|Wednesday, March 17, 2021|
Floor Schedule and Procedure:
H.J.Res. 17 – Removing the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment (Rep. Speier – Judiciary)
This is a joint resolution to remove an arbitrary time limit previously set by Congress for the States to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). It would finally affirm women’s equality in our Constitution – enshrining the principle of women’s equality and an explicit prohibition against sex discrimination in the nation’s foundational document.
The Rule provides for one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Judiciary.
H.R. 1620 – Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 (Rep. Jackson-Lee – Judiciary)
This bill improves services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; includes provisions to improve the criminal justice response to gender-based violence, in order to make our communities safer; works to better protect Native American women; improves access to housing for survivors and victims; supports survivors who need assistance rebuilding financially; improves the health care system’s response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; supports Communities of Color; improves conditions for women in federal custody; protects the Office on Violence Against Women; and protects victims of dating violence from firearm homicide by closing some loopholes in current firearms laws in order to help prevent intimate partner and stalking homicides.
The Rule makes in order 41 amendments and allows for amendments to be offered en bloc. A full list of amendments can be found here and below.
Requires the DOJ and HHS to issue guidance and best practices on strategies to improve coordination of sexual assault forensic examination training and program sustainability.
Bush Amendment #2
Ensures that survivors can access transitional housing and be protected from unfair evictions and denial of service.
Bush Amendment #3
Requires the Attorney General shall make publicly available on the Department of Justice website reports involving police sexual misconduct while acting under color of law (in addition to reporting to Congress as required under the legislation).
Ensures the inclusion of Native Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian groups. Requires a review and subsequent Department of Justice report of Native Hawaiian interactions with the criminal justice system and related crime prevention programs to add to pre-existing data on Native Indians and Alaska Natives.
Adds the right to be informed of the status and location of a sexual assault evidence collection kit to the rights of sexual assault survivors (18 U.S.C. 3772).
Clarifies that STOP grants can be used to cover the fees associated with replacing driver’s licenses and birth certificates for survivors and their children. This amendment will provide survivors and their families with life-saving assistance as they take steps to build a safe and independent life.
Rodney Davis Amendment
Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to include in their Study and Report on Barriers to Survivors’ Economic Security Access (Sec. 704), the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on such survivors as it relates to their ability to maintain economic security.
Delgado Amendment #8
Adds to the findings on Economic Security for Victims that individuals living in rural areas facing intimate partner violence often face barriers to accessing resources, ranging from health care to the criminal justice system.
Delgado Amendment #9
Requires an analysis of the unique barriers faced by survivors in rural communities in the study on barriers to survivors’ economic security.
Establishes pilot program grants (up to 10) through the Department of Justice to state and tribal courts, offering them the opportunity to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of serving protection orders electronically.
Ensures appropriate consultation and inclusion with indigenous groups to support the tailored needs of indigenous women.
Adds training for sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE nurses) to VAWA’s Rural Programs, to expand access to and retention of quality SANE nurses in rural areas.
Lawrence Amendment #13
Amends Section 102 (Grants Encouraging Improvements and Alternatives to the Criminal Justice Response), to authorize grants to also be used for the purpose of better identifying and responding to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking against individuals who have been arrested or have contact with the juvenile or adult criminal justice system, and for developing or strengthening diversion programs and to ensure they receive comprehensive victim services.
Lawrence Amendment #14
Incentivizes states to adopt laws prohibiting the prosecution of minors for prostitution.
Leger Fernandez Amendment #15
Directs the Office on Violence Against Women to report on actions taken to prevent suicide amongst survivors and to consult with SAMHSA to establish best practices to prevent suicide amongst survivors.
Leger Fernandez Amendment #16
Requires that services provided pursuant to grants to support families in the justice system are provided in a culturally relevant manner and requires DOL’s public outreach and education campaign to be conducted in a culturally relevant manner.
Levin (MI) Amendment
Amends Sec. 101 (STOP Grants) to add “implementing a vertical prosecution system” to the list of permissible uses for STOP grants. “Vertical prosecution” refers to a plan for prosecuting cases in which one individual prosecuting attorney remains the primary individual responsible for the case, as well as the primary contact for victim witnesses from complaint through sentencing.
Meng Amendment #18
Ensures family-focused programming for prisoners – from intake through reentry – to support the prisoners’ familial needs, as well as provide appropriate training for correctional staff to engage with prisoners’ families.
Meng Amendment #19
Ensures clear distribution and accessibility of sanitary products to prisoners and provides that no visitor is prohibited from visiting due to the visitor’s use of sanitary products.
Moore Amendment #20
Authorizes a study on the intersection between domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, and maternal mortality or morbidity.
