Winter 2007

Legislative Update

AIDS/HIV

On Dec. 19, President Bush signed the Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization Bill, amending Title XXVI of Public Health Service Act to revise and extend the program for providing life-saving care for those with HIV/AIDS. On May 9, Robert D. Evans, director of the ABA Governmental Affairs Office, sent a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee regarding the reauthorization.

 

Children/Families

On Dec. 8, the House agreed by unanimous consent to H Res 1086, to support the goals and ideals of “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.” On Nov. 16, the Senate agreed to S Res 621, designating the week of Feb. 5, 2007 through Feb. 12, 2007, as “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.”

On Dec. 7, Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced HR6411, to amend Title 18, United States Code, to provide penalties with respect to employers' conduct relating to persons engaging in sexual conduct with children; to Judiciary, and Education and the Workforce.

On Sept. 29, Rep. Inhofe (R-OK) introduced S 4041, to protect children and their parents from being coerced into administering controlled substance in order to attend school.

 

Civil Rights/Constitutional Law

On Dec. 8, the Senate passed HR 4709, to amend Title 18, United States Code, to strengthen protections for law enforcement officers and the public by providing criminal penalties for the fraudulent acquisition or unauthorized disclosure of phone records, clearing the measure for the President.

On Dec. 5, Rep. Nadler (D-NY) introduced HR 6371, to amend the Federal Rules of Evidence to create an explicit privilege to preserve medical privacy.

On Sept. 29, Rep. Durbin (D-IL) introduced S 4042, to amend Title 18, United States Code, to prohibit disruptions of funerals of members or former members of the Armed Forces.

On Sept. 29, Rep. Menendez (D-NJ) introduced S 4009, to restore, reaffirm, and reconcile legal rights and remedies under civil rights statutes.

On Nov. 13, Rep. Andrews (D-NJ) HR 6315, to afford students and parents with private civil remedies for the violation of their privacy rights under the General Education Provisions Act.

 

Courts/Judiciary

On Dec. 5, Sen. Specter (R-PA) introduced S 4081, to restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States.

On Sept. 29, Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) introduced S 4028, to fight criminal gangs.

On Nov. 16, Sen. Dodd (D-CT) introduced S 4060, to amend the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to improve and enhance due process and appellate procedures.

 

Criminal Justice

On Dec. 6, Rep. McKinney (D-GA) introduced HR 6382, to deny federal assistance to any state or local law enforcement agencies whose officers use excessive force or violence leading to the death of innocent or unarmed citizens, or who fail to establish, enforce and follow transparent and accountable procedures that fully protect the lives and health of citizens during surveillance, interrogation, arrest or imprisonment from torture, excessive physical or psychological abuse and death, and to require a system of allegations and cases that can result in the sanction, punishment and removal of officers who perpetrate such abuses or their superiors.

On Nov. 27, the President signed S 3880 (P.L. 109-374), to provide the Department of Justice the necessary authority to apprehend, prosecute, and convict individuals committing animal enterprise terror.

On Sept. 29, Sen. Lieberman (D-CT) introduced S 4031, to require prisons and other detention facilities holding Federal prisoners or detainees under a contract with the Federal Government to make the same information available to the public that Federal prisons and detention facilities are required to do by law.

On Nov. 16, Sen. Clinton (D-NY) introduced S 4065, to direct the Attorney General to conduct a study on the feasibility of collecting crime data relating to the occurrence of school-related crime in elementary schools and secondary schools.

 

Disability Law

On Sept. 29, Rep. Sensenbrenner (D-WI) introduced HR 6258, to restore the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to more fully remove the barriers that confront disabled Americans.

 

Election Law

 On Dec. 7, Sen. Obama (D-IL) introduced S 4102, to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit the use of telecommunications devices for the purposes of preventing or obstructing the broadcast or exchange of election-related information.

On Dec. 7, Rep. Holt (D-NJ) introduced HR 6414, to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish standards for the open and accurate tabulation of votes and aggregation of vote counts in elections for federal office.

On Nov. 16, Sen. Obama (D-IL) introduced S 4069, to prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections.

 

Health Law

On Dec. 5, the Senate passed S 3678, to amend the Public Health Service Act  with respect to public health security and all-hazards preparedness and response.

On Sept. 29, Sen. Frist (R-TN) introduced S 4024, to amend the Public Health Service Act to improve the health and healthcare of racial and ethnic minority and other health disparity populations.

 

Immigration

On Dec. 7, Rep. Lee (D-CA) H Res 1103, to create a new nonimmigrant visa category for registered nurses.

On Dec. 7, Sen. Voinovich (R-OH) introduced S 4100, to expand the visa waiver program to countries on a probationary basis.

On Sept. 28, Rep. Feeney (D-PA) introduced HR 6418, a bill to improve the H-1B non-immigrant program by increasing the exchange of information between the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security.

On Sept. 29, Rep. Gingrey (R-GA) introduced HR 6283, to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make changes related to family-sponsored immigrants and to reduce the number of such immigrants.

On Sept. 29, Rep. Marchant (R-TX) introduced HR 6294, to provide children born in the United States with the same citizenship and immigration status as their mothers.

 

International Law

On Dec. 8, the Senate agreed to S Res 631, urging the Government of Sudan and the international community to implement the agreement for a peacekeeping force under the command and control of the United Nations in Darfur.

On Dec. 8, the Senate agreed to S Res 549, expressing the sense of the Senate regarding modern-day slavery.

On Dec. 8, the Senate concurred in the House amendment to S 2125, to promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, clearing the measure for the President.

On Dec. 7, Rep. Kirk (R-IL) introduced HR 6415, to limit immunity from criminal jurisdiction for accredited representatives of foreign governments to the United States and accredited representatives of foreign governments to the United Nations with respect to acts of disbursing radioactive or other substances posing a lasting, clear and present danger to public health.

On Sept. 29, Rep. Maloney (D-NY) introduced HR 6293, to express United States foreign policy with respect to, and to strengthen United States advocacy on behalf of, individuals persecuted and denied their rights in  foreign countries on account of gender.

On Oct. 13, the President signed HR 3127 (P.L. 109-344), to impose sanctions against individuals responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, to support measures for the protection of civilians and humanitarian operations, and to support peace efforts in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Nov. 15, Rep. Smith (R-NJ) introduced HR 6328, to establish a congressional Commission on the Abolition of Modern-Day Slavery.

 

National Security

On Oct. 17, the President signed S 3930 (P.L. 109-366), to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war.

On Sept. 29, Rep. Spratt (D-SC) introduced HR 6306, to enhance the security of the borders of the United States.

On Oct. 13, the President signed HR 4954 (P.L. 109-347), to improve maritime and cargo security through enhanced layered defenses.

 

 

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