuana, in the management of pain – particularly for cancer patients and those undergoing chemotherapy – and to help prevent seizures in children. ‘There is a lack of research evaluating the benefits and risks of the therapeutic compounds extracted from the marijuana plant as a possible medication, in large part because of federal barriers that block valuable scientific and clinical research,’ Tillis said in a statement.

Charlotte Observer