Moore Amendment #21
Authorizes and expands programs offering sexual assault medical forensic exams and sexual assault victim services in tribal communities.
Requires grant applicants of the National Resource Center on Workplace Responses to include microbusiness in their outreach to qualify.
Omar Amendment #23
Includes credit history in the GAO economic barrier study.
Omar Amendment #24
Includes barriers of legal costs and jurisdictional challenges in the GAO economic study.
Establishes a pilot program to identify and make immigration relief available to immigrants who are dependent upon their abusers for immigration status and have been subject to battering or extreme cruelty and have already been authorized for employment.
Establishes a civil cause of action against a person that discloses an intimate image of an individual without the depicted individual’s consent, if the person disclosed the image with knowledge of or reckless disregard for such lack of consent.
Establishes LGBTQ+ specific grants and services to LGBTQ+ victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Ross Amendment #28
Revises the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act to allow grants to be used to for the development of statewide databases with information on where sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE nurses) are located.
Ross Amendment #29
Creates a statutory mandate that a victim’s safety should be central to the housing and housing-related decisions that covered housing providers make when implementing VAWA to not evict survivors, keep their information confidential, and do not deny assistance.
Scanlon Amendment #30
Provides for implementation, expansion and establishment of efforts and projects to provide legal representation to individuals for post-conviction relief proceedings.
Scanlon Amendment #31
Creates a pathway for providing legal services through the Department of Veterans Affairs to address unmet needs such as elder law, child custody, and housing disputes.
Speier Amendment #32
Adds the Stopping Harmful Image Exploitation and Limiting Distribution Act (the “SHIELD Act”) to the bill, which makes the malicious sharing of private, intimate images, known as “nonconsensual pornography” or “revenge porn” unlalwful.
Speier Amendment #33
Directs the Secretary of Education to make available a climate survey for institutions of higher education to administer to students on their experiences with sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, stalking, and dating violence.
Speier Amendment #34
Establishes an Interagency Task Force on Sexual Violence in Education to provide pertinent information to the government, public, and educational institutions on campus sexual violence prevention and response, as well as how to better assist survivors.
Speier Amendment #35
Builds on the unanimous passage of the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act (Pub.L. 114-236) establishing rights for survivors of federal sexual assault offenses by incentivizing states to ensure that survivors have, at a minimum, the rights guaranteed by the federal law. Includes the right to be informed if the government intends to destroy or dispose of a sexual assault evidence collection kit, the right to be informed of any result of a kit, and the right to have a sexual assault evidence collection kit or its probative contents preserved without charge for the maximum applicable statute of limitations or 20 years, whichever is shorter.
Substitute amendment that extends VAWA authorizations but omits the program improvements passed by the House last Congress as well as further enhancements developed by the bipartisan authors of H.R. 1620. Opposed by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF).
Torres (CA) Amendment #37
Requires the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of HHS, to conduct a study investigating whether abused victims who raise evidence of domestic violence are more likely to lose primary custody of their children to an abusive partner or to the State, including reviewing and providing recommendations on restructuring relevant state laws, regulations, and practices.
Torres (CA) Amendment #38
Requires the Attorney General, in coordination with the Secretary of HHS, to conduct a study on the direct and collateral economic costs and risks of divorce from an abusive partner to a victim of domestic violence, including payment of alimony, legal fees, spousal support, or the division of property.
Torres (NY) Amendment
Mandates state and local governments submit to the Attorney General a report on the number of sexual assault response teams at hospitals and their average victim response times to be eligible for certain federal funds.
Bars non-profit organizations from receiving VAWA grant funds for five years if they misuse the funds. Advocates have raised concerns that this requirement may harm small service providers that may make errors due to limited administrative resources.
Ensures any study conducted under this bill includes an assessment, to the extent practicable, of any disparate impacts of the matter studied, by race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Postponed Suspensions (3 votes)
1. H.R. 1085 – To award three congressional gold medals to the United States Capitol Police and those who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, as amended (Rep. Pelosi – Financial Services)
This bill awards three congressional gold medals to the United States Capitol Police, DC Metropolitan Police, and those law enforcement agencies and officers who protected the U.S. Capitol during the attack on January 6, 2021.
2. H.R. 1651 – COVID–19 Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act of 2021 (Rep. Nadler – Judiciary)
This bill extends to March 27, 2022 the bankruptcy protections that were included in the CARES Act (currently set to expire on March 22, 2021) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (currently set to expire on December 27, 2021).
3. H.R. 1652 – VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (Rep. Nadler – Judiciary)
This bill will direct federal criminal settlements from non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements, currently deposited into the General Treasury, into the Crime Victims Fund. It will increase the percentage that state compensation programs may be reimbursed from 60 percent to 75 percent.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson