< Go back to Immigration Daily
[Congressional Record: October 11, 2000 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING AND VIOLENCE PROTECTION ACT OF 2000--CONFERENCE
Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, I know under the unanimous consent
agreement Senator Thompson would have the time until 4:30 when it was
agreed the vote would be set. I ask unanimous consent to speak on the
sex trafficking bill for up to 5 minutes.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, rather than not using the time, I
thought it wise to go ahead and use this time to visit about this
important vote that will be taking place. There may be some people who
are just now focusing on what is happening.
We have a base bill with sex trafficking. The Violence Against Women
Act is the base of the bill, and it is put together in an overall piece
of legislation with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000,
Aimee's law, Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, and the 21st
Amendment Enforcement Act. This is the combined bill soon to be voted
A point of order has been raised and ruled against by the Chair, and
we will be voting on appealing the ruling of the Chair. I hope my
colleagues will vote in favor of the Chair and we will go to the final
bill for a vote. To vote against the Chair and subtract Aimee's law,
sends the bill back to the House, and we don't have time to get this
This is an important day for women and children subject to violence,
both domestically and abroad. It is an important day that this body is
going to follow the House and put in place needed protections for
people, women and children, subject to this violence, both domestically
It is an important day for those who have worked as advocacy groups
and defenders of the defenseless, including people trafficked across
international borders, with their papers burned and told: You owe.
This is important also for women in abusive relationships, physically
abusive, who need help.
This addresses both of those issues. I think it is important this
body, in the waning days of this session, go out with a strong
statement that we are there with you; we are supporting those who are
victimized in these situations, domestically and abroad. We are
speaking out for those who, in many cases, have no voice.
I can still see the girls I met in Nepal who were trafficked at 11
and 12 years of age, coming back to their home country and to their
villages, 16, 17 years of age, in terrible condition, having been
subjected to sex trafficking, beaten by brothel owners, in some cases
locked up at night, raped repeatedly, and told, ``You have to work this
off; I own you,'' and then released to go home when they contract
horrible diseases. In not all cases that works that way, but in too
many cases it does work that way.
This body is speaking today. We are speaking on behalf of those who
are so defenseless in these particular types of situations.
I want to recognize some people who have been particularly helpful on
this. Senator Leahy has worked very hard with us on this, through many
of the issues he has had on this. Senator Wellstone and I have worked
on the trafficking. Senator Biden and Senator Hatch have worked on the
Violence Against Women Act. This has been a true bipartisan and
bicameral effort. Chris Smith and Sam Gejdenson in the House,
Republican and Democrat, have worked with us to get this through.
Chairman Hyde of the Judiciary Committee in the House has worked to get
this on through. My staff, Karen Knudsen and Sharon Payt, have worked
very hard. The outside advocacy groups range from Gloria Steinem to
Chuck Colson in support of this legislation, saying this is something
we need to speak out about; this is something we need to do.
I want to recognize the leader, Trent Lott. In these waning hours of
the session, there are about 150 different bills that want to get to
the floor. Senator Lott has said this one is coming to the floor. Not
only did he say it is coming to the floor, he gave us all day on
October 11 to be able to carry this on through and get this through.
This is precious time. It could have been spent and was being pushed to
be spent on a number of different issues. Instead, Senator Lott said,
no; we will go ahead and let this issue come forward. We will take the
whole day debating it. People can be heard on this particular issue.
Then we will have two votes at the end of the day.
That is a great statement on his part in support of women and
children who are subject to these horrifying conditions, both
domestically and abroad. I applaud his effort and his leadership and
his work getting this done.
I just came from a press conference with Senator Santorum on Aimee's
law, an important piece of legislation concerning what happened to
Aimee Willard, an act perpetrated by a person was released early from
prison in Nevada and went to Pennsylvania. She was an all-American
lacrosse player at George Mason University. She was traveling, her car
was taken over by this guy who had been previously convicted and
released early out of a Nevada prison, then he takes her, kidnaps her,
rapes her, and murders her.
This is legislation that does not federalize crimes, but it
encourages States to step up and say: If a person is convicted of one
of these crimes, keep him in for at least 85 percent of what he was
sentenced for; or if they go to another State and commit this
recidivism crime, then the State that has to prosecute and incarcerate
this person, the criminal who did this, they can get part of the
Federal moneys from the State that let the person go free early.
I think it is a sensible approach to try pushing this on forward. It
is a good piece of legislation. It is something that deserves passage.
Here in these waning hours of this session, I would just say I am very
pleased to be a part of this body that would stand up
and speak out and step forward on important legislation like this for
the defenseless, for the voiceless, for those who are in harm's way. I
applaud that. I hope my colleagues will vote as the House did,
overwhelmingly, for this legislation. It passed in the House 371-1.
If I can encourage you any more, I say pull out a picture from your
billfold, pull out a picture of a child or grandchild. Those are the
ages, somewhere between 9 and 15, who are the most frequently
trafficked victims. Young ages. Aimee Willard was a young age--not
quite that young. But you get young ages of people who are subjected to
this. We are stepping up and doing something on their behalf.
Mr. President, I thank my colleagues for the time I have been able to
use for this. I urge the President to sign this legislation when it
gets to his desk. I am hopeful he will. I do not know of any reason he
would not sign this legislation. This will be a major accomplishment of
this Congress that is going to be completed at this time.
I yield the floor.
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, there is an interesting precedent being set
as the Senate considers adopting Aimee's law as part of the conference
report on the Sex Trafficking Act. The supporters of Aimee's law argue
that states have a financial responsibility regarding the protection,
or lack of protection, offered by state law.
I have expressed my concerns about Aimee's law and I want to put my
colleagues on notice. If Congress and the President determine that this
Act will become law, there are important ramifications that should be
reflected in future legislation on many issues.
For example, the application of the Aimee's law standard to state
responsibility should also be applied to pollution and waste that also
crosses state borders. I think it will be interesting to see in the
future whether supporters of Aimee's law will also support efforts to
make states responsible for air pollution that is generated in their
states but falls downwind on other states to damage the environment and
endanger the health of children and individuals who suffer from asthma.
My colleagues in the Northeast will all recognize this issue--we are
collectively suffering from the damage inflicted on our forests,
waterways, and public health every day by the tons of uncontrolled
pollution emitted from power plants in the midwest. In 1997, out of the
12,000,000 tons of acid-rain causing sulfur dioxide emitted by the
United States, Vermont was the source of only ten--or 0.00008%. Yet my
state suffers disproportionately from the ecological and financial
damage of acid rain, from stricken sugar maple trees to fishless lakes
and streams. Vermont, like many other New England states, spends
significant funds to test fish for mercury and issue fish advisories
when levels are too high--mercury that also has its source at
uncontrolled midwestern plants. All of our hospitals also spend money
for tests for respiratory problems for children exposed to ozone-thick
air, air that drifts into Vermont from the urban centers to the south
I would like to put the Senate on notice that when the Senate
considers any amendments to the Clean Air Act, I will consider offering
an amendment that will hold states responsible for the cost of the
pollution they generate and which falls downwind. It will be
interesting to see whether the supporters of the logic behind Aimee's
law will support a Federal Government mandate that Vermont be paid by
midwestern states for every ton of uncontrolled pollution that crosses
into our state and results in costs to our environment and our
I provide this background to highlight the underlying problems with
Aimee's law. While done with the best of intentions, the solution
achieved with this provision is on questionable constitutional ground
and has the potential to set a precedent that will have far reaching
implications for many issues Congress will address in the future.
Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, this conference report is a splendid
example of Congress reasserting its moral underpinning in U.S. foreign
policy. It will effectively combat the disgrace of women and children
being smuggled, bought and sold as pathetic commodities--most often for
the human beasts who thrive on prostitution.
The conference report deals with all aspects of sex trafficking, from
helping victims to punishing perpetrators.
Significantly, the legislation calls on the executive branch to
identify clearly the nations where trafficking is the most prevalent.
For regimes that know there is a problem within their borders, but
refuse to do anything about it, there will be consequences.
No country has a right to foreign aid. The worst trafficking nations
must have such U.S. aid cut off. And if they don't receive U.S.
bilateral aid, then their officials will be barred from coming onto
American soil. Our principles demand these significant and important
Some may complain that this is another ``sanction'' in the alleged
proliferation of sanctions Congress passes. But denying taxpayer-
supported foreign aid is not a ``sanction.'' Foreign aid is not an
I commend Senator Brownback for his unyielding efforts to help the
victims of sex trafficking, which is nothing less than modern-day
slavery. The inevitable controversies over differences between House
and Senate bills were ironed out because of Senator Brownback's
Time and again, Senator Brownback personally intervened with
conferees, with our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, and with the
House and Senate leadership in order to obtain agreement on this
Sam Brownback is devoted to helping less fortunate citizens, whether
they are farmers struggling to keep their farms in Kansas or the
helpless women and children caught up in the trafficking of human
beings. I salute Senator Brownback for his remarkable efforts.
Also of particular significance is a provision authored by
Congressman Bill McCollum of Florida, which will assist victims of
terrorism. Senator Mack and others who have had a longstanding interest
in this issue were instrumental in helping this provision find a place
in the conference report. The provision helps families struck by the
horrors such as the attack on Pan Am 103 get fair restitution, coming
in part from the frozen assets of terrorist states.
The conference report is a solid and effective measure to help the
victims of violence and abuse, the kind of abuse which is nothing short
of evil. Those victims are most often women and children, and this
legislation goes a long way to protect them.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise to support the Victims
of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 conference report.
While I have some reservations of some parts of the conference report,
I am pleased that a number of important provisions have been included.
I would like to focus my comments today on three specific provisions
of this report: the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, the Justice for
Victims of Terrorism Act, and the Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement
I strongly supported the Violence Against Women Act when we passed it
6 years ago. VAWA was the most comprehensive bill ever passed by
Congress to deal with the corrosive problem of domestic violence. I
believed then and believe now that this legislation was long overdue.
For far too long, there has been an attitude that violence against
women is a ``private matter.'' If a woman was mugged by a stranger,
people would be outraged and demand action. However, if the same woman
was bruised and battered by her husband or boyfriend, they would simply
Attitudes are hard to change. But I believe that VAWA has helped.
In the last 5 years, VAWA has enhanced criminal penalties on those
who attack women, eased enforcement of protection orders from State to
State, and provided over $1.6 billion over 6 years to police,
prosecutors, battered women's shelters, a national domestic violence
hotline, and other provisions designed to catch and punish batterers
and offer victims the support they need to leave their abusers.
The Violence Against Women Act works. A Department of Justice study
recently found that, during the 6-year period that VAWA has been in
effect, violence against women by intimate partners fell 21 percent.
However, the same study found that much more work remains to be done.
Since 1976, about one-third of all murdered women each year have been
killed by their partners;
Moreover, women are still much more likely than men to be attacked by
their intimate partners. During 1993-1998, women victims of violence
were more than seven times more likely to have been attacked by an
intimate partner than male victims of violence.
VAWA 2000 will help us complete that work. This legislation would do
First, the bill would reauthorize through fiscal year 2005 the key
programs in the original Violence Against Women Act. These include STOP
grants, pro-arrest grants, rural domestic violence and child abuse
enforcement grants, the national domestic violence hotline, and rape
prevention and education programs. The bill also reauthorizes the
court-appointed and special advocate program, CASA, and other programs
in the Victims of Child Abuse Act.
Second, the bill makes some improvements to VAWA. These include:
Funding for grants to help victims of domestic violence, stalking,
and sexual assault who need legal assistance because of that violence;
Assistance to states and tribal courts to improve interstate
enforcement of civil protection orders, as required by the original
Violence Against Women Act;
Funding for grants to provide short-term housing assistance and
short-term support services to individuals and their dependents fleeing
domestic violence who are unable to find quickly secure alternative
A provision providing supervised visitation of children for victims
of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse to reduce the
opportunity for additional domestic violence during visitations;
A provision strengthening and refining protections for battered
immigrant women; and
An expansion of several of the primary grant programs to cover
violence that arises in dating relationships.
I was disappointed that the conference did not agree to extend the
recently expired Violent Crime Reduction Fund. The money for the trust
fund comes from savings generated by reducing the Federal workforce by
more than 300,000 employees, and it was the primary source of money for
VAWA programs. This will mean that VAWA will likely be funded directly
by tax revenues.
However, I am pleased that the conference agreed to restore language
that would allow grant money to be used to deal with dating violence.
Without this language, women could not benefit from VAWA unless they
cohabited with their abusers. That makes no sense. In fact, the
Department of Justice study on intimate partner violence found that
women between the ages of 16 and 24--prime dating ages--are the most
likely to experience violence within their relationships.
VAWA has been particularly important to my own state of California.
VAWA funds have trained hundreds of California police officers,
prosecutors, and judges. They have provided California law enforcement
with better evidence gathering and information sharing equipment.
VAWA funds have also hired victims' advocates and counselors in
scores of California cities. They have provided an array of services to
California women and children--from 24-hour hotlines to emergency
transportation to medical services.
I have heard numerous stories from women in California who have
benefitted from VAWA. For instance, one woman wrote to me to how she
fled from an abusive relationship but was able to get food, clothing,
and shelter for her and her four children from a VAWA-supported center.
