Dean Heller on Crime
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. JOHN CONYERS (D, MI-14):This bill expands existing Federal hate crimes law to groups who are well-known targets for bias-based violence--they are sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. These crimes of violence are directed not just at those who are directly attacked; they are targeting the entire group with the threat of violence.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LAMAR SMITH (R, TX-21): Every year thousands of violent crimes are committed out of hate, but just as many violent crimes, if not more, are motivated by something other than hate--greed, jealousy, desperation or revenge, just to name a few. An individual's motivation for committing a violent crime is usually complex and often speculative. Every violent crime is deplorable, regardless of its motivation. That's why all violent crimes should be vigorously prosecuted. Unfortunately, this bill undermines one of the most basic principles of our criminal justice system--equal justice for all. Under this bill, justice will no longer be equal. Justice will now depend on the race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or other protected status of the victim. It will allow different penalties to be imposed for the same crime. This is the real injustice.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. CONYERS: Some 650,000 men and women are leaving the Federal and State prisons each year. While the vast majority of the prisoners are committed to abiding by the law and becoming productive members of society, they often encounter the same pressures & temptations that they faced before prison. More than two-thirds of them are arrested for new crimes within 3 years of their release. This exacts a terrible cost in financial terms as well as in human terms. The Second Chance Act will help provide these men and women with the training, counseling and other support needed to help them obtain & hold steady jobs; to kick their drug and alcohol habits; rebuild their families; and deal with the many other challenges that they face in their efforts to successfully rejoin society.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. GOHMERT: The programs that are sought to be renewed are ones we don't have information on how successful they were. I can tell you from my days as a judge, there was some anecdotal evidence that it looked like faith-based programs did a better job of dramatically reducing recidivism. In addition:
Congressional Summary: Makes the killing or attempted killing of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or other first responder an aggravating factor in death penalty determinations [when] the defendant killed or attempted to kill a person who is authorized by law:
Opposing argument: [Sen. Bernie Sanders, Oct. 13, 2015]: "Black lives matter. The African American community knows that on any given day some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car, and three days later she's dead in jail. We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom, and we need major reforms in a broken criminal justice system. I intend to make sure people have education and jobs rather than jail cells."
Opposing argument: [ACLU of Louisiana, July 7, 2015]: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that makes targeting a police officer a hate crime. Passage of such bills is a top priority for a national organization called Blue Lives Matter, which was formed in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. [A video captured] "police killing a black man who was minding his own business," says the director of ACLU-LA. But it was the civil rights of police officers that Edwards was concerned about, as if theirs were being routinely violated: "I'm not aware of any evidence that police officers have been victimized that would justify giving them special protection."
Opposing press release from Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1):: The reform sentencing laws in this bill may compromise the safety of our communities. Criminals convicted of violent crimes would have the opportunity to achieve 'low risk' status and become eligible for early release. California already has similar laws in place--Propositions 47 and 57--which have hamstrung law enforcement and caused a significant uptick in crime.
Supporting press release from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10):: S. 756 establishes a new system to reduce the risk that [federal prisoners] will commit crimes once they are released. Critically, S. 756 would not only implement these reforms to our prison system, but it also takes a crucial first step toward addressing grave concerns about our sentencing laws, which have for years fed a national crisis of mass incarceration. The bill is a 'first step' that demonstrates that we can work together to make the system fairer in ways that will also reduce crime and victimization.
Legislative outcome: Concurrence Passed Senate, 87-12-1, on Dec. 18, 2018; Concurrence Passed House 358-36-28, Dec. 20, 2018; President Trump signed, Dec. 21, 2018
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS:
Sen. FRANKEN: Last year, 90,000 people were raped. Thanks to modern technology, we have an unparalleled tool to bring sexual predators to justice: forensic DNA analysis. Rape kit DNA evidence is survivors' best bet for justice. Unfortunately, we have failed to make adequate use of DNA analysis. In 2004, then-Sen. Biden and others worked to pass the Debbie Smith Act, a law named after a rape survivor whose backlogged rape kit was tested six years after her assault. Unfortunately, because many localities simply did not use the Debbie Smith funds they were allocated, the promise of the Debbie Smith Act remains unfulfilled.
