Mar 312015
 

Sexual assault, a longtime problem on college and university campuses, has recently become a national issue. Advocates say schools, fearing negative publicity, are not proactive in investigating or prosecuting those responsible for these violent crimes, the vast number of which are not reported to authorities. A recent survey of 440 colleges showed that many schools ignore provisions of Title IX, which requires them to prevent and investigate sexual assaults, and the 1990 Clery Act, which orders colleges to report violent incidents to authorities. Estimates have put the occurrence of campus rape at about one of every five women during their college career. This estimate corroborates a recent finding that 19% of all American women have been raped during their lifetimes. Some advocates say campus rape is so prevalent that schools which do not report this problem are likely avoiding efforts to address it.

A 2012 study found that 55% of 1,570 colleges and universities with 1,000 or more students received at least one report of a forcible sex offense on campus, including forcible rape, forcible sodomy, forcible fondling and sexual assault with an object. In 2012, there were at least 3,900 reports of forcible sex offenses on campuses nationwide. Of the undergraduate women who are sexually assaulted in college, 34% are physically forced, 57% are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and 4% are given drugs without their knowledge. Only about 12% of all campus rapes are reported to authorities and only 1% of all assailants are ever disciplined by the school. Even so, about 78% of college presidents polled in one survey disagreed that sexual assault was prevalent on their campus, and 75% of presidents believed their institutions were doing a good job protecting women from sexual assault.

Advocates say the first point of contact is crucial for women who have been sexually assaulted. Some schools require victim advisors to publically report rape cases brought to their attention, which may discourage students from seeking help. Others assign a confidential adviser, who explains the reporting process while ensuring services are made available for her. This approach has helped increase the number of victims who decide to report their abuse to the police. Advocates say colleges need to provide safe and supportive environments where students feel comfortable reporting these crimes.

Pending Legislation:
S.706 – SOS Campus Act
H.R.1310 – Campus Accountability and Safety Act

 Posted by at 2:10 am
Jan 152015
 

Each year, there are about 40,000 Americans killed in motor vehicle-related accidents. In 2011, alcohol was a factor in nearly 10,000 of these fatalities. On average, one in every three Americans will be involved in a drunk-driving accident in their lifetime. Almost 1.5 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. However, is estimated that during that year, adults got behind the wheel of a car at least 112 million times after drinking too much. The incidence of drunk driving is the highest (24%) in the 20-25 year-old age group and about one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders. Surveys found that on average, convicted drunk drivers have driven under the influence 80 times before their first arrest.

Pending Legislations:

S.979 & H.R.1665 – Drunk Driving Repeat Offender Prevention Act of 2013

H.R.498 – Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Reauthorization Act

I oppose reforming current drunk driver policy and wish to defeat S.979 & H.R.1665 and H.R.1498

I support withholding a portion of a state’s federal-aid highway funds if that state has not enacted, and is not enforcing, a law requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device for a minimum of 180 days on each motor vehicle operated by an individual convicted of driving while intoxicated, and wish to pass S.979 & H.R.1665

I support collecting data and conducting or supporting new research on underage drinking that improves and conducts public health surveillance of alcohol use and alcohol-related conditions in states among individuals between age 18 and 20 by increasing the use of surveys to monitor binge and excessive drinking and related harms, and wish to pass H.R.1665

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Lacking a precise definition, stalking is a complex crime that is often misunderstood and underreported. Stalking behavior is the unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual towards another person. It is often a combination of individual acts that by themselves may seem benign. All our states have laws against stalking but this crime is only reported to police about 4 of the 10 times it occurs. Rather, victims of stalkers often change their everyday activities, move in with family and block or change their contact information. During 2012, more than 6 million American adults were stalked and 75% of these victims were female. Two-thirds of these female victims were stalked by an intimate partner, 13% by strangers. Stalker behaviors include harassment, intimidation and surveillance of the victim. Many of these victims are also attacked. Women who are victimized by an intimate partner are also much more likely to experience crimes such as physical violence and rape while being stalked. More than 90% of all female homicide victims are killed by someone they know and more than 75% of these women were stalked before being murdered. Guns are the most common weapon used in the deaths of these women.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1177 – Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act

I oppose reforming current stalking policy and wish to defeat H.R.1177

I support extending the prohibition against the shipment, transport, possession, or receipt of a firearm or ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce to: a person who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, threatening, or placing in reasonable fear of bodily injury an intimate partner, a child of such intimate partner, a family member even if such member had never cohabited with such person, an individual who cohabitates or has cohabitated with the person, or an elderly or dependent adult; a person restrained by a court order issued at the request of an employer on behalf of its employee or at the request of an institution of higher education on behalf of its students; and a court order that restrains such a person from intimidating or dissuading a witness from testifying in court, and wish to pass H.R.1177