If it was not for VAWA, she wrote, ``I would have lost my four children
because I didn't have anywhere to go. I was homeless with my
And the head of the Valley Trauma Center in Southern California wrote
me about another tragic case. Four men kidnaped a woman as she walked
to her car and raped her repeatedly for many hours. Incredibly, because
the men accused the victim of having sex with them voluntarily and one
of the men was underage, the woman herself was charged with having sex
with a minor. As a result, the woman lost her job. Fortunately, the
center, using VAWA funds, was able to intervene. They helped get the
charges against the victim dismissed and assisted the woman through her
There is no question that VAWA has made a real difference in the
lives of tens of thousands of women and children in California. Let me
give you some more examples:
Through VAWA funding, California has 23 sexual assault response
teams, 13 violence response teams, and scores of domestic violence
advocates in law enforcement agencies throughout the state. These teams
have responded to hundreds of incidents of domestic violence, saving
lives and helping protect California women and children from abuse.
Since 1997, eight counties in California have developed stalking and
threat assessment teams, STATs. Since VAWA was enacted, there has been
a 200-percent increase in the number of felony stalking cases filed by
the Los Angeles District Attorney.
Within 2 weeks of launching an antistalking educational campaign
using VAWA money, the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women,
LACAAW, received about 40 calls to its crisis hotline. These calls
resulted in numerous investigations by the local STAT.
Since LACAAW receive VAWA money in 1997, it has seen a 64 percent
increase in the number of victims served. Moreover, its rape prevention
education program services have doubled in this period.
In the last 5 years, Women Escaping a Violent Environment, WEAVE, a
victim service provider in Sacramento, has doubled its legal advocacy
efforts and crisis and referral services. It responds to over 20,000
domestic violence and sexual assault calls to its crisis line annually
and 35 requests for legal services daily.
In Alameda County, the district attorney's office has used VAWA funds
to institute comprehensive training regarding the investigation and
prosecution of domestic violence and stalking cases. Two hundred sixty
prosecutors in Alameda and Contra Costa county and 350 police officers
in Alameda country have been trained. The result: 30 new stalking cases
and numerous new domestic violence cases being investigated and
prosecuted just in 3 months.
Lideres Campasinas has used VAWA money to establish itself in 12
communities in California and has trained 25,000 immigrant and migrant
women. Before it received this money, Lideres Campasinas did not
address the problem of domestic violence among farmworker women. Now,
three tribal organizations and 4 States have contacted it about setting
up similar programs in their jurisdictions.
The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault's Rape Prevention
Resource Center has, using VAWA money, assembled over 4,000 items
focused exclusively on issues related to violence against women in the
U.S. Over 4,000 items are currently available in its lending library.
In short, VAWA 2000 renews our commitment to fighting violence
against women and children. I am delighted to support its passage
Let me also say a few words about the Justice for Victims of
Terrorism Act, which is also in the conference report.
I strongly support this bill, which will help American victims of
terrorism abroad collect court-awarded compensation and ensures that
the responsible State sponsors of terrorism pay a price for their
Just let me talk about one example of why this new law is necessary.
In 1985, David Jacobsen was residing in Beirut, Lebanon, and was the
chief executive officer of the American University of Beirut Medical
Center. His life would soon take a dramatic and irreversible change for
the worse, and he would never again be the same.
Shortly before 8:00 a.m. on May 28, 1985, Jacobsen was crossing an
intersection with a companion when he was assaulted, subdued and forced
into a van by several terrorist assailants. He was pistol-whipped,
bound and gagged, and pushed into a hidden compartment under the floor
in the back of the van.
Jacobsen was held by these men, members of the Iranian-backed
Hizballah, for 532 days--nearly a year and a half. He was held in
darkness and blindfolded during most of that time, chained by his
ankles and wrists and wearing nothing but undershorts and a t-shirt. He
has said in the past that he was allowed to see sunlight just twice in
those 17 months.
The food during his captivity was meager--sometimes the guards would
even spit in his food before handing it over.
Jacobsen was subjected to regular beatings, and often threatened with
immediate death. He was forced to listen as fellow captives were
As a result of this physical and mental torture, Jacobsen has been
under continuous treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder since his
release in November of 1986--nearly 13 years ago.
In August of 1998, David Jacobsen was awarded $9 million by a U.S.
Federal Court. The judgement was against the Government of Iran, and
pursuant to a bill that Congress signed in 1996 allowing victims of
foreign terrorism to recover against terrorist nations.
But David Jacobsen has collected nothing. He cannot go to Iran to ask
for the verdict. And our own Government has essentially turned its
back. Some have estimated the United States Government has frozen more
than a billion dollars of Iranian assets. Yet not one cent has been
paid to David Jacobsen. The administration has invoked waiver after
waiver--even as Congress has modified the 1996 bill to clarify our
The same has been true for others victimized by agents of designated
terrorist-sponsoring nations, including Alisa Flatow, Terry Anderson,
Joseph Ciccippio, Frank Reed, Matthew Eisenfeld, Sarah Duker, Armando
Alejandre, Carlos A. Costa, and Mario de la Pena.
The legislation included in this conference report replaces the
waiver authority in current law to make it both more clear, and more
narrow. It is my hope that once Congress has again spoken on this
issue, money frozen from terrorist nations will finally begin to flow
to the victims of those terrorist acts.
The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act also contains an amendment
authored by Senator Leahy and myself that will offer more immediate and
effective assistance to victims of terrorism abroad, such as those
Americans killed or injured in the embassy bombings in Kenya and
Tanzania and in the Pam Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. This
amendment does not involve any new funding; all the money for victims
would come out of the existing emergency reserve fund for the
Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime, OVC.
The Leahy-Feinstein amendment aims to provide faster and better
assistance to victims of terrorism abroad. Under current Federal law,
if there is a terrorist attack against Americans abroad, the victims
and their families must generally go to the victims' services agencies
in their home States to receive assistance and compensation. However,
victims' services vary widely from State to State, and some overseas
victims receive no relief at all because they cannot establish
residency in a particular State.
Let me give you a couple of real-life examples created by current
Two American victims, standing literally yards apart, were injured in
the bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya. Each received severe
injuries, was permanently disabled, and spent 7 months recovering at
the same hospital. However, because the two were residents of different
States, they received very different victims' assistance: one received
$15,000 in compensation and one $100,000. And one waited a week for a
decision on the money and the other 5 months.
Another American was also severely injured in the embassy bombings.
Because he was not able to establish residency in a particular State,
he could not receive any victims' assistance or compensation at all. In
fact, because he lacked health insurance, he had to pay his medical
The Office for Victims of Crime has been able to get around the
problem in certain cases by transferring money to the FBI or U.S.
attorney's offices, which then transfer the money to victims. However,
this cannot be done in some situations. Moreover, even where such
transfers can be done, OVC and the victims have run into a lot of
redtape and delays. An example:
Because of current law, OVC was not able to respond directly to the
needs of victims of the embassy bombings. So they transferred money to
the Executive Office of the U.S. attorneys, which then transferred the
money to the State Department, which then transferred the money to the
victims. This triple transfer took 8 months. In the meantime, the
victims and their families had to pay medical bills, transportation
costs, funeral expenses, and other expenses themselves.
The Leahy-Feinstein amendment will immediately benefit terrorist
victims. For example, the amendment ensures that the OVC can assist
victims directly with regard to the upcoming trial in New York City of
the individuals who allegedly bombed our embassies in Kenya and
The Leahy-Feinstein amendment fixes the problem in three ways.
First, it creates a single, centralized agency to help victims of
terrorism abroad. This agency--OVC--has more expertise and resources to
help overseas terrorism victims than a typical State victims' services
agency. For example, OVC can much more easily get information from U.S.
and foreign government agencies to process victims' claims than, say,
the Wyoming Victim Services Division.
Second, it eliminates the gaps and inconsistencies in Federal and
State victims' services statutes that result in disparate treatment of
similarly situated victims of terrorism. The amendment provides OVC
with much more flexibility to assist victims of terrorism directly,
avoiding unfair results.
Third, it cuts redtape that has unnecessarily delayed services to
victims of terrorism.
Specifically, the Leahy-Feinstein amendment:
Authorizes OVC to establish a terrorism compensation fund and to make
direct payments to American citizens and noncitizen U.S. Government
employees for emergency expenses related to terrorist victimization.
The money would be used to pay emergency travel expenses, medical
bills, and the cost of transporting bodies.
Allows OVC to pay for direct services to victims, regardless of where
a terrorist attack occurs. This includes counseling services, a
victims' website, and closed-circuit TV so victims and their families
can monitor trial proceedings.
Raises the cap on OVC's emergency reserve fund from $50 million to
$100 million. This would enable OVC to access additional funds in the
event of a terrorist attack involving massive casualties.
Makes it easier for OVC to replenish its emergency reserve fund with
money that it de-obligates from its other grant programs.
Expands the range of organizations that OVC may fund to include the
Department of State, Red Cross, and others.
I would like to thank Senator Leahy for his leadership on this issue.
While he and I have sometimes disagreed on how to address the lack of
victims' rights in this Nation, I am glad that we were able to work
together to pass this important amendment.
Finally, I would like to discuss one last provision of this
conference report. Specifically, I want to address the so-called
Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act, S. 577, now included as part of
this conference report. I want it to be perfectly clear that this
provision is simply a jurisdictional statute with a very narrow and
specific purpose. The bill is not intended to allow the enforcement of
invalid or unconstitutional State liquor laws in the Federal courts,
and is certainly not intended to allow States to unfairly discriminate
against out-of-State sellers for the purposes of economic
The Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act would add a new section
(section 2) to the Webb-Kenyon Act, granting Federal court jurisdiction
to injunctive relief actions brought by State attorneys general seeking
to enforce State laws dealing with the importation or transportation of
alcoholic beverages. It is important to emphasize that Congress is not
passing on the advisability or legal validity of the
many State laws dealing with alcoholic beverages. Whether a particular
State law on this subject is a valid exercise of State power is, and
will continue to be, a matter for the courts to decide.
As you know, the powers granted to the States under section 2 of the
21st amendment are not absolute. As the Supreme Court has made clear
since 1964, State power under the 21st amendment cannot be read in
isolation from other provisions in the Constitution. In Hostetter v.
Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corporation, 377 U.S. 324 (1964), the Court
began to use a ``balancing test'' or ``accommodation test'' to
determine whether a state liquor law was enacted to implement a ``core
power'' of the 21st amendment or was essentially an effort to unfairly
regulate or burden interstate commerce with an inadequate connection to
the temperance goals of the second section of the 21st amendment.
The Court said in Hostetter that ``[B]oth the 21st amendment and the
commerce clause are parts of the same Constitution. Like other
provisions of the Constitution, each must be considered in the light of
the other, and in the context of the issues and interests at stake in
any concrete case.'' The Court in that case also emphasized that to
draw the conclusion that the 21st amendment has repealed the commerce
clause, would be ``patently bizarre'' and ``demonstrably incorrect.''
Subsequently, in a series of other decisions over the last 35 years,
the Supreme Court has held that the 21st amendment does not diminish
the force of the supremacy clause, the establishment clause, the
export-import clause, the equal protection clause, and, again, the
commerce clause; nor does it abridge rights protected by the first
In case after case (Capital Cities Cable, Inc. v. Crisp, 467 U.S.
691, 712 (1984) (supremacy clause); Larkin v. Grendel's Den, Inc., 459
U.S. 116, 122 (1982) (establishment clause); Department of Revenue v.
James Beam Co., 377 U.S. 341 (1964) (export-import clause); Craig v.
Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 209 (1976) (equal protection); Bacchus Imports,
Ltd. v. Dias, 468 U.S. 263, 275 (1984) (commerce clause); 44
Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island, 517 U.S. 484, 516 (1996) (first
amendment)), the Court has made it clear that the powers granted to the
States under the 21st amendment must be read in conjunction with other
provisions in the Constitution.
In Bacchus Imports, the Court stated that the 21st amendment was not
designed ``to empower States to favor local liquor industries by
erecting barriers to competition.'' Nor are State laws that constitute
``mere economic protectionism . . . entitled to the same deference as
laws enacted to combat the perceived evils of an unrestricted traffic
in liquor.'' The Bacchus decision stands for the legal principle that
the 21st amendment cannot be used by the States to justify liquor laws
which, by favoring instate businesses, discriminate against out-of-
state sellers or otherwise burden interstate commerce. Economic
discrimination is not a core purpose of the 21st amendment.
Earlier this year, when the Senate Judiciary Committee considered S.
577, I offered an amendment to the ``Rules of Construction'' section of
Senator Hatch's substitute to S. 577. The amendment was intended to
clarify that Congress recognizes the important line of cases I have
described today and does not intend to tip or alter the critical
balance between the 21st amendment and other provisions in the
Constitution, such as the commerce clause. I also thought it was
important that we make it clear that, in passing this jurisdictional
statute, we are neither endorsing any existing State liquor laws nor
prejudging the validity of any State liquor laws. In making a decision
as to whether to issue an injunction, the Federal judge will look at
the underlying State statute and determine whether or not it has been
violated and whether it is a constitutionally permissible exercise of
The committee adopted my amendment by a unanimous voice vote and the
language of subsection 2(e) now reflects the committee's intent. It
states that this legislation is to be construed only to extend the
jurisdiction of the Federal courts in connection with a State law that
is a valid exercise of State power: (1) under the 21st amendment of the
U.S. Constitution as such an amendment is interpreted by the Supreme
Court of the United States, including interpretations in conjunction
with other provisions of the U.S. Constitution; and (2) under the first
section of the Webb-Kenyon Act as interpreted by the Supreme Court of
the United States. Further, S. 577 is not to be construed as granting
the States any additional power.
