H/T Right Scoop
H/T Right Scoop
In the wake of the tragic 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, the safety of our children while at school has been a contentious point.
Some have called for increased gun control, echoing other cries to limit the Second Amendment’s “right to keep and bear arms.” However, those knowledgable about the issue have a different view.
Instead of restricting the right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves (and thereby giving criminals the advantage), there have been multiple attempts to increase gun rights, including the right to carry in schools. The Missouri legislature just passed such a bill.
This bill, if signed into law, would allow vetted, trained, and qualified school faculty members to carry a weapon with the permission of the individual school district.
The bill, SB656, will allow school districts to cross-train faculty to become “School Protection Officers.” These volunteer teachers and administrators would have to have a valid Missouri concealed-carry permit and complete a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission certification course. Following these steps, they would be allowed to carry on school grounds if the district opted to allow armed personnel on campus.
While this is a good step forward, it is unknown whether Gov. Nixon (D) will sign the bill into law.
[Nixon] had vetoed a nullification bill last year that included similar armed teacher language. Further, in a statement Friday, Nixon expressed reservations on the current legislation, but has stated he would review the bill.
This bill, if signed into law, would protect our children against another Sandy Hook tragedy. Teachers are responsible for the safety of their students, and this bill would enable them to more adequately protect those under their care. Therefore, we call on Gov. Nixon to make this bill a law.
What do you think? If you support Missouri’s attempts to protect its school children, like or share this on Facebook or Twitter!
On April 23rd, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill “nullifying city and county gun restrictions” to ensure that it is legal to “openly carry firearms” throughout the state.
The law takes effect on July 1.
According to cjonline.com, the law will “sweep away restrictions on open carry.” It will also “prevent cities and counties from enacting restrictions on firearm sales or how guns are stored or transported.”
Supporters of the law say it will correct “a patchwork of local regulations [that have] infringed on gun-ownership rights.”
But Melissa Wangemann, legal counsel for the Kansas Association of Counties, believes the law “shows a lack of trust in local elected officials.” She said it takes away the ability of “pro-2nd Amendment counties” to expand concealed carry on their own.
Wangemann also said this law means her counties “can’t enact any regulation,” nor can they tell gun owners, “Keep your safety on, keep the gun on your side, don’t lay it on your desk.”
On March 25th, Breitbart News reported that West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) signed a bill eliminating local ordinances against carrying guns in his state as well.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Wednesday a bill that expands gun rights in the state to allow weapons in government buildings, bars, places of worship, and school zones under certain circumstances.
Under House Bill 60, also known as the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014, school districts will get to decide whether to allow authorized personnel to carry weapons within school safety zones under certain circumstances.
In addition, church leaders will be able to decide whether to allow licensed gun owners to bring weapons into their place of worship. The law also removes fingerprinting requirements for renewal licenses.
The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action called the bill the “most comprehensive pro-gun bill in state history.”
Deal, who characterized himself as a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, said the measure “will protect the constitutional rights of Georgians who have gone through a background check to legally obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry License.”
“Roughly 500,000 Georgia citizens have a permit of this kind, which is approximately 5 percent of our population,” Deal said in a press release. “License holders have passed background checks and are in good standing with the law. This law gives added protections to those who have played by the rules – and who can protect themselves and others from those who don’t play by the rules.”
“Our nation’s founders put the right to bear arms on par with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Georgians cherish their Second Amendment rights, and this law embodies those values,” he added.
Executive Director Pia Carusone of Americans for Responsible Solutions, which lobbied against the bill, called it “extremism in action.”
“It moves Georgia out of the mainstream,” Carusone said. “Since the Georgia House first passed this expansive legislation, thousands of Georgians and tens of thousands of Americans have said loud and clear that they are tired of the gun lobby advancing its extreme agenda at the expense of their families’ safety.”
In 1979, there was a student takeover of the United States Embassy in Tehran. For 444 days, 52 Americans were held hostage. Then President Jimmy Carter was lambasted for his weak foreign policy which lead the Iranians to view him as an inconsequential leader. Therefore, they did not fear America. When Ronald Reagan became president in 1980, with the spinelessness of Jimmy Carter purged from the White House, the hostages were released on the very day of his inauguration.
But, the pain of those nearly 15 months in captivity would linger not just for those held hostage, but for America as the people remembered that horrible time in our history. The country would have to recover and again position itself as a world leader to be feared and respected.