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Colorado and Washington have recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana and most believe other states are about to follow. Recent surveys have found that 54% of Americans now feel marijuana should be legalized, an increase from 12% in 1969. Additionally, nearly 75% feel that efforts to enforce anti-marihuana laws are more costly than beneficial. Marijuana supporters claim alcohol, tobacco and prescription drug use kills at least 500,000 Americans each year, but no deaths have been directly attributed to marijuana use. They say it is a waste of humanity and resources to incarcerate so many non-violent offenders. They also claim that political pressure, not medical research, caused this drug to be outlawed in 1936. Health advocates claim marijuana use benefits glaucoma patients and relieves the pain of people suffering from cancer and other illnesses. Our pharmaceutical industry must see some truth in this claim since, besides law enforcement, it is one of the strongest forces opposing legalization. Some marijuana opponents claim legalizing marijuana will act as a gateway to the use of dangerous drugs. However, this claim has been refuted by numerous medical studies and only one in three Americans believe this is a real concern.

Pending Legislations:

H.R.499 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013

H.R.2240 – Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current marijuana policy and wish to defeat H.R.499 and H.R.2240

I support ending the federal prohibition against marijuana and removing the listing of marijuana both as a controlled substance for purposes of the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, and as a dangerous drug for purposes of federal criminal code provisions authorizing interception of communications, also as a targeted drug for purposes of the national youth anti-drug media campaign, and wish to pass H.R.499

I support allowing businesses that conduct marijuana sales in compliance with state law to be eligible for IRS tax credits for declaring its expenses as permitted by other legally-operating business and wish to pass H.R.2240

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Reports show that about 75% of all sexually abused children are abused by someone they know. Authorities also know the majority of these incidents are never reported. Most of these unreported incidents are cases of incest. More than one-fifth of all sexual assault victims are under the age of 12 and one of every ten victims is under the age of 5. Although there has been a 50% reduction of child sexual assault crimes since 1990, there are still more than 700,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Victims of childhood sexual abuse often suffer the effects of these crimes well into their adult lives. Advocates say treatment for this disorder has not been promising, so prevention efforts must focus on tracking and apprehending known offenders.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1311 – Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current child sexual abuse policy and wish to defeat H.R.1311

I support withholding state grants for specified child abuse or neglect prevention and treatment programs until the state’s laws provide for a criminal punishment, including a prison term of at least 3,800 days for any individual who is a parent or any other individual providing care to or supervision of a child under age 16 and intentionally inflicts on that child any serious bodily injury, or commits an assault upon that child which results in any serious bodily injury or permanent or protracted loss or impairment of any of the child’s mental or emotional function, and wish to pass H.R.1311

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Critics of the War on Drugs claim not enough resources are used to counter the main cause of our drug problem -the demand for illicit drugs. Health advocates say that like alcoholism, drug addiction is a disease. They claim prison is no cure for millions of American drug users, nor is it the end of their addiction problems. They also claim that compared to incarceration, treatment for drug addiction is cheaper and has more long-term benefits for both drug addicts and society. It could be said that the demand for certain drugs wax and wane over time and that methamphetamine is now the current drug scourge. In 2008, 13 million Americans over the age of 12 were reported to have used methamphetamine and more than 500,000 of those people were regular users. In 2007, nearly 5% of American high-school seniors and 4% of tenth-grade students reported using methamphetamine at least once in their life. Self-reporting by methamphetamine users show many of these addicts first abused cocaine before switching to meth. Those suffering from this insidious addiction often fall into a vicious cycle of crime that includes DUI arrests, suspended driving, resisting arrest, battery, burglary, receiving stolen property and probation violation. This list does not include the many health problems suffered by these addicts. Advocates say that preventing drug abuse will require a multi-faceted strategy, including educational outreach programs and more substance abuse treatment facilities and treatment options.

Pending Legislations:

H.R.752 – Methamphetamine Education, Treatment, and Hope Act of 2013

S.348 & H.R.752 – Methamphetamine Education, Treatment, and Hope Act of 2013

S.348 & H.R672 – Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current drug addiction treatment policy and wish to defeat H.R.752 and S.348 & H.R.672

I support substance abuse residential treatment for pregnant and parenting women to include treatment for addiction to methamphetamine, outpatient treatment services, and referrals for dental services, with priority given to rural areas, areas with a shortage of mental health professionals, or areas with a shortage of family-based substance abuse treatment options and with high rates of addiction to methamphetamine or other drugs, and wish to pass H.R.752

I support awarding grants to states and nonprofit entities for consumer education about opioids and methadone abuse, training requirements for those who prescribe or dispense methadone or other opioids, and requiring registered opioids treatment clinic to make acceptable arrangements for each patient who is restricted from having a take-home dose of a controlled substance related to treatment to receive a dose of that substance under appropriate supervision when the clinic is closed, and wish to pass S.348 & H.R.672