The legislative history of both the Webb-Kenyon Act and the second
section of the 21st amendment reflect the fact that Congress intended
to protect the right of the individual States to enact laws to
encourage temperance within their borders. So both before the
establishment of nationwide prohibition and after its repeal, the
States have been free to enact statewide prohibition laws, and to enact
laws allowing the local governments (i.e. counties, cities, townships,
etcetera) within their borders to exercise ``local option''
restrictions on the availability of alcoholic beverages. Further, the
States are also free to enact laws limiting the access of minors to
alcoholic beverages under their police powers.
The language in subsection 2(e) reinforces the Supreme Court
decisions holding that the 21st amendment is not to be read in
isolation from other provisions contained in the U.S. Constitution.
These cases have recognized that State power under section 2 of the
21st amendment is not unlimited and must be balanced with the other
constitutional rights protected by commerce clause, the supremacy
clause, the export-import clause, the equal protection clause, the
establishment clause and the first amendment.
The substitute to S. 577 offered in the Judiciary Committee by
Senator Hatch also made a number of other positive changes in this
Federal court jurisdiction is granted only for injunctive relief
actions by State attorneys general against alleged violators of State
liquor laws. However, actions in Federal court are not permitted
against persons licensed by that State, nor are they permitted against
persons authorized to produce, sell, or store intoxicating liquor in
The Hatch substitute also made other changes ensuring that the bill
tracks the due process requirements of rule 65 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure concerning suits for injunctive relief in Federal
court. Under subsection 2(b), a State attorney general must have
``reasonable cause'' to believe that a violation of that State's law
regulating the importation or transportation of intoxicating liquor has
taken place. Further, under subsection 2(d)(1) the burden of proof is
on the State to show by a preponderance of the evidence that a
violation of State law has occurred. Similarly, subsection 2(d)(2)
makes it clear that no preliminary injunction may be granted except
upon evidence: (A) demonstrating the probability of irreparable injury;
and (B) supporting the probability of success on the merits. Also,
under subsection 2(d)(3) no preliminary or permanent injunction may be
issued without notice to the adverse party and an opportunity for a
hearing on the merits. While the legislation makes it clear that an
action for injunctive relief under this act is to be tried before the
Court without a jury, at the same time a defendant's rights to a jury
trial in any separate or subsequent State criminal proceeding are
intended to be preserved.
The amendments adopted in the Judiciary Committee bring both balance
and fairness to this legislation. As amended, the Twenty-First
Amendment Enforcement Act will assist in the enforcement of legitimate
State liquor laws that are genuinely about encouraging temperance or
prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors. At the same time, the
amended bill reflects a recognition on the part of the Judiciary
Committee, the Senate, and the Congress that S. 577 is solely a
jurisdictional statute and is not intended to allow the enforcement of
invalid or unconstitutional State liquor laws in the Federal
Mrs. LINCOLN. Mr. President, I rise today to express my support for
two very important pieces of legislation to the women of this country:
the Violence Against Women Act and the National Breast and Cervical
Cancer Treatment Act.
Combating domestic violence and child abuse has been a top priority
me. I am an early cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 .
. . And I joined with my colleagues in 1994 to pass the Violence
Against Women Act, making it clear that violence against women is
Changing our laws and committing $1.6 billion over six years to
police, prosecutors, and battered women shelters has helped America
crack down on abusers and extend support to victims.
My home state of Arkansas has received almost $16 million in
resources to help women who have been or are being abused. This money
has made a tremendous difference to women and their families in
According to the Department of Justice, fewer women were killed by
their husbands or boyfriends in the first two years after the Act's
passage than in any year since 1976. We cannot stop this progress now.
By voting to continue the Violence Against Women Act, we send a
signal to women across the country that they and their children will
have options to chose from and a support network to rely on when they
leave an abusive relationship. It also reinforces the message to
abusers that their actions will not be tolerated or ignored.
I am also glad to see the Act expanded to include funding for
transitional housing for women and children who are victims of
violence, as well as resources for specific populations such as Native
Americans and the elderly . . . Mr. President, I'd also like to take a
minute to recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to call
on the House to pass the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment
This bill will provide treatment to low-income women screened and
diagnosed through the CDC National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early
Since 1990, the Centers for Disease Control's National Breast and
Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program screens and diagnoses low-
income women for breast and cervical cancer, but does not guarantee
them treatment once diagnosed.
Nationwide, thousands of women are caught in a horrible federal
loophole--they are told they have a deadly disease with no financial
hope for treatment.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in the year 2000, 400
women in Arkansas will die of breast cancer, and 1,900 women will be
diagnosed with it.
Luckily, my home state is currently administering an effective breast
cancer screening program for uninsured women. This program has helped
improve the rate of early diagnosis and also provides financial
assistance for treatment.
However, right now, the CDC program reaches only 15 percent of
eligible women . . .
Through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act, Arkansas would
benefit from being able to free up resources for education and
outreach, to help more women across the state.
Unfortunately, Mr. President, the fight to enact this legislation is
After a 421-1 passage in the House in May, this critical bill passed
the Senate on Wednesday, October 4, 2000 by unanimous consent. It now
must go back to the House of Representatives for a vote on the Senate-
passed version and then be sent to the President for his signature. I
urge my colleagues in the House to move on this legislation, so that
the President can sign it into law.
And I also urge all of the women in my state to get screened this
month. Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and
every 12 minutes a woman dies from breast cancer. Early detection is
I hope the women of Arkansas, especially if they have a family
history of the disease, will take time during National Breast Cancer
Awareness Month to take a step that could save their lives.
Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I would like to briefly describe one item I
was very pleased to see included in this legislation. The item to which
I refer is a proposal of mine, the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act. I
would like to thank Chairman Hatch and Senator Biden for their
cooperation in getting this proposal included in the Violence Against
Women Act, which has now been incorporated into the Trafficking Victims
The purpose of this provision is to guarantee that, when a convicted
sex offender enrolls or begins employment at a college or university,
members of the campus community will have the information they need to
protect themselves. Put another way, my legislation ensures the
availability to students and parents of the information they would
already receive--under Megan's Law and related statutes--if a
registered sex offender were to move into their own neighborhood.
Current law requires that those convicted of crimes against minors or
sexually violent offenses to register with law enforcement agencies
upon their release from prison and that communities receive
notification when a sex offender takes up residence. The Campus Sex
Crimes Prevention Act provides that offenders must register the name of
any higher education institution where they enroll as a student or
commence employment. It also requires that this information be promptly
made available to law enforcement agencies in the jurisdictions where
the institutions of higher education are located.
Here is how this should work. Once information about an offender's
enrollment at, or employment by, an institution of higher education has
been provided to a state's sex offender registration program, that
information should be shared with that school's law enforcement unit as
soon as possible.
The reason for this is simple. An institution's law enforcement unit
will have the most direct responsibility for protecting that school's
community and daily contact with those that should be informed about
the presence of the convicted offender.
If an institution does not have a campus police department, or other
form of state recognized law enforcement agency, the sex offender
information could then be shared with a local law enforcement agency
having primary jurisdiction for the campus.
In order to ensure that the information is readily accessible to the
campus community, the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act requires
colleges and universities to provide the campus community with clear
guidance as to where this information can be found, and clarifies that
federal laws governing the privacy of education records do not prevent
campus security agencies or other administrators from disclosing such
The need for such a clarification was illustrated by an incident that
occurred last year at Arizona State University when a convicted child
molester secured a work furlough to pursue research on campus.
University officials believed that the federal privacy law barred any
disclosure of that fact.
Without a clear statement that schools are free to make this
information available, questions will remain about the legality of
releasing sex offender information. The security unit at Arizona State
and its counterparts at a number of other colleges asked for this
authority, and we should give it to them.
The House of Representatives passed a similar provision--authored by
Congressman Matt Salmon--earlier this year. Since then, I--along with
Congressman Salmon--have worked to address the concerns that some in
the higher education community had about possible unintended
consequences of this legislation. I am pleased to report that, in the
course of those negotiations, we were able to reach agreement on
language that achieved our vital objectives without exposing colleges
to excessive legal risks.
For the helpful role they played in those discussions, I must thank
not only Senator Hatch, Senator Biden, and Congressman Salmon, but
Senators Jeffords and Kennedy, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
I appreciate the opportunity briefly to describe what I have tried to
accomplish with this amendment.
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I am pleased the Senate today will vote
on legislation to reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act.
The legislation is part of a larger bill that also helps end the
trafficking of women and children into international sex trades,
slavery, and forced labor.
This bill passed the House of Representatives last week, and I am
confident the President will sign it into law.
I have been involved in the campaign to end domestic violence in our
communities dating back to 1983 when I introduced legislation in the
South Dakota State Legislature to use marriage license fees to help
fund domestic abuse shelters. At that time, thousands of South Dakota
women and children were in need of shelters and programs to help them.
However, few people wanted to acknowledge that domestic abuse occurred
in their communities, or even their own homes.
In 1994, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I helped
get the original Violence Against Women Act passed into law. Since the
passage of this important bill, South Dakota has received over $8
million in funding for battered women's shelters and family violence
prevention and services. Nationwide, the Violence Against Women Act has
provided over $1.9 billion toward domestic abuse prevention and
In South Dakota alone, approximately 15,000 victims of domestic
violence were provided assistance last year, and over 40 domestic
violence shelters and outreach centers in the state received funding
through the Violence Against Women Act. Shelters, victims' service
providers, and counseling centers in South Dakota rely heavily on these
funds to provide assistance to these women and children. Some of these
The Mitchell Area Safehouse started the first Family Visitation
Center in the state with these funds. The center ensures that children
receive safe and monitored visits with their parents when violence has
been a factor in their home environment. Now there are 9 such centers
in the state.
The Winner Resource Center for Families received funding to provide
emergency shelter, counseling services, rent assistance, and clothing
to women and children in south-central South Dakota.
Violence Against Women Act funding has also allowed Minnehaha County
and Pennington County to hire domestic court liaisons to assist with
the Protection Order process.
In Rapid City, Violence Against Women Act funding also allowed
Working Against Violence Inc. (WAVI) to develop a Sexual Assault
Program and provide specialized crisis intervention and follow-up for
child and adult survivors of rape.
On the Crow Creek reservation, Violence Against Women Act funding
helped the tribal justice system to develop stalking, sexual assault,
and sexual harassment tribal codes. Similar efforts have been realized
on the Rosebud and Sisseton-Wahpeton reservations through this program.
The original Violence Against Women Act expired last Saturday,
October 1, and I once again led the fight in the Senate this year to
reauthorize this legislation. The bill that the Senate will vote on
today authorizes over $3 billion for domestic abuse prevention
programs. I am especially pleased that the bill includes a provision I
supported that targets $40 million a year in funding for rural areas.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also reauthorized in this
legislation. As you know, this hotline has received 500,000 calls from
women and children in danger from abuse since its creation in 1994. The
hotline's number is 1-800-799-SAFE, and I encourage any woman or child
who is in an abusive environment to call for help.
The original Violence Against Women Act increased penalties for
repeat sex offenders, established mandatory restitution to victims of
domestic violence, codified much of our existing laws on rape, and
strengthened interstate enforcement of violent crimes against women. I
am pleased to support efforts this year that strengthen these laws,
expand them to include stalking on the internet and via the mail, and
extend them to our schools and college campuses.
Passage of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill is
another important step in the campaign against domestic violence. While
I am pleased that this historic legislation will soon be on its way to
the President for his signature, the fact remains that domestic
violence remains a reality for too many women and children in our
country and in South Dakota. I will continue to do all that I can, as a
member of the United States Senate and a concerned citizen of South
Dakota, to help victims of domestic violence and work to prevent abuse
in the first place.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Mr. President, I rise in support of the Trafficking
Victims Protection Act and I want to commend my colleagues Senator
Brownback and Senator Wellstone for their hard work on this
Inge had hoped for a better life when she left her home in Veracruz,
Mexico--for legitimate work that would pay her well. She was hoping to
earn money in a restaurant or a store and earn money to bring back to
She never expected a smuggling debt of $2,200. She never expected to
be beaten and raped until she agreed to have sex with 30 men a day. She
never expected to be a slave--especially not in the United States--not
So she got drunk before the men arrived. And when her shift was done,
she drank some more. Inge would soak herself in a bathtub filled with
hot water--drinking, crying, smoking one cigarette after another--
trying any way she could to dull the pain. And she would go to sleep
drunk or pass out--until the next day when she had to do it all again.
Unfortunately, Inge's case is not unique. It is a horrific story
played out every day in countries all over the world. In fact, at least
50,000 women and children are trafficked into the U.S. each year and at
least 700,000 women and children are trafficked worldwide. These women
and children are forced into the sex industry or forced into harsh
labor, often by well organized criminal networks. Traffickers
disproportionately target the poor, preying on people in desperate
economic situations. They disproportionately target women and girls--
all of this for money.