We have seen our position of power in the world erode over the last 5 years, with the most recent indicator being the invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative who is unafraid of Obama’s weak warnings.
As the world has watched this invasion, events that some believe are a signal to the beginning of another Cold War, the pain caused by the Iran hostage crisis some 35 years ago is being renewed.
Hamid Abutalebi has been selected by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as their United States Ambassador. Abutalebi was one of the hostage takers of those 52 Americans. While he claims he only served as a translator and negotiator, the United States Congress voted unanimously to deny his entry into the United States, since the U.N. meetings are held in New York.
The bill passed by Congress was authored by Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas and Congressman Doug Lamborn from Colorado. After the bill passed unanimously with bi-partisan support, Cruz and Lamborn released the following statements in calling for Obama to sign the bill to prevent terrorists from obtaining visas to enter the U.S. as U.N. ambassadors.
Congress has voted unanimously in support of a bill to reject Iran’s deliberately insulting nomination of a known terrorist – one of the 1979 hostage-takers – to be their ambassador to the United Nations,” said Sen. Cruz. “I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting it, and urge the President to act quickly. We, as a country, can send an unequivocal message to rogue nations like Iran that the United States will not tolerate this kind of provocative and hostile behavior.”
“I have been working hard with House Leadership to move this bill even before it passed the Senate,” said Congressman Lamborn. “I appreciate House Leadership’s rapid response to my request to quickly bring the Cruz/Lamborn bill to the House Floor for a vote. It will give the President the power to prevent an Iranian terrorist from entering our country with diplomatic immunity. This is a great example of leadership in action by both Houses of Congress. After Senator Cruz worked to ensure Senate passage earlier in the week, I felt that it was extremely important that the House respond in-kind by considering the Cruz/Lamborn bill in an expedited manner. It is great to see Congress send a strong, bipartisan message that Iranian evildoers will be treated like terrorists, not tourists. Terrorists, from Iran or elsewhere, should not be allowed to walk the streets of Manhattan with diplomatic immunity.”
Individuals with diplomatic immunity cannot be prosecuted or even charged with so much as a traffic ticket, let alone an act of terrorism.
Eight days later, President Obama has signed the bill into law, but, according to the Washington Examiner, he immediately released a statement saying that he would not enforce the law. While Obama recognized the concerns of Congress regarding allowing a terrorist to gain access to our country, he stated the following to explain his decision to ignore the law of the land.
“Acts of espionage and terrorism against the United States and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity, and I share the Congress’s concern that individuals who have engaged in such activity may use the cover of diplomacy to gain access to our Nation.”
When Bush was president, then Senator Obama was extremely critical of him for signing such statements stating that, “Congress’s job is to pass legislation. The president can veto it or he can sign it.” The statements that Bush signed did not grant a terrorist unfettered access to our country.
Now that Obama is president, he has demonstrated time and again his complete disregard for any laws that he does not like. Certain laws, like his signature legislation Obamacare, are deemed the law of the land that must be followed. However, he very often changes parts of that law unconstitutionally via executive order to fit his political needs. With others, such as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), he would, in his lawlessness, decide that he would not enforce the law.
His decision to sign the bill into law, but immediately state that he will not enforce it flies in the face of the rule of law upon which this country was built and endangers America.
Obama’s disregard for the law as passed by Congress and signed by him, thereby allowing a known terrorist who committed an act of terrorism against the American people unto American soil, comes days after the one year anniversary of the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. Iran was insistent that the terrorist Abutalebi was their choice for ambassador. When the U.S. threatened denial, they requested an investigation by the U.N.
Thanks to Obama, no investigation is needed. The President of the United States is going to allow a known terrorist to violate the law with no repercussions and give him complete access to America and its citizens with diplomatic immunity.
A Republican congressman from Texas has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would stop the government from paying Attorney General Eric Holder’s salary.
Rep. Blake Farenthold’s “Contempt Act” would prohibit any federal employee who has been found in contempt of Congress from getting a taxpayer-funded paycheck.
In 2012, the House voted to hold Holder in contempt over his refusal to hand over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal.
Farenthold specifically referenced Holder in his statement about the legislation.
“In 2012, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting operation – despite this fact, he is still receiving his paycheck courtesy of American taxpayers,” the lawmaker said.
During a contentious House Judiciary Committee hearing last week with Holder, Farenthold alluded to the legislation: “If he continues to refuse to resign, my bill would at least prevent hardworking American taxpayers from paying his salary.”