In 2009, Los Angeles had 12,500 untested rape kits; Houston found at least 4,000 untested rape kits in storage, and Detroit reported a backlog of possibly 10,000 kits. Those are just three cities. Hundreds of thousands of women have not seen justice.
Ratings by the National Association of Police Organizations indicate support or opposition to issues of importance to police and crime. The organization's self-description: "The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) is a coalition of police units and associations from across the United States. NAPO was organized for the purpose of advancing the interests of America's law enforcement officers through legislative advocacy, political action, and education.
"Increasingly, the rights and interests of law enforcement officers have been the subject of legislative, executive, and judicial action in the nationís capital. NAPO works to influence the course of national affairs where law enforcement interests are concerned. The following list includes examples of NAPOís accomplishments:
VoteMatch scoring for the NAPO ratings is as follows:
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AK: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski(R)
vs.Challenger Kelly Tshibaka(R)
vs.2020 candidate Al Gross(D)
AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.
AR: Incumbent John Boozman(R)
vs.Candidate Dan Whitfield(D)
AZ: Incumbent Mark Kelly(D) vs.CEO Jim Lamon(R) vs.Blake Masters(R) vs.A.G. Mark Brnovich(R) vs.Mick McGuire(R)
CA: Incumbent Alex Padilla(D)
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CO: Incumbent Michael Bennet(D)
CT: Incumbent Richard Blumenthal(D)
vs.Challenger Joe Visconti(R)
vs.2018 & 2020 House candidate John Flynn(R)
FL: Incumbent Marco Rubio(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Val Demings(D)
vs.U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson(D)
GA: Incumbent Raphael Warnock(D)
vs.Navy vet Latham Saddler(R)
HI: Incumbent Brian Schatz(D)
vs.Former State Rep. Cam Cavasso(R ?)
IA: Incumbent Chuck Grassley(R)
vs.State Sen. Jim Carlin(R)
vs.Former U.S. Rep IA-1 Abby Finkenauer(D)
ID: Incumbent Mike Crapo(R)
(no prospective opponents yet)
IL: Incumbent Tammy Duckworth(D)
vs.U.S.Rep. Adam Kinzinger(? R)
IN: Incumbent Todd Young(R)
vs.Challenger Haneefah Abdul-Khaaliq(D)
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KS: Incumbent Jerry Moran(R)
KY: Incumbent Rand Paul(R)
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LA: Incumbent John Kennedy(R)
MD: Incumbent Chris Van Hollen(D)
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NC: Incumbent Richard Burr(R,retiring)
Erica Smith(D) vs.Mark Walker(R) vs.Ted Budd(R) vs.Pat McCrory(R) vs.Cheri Beasley(D) vs.Rett Newton(D) vs.Jeff Jackson(D) vs.Marjorie K. Eastman(R)
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vs.Everett Stern(R) vs.Jeff Bartos(R) vs.Val Arkoosh(D) vs.Carla Sands(R) vs.John Fetterman(D) vs.Malcolm Kenyatta(D) vs.Kathy Barnette(R) vs.Sharif Street(D) vs.Conor Lamb(D) vs.Sean Parnell(R) vs.Craig Snyder(R)
SC: Incumbent Tim Scott(R)
vs.State Rep. Krystle Matthews(D)
SD: Incumbent John Thune(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
UT: Incumbent Mike Lee(R) vs.Allen Glines(D) vs.Austin Searle(D) vs.Evan McMullin(I)
VT: Incumbent Patrick Leahy(D)
vs.Lt.Gov. David Zuckerman(? D)
WA: Incumbent Patty Murray(D)
vs.Challenger Tiffany Smiley(R)
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