Trafficking of women and children is more than a crime--it is an
assault on freedom. It is an assault on that founding principle of our
nation, ``. . . that all men are created equal, that they are endowed
by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. . .'' It is an
assault on the very dignity of humanity.
Yet the protections we have against trafficking are inadequate. That
is why the Trafficking Victims Protection Act is so vital.
This legislation takes several approaches to address this human
rights abuse. It requires expanded reporting by the State Department in
its annual human rights report on trafficking, including an assessment
and analysis of international trafficking patterns and the steps
foreign governments have taken to combat trafficking. It also requires
the President to establish an interagency task force to monitor and
As a means of deterring trafficking, the President, through the
Agency for International Development (AID) must establish initiatives,
such as microlending programs to enhance economic opportunities for
people who might be deceived by traffickers' promises of lucrative
jobs. In addition, this legislation establishes certain minimum
standards for combating trafficking and authorizes funding through AID
and other sources to assist countries to meet these standards. The
President can take other punitive measures against countries that fail
to meet these standards.
The bill also creates protections and assistance for victims of
trafficking, including a new nonimmigrant ``T'' visa. At the same time,
punishments for traffickers are increased through asset seizure and
greater criminal penalties.
All of these provisions are important for strengthening U.S. and
foreign law and for combating trafficking. I strongly support them.
It is a sad consequence of globalization that crime has become more
international in its scope and reach. These seedy sex industries know
no boundaries. Traffickers use international borders to trap their
victims in a foreign land without passports, without the ability to
communicate in the local language, and without hope.
But just as trafficking has become global, so must our efforts to
fight trafficking. That is why I also support an appropriation in the
Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations bill for $1.35
million earmarked for the Protection Project. This legal research
institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
is a comprehensive analysis of the problem of international trafficking
of women and children. Led by Laura Lederer, a dozen researchers have
been documenting the laws of 190 independent states and 63 dependencies
on trafficking, forced prostitution, slavery, debt bondage,
extradition, and other relevant issues. When it is complete, the
Protection Project will produce a worldwide legal database on
trafficking, along with model legislation for strengthening protections
and recommendations for policy makers.
At the moment, the Protection Project is at a critical phase of
research and funding is crucial. For the last few years, the State
Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement
Affairs has been funding the project, along with private donations made
to Harvard University, where the project was formerly housed. However,
with its transition to Washington and Johns Hopkins, the project has
lost private funding and has suffered a nine-month delay in its
I urge my colleagues on the CJS conference to retain the Senate
earmark for this project. The research that the project is producing is
critical to understanding, fighting, and ultimately winning the war
against international trafficking of women and children.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. President, I rise in support of the adoption of
the conference report to H.R. 3244, the Sexual Trafficking Victims
Protection Act. This conference report contains two pieces of
legislation that are critically important for ensuring the safety of
women and their children in our Nation as well as around the world, the
Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and the
Sexual Trafficking Victims Protection Act. I am extraordinarily pleased
that the Senate is finally poised to join our colleagues in the House
and pass both of these legislative proposals. Although it is
unfortunate that Congress allowed the Violence Against Women Act to
expire at the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2000, today's
action on this legislation goes a long way towards sending a message to
battered women and their children that domestic violence is a national
concern deserving the most serious consideration.
An important component of the Reauthorization of the Violence Against
Women Act that is contained in the conference report today is the
provision of resources for transitional housing. Due to the fact that
domestic violence victims often have no safe place to go, these
resources are needed to help support a continuum between emergency
shelter and independent living. Many individuals and families fleeing
domestic violence are forced to return to their abusers because of
inadequate shelter or lack of money. Half of all homeless women and
children are fleeing domestic violence. Even if battered women leave
their abusers to go to a shelter, they often return home because the
isolation from familiar surroundings, friends, and neighborhood
resources makes them feel even more vulnerable. Shelters and
transitional facilities are often located far from a victim's
neighborhood. And, if emergency shelter is available, a supply of
affordable housing and services are needed to keep women from having to
return to a violent home.
Due to the importance of ensuring that battered women may access
transitional housing, I remain concerned that the conference report
provides only a one-year authorization for the transitional housing
programs. Consequently, I intend to work closely with my colleagues
throughout next year to ensure the continued authorization and funding
of these critical programs. I look forward to working with my
colleagues to strengthen transitional housing programs for battered
women and their children and I hope they will lend their strong support
to this effort.
Mr. ABRAHAM. I rise to express my strong support for this conference
report. It contains two very important measures: the Trafficking
Victims Protection Act, aimed at combating the scourge of sex
trafficking, and the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, aimed at
reauthorizing and improving on federal programs and other measures
designed to assist in the fight against domestic violence.
I would first of all like to extend my compliments to Senator
Brownback, Congressman Smith, Senator Wellstone, Senator Helms, Senator
Hatch, and others, including their staff, who worked so hard on the
trafficking portion of this legislation. The problem of international
sex trafficking that they have tackled is a particularly ugly one, and
I commend them for all the work they have invested in devising
effective means to address it.
I would like to concentrate my own remarks on the second half of this
legislation, the Violence Against Women Act of 2000. I was proud to be
an original cosponsor of the Senate version of this bill, and I am very
pleased to see that the efforts of everyone involved are about to
The 1994 Violence Against Women Act has been crucial in reducing
violence perpetrated against women and families across America. VAWA
1994 increased resources for training and law enforcement, and
bolstered prosecution of child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic
violence cases. States have changed the way they treat crimes of
violence against women; 24 States and the District of Columbia now
mandate arrest for most domestic violence offenses.
States have also relieved women of some of the costs associated with
violence against them. For example, as a result of VAWA, all have some
provision for covering the cost of a forensic rape exam. Most notably,
VAWA 1994 provided much-needed support for shelters and crisis centers,
funded rape prevention and education, and created a National Domestic
Nevertheless, much remains to be done. In Michigan alone, in 1998 we
had more than 47,000 incidents of domestic violence, including 46
homicides. About 85 percent of the victims of those incidents were
women. We must continue to do what we can to deter and prevent this
kind of violence, and to make services available to its victims.
The legislation before us today continues the important work begun in
1994 by reauthorizing these important programs. And make no mistake
about it, we must do so if we are to continue with the progress we have
In Michigan, for example, despite our much heightened awareness of
the devastating impact of sexual abuse, in many communities VAWA grants
are the only source of funding for services for rape victims. I am told
that this is true nationally as well. Forty-five shelters serving 83
counties receive funding from VAWA grants. Reauthorizing VAWA is
critical so as to provide the assurance of continued congressional
commitment needed to ensure that these services do not dry up.
That is why I am so delighted that this conference report is about to
be enacted into law. I would especially like to note how pleased I am
with the results the conference reached on a couple of particular
First, I would like to discuss the funding the bill provides for rape
education, services to victims, and prevention. This critical funding
is used for, among other things, helping survivors of rape and sexual
assault come to terms with what has happened to them so that they are
able to get on with their lives and also assist in the prosecution of
the perpetrators of these crimes. It is also used to educate
investigators and medical personnel on the best protocols to use to
collect evidence in these cases.
I would like to give a few examples of instances of how this is
working in Michigan. A 21-year-old single woman was raped. She became
pregnant as a result of the rape. She decided that she wanted to carry
the baby to term. She had to deal with her own very complex emotions
about her pregnancy, her changed relationship with her boyfriend, and
the enormous difficulties of raising a child as a single parent. The
VAWA money for rape services funded the counseling to help her with
this overwhelmingly difficult set of decisions and circumstances.
VAWA rape money also funded services for a 63-year-old woman who was
sexually assaulted. With that help, she was able to come to terms with
what had happened, and testify against the rapist.
To give just one more example: VAWA rape money is being used right
now to fund a new sexual assault nurse examining program. This program
provides a sympathetic and expert place for survivors to go after they
have been assaulted where they will be treated with respect and
understanding and where the evidence will be collected correctly.
The reason I have come to know so much about this particular aspect
of VAWA is that when my wife Jane met with the Michigan Coalition
Against Domestic and Sexual Violence in Oakland County on June 30 of
this year, its director, Mary Keefe, indicated to her that while she
was generally very pleased with the reauthorization legislation we were
working on here in the Senate, the $50 million we were proposing for
this particular aspect of VAWA, the rape education and prevention
component, just wasn't enough. She indicated her hope that we would be
able to raise that to the $80 million figure in the House bill. Jane
passed that along to me, and once I understood how this money was used
and was able to explain how important it was, with Senator Hatch's and
Senator Biden's assistance, the Senate proposal was increased to $60
I continued to follow this matter as the bill was progressing through
conference. Yesterday I was delighted to be able to tell my staff to
let Ms. Keefe know that the conference bill accommodates her request
fully, and authorizes $80 million in funding for these grants for the
next 5 years. One important purpose for which I am sure some of these
funds will be used is educating our kids about relatively less well
known drugs like GHB, the date rape drug that claimed the life of one
of my constituents and was the subject of legislation I worked on
earlier this Congress.
Second, I am pleased that the conference report contains the new
Federal law against cyberstalking that I introduced a few months ago.
As the Internet, with all its positives, has fast become an integral
part of our personal and professional lives, it is regrettable but
unsurprising that criminals are becoming adept at using the Internet as
Hence the relatively new crime of ``cyberstalking,'' in which a
person uses the Internet to engage in a course of conduct designed to
terrorize another. Stalking someone in this way can be more attractive
to the perpetrator than doing it in person, since cyberstalkers can
take advantage of the ease of the Internet and their relative anonymity
online to be even more brazen in their threatening behavior than they
might be in person.
Some jurisdictions are doing an outstanding job in cracking down on
this kind of conduct. For example, in my own State, Oakland County
Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard and Oakland County Prosecutor Dave Gorcyca
have developed very impressive knowledge and expertise about how to
This legislation will not supplant their efforts. It will, however,
address cases that it is difficult for a single State to pursue on its
own, those where the criminal is stalking a victim in another State. In
such cases, where the criminal is deliberately using the means of
interstate commerce to place his or her victim in reasonable fear of
serious bodily injury, my bill will allow the Federal Government to
prosecute that person.
The existence of a Federal law in this area should also help
encourage local authorities who do not know where to start when
confronted with a cyberstalking allegation to turn to Federal
authorities for advice and assistance. There is little worse than the
feeling of helplessness a person can get if he or she is being
terrorized and just cannot get help from the police. Much of VAWA 2000
is aimed at helping the authorities that person turns to respond more
effectively. That is a central function of the cyberstalking provisions
Finally, I am very pleased that the conference report includes the
core provisions from the Senate bill that I developed along with
Senator Kennedy, Senator Hatch, and Senator Biden to address ways in
which our immigration laws remain susceptible of misuse by abusive
spouses as a tool to blackmail and control the abuse victim.
This potential arises out of the derivative nature of the immigration
status of a noncitizen or lawful permanent resident spouse's
immigration status. Generally speaking, that spouse's right to be in
the U.S. derives from the citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse's
right to file immigration papers seeking to have the immigration member
of the couple be granted lawful permanent residency.
In the vast majority of cases, granting that right to the citizen or
lawful permanent resident spouse makes sense. After all, the purpose of
family immigration is to allow U.S. citizens or lawful permanent
residents to live here with their spouses and children. But in the
unusual case of the abusive relationship, an abusive citizen or lawful
permanent resident can use control over his or her spouse's visa as a
means to blackmail and control the spouse. The abusive spouse can do
this by withholding a promised visa petition and then threatening to
turn the abused spouse in to the immigration authorities if the abused
spouse sought to leave the abuser or report the abuse.
VAWA 1994 changed this by allowing immigrants who demonstrate that
they have been battered or subject to extreme cruelty by their U.S.
citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses to file their own
petitions for visas without the cooperation of their abusive spouse.
VAWA 1994 also allowed abused spouses placed in removal proceedings
to seek ``cancellation of removal,'' a form of discretionary relief
from removal available to individuals in unlawful immigration status
with strong equities, after three years rather than the seven
ordinarily required. Finally, VAWA 1994 granted similar rights to minor
children abused by their citizen or lawful permanent resident parent,
whose immigration status, like that of the abused spouse, would
otherwise be dependent on the abusive parent.
The conference report follows the Senate VAWA reauthorization bill in
building on the important work of VAWA 1994 in these areas. I will not
describe all of the provisions of title V of division B of this bill,
but I will discuss one of them, which I believe is the most important
In this bill, we establish procedures under which a battered
immigrant can take all the steps he or she needs to take to become a
lawful permanent resident without leaving this country. Right now, no
such mechanism is available to a battered immigrant, who can begin the
process here but must return to his or her home country to complete it.
VAWA 1994 created a mechanism for the immigrant to take the first
step, the filing of an application to be classified as a battered
immigrant spouse or child. But it did not create a mechanism for him or
her to obtain the necessary papers to get lawful permanent residency
while staying in the U.S. That is because at the time it was enacted,
there was a general mechanism available to many to adjust here, which
has since been eliminated. As a result, under current law, the battered
immigrant has to go back to his or her home country, get a visa, and
return here in order to adjust status.
