In the first session of the 110 th Congress, legislation on hot button issues such as electronic surveillance, Medicare, hate crimes, and mandatory minimum sentencing were introduced.
On Feb. 5, Rep. Waters (D-CA) introduced HR 822, to amend the Public Health Service Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and Title 5, United States Code, to require individual and group health insurance coverage and group health plans and federal employee health benefit plans to provide coverage for routine HIV/AIDS screening. The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, Ways and Means, and Oversight and Government Reform Committees.
On Feb. 5, the House passed by unanimous vote H Con Res 35, to support the goals and ideals of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Civil Rights/ Constitutional Law
On March 6, Sen. Clinton (D-NY) introduced S 766, to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies for victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex. The bill was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions commitees. A similar bill (HR 1338) was introduced in the House by Rep. DeLauro (D-CT).
On Feb. 16, Rep. Wu (D-OR) introduced HR 1189, to preserve the right to habeas corpus. The bill was referred to the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees.
On Feb. 8, Sen. Dodd (D-CT) introduced S 535, to establish an Unsolved Crimes Section in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and an Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office in the Civil Rights Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A similar bill (HR 923) was introduced in the House by Rep. Lewis (D-GA).
On Jan. 11, Rep. Murtha (D-PA) introduced HJ Res 12, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing the Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee .
On Feb. 15, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced HR 1063, to amend Title 18, United States Code, to prohibit taking minors across state lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
On Jan. 12, Rep. Rothman (D-NJ) introduced HR 464, to provide for the provision by hospitals receiving federal funds through the Medicare Program or Medicaid Program of emergency contraceptives to women who are survivors of sexual assault. The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means, Committees.
On Jan. 4, Sen. Schumer (D-NY) introduced S 139, to expedite review by the Supreme Court of the warrantless electronic surveillance program of the National Security Agency. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Jan. 5, Rep. Kaptur (D-OH) introduced H Con Res 6, expressing the sense of Congress that the Supreme Court misinterpreted the First Amendment to the Constitution in the case of Buckley v. Valeo. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
On Feb. 16, Rep. Maloney (D-NY) introduced HR 1164, to amend the Hate Crime Statistics Act to require the Attorney General to acquire data about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on gender. The bill was referred to House Judiciary Committee.
On Jan. 12, Rep. Rangel (D-NY) introduced HR 460, to amend the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act to eliminate certain mandatory minimum penalties relating to crack cocaine offenses. The bill was referred to House Judiciary, and Energy and Commerce, Committees.
On Jan. 22, Sen. Snowe (R-ME) introduced S 358, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment. The bill was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committees.
On Jan. 11, the Senate passed by a vote of 253 to 174, HR 3, to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.
On Jan. 9, Rep. Bartlett (R-MD) introduced HR 322, to derive human pluripotent stem cell lines using techniques that do not harm human embryos. The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
On Jan. 4, Sen. Kerry (D-MA) introduced S 95, to amend Titles XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act to ensure that every uninsured child in America has health insurance coverage. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
On Dec. 19, the president signed HR 6143 (P.L. 109-415), to amend Title XXVI of the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend the program for providing lifesaving care for those with HIV/AIDS.
On Jan. 4, Sen. McCain (R-AZ) introduced S 85, to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to clarify that territories and Indian tribes are eligible to receive grants for confronting the use of methamphetamine. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Jan. 25, Sen. Dorgan (D-ND) introduced S 398, to amend the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act to identify and remove barriers to reducing child abuse, to provide for examinations of certain children, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
On March 6, Sen. Durbin (D-IL) introduced S 774, to amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to permit states to determine state residency for higher education purposes and to authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain alien students who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A similar bill (HR 1275) was introduced in the House by Rep. Berman (D-CA).
On Feb. 27, Rep. Johnson (R-TX) introduced H Con Res 75, expressing the sense of Congress that the global use of child soldiers is unacceptable and that the international community should find remedies to end this practice. The bill was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
On Jan. 5, Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced H Res 32, denouncing the practices of female genital mutilation, domestic violence, “honor” killings, acid burning, dowry deaths, and other gender-based persecutions and expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that participation, protection, recognition, and independence of women is crucial to achieving a just, moral, and honorable society. The bill was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
On March 6, Rep. Markey (D-MA) introduced HR 1352, to prohibit the return or other transfer of persons by the United States, for the purpose of detention, interrogation, trial, or otherwise, to countries where torture or other inhuman treatment of persons occurs. The bill was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
On Jan. 4, Sen. Specter (R-PA) introduced S 185, to restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary committee.
On Jan. 5, Rep. Schiff (D-CA) introduced HR 11, to reiterate that Chapters 119 and 121 of Title 18, United States Code, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 are the exclusive means by which domestic electronic surveillance may be conducted. The bill was referred to the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
On Jan. 5, Rep. Jackson-Lee (D-TX) introduced HR 267, to amend Title 28, United States Code, to repeal the restriction on the jurisdiction of courts, justices, and judges to hear or consider applications for writs of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of certain aliens detained by the United States. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.