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Identity fraud is defined as the unauthorized use of another person’s personal information for illicit financial gain. Identity theft is our country’s fastest growing crime, increasing 13% in 2011 alone. In order to assume another person’s identity, criminals need only a name, employer, mother’s maiden name, social security number or credit card number. This information is sometimes obtained from merchants, discarded personal papers or by phony telemarketers. Increasingly, it is the vast amount of personal information people place on social networking websites that is frequently used to authenticate a consumers’ identity. Security advocates say these networks are a great resource for fraudsters. Surveys have also shown that smartphone users have a one-third higher chance of their identities being stolen than those who don’t uses these phones. This is because most people don’t use passwords on their home screen and some also store their login information on their devices. This information is then available to anyone who steals a phone or finds a lost one. The good news is that out of 12 million identity theft victims, 80% endured no out-of pocket expenses due to the zero-liability policies of most financial institutions. However, the IRS has failed to provide fast help for victims of identity thieves who steal tax refund checks. Victims complain that they need to talk to multiple departments and have to wait more than six months to have their refund checks reissued.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.531 – Tax Crimes and Identity Theft Prevention Act

I oppose reforming current identity theft policy and wish to defeat H.R.531

I support requiring the Treasury Department to take necessary action to correct a tax return or tax information affected by the misuse of a taxpayer’s identity within 90 days after receiving notice of such misuse from the taxpayer, and wish to pass H.R.531

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

On average, more than 28 million Americans are victims of crime each year. Violent crimes including assault, rape, robbery and murder account for about 25% of all crime. In addition to the offense itself, the costs to most victims are great. These costs include medical and psychological injuries that may require surgery, rehabilitation and therapy, as well as lost property and wages. The financial cost to society of all crimes has been estimated to be about $350 billion each year. Every state now has a crime victim compensation fund to provide financial assistance to victims and their families, as does our federal government. As of Sept. 2013, the balance of our Crime Victims Fund was nearly $9 billion – financed by federal criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds and other penalties. Victim advocates wish to ensure these funds are used for their intended purpose.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1624 – Crime Victims Fund Preservation Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current crime victim assistance policy and wish to defeat H.R.1624

I support prohibiting the consideration of any legislation that would authorize the use of amounts in the Crime Victims Fund for a purpose not authorized by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, and wish to pass H.R.1624

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

There are about 40,000 juvenile members in our nation’s gangs today. The number of violent crimes committed by persons under the age of 18 is about the same as it was in 2002. Statistics and self-reporting by crime victims and offenders indicate the amount of non-lethal assault, rape, and abuse is also about the same. Advocates say our efforts to reduce the number of these crimes have not been successful. In the past, efforts to decrease juvenile crime activity have centered on harsher jail sentences and prosecuting minors as adults. Critics claim that, rather than reducing crime, this policy has backfired and created more career criminals. Social workers provide front line prevention and treatment services in the areas of school violence, aging, teen pregnancy, child abuse, domestic violence, juvenile crime and substance abuse. They can provide valuable information on these complex problems taking into account a wide range of social, medical, economic and community influences. Advocates say this information is needed to make informed funding decisions regarding how to best solve our juvenile crime problem.

Pending Legislations:

S.1307 & H.R.1318 – Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act

I oppose reforming current juvenile crime policy and wish to defeat H.R.1318

I support authorizing the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to award grants to local governments and Indian tribes to plan and assess evidence-based and promising practices for juvenile delinquency and criminal street gang activity prevention and intervention, especially for at-risk youth; and implementing plans for coordinating and supporting the delivery of juvenile delinquency and gang prevention and intervention programs in local communities, and wish to pass S.1307 & H.R.1318

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

About 2 million American children run away from home each year and within 48 hours, one-third of them are recruited into the world of prostitution and pornography. Some of these children come from foster homes. Human trafficking has become the second fastest growing American crime, trailing only the sale of illicit drugs. About half of these trafficking victims are children. Recent cases include children being sold for sex at truck stops, and servants held in captivity to work without wages. At times, perpetrators are gang members or co-students of victims who manipulate their weaknesses and ply them with drugs to force them into sex schemes. The average age for children victimized by the sex trade industry is 12. In particular, child pornography is one of the fastest growing U.S. crimes, with arrests increasing 2,500% in the last 11 years.

Pending Legislation:

S.1118 & H.R.2744 – Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current child trafficking policy and wish to defeat S.1118

I support identifying and documenting each foster child who is a victim of sex trafficking, requiring foster homes report within 24 hours, any information on missing or abducted children to law enforcement authorities; certifying a state is identifying and assessing of all reports involving child victims of sex trafficking, including efforts to coordinate with state law enforcement, juvenile justice, and social service agencies such as runaway and homeless youth shelters to serve that population; training child protective services workers about identifying and providing comprehensive services for such children, and wish to pass S.1118 & H.R.2744

 Posted by at 12:00 am