That is not true of spouses whose citizens or lawful permanent
resident husband or wife is filing immigration papers for them. They do
have a mechanism for completing the whole process here. Section 1503 of
this bill gives the abused spouse that same right.
The importance of such a provision is demonstrated, for example, by
the case of a battered immigrant whose real name I will not use, but
whom I will instead call Yaa. I use her as an example because her case
arose in my own State of Michigan.
Yaa is a 38-year-old mother of two from Nigeria. She met her husband,
whom I will call Martin, while he was visiting family members in
Nigeria. After a long courtship, Martin persuaded Yaa to marry him and
join him in the United States. He told her he would help her further
her education and file the necessary papers to enable her to become a
lawful permanent resident.
Following their marriage, Martin assisted Yaa in obtaining a
visitor's visa. When she arrived in the United States, however, he did
not follow through on any of his promises. He refused to support her
going to school, and indeed would not let her leave the house for fear
that other men might find her attractive and steal her away. He also
refused to file immigration papers for her
and threatened her with deportation if she ever disobeyed his orders.
After the birth of their first child, Martin began physically abusing
Yaa. He slapped her if she questioned his authority or asked about her
immigration status. He spat on her if she refused to have sex with him.
He used a hidden recording device to tape all of her phone
conversations. As a result, she came to feel that she was a prisoner in
her own home.
On one occasion, Martin beat Yaa with his fists and a bottle of
alcohol. Yaa suffered severe facial injuries and had to be rushed to a
hospital by ambulance for treatment. This incident resulted in Martin's
arrest and prosecution for domestic violence. Martin retaliated by
refusing to pay the mortgage, buy food, or other necessities. At that
point, with the help of her best friend, Yaa moved out, found a job,
and filed a self-petition under VAWA. INS approved her self-petition,
and Yaa has obtained a restraining order against Martin.
Unfortunately, she still has to go to Nigeria to obtain a visa in
order to complete the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident.
And this is a major problem. Martin's family in Nigeria blames her for
Martin's conviction. They have called her from there and threatened to
have her deported because she ``brought shame'' to the family. They
also know where she lives in Nigeria and they have threatened to hurt
her and kidnap the children if she comes back. She has no one in the
U.S. to leave the children with if she were to return alone. She is
also frightened of what Martin's family will do to her if she sets foot
Yaa should be allowed to complete the process of becoming a lawful
permanent resident here in the United States, without facing these
risks. Our legislation will give her the means to do so.
Of all the victims of domestic abuse, the immigrant dependent on an
abusive spouse for her right to be in this country faces some of the
most severe problems. In addition to the ordinary difficulties that
confront anyone trying to deal with an abusive relationship, the
battered immigrant also is afraid that if she goes to the authorities,
she risks deportation at the instance of her abusive spouse, and either
having her children deported too or being separated from them and
unable to protect them.
We in Congress who write the immigration laws have a responsibility
to do what we can to make sure they are not misused in this fashion.
That is why I am so pleased that the final version of this legislation
includes this and other important provisions.
I would like to extend special thanks to Senator Kennedy and his
staff, especially Esther Olavarria, who has worked tirelessly on this
portion of the bill; to Senator Hatch and his staff, especially Sharon
Prost, whose assistance in crafting these provisions and willingness to
invest time, effort and capital in making the case for them has been
indispensable; to Senator Biden and his staff, especially Bonnie Robin-
Vergeer, whose commitment to these provisions has likewise been vital;
to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Hyde and House Crime Subcommittee
Chairman Bill McCollum, for their support at key moments; to the
indefatigable Leslye Orloff of the NOW Legal Defense Fund, whose
ability to come up with the ``one more thing'' desperately needed by
battered immigrants is matched only by her good humor and
professionalism in recognizing that the time for compromise has come;
and to the sponsors of H.R. 3244 and S. 2449, for allowing their bill
to become the vehicle for this important legislation.
I would also like to thank all of the organizations in Michigan that
have been working so hard to help in the fight against domestic and
sexual violence. I would like to extend particular thanks to a couple
of the people there who have been particularly helpful to me, to my
wife Jane, and to members of my office as we have been learning about
these issues: to Mary Keefe of the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic
and Sexual Violence, whom I mentioned earlier; to Hedy Nuriel and
Deborah Danton of Haven; to Shirley Pascale of the Council Against
Domestic Assault; to Deborah Patterson of Turning Point, and to Valerie
Hoffman of the Underground Railroad.
I yield the floor.
Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, with the passage of the Violence Against
Women Act in 1994, the Federal Government for the first time adopted a
comprehensive approach to combating violence against women. This bill
included tough new criminal penalties and also created new grant
programs to help both women and children who are victims of family
Since that time, violence against women has significantly decreased.
But in spite of these improvements, far more needs to be done.
Every 20 seconds a woman is raped and/or physically assaulted by an
intimate partner and nearly one-third of women murdered each year are
killed by a husband or boyfriend.
Domestic violence still remains the leading cause of injury to women
ages 15 to 44 and sadly, there are children under the age of twelve in
approximately four out of ten houses that experience domestic violence.
Many victims of domestic violence are not recognized and therefore do
not get the help that they need.
I am happy to report that the conference report includes several
provisions that I authored with Senator Collins to assist both older
and disabled women who are the victims of domestic violence. Those
provisions were part of S. 1987, the Older and Disabled Women's
Protection from Violence Act.
Unfortunately for some, domestic violence is a life long experience.
Those who perpetrate violence against their family members do not stop
because the family member grows older. Neither do they stop because the
family member is disabled. To the contrary, several studies show that
the disabled suffer prolonged abuse compared to non-disabled domestic
violence victims. Violence is too often perpetrated on those who are
In some cases, the abuse may become severe as the victim ages or as
disability increases and the victim becomes more isolated from the
community with their removal from the workforce. Other age-related
factors such as increased frailty may increase a victim's
It also is true that older and disabled victims' ability to report
abuse is frequently confounded by their reliance on their abuser for
care or housing.
Every 7 minutes in Illinois, there is an incidence of elder abuse.
Several research studies have shown that elder abuse is the most
under reported familial crime. It is even more under reported than
child abuse with only between one in eight and one in fourteen
incidents estimated to be reported.
National and State specific statistics are not available for domestic
abuse against disabled individuals. However, several studies of
specific areas indicate that abuse is of longer duration for women with
disabilities compared to women without a disability. Canadian studies
over the last decade indicate that the incidence in that country at
least of battery for women with disabilities was 1.5 times higher than
for women without a disability. 3 other independent studies indicated
that ``Regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or class,
women with disabilities are assaulted, raped and abused at a rate of
more than two times greater than non-disabled women'' Sobsey 1994,
Cusitar 1994, DisAbled Women's Network 1988.
Older and disabled individuals who experience abuse worry they will
be banished to a nursing home or institutions if they report abuse.
Many older women were raised to believe that family business is a
private matter. Problems within families were not to be discussed with
anyone, especially strangers or counselors.
They also must struggle with the ethical dilemma of reporting abuse
by their children to the authorities and thus increasing their child's
likelihood of going to jail. Shame and fear gag them so that they
remain ``silent victims.''
Disabled women also wrestle with the fear that they may lose their
children in a custody case if they report abuse.
This bill includes modifications of the STOP law enforcement state
grants program and the ProArrest grants program to increase their
sensitivity to the needs of older and disabled women. These programs
provide funding for services and training for officers and prosecutors
for dealing with domestic
violence. This training needs to be sensitive to the needs of all
victims, young and old, disabled and non-disabled. The images portrayed
in the media of the victims of domestic violence generally depict a
young woman, with small children. Consequently, many people including
law enforcement officers may not readily identify older or disabled
victims as suffering domestic abuse.
Only a handful of domestic abuse programs throughout the country are
reaching out to older and disabled women and law enforcement rarely
receive training in identifying victims who are either older or
The bill also sets up a new training program for law enforcement,
prosecutors and others to appropriately identify, screen and refer
older and disabled women who are the victims of domestic violence.
Improvement in this program can be made with respect to identifying
abuse among all age groups especially seniors who are often overlooked.
When the abuser is old, there may be a reticence on the part of law
enforcement to deal with this person in the same way that they might
deal with a younger person. Who wants to send an ``old guy'' to jail?
However, lack of action jeopardizes the victim further because then the
abuser has every reason to believe that there are no consequences for
their actions. Another common problem is differentiating between
injuries related to abuse and injuries arising from aging, frailty or
illness. Too many older or disabled women's broken bones have been
attributed to disorientation, osteoporosis, or other age-related
vulnerabilities without any questions being asked to make sure that
they are not the result of abuse.
With the graying of America, the problems of elder domestic abuse in
all its many ugly manifestations, is likely to grow. I believe that we
need to take a comprehensive look at our existing family violence
programs and ensure that these programs serve seniors and are sensitive
and knowledgeable of elder domestic abuse.
In addition, the disabled's injuries may be falsely attributed to
their disability and the bill authorizes a new program for education
and training for the needs of disabled victims of domestic violence.
I thank Chairman Hatch and Senator Biden for working with me to
include these provisions that should help to ensure that Federal Anti-
Family Violence Programs are indeed available for all victims whether
young or old, or whether able-bodied or a woman with a disability.
In just the past year, the Supreme Court offered an important ruling
on the Violence Against Women Act. The decision was certainly not one
that I would have hoped for.
In the case of U.S. v. Morrison, the Supreme Court struck down a
provision of the Violence Against Women Act that gave victims of rape
and domestic violence the right to sue their attackers in federal
court. Congress passed this law to give women an additional means of
pursuing justice when they are the victims of assault. We passed this
law because the States themselves did not always adequately pursue
rapists and assailants. And the States acknowledged this.
Thirty-six States had entered this suit on behalf of the woman who
had been victimized. They wanted victims of violence against women to
retain the right to bring their attackers to court. But the Supreme
Court, in a narrow vote, decided otherwise. The vote: five to four.
This action by the Senate reauthorizing the Violence Against Women
Act will overcome that court decision.
Mr. ASHCROFT. Mr. President, I would like to offer my strong support
for the conference report on H.R. 3244, a bill that will strengthen our
laws in order to protect women, children and all victims of domestic
violence. The conference report that we will vote on today includes
several sections, each of which provides additional protections for
vulnerable members of society.
First, the bill contains the Trafficking Victims Protection Act,
legislation that has been the passion of the Senator from Kansas, Mr.
Brownback, and the Senator from Minnesota, Mr. Wellstone. This
legislation will combat sexual trafficking of women and children--the
deepest violation of human dignity and an unspeakable tragedy. Second,
the conference report contains a bill that we have heard a lot about in
the last several weeks--the reauthorization of the Violence Against
Women Act--to provide funding for programs to combat domestic violence
and assist victims of domestic violence--both male and female. The
original Violence Against Women Act authorization expired on October 1,
2000, and I am pleased to be a cosponsor of the reauthorization bill
sponsored by Senators Hatch and Biden (S. 2787). The third main section
of the bill contains anti-crime measures including provisions to
encourage States to incarcerate, for long prison terms, individuals
convicted of murder, rape, and dangerous sexual offenses. Together,
these provisions form a comprehensive approach to fighting abuse
against the most vulnerable members of society.
It is tragic that as we stand on the brink of the 21st Century the
world is still haunted by the practice of international trafficking of
women and children for sex, forced labor and for other purposes that
violate basic human rights. The frequency of these practices is
frightening. For example, an estimated 10,000 women from the former
Soviet Union have been forced into prostitution in Israel; two million
children are forced into prostitution every year, half of them in Asia;
and more than 50,000 women are trafficked into the United States every
year. Unfortunately, existing laws in the United States and other
countries are inadequate to deter trafficking, primarily because they
do not reflect the gravity of the offenses involved. Where countries do
have laws against sexual trafficking, there is too often no
enforcement. For example, in 1995, the Netherlands prosecuted 155 cases
of forced prostitution, and only four resulted in the conviction of the
traffickers. In some countries, enforcement against traffickers is
hindered by indifference, corruption, and even official participation.
The conference report before us seeks to improve the lives of women
and children around the world by providing severe punishment for
persons convicted of operating trafficking enterprises within the
United States and the possibility of severe economic penalties against
traffickers located in other countries. In addition, it provides
assistance and protection for victims, including authorization of
grants to shelters and rehabilitation programs, and a limited provision
for relief from deportation for victims who would face retribution or
other hardships if deported. The bill also creates an Interagency Task
Force to monitor and combat trafficking, in order to facilitate and
evaluate progress in trafficking prevention, victim assistance, and the
prosecution of traffickers. I would like to thank the Senator from
Kansas for his tireless work on this issue, and am pleased to support
The second main section of this conference report, the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2000, reauthorizes the Violence Against
Women Act through Fiscal Year 2005. VAWA contains a number of grant
programs, including the STOP grants, Pro-Arrest grants, Rural Domestic
Violence and Child Abuse Enforcement grants, the National Domestic
Violence Hotline, and three programs for victims of child abuse,
including the court-appointed special advocate program (CASA). In
addition, there are targeted improvements to the original language that
have been made, such as providing funding for transitional housing
assistance, expanding several of the key grant programs to cover
violence that arises in dating relationships, and authorizing grants
for legal assistance for victims of domestic violence, stalking, and
There is another issue that has been raised recently and that is the
eligibility of men to receive benefits and services under the original
Violence Against Women Act and under this bill. It was the original
intent of this legislation to direct federal funds toward the most
pressing problem--that of domestic violence against women, and violence
against women in particular, since the statistics show that the
majority of domestic violence is perpetrated against women. But
although women are more often victims of such violence than men, it
does not mean that men are never victims, or that the problems of
domestic violence when men are victims should be ignored. It was not,
and is not, the intent of Congress to exclude men who have suffered
domestic abuse or sexual assaults from receiving benefits and services
under the Violence Against Women Act. Maybe the bill should be renamed
the ``Stop Domestic Violence Act'' in order to more accurately reflect
the purposes of this bill. The Act defines such key terms as ``domestic
violence'' and ``sexual assault,'' which are used to determine
eligibility under several of the grant programs, in gender-neutral
language. Men who have suffered these types of violent attacks are
eligible under current law to apply for services and benefits that are
funded under the original Act--and they will remain eligible under the
Violence Against Women Act of 2000--whether it be for shelter space
under the Family Violence Protection and Services Act, or counseling by
the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or legal assistance in
obtaining a protection order under the Legal Assistance for Victims
program. I am pleased that this clarification was added to this bill.
I am committed to confronting domestic violence because I believe
that all forms of violence and crime destroy lives, hopes, and
opportunities. All citizens should be safe from violence at home, in
their neighborhoods and at schools. Protecting public safety is a
fundamental duty of government, and we must make it clear to criminals
that if they commit crime and violence, they will be punished swiftly
Domestic violence has been a problem in the State of Missouri. In
1999, according to data from the Highway Patrol Criminal Records
Division, there were 754 incidents for every 100,000 Missourians. This
number is too high, despite the fact that it has been falling from a
high of 815/100,000 in 1997. The early nineties saw a disturbing rise
in domestic violence reports, from 657 per 100,000 Missourians in 1993
to the high in 1997.
I have worked aggressively in the past, while in service to the state
of Missouri, to confront domestic violence. As Governor, I established
a special Task Force on Domestic Violence. This task force conducted a
comprehensive review of domestic violence in Missouri and researched
the efficiency of various programs and services for victims of abuse.
Additionally, I supported the Adult Abuse Act of 1989, which provided
new protection against domestic violence as well as new services for
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I would like
to enter into the Record an article by Doctor Hank Clever, a well-known
pediatrician in St. Charles, Missouri. This article appeared in The St.
Charles County Post, on October 2, 2000. Dr. Clever outlines the
severity of the problem of domestic violence and provides a checklist
of behaviors that may help one distinguish if you or someone you know
is being abused.
The conference report we are voting on today provides real tools to
combat violence against women and children, here in the United States
and around the world, as well as new resources to curb domestic
violence of all types. I support this conference report and thank
Senator Brownback for his leadership in the fight against sex-
trafficking, Senators Hatch and Biden for their work in the
reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and the other
members of the Conference Committee for their success in fashioning
such strong legislation.
There being no objections, this article was ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows.
[From the St. Charles County (MO) Post, Oct. 2, 2000]
Domestic Violence, in All Forms, Is the Leading Cause of Injury for
Women Ages 15-44
(By Dr. Hank Clever)
Hank Clever is a well-known pediatrician in St. Charles.
Since retiring from private practice in 1998, Dr. Clever has
continued to speak to community groups and organizations
about a variety of health-related topics. The Doctor Is In
column runs each Monday in the St. Charles County Post. Send
questions for Dr. Clever to the Doctor Is In, c/o Public
Relations Department, St. Joseph Health Center, 300 First
Capitol Drive, St. Charles, Mo. 63301.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Before you think, ``Oh, that doesn't affect me,'' think
again. Domestic violence affects everyone in the community--
abuser, victim, children, family, employers, co-workers and
friends. The U.S. surgeon general says domestic violence is
the leading cause of injury to women ages 15-44. Domestic
violence is more common than rapes, muggings and auto
Domestic violence isn't limited by socioeconomic status,
race, ethnicity, age, education, employment status, physical
ability or marital status. And, although some men are abused
by women, the majority of domestic violence victims are
female, making domestic violence one of the most serious
public health issues facing women today.
Cathy Blair is with the AWARE program. AWARE stands for
Assisting Women with Advocacy, Resources and Education. She
is working with the staff at SSM St. Joseph Health Center,
SSM St. Joseph Hospital West and the Catholic Community
Services of St. Charles County to present a program called
``Strengthening Our Response: The Role of Health Care
Provider in Ending Domestic Violence'' on Thursday, Oct. 12,
at St. Joseph Health Center.
``Health care providers are often on the front lines to
recognize abuse. Their response to the victim and the abuser
can be crucial to proper treatment not only of the immediate
trauma, but also long-term problem of abuse,'' Blair told me.
When most people think of domestic violence, they think of
battered women. However, domestic violence can take many
forms, including psychological abuse, emotional abuse,
economic abuse, sexual abuse and even legal abuse when a
women tries to leave an unhealthy relationship.
``Recognizing what behaviors are part of domestic violence
is not always easy, even for victims themselves,'' Blair
said. ``This is in part because domestic violence is much
more than physical abuse.''
Blair offers the following checklist of behaviors that may
help you distinguish if you or someone you know is being
Does your partner use emotional and psychological control--
call you names, yell, put you down, constantly criticize or
undermine you and your abilities, behave in an overprotective
way, become extremely jealous, make it difficult for you to
see family or friends, bad-mouth you to family and friends,
prevent you from going where you want to, or humiliate and
embarrass you in front of other people?
Does your partner use economic control--deny you access to
family assets such as bank accounts, credit cards or car,
control all the finances, make you account for what you
spend, or take your money, prevent you from getting or
keeping a job or from going to school, limit your access to
health, prescription or dental insurance?
Does your partner make threats--make you afraid by using
looks, actions or gestures, threaten to report you to the
authorities for something you didn't do, threaten to harm or
kidnap the children, display weapons as a way of making you
afraid, use his anger as a threat to get what he wants?
Does your partner commit acts of physical violence--carry
out threats to you, your children, pets, family members,
friends, or himself, destroy personal property or throw
things around, grab, push, hit, punch, slap, kick, choke, or
bite you, force you to have sex when you don't want to,
engage in sexual acts that you don't want to do, prevent
you from taking medications or getting medical care, deny
you access to foods, fluids or sleep?
If any of these things are happening in your relationship,
Blair wants you to know that you are not alone and you have a
right to be safe. ``Millions of women are abused by their
partners every year,'' she said. ``For free, safe and
confidential services, call AWARE at 314-362-9273.''
In addition to AWARE, many other domestic violence
resources, including shelters, support services and legal
services are available. The AWARE staff will be happy to give
you that information.
Physicians, nurses, social workers, risk managers, students
and Allied Health professionals who would like to learn more
about domestic violence and the important role they can play
in identifying and stopping it, should plan to attend the
program. The conference is free and includes complimentary
parking and lunch, but registration in required. Call 636-
947-5621 for more information and to register.
Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, today I rise to support the passage of
H.R. 3244, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, VAWA.
In 1994, when I voted in favor of the Violence Against Women Act I
supported the purposes of the legislation and I believed the grants
authorized in VAWA would provide the resources needed by New Mexico
organizations, local governments and tribal governments to
tackle the growing problem of domestic violence. Now it is six years
later and I am pleased to report that I have witnessed first-hand the
many benefits of VAWA to New Mexico. I now realize how important VAWA
was to New Mexico and I fully appreciate the strides New Mexico was
able to make as a result of this legislation. Women and families in New
Mexico have benefitted tremendously from VAWA and I rise today to lend
my support to passage of VAWA II.
In New Mexico, we now have several organizations that are devoted to
stopping violence against women. One example is the PeaceKeepers
Domestic Violence Program based at San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico.
PeaceKeepers is a domestic violence program that serves individuals
that reside within the Eight Northern Pueblos which include the pueblos
of Nambe, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, San Juan, Santa Clara,
Tesuque and Taos. Peacekeepers is a consortium of individuals and is
comprised of social workers, counselors, victims advocates, a civil
attorney and a prosecutor. Because of VAWA grants, PeaceKeepers has
been able to implement a comprehensive approach to address domestic
violence in Indian Country.
The social workers and counselors provide counseling to victims,
batterers and children of victims. Approximately twenty men have
completed the 24 week batterers therapy program and are working to
improve their lives and the lives of their families. The victims
advocates provide support in court, assist with obtaining and enforcing
protection orders and aid victims with legal matters and basic housing
needs. The prosecutor on the Peacekeepers panel is made possible
because of a VAWA Rural Victimization grant.
PeaceKeepers also provides training for tribal courts, law
enforcement and tribal government personnel on domestic violence
issues. The civil attorney also assists victims with legal assistance
on matters such as child support, custody issues and protection orders.
Safety for victims and accountability for offenders is the primary goal
of PeaceKeepers. In the end, PeaceKeepers is about providing
information, options and advocacy to victims of domestic violence.
When VAWA passed in 1994, the States and local organizations were
finally provided with the resources they needed to implement programs
to respond to the problem of violence against women. I am told
repeatedly by sheriffs in counties throughout New Mexico that their
urgent calls are usually the result of a domestic violence situation
occurring. While VAWA has not stopped domestic violence from occuring,
it has provided law enforcement agencies and courts with the training
and resources they need to respond to domestic violence cases. Most
importantly, VAWA has provided States and local organizations with the
resources to begin tackling the underlying problems of domestic
violence and given them resources to develop innovative methods to
start breaking the cycle of violence in our communities.
Another organization in New Mexico that I am proud to support is the
Esperanza Domestic Violence Shelter in northern New Mexico. I became
acquainted with Esperanza a few years ago when they approached me
because they were having trouble meeting the needs of their community.
Esperanza operates in four counties and in 1998, Esperanza helped more
than 2,000 people, including 1,100 victims of domestic violence, 510
children and teens and 424 abusers. As the name indicates, Esperanza
offers women and families hope. Hope that they can live in a safe home,
hope that they can survive outside of an abusive relationship and hope
that they can offer a better life for their children. Esperanza has
provided the supportive services needed for victims that reside in the
extensive rural areas of New Mexico--victims who were often overlooked
I am very disappointed that it has taken so long for the Senate to
take up and reauthorize VAWA. Last year when the reauthorization bill
was introduced by Senator Biden, I agreed to cosponsor the legislation
because I understand the importance of VAWA to New Mexico. Since 1994,
New Mexico agencies have received over $17 million in VAWA grants.
These VAWA grants have reached all four corners of my state and they
have impacted the lives of thousands of New Mexicans.
One of the benefits of VAWA is that it authorized grants to address a
variety of problems associated with violence against women. In 1999,
Northern New Mexico Legal Services, Inc. received $318,500 under the
Civil Legal Assistance grant program. In 1998, the City of Albuquerque
received $482,168 under the Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies grant
program. And between 1996 and this year, 20 New Mexico organizations
received grants under the Rural Domestic Violence and Child Abuse grant
program--20 grants totaling over $6.5 million.
In addition, Indian tribes in New Mexico have benefitted
significantly from the passage of VAWA. So far, nine tribal governments
and tribal-related organizations received nearly $2 million in grants
under the Violence Against Women Discretionary Grants for Indian
Programs. I am pleased to see that the pueblos of Acoma, Jemez, Laguna,
San Felipe, Santa Ana and Zuni have been proactive and sought out these
VAWA grants to make their pueblos a safer place for women and a better
place for families. The State of New Mexico has also benefitted
enormously from VAWA. Since 1995, the New Mexico Crime Victims
Reparations Commission has been awarded over $6 million in VAWA funds.
Unless VAWA is reauthorized, domestic violence shelters in New Mexico
will be closed, rape crisis centers will be shut down and thousands of
victims of violence will be left without the options they have been
provided under VAWA. This isn't speculation. I have received calls from
police chiefs, shelter directors, church leaders, and other citizens
who have told me that they will have to shut down their programs unless
VAWA is reauthorized. Moreover, many prosecutors in New Mexico will
lose the resources they have utilized to prosecute crimes against
women. Because of the objections to bringing up VAWA for debate in the
Senate, the original VAWA was allowed to expire on September 30th. That
should not have happened. The House of Representatives voted
overwhelmingly in favor of reauthorizing VAWA by a vote of 415-3 before
VAWA expired. We need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and
we need to do it now.
While violence in the United States has fallen dramatically over the
past 6 years, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that almost one-
third of women murdered each year are killed by a husband or boyfriend.
I believe the drop in crime we have experienced over the past 6 years
is partly attributable to the passage of VAWA and the resources it made
available to combat violence against women. We should not turn back the
clock and go back to the level of violence we experienced in 1993. We
should not go back to the days when people did not discuss domestic
violence and women in abusive relationships lacked options for them and
I commend Senator Leahy and Senator Biden for their work on VAWA and
their commitment to stopping domestic violence in this country. The
amendments to VAWA will take the program further and expand the number
of people benefitting from VAWA grants. I am pleased that the amount
available for use by Indian tribal governments under the STOP grants
was increased from 4 percent to 5 percent. In addition, 5 percent of
the $40 million Rural Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Enforcement
grants will be set aside for use by Indian tribal governments in the
I am also pleased to see that institutions of higher education will
be provided with resources to address violence on college campuses.
Schools will now be able to utilize $30 million in VAWA grants to
install lighting and other deterrent measures to enhance the security
of their campuses.
I also support the addition of transitional housing assistance to the
VAWA. Many individuals who stay in abusive relationships often do so
because they are financially dependent on their abuser. Transitional
housing assistance will provide these victims and their families with
temporary housing while they regain their financial independence.
The battered immigrant women provision is also important to many New
Mexico residents. No longer will battered immigrant women and children
be faced with deportation for reporting an abuser on whom they may be
dependent on for an immigration benefit. No person residing in the
United States should be immune from prosecution for committing a
violent crime because of a loophole in an immigration law.
Mr. President, VAWA is worthy legislation that is good for New Mexico
and women and families across the country. VAWA should be reauthorized
and passed in the form proposed today.
Mr. JEFFORDS. Mr. President, I rise today to enthusiastically support
this conference report which contains the important reauthorization of
the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Over five years ago, Congress recognized the need for the Federal
Government to take action and help combat domestic violence by passing
VAWA. I was proud to be a cosponsor of that important legislation and
have been pleased with the positive impact it has had in Vermont and
around the United States.
The Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault has
been a leader in creating innovative and effective programs toward our
goal of eliminating domestic violence. Vermont has used funding under
VAWA to provide shelter to battered women and their children and
``wrap-around'' services for these victimized families. Through VAWA,
Vermont has also been able to help victims access legal assistance in
the form of trained attorneys and advocacy services. In addition to
fully utilizing funding available to train and educate law enforcement
and court personnel, I am proud to say that Vermont is a national
leader in the education and training of health care, welfare and family
service workers who are likely to come in contact with victims of
While we have made advances in combating domestic violence in Vermont
and all around the United States by programs funded through VAWA, there
is still more work to be done. Every nine seconds across the country an
individual falls victim to domestic violence. Recently, this statistic
was brought home when churches and town halls in Vermont rang their
bells in recognition and to raise awareness of this tragic violence
that impacts so many lives. We must continue and strengthen our focus
on this important issue.
I was proud to be an original cosponsor of this reauthorization when
it was introduced this June, and feel that this legislation made many
important improvements and additions to the programs and funding of
VAWA while ensuring the maintenance of its core focus of combating
domestic violence. Some important provisions of this legislation to
Reauthorization of current domestic violence programs through the
Department of Health and Human Services and increasing funding for
these programs so they can provide more shelter space to accommodate
more people in need;
Extension of the discretionary grant program which mandates and
encourages police officers to arrest abusers;
Creation of a five percent set aside towards State domestic violence
Extension of state programs that deal with domestic violence in rural
Establishment of a new grant program to educate and train providers
to better meet the needs of disabled victims of domestic violence.
In addition, I want to thank Senator Hatch and Senator Biden for
including a reauthorization of the Family Violence Prevention and
Services Act in the Violence Against Women Act. As the primary source
of funding for local shelters, the Family Violence Prevention and
Services Act is a vital cornerstone in the Federal response to domestic
violence. This reauthorization ensures that this program can continue
to grow with an increased authorization level. The Family Violence
Prevention and Services Act is normally part of the Child Abuse
Prevention and Treatment Act reauthorization process which is scheduled
to be completed next year. As Chairman of the Committee on Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions, I will be working with domestic violence
organizations to see what, if any, changes need to be made in the
Family Violence Prevention and Treatment Act to increase its capacity
to serve the victims of family violence.
I am pleased with the fine work of Senators Biden and Hatch in
crafting the original VAWA, and that these two Senators were able to
further formulate a bipartisan, compromise version of this
reauthorization which I was happy to cosponsor.
Since July, I have both written and talked to the Majority Leader
calling for Senate consideration of this important legislation. While
it was somewhat delayed, I am grateful that the Senate will be
endorsing the reauthorization of VAWA today. While the reauthorization
of VAWA is an important step, I remain committed to continuing to enact
legislation to eliminate domestic violence in Vermont and all around
the United States.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, today the Senate is taking up and voting on
the Trafficking Victims Protection Act Conference Report, which
includes the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. I
commend the sponsors of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. It is
estimated that approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked
in the United States every year, many of whom are sexually exploited
and forced into involuntary servitude. This bill will provide a
comprehensive approach to prevent trafficking as well as ensure
vigorous prosecution of those involved in this deplorable practice.
I am also pleased that this bill includes the Violence Against Women
Act, VAWA, which has provided an unparalleled level of support for
programs to end domestic and sexual violence. VAWA grants have made it
possible for communities across the nation to provide shelter and
counseling for hundreds of thousands of women and their children. Since
1995, more than $1.5 billion has been appropriated under VAWA's grant
programs. Michigan has been awarded about $50 million in Federal grants
under VAWA. Those grants provided invaluable resources to survivors of
domestic and sexual violence in Michigan. For example, Rural grants
have permitted 12 rural counties in Michigan to hire full time
advocates for providing services to victims through outreach programs.
VAWA Civil Legal Assistance Grants have allowed more than 5 Michigan
communities to develop Civil Legal Assistance Programs, which provide
quality legal assistance to hundreds of women and children. In
addition, 35 Sexual Assault Services Programs and more than 20 Sexual
Assault Prevention Programs have been created or strengthened in our
state as a direct result of VAWA.
Furthermore, VAWA has been tremendously successful in the training of
judges, court personnel, prosecutors, police and victims' advocates.
Mary Keefe, Executive Director of the Michigan Coalition Against
Domestic and Sexual Violence, explained in a letter to me that ``with
the heightened training of police, prosecutors, and other in the
criminal justice field, many of these systems are now routinely
referring the victims they encounter to domestic violence and rape
VAWA programs have been especially important to women in rural
communities, where support networks had been limited due to distance.
Here is just one case of such a victim--forwarded to me from the
Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence--whose life was
possibly saved by a VAWA grant.
``Jamie'' (not her real name) was referred to the Domestic
Violence Program by the Prosecutor. Jamie had shared with the
prosecutor that she was ``afraid for life,'' and that she was
afraid to participate in prosecution because of repercussions
she may have to bear from her assailant. She soon fell out of
contact with the prosecutor and the case against her
assailant was on shaky ground.
The county prosecutor referred Jamie to the VAWA funded
advocate. She came to the program in January, reluctant and
fearful, but open to talking to the advocate. The advocate
was able to provide two full days of intensive interaction
with this survivor. Counseling her, preparing a safety plan
for her and her children, telling her how the legal system
works and preparing her for what she could expect each step
of the way.
The advocate was actually able to pick Jamie up, drive her
to court each time, sit by her, reassure her throughout the
process, listen to her when she was angry and fearful,
explain what was going on, and nurture her through the
process of being a witness to this case.
The perpetrator was eventually convicted on several counts,
and is serving time in the County jail.
Jamie has begun picking up the pieces of her life and is
hopefully on the road to safety.
Despite the successes of VAWA, almost 900,0000 women continue to be
victims of domestic violence each year, making it the number one health
risk for women between the ages of 15 and 44. This Violence Against
Women Act Reauthorization will build on the successes of VAWA by more
than doubling the amount available for programs to support women and
children subject to domestic abuse.
Although I support the underlying Trafficking Victims Protection Act,
I am concerned about a provision in this bill referred to as Aimee's
Law. When the Senator from Pennsylvania introduced this provision as an
amendment to he juvenile justice bill, I was one of the few who voted
against it. I understand the positive motive of those who support this
provision and I agree that we should act to limit the number of
tragedies that occur when persons convicted of serious offenses are
paroled and then subsequently commit the same offense, but I do not
support this unworkable procedure.
I remain concerned that this bill will federalize state criminal
court systems. Currently, the crimes covered in this bill are defined
differently in different states, which is appropriate since the 50
state court systems handle 95 percent of all criminal cases in this
country. It is inappropriate to apply federal definitions and federal
sentencing guidelines to criminal cases tried in state courts. I also
remain concerned about how the penalties will be imposed since the
average terms of imprisonment imposed by states are different than
actual lengths of imprisonment and the cost of incarceration can not be
known unless one can predict life expectancy.
On balance, I will vote for this Conference Report because I strongly
support the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and Violence Against
Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the Violence
Against Women Act of 2000, which is included in the conference report
for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (H.R. 3244). Current
authorization for these programs expired at the end of September, and I
believe that we must take immediate action to ensure that these
programs are reauthorized before we go home. This bill has broad
support on both sides of the aisle, with 73 cosponsors.
Domestic violence, no matter who commits it, is an extremely serious
and tragically common crime that devastates families and takes a great
toll on our society. Moreover, domestic violence often goes unreported,
in large part because the incident is seen as a private and personal
issue or because of the fear of a repeated attack by the assailant.
In my view, Congress must continue to address domestic violence in a
comprehensive manner by providing resources for states and communities
to disseminate education about domestic violence; provide counseling to
the victim, the aggressor, and any children in the family; and ensure
shelter to every person and child who needs to leave their home due to
domestic violence. It is also important that health professionals are
trained to identify and treat the medical conditions arising from
domestic violence. This is a crime that we must put an end to and we
must let those people who are suffering know there is help on the way.
Violence knows no gender barriers, but we must not turn a blind eye
to the fact that women are especially likely to be vulnerable to danger
and crime. The Violence Against Women Act is a critical tool in our
fight to combat domestic violence across America. It is an absolutely
essential bill for our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, relatives,
friends, and co-workers.
One of the most important issues facing women today is the threat of
violence. Three to four million American women are battered by their
husbands or partners every single year. At least a third of all female
emergency room patients are battered women. A third of all homeless
women and children in the U.S. are fleeing domestic violence. At least
5,000 women are beaten to death each year. A woman in the United States
is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped, or killed by a male
partner than by any other assailant. And women are six times more
likely than men to be the victims of a violent crime.
This is more than just a nightmare for women. It is an America that
millions of women and girls must wake up to each day. It is a grim
reality millions of women and girls must enter each day of their lives
just to go to work or attend school. It is real life America for
millions of women and girls. And it is an unspeakable tragedy.
How many of us were shocked in June to read that women were attacked
in New York City's Central Park in broad daylight following a parade?
For days afterward we read headlines entitled ``Defenseless in the
Park'' . . . ``Six More Arrested in Sex Attacks in Park'' . . .
``Police Study Central Park Mob's 35-Minute Binge of Sexual Assault.''
The litany of tragedy and violence against the women assaulted that day
in Central Park paints a full, stark and disheartening picture of a
nation unable to protect a woman's safety.
One of the victims, Emma Sussman Starr, wrote the New York Times
about her attack and about the prevalence of violence against women in
America. She said: ``Women learn early which streets are safe to walk
on, when it's safe to be there and even how to walk (hands wrapped
around keys, eyes straight ahead). We accept that we must pay for our
safety in the form of cabs and doorman buildings in more expensive
neighborhoods.'' What a sad statement.
The threat of violence is pervasive, and as Ms. Starr writes, it
influences every decision a woman makes. Every time a woman changes her
pattern of behavior--for example, when she walks home from work a
different way--in order to avoid potential violence such as rape,
stalking, domestic assault, she is ultimately making a decision about
how to live her life.
The original Violence Against Women Act, enacted in 1994, was a
landmark piece of legislation. For the first time, Congress took a
comprehensive look at the problem of violence against women, created
the programs, and funded the shelters to help women out of these
violent situations. Since then, thousands of women across the country
have been given the opportunity to free themselves from violence.
But the problem of violence against women has not been solved in
these six years since the original bill was signed into law. We must
continue to talk about ways in which we can guarantee women's safety,
further secure women's rights, and strengthen our ability as a nation
to protect those inalienable rights as guaranteed under the
After all, how can we defend a woman's right to ``life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness'' when we cannot as a nation protect women
from ``Rape, battery, and the onslaught of violence?''
The Violence Against Women Act of 2000 reauthorizes these fundamental
programs. The bill provides funding for grants to prevent campus crimes
against women; extends programs to prevent violence in rural areas;
builds on the progress we have made in constructing shelters for women
who are victims of violent crimes; and strengthens protections for
older women from violence.
I believe that no matter whatever else Congress does for women--from
enacting public policies and designing specific programs aimed to
promote women's health, education, economic security, or safety, we
must also ensure that women have equal protection under our country's
law and in our constitution. Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women
Act programs is an important step in this direction.
It isn't often that Congress can claim to enact a law that literally
may mean life or death for a person. The Violence Against Women Act is
such a law, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, we will not have the opportunity to vote
today on the merits of Aimee's Law, but instead, on a jurisdictional
issue regarding whether the bill was properly included in the Sex
Trafficking Conference Report. Because I believe the jurisdictional
objection is unfounded and I am unwilling to jeopardize the passage of
the other significant pieces of legislation included in the Conference
Report--most importantly, the Biden-Hatch Violence Against Women
Act of 2000--I will vote against Senator Thompson's point of order.
I supported a similar version of Aimee's Law in the form of an
amendment to the Juvenile Justice bill last year. Upon reflection,
however, I believe that my support was misplaced. I am troubled by this
legislation from both a practical and a constitutional perspective.
Aimee's Law requires the Attorney General, in any case in which a
State convicts an individual of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual
offense, when that individual has a prior conviction for any one or
more of those offenses in another State, to transfer federal law
enforcement assistance funds that have been allocated to the first
State in an amount equal to the costs of incarceration, prosecution,
and apprehension of that individual, to the second State. The bill
contains a ``safe harbor'' exempting from this substantial penalty
those States in which No. 1 the individual offender at issue has served
85 percent or more of his term of imprisonment, and No. 2 the average
term of imprisonment imposed by the State for the prior offense at
issue is at or above the average term of imprisonment imposed for that
offense in all States.
As a practical matter, this bill can only promote a ``race to the
top,'' as States feel compelled to ratchet up their sentences--not
necessarily because they view such a shift as desirable public policy--
but in order to avoid losing crucial federal law enforcement funds.
Ironically, those States that are apt to benefit most from federal law
enforcement assistance may well be those with the poorest record of
keeping dangerous offenders behind bars, the same States likely to lose
these valuable crime-fighting funds. Nor can States readily assess
where they stand relative to other States since they are always
striving to hit a moving target and maintain sentences at or above an
elusive average of all state sentences for various qualifying offenses.
The law also will spawn an administrative nightmare for the Attorney
General, who is charged under the legislation with the responsibility
of constantly tabulating and retabulating the average sentences across
the nation for a host of different serious offenses, as well as with
the responsibility of keeping track of which State's federal funds
should be reallocated to which other States every time a released
offender commits another qualifying crime. The law even requires the
Attorney General to consult with the governors of those States with
federal funds at risk to establish a payment schedule. It's no wonder
that the nation's governors so strongly oppose this law.
As a constitutional matter, I have grave concerns about Aimee's Law's
seeming disregard of basic principles of federalism. Congress's
spending authority is undeniably broad. But I have serious reservations
about the wisdom and constitutionality of a law that, instead of
clearly conditioning a federal grant upon a State's performance of a
specific and clearly stated task, penalizes a State for conduct that
occurs after the fact and that is not entirely within the State's
control--the offender's commission of another serious crime in another
State. In this sense, Aimee's Law is far more onerous and far less
respectful of fundamental principles of federal-state comity than a
straightforward law conditioning federal spending upon the States'
adoption of more stringent sentencing laws--the likely result of this
legislation. In a climate in which the U.S. Supreme Court is quick to
strike down Acts of Congress that, in the Court's view, infringe upon
the States' prerogatives, Aimee's Law, I fear, presents an all too
inviting target and needlessly risks creating bad precedent regarding
the scope of Congress's spending authority.
It is my hope that Congress and the President will monitor the
operation of this law and revisit it if necessary.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I rise to thank the Senator from
Tennessee for having the courage to speak out against this ill-advised
legislation known as Aimee's law. I say he has courage because there is
a lot of emotion involved in any debate concerning serious violent
crime such as murder, rape, or other sexual offenses. Some have said it
is dangerous to vote against, much less speak against, any crime bill
that is named after a real person. That is certainly the case here in
this incredibly tragic case that underlies this legislation.
I also know that anything goes in a conference, including adding
provisions for political reasons that do not withstand even the most
basic scrutiny of whether they will work or can even be understood by
the people or the entities that are supposed to abide by them.
I am sorry to say that Aimee's law is bad law--perhaps well
intentioned--but bad law. I will support the Thompson point of order in
order to state my objection to this provision.
The young woman who inspired this bill was tragically raped and
murdered in Pennsylvania. A shocking crime was committed against her,
against her family, and, indeed against all of us. All of us in this
body feel horrible about that crime and its consequences.
But that does not absolve us of the duty to analyze legislation that
comes before us, even if it bears the name of a child who was
tragically killed. This legislation violates important principles of
federalism. It will handcuff our states in their fights against violent
crime. And most important, it just won't work. It won't accomplish what
its sponsor and supporters say they want to accomplish. So I support
Senator Thompson's point of order and hope my colleagues will as well.
Before turning to the bill itself, let me again compliment the
Senator from Tennessee. He has shown time and time again that his
commitment to federalism is principled and real. He does not oppose
federal intrusion into state affairs as a political tactic, as I fear
so many of my colleagues do. He truly believes that our states deserve
autonomy and is willing to stand up for them, even when it is
politically unpopular, as it no doubt is here.
I want the Senator from Tennessee to know that I respect his
principles as well as support them. We miss his judgment and restraint,
I must say, in the Judiciary Committee on which he served until the
beginning of this Congress.
Here, of course, we are not preparing to pass a new federal murder,
rape, or sexual offense statute. But we might as well do that because
in Aimee's Law we are forcing the states through the use of federal law
enforcement assistance funds to increase their penalties for these
offenses. Since when is it the province of the federal government to
determine the sentences for state crimes? That is what we are doing
Mr. President, in addition to furthering the federalization of the
criminal law, this provision is very poorly thought out. As the
National Governors Association, the National Conference of State
Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the Department of
Justice have told us, it won't work. Even if states wish to comply with
this law they won't be able to do.
Here's why: Under this bill, if a person who has been convicted of a
murder, rape or dangerous sexual offense is released from prison and
commits a serious crime in another state, the original state becomes
liable to the second state for all the costs of investigation,
prosecution, and incarceration of the second crime. To avoid that
liability, which the Attorney General must enforce through reallocation
of the second states' federal law enforcement assistance funds, the
second state must comply with two conditions.
First, it must make sure that persons convicted of these serious
offenses serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. So far, so good.
States can comply with that federal sentencing requirement if they want
to avoid risking their federal money. But the federal coercion doesn't
stop there. The state must make sure that the average sentence for the
original crime is greater than the average sentence for such crimes in
all the states. This is a remarkable condition, Mr. President, that
actually makes it impossible for all 50 states to be in compliance at
any one time.
Now Mr. President, think about this. Suppose a state determines that
its average sentence for rape is 20 years, but the average for all
states for that crime is 25 years. So the state raises its sentence to
26 years. That act will
itself change the average sentence for all the states, possibly putting
other states under the average and encouraging them to raise their
sentences. The average sentence for all the states will therefore
almost never be constant or predictable. Every time a state changes its
sentencing guidelines to try to get above the average, the average will
change and other states will be forced to revise their own sentences.
We will have rolling averages and no certainty in sentencing or in the
availability of federal money for important state law enforcement
And that does not even take into account that the average sentence
for an individual state will even sometimes change as different
criminals are convicted and sentenced to slightly different terms. So
the averages that states are supposed to keep track of in order to keep
their law enforcement assistance funds will literally change day by
day. This bill is an administrative nightmare for our states, even if
they want to comply.
I ask unanimous consent that a letter from the Secretary of the
Wisconsin Department of Corrections in opposition to this bill be
printed in the Record at the conclusion of my statement.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
(See Exhibit 1.)
Mr. FEINGOLD. After setting out a number of the difficulties of
complying with this bill, Secretary Jon Litscher concludes the
Given the complexity of administering this bill and pitting
one state against another, I don't believe this legislation
will enhance the criminal justice system.
I believe that Mr. Litscher's view is shared by criminal justice
professionals all over the country, along with Governors and other
elected officials, all of whom are working just as hard to reduce
violent crime as the sponsors of this bill.
I cannot leave this topic of how this provision creates a ``race to
the top'' in sentencing without commenting on how it will effect the
death penalty. Currently, 38 states have the death penalty for some
crimes. That is more than half the states. Now I am not sure how you
calculate an average sentence when some jurisdictions use the death
penalty. But there would certainly be a strong argument that the states
that do not use the death penalty will risk losing federal law
enforcement assistance funds if a convicted murderer is let out on
parole and commits another serious crime. Basically, this policy could
force states to either enact the death penalty or never release a
person convicted of murder on parole.
Now maybe that is what some people want. But I believe that whether
to impose the ultimate penalty of death should be up to the states and
their citizens. Federal coercion has no place in this question of
conscience. A number of states, including my own, have long and proud
histories of opposition to the death penalty. We should not use federal
funds to force them to change their positions.
If this bill had gone through the Judiciary Committee, some of the
difficulties in interpreting and applying it might have been worked
out. Here all the negotiating has gone on behind closed doors. This is
what happens when the normal legislative process is circumvented as it
has been so often this year. It's now the norm for the majority to look
for conference reports as vehicles for bills that they want to enact
without going through the legislative process.
We used to have a rule, as my colleagues know, that prevented items
from being added to a conference report that were beyond the scope of
the conference. Last year, the minority leader offered an amendment to
restore the rule, but it was voted down on a near party line vote.
So now, anything goes in a conference, including adding provisions
for purely political reasons that don't withstand even the most basic
scrutiny of whether they will work, or can even be understood by the
people or entities that are supposed to abide by them. I am sorry to
say that Aimee's law is bad law. Perhaps well-intentioned, but bad law.
I will support the Thompson point of order in order to state my
objection to this provision.
I yield the floor.
State of Wisconsin,
Department of Corrections,
Madison, WI, October 10, 2000.
Hon. Russell D. Feingold,
Dear Senator Feingold: It has come to my attention that the
provisions of H.R. 894 (Aimee's Law) have been attached to
other legislation that may be considered by the United States
Senate on Wednesday, October 11th. I am very concerned about
the negative fiscal/policy ramifications on the Department of
Corrections and the State of Wisconsin.
Aimee's law provides that in any case in which a person is
convicted of a dangerous sexual offense, murder or rape, and
that person has been previously convicted of that offense in
another state, the state of the prior conviction will incur
fiscal liabilities. It will have deducted from its federal
criminal justice funds the cost of apprehension, prosecution
and incarceration of the offender. These funds will then be
transferred to the state where the subsequent offense
This legislation has a very confusing array of provisions.
1. Retroactivity--While this bill has an effective date of
January 1, 2002, it doesn't appear to have an applicability
section that is normally drafted into bills introduced in the
Wisconsin legislature. Many states have passed truth-in-
sentencing laws that make them eligible for federal grant
money. However, a state cannot change the sentencing
structure for persons sentenced under a prior law.
Wisconsin's truth-in-sentencing law (TIS) applies to persons
who commit a felon on or after December 31, 1999 and inmates
must serve 100% of the term of imprisonment imposed by the
2. Section (3)(a), ``the average term of imprisonment
imposed by State . . .'' does not specify the term nor time
period in which the averaging figure applies--does it apply
at the time of sentencing for a similar crime across all
states? Is the average for a specific time frame? Does the
sentencing average only apply to cases sentenced to prison,
or does it include persons sentenced to a jail term and
probation? We don't know what the nationwide average is now
and this figure will constantly be changing.
3. Determination of Comparable State Statutes--There is no
uniform criminal code for all states. It will be very
difficult to determine comparable state statutes to
``Dangerous Sexual Offense,'' ``Murder,'' and ``Rape.'' This
will be subject to significant variation across the nation.
This bill pits each state against the others. The costs
associated with administration of the law, and the resulting
``loss'' of funds may be greater than the grant funds to
which the state would otherwise be entitled. States may opt
to not administer the law (not ``charge'' another state) so
that another state will not charge them. Enforcement of this
law will be dependent upon each state agreeing to fully
implement its provisions.
If the intent of the bill is to insure that each state has
implemented TIS, retroactive application is unnecessary. You
only need to apply the bill to states that haven't passed TIS
and exempt those that have enacted laws that require at least
85% of a term of imprisonment to be served.
Given the complexity of administering this bill and the
pitting of one state against another, I don't believe this
legislation will enhance the criminal justice system.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my comments.
Jon E. Litscher,
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The hour of 4:30 p.m. having arrived, under
the previous order the Senate will now proceed to a vote in relation to
the appeal of the Senator from Tennessee. The question is, Shall the
decision of the Chair stand as the judgment of the Senate? The yeas and
nays have been ordered. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from North Carolina (Mr.
Helms) and the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. Inhofe) are necessarily
I further announce that, if present and voting, the Senator from
Oklahoma (Mr. Inhofe) would vote ``yea.''
Mr. REID. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs.
Feinstein), the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Kerry), and the Senator
from Connecticut (Mr. Lieberman) are necessarily absent.
The result was announced--yeas 90, nays 5, as follows:
[Rollcall Vote No. 268 Leg.]
The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 90; the nays are 5.
The decision of the Chair stands as the judgment of the Senate.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote.
Mr. SANTORUM. I move to lay that motion on the table.
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the conference
Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
There is a sufficient second.
The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk called the roll.
Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from North Carolina (Mr.
Helms) and the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. Inhofe) are necessarily
I further announce that if present and voting, the Senator from
Oklahoma (Mr. Inhofe) would vote ``yea.''
Mr. REID. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs.
Feinstein), the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Kerry), and the Senator
from Connecticut (Mr. Lieberman) are necessarily absent.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber
desiring to vote?
The result was announced--yeas 95, nays 0, as follows:
[Rollcall Vote No. 269 Leg.]
The conference report was agreed to.
Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote, and I move to
lay that motion on the table.
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
Share this page
Bookmark this page
The leading immigration law publisher - over 50000 pages of free information!
© Copyright 1995- American Immigration LLC, ILW.COM