Farenthold also noted how the House is expected to to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about her role in the agency’s targeting of conservative and tea party groups. But he noted that because Lerner has already resigned, this bill will not affect her.
“The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior,” he said. “If the average American failed to do his or her job, he or she would hardly be rewarded. High-ranking government officials should be treated no differently than everyone else.”
As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama won $48 million in federal funding to help Ukraine destroy thousands of tons of guns and ammunition – weapons which are now unavailable to the Ukrainian army as it faces down Russian President Vladimir Putin during his invasion of Crimea.
In August 2005, just seven months after his swearing-in, Obama traveled to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine with then-Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, touring a conventional weapons site.
The two met in Kiev with President Victor Yushchenko, making the case that an existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program covering the destruction of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds.
After a stopover in London, the senators returned to Washington and declared that the U.S. should devote funds to speed up the destruction of more than 400,000 small arms, 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles, and more than 15,000 tons of ammunition.
Photographs from the trip show Obama inspecting a plant where Soviet-era artillery shells and shoulder-fired missiles were collecting dust, leftovers dumped in Ukraine after the USSR withdrew from Eastern bloc nations after the once-mighty communist nation fell apart.
The United Nations had already identified some 7 million small arms and light weapons, and 2 million tons of conventional ammunition, warehoused in more than 80 weapons depots spread across the country.
Many of the artillery shells shown in photographs from Donetsk, multiple weapons experts told MailOnline, would be the same types of ammunition required to repel advancing Russian divisions as they advanced to the west, had they not been destroyed.
Two experts said the ammunition, particularly small-arms rounds, would have been useful to train Ukraine’s armed forces and million-strong reserves.
‘Vast stocks of conventional munitions and military supplies have accumulated in Ukraine,’ Obama said in am August 30, 2005 statement from Donetsk. ‘Some of this stockpile dates from World War I and II, yet most dates from Cold War buildup and the stocks left behind by Soviet withdrawals from East Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungry and Poland.’
‘We need to eliminate these stockpiles for the safety of the Ukrainian people and people around world, by keeping them out of conflicts around the world.’
More than a year later, President George W. Bush signed into law a proposal authored by Obama and Lugar.
Obama said then that the existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program ‘has effectively disposed of thousands of weapons of mass destruction, but we must do far more to keep deadly conventional weapons like anti-aircraft missiles out of the hands of terrorists.’
Much of the Ukrainian small-arms supply was ultimately exported, not scrapped, by a Yushchenko regime that chose revenue from arms dealing over the cost of melting down metal.
In 2008 the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that between 2004 and 2007, the Ukrainian Export Control Service told the UN that it sent 721,777 small arms and light weapons to 27 different countries.
The United States was the top recipient, with more than 260,000 of those weapons, followed by the UK and Libya, which each imported more than 101,000.
That flood of weapons exports has continued, with annual export records showing hundreds of thousands of new exports each year, covering everything from pistols and carbine rifles to heavy machine guns and anti-tank weapons.
But while today’s 130,000-strong standing Ukrainian military isn’t short on AK-47s, Russian troops have met little to no large-scale resistance from armored divisions or heavy artillery as they steamrolled their way into Crimea.
Some of that was Ukraine’s own doing – it sold 320 tanks to Pakistan in the 1990s, for instance – but Obama and Lugar accelerated the pace of the country’s arms liquidation.
While the Ukrainian army seems to have been careful to avoid provoking an even larger conflict, it’s impossible to know whether Putin would have behaved differently in the face of columns of heavy weapons that once belonged to the Soviet Union in whose KGB he held a high-ranking position.
Sky News video broadcast on Tuesday showed Russian troops firing automatic weapons over the heads of apparently unarmed Ukrainian Air Force personnel near a contested airfield in Crimea.
A bill to punish law enforcement officers who obey a hypothetical federal mandate to seize the firearms of Idaho citizens found no opposition on the Senate floor.
Lawmakers voted 34-0 in favor of the bill Wednesday, clearing its path to the House.
Sen. Steve Vick, a Dalton Gardens Republican who co-sponsors the bill with Meridian Republican Marv Hagedorn, touts it as a way to ensure Idahoans’ Second Amendment rights are protected.
The proposal is a response to fears that President Barack Obama will ban some guns.
Hagedorn has previously said he knows of no such federal measure in the works.
The bill is similar to one sponsored by then-Rep. Mark Patterson who has since resigned from the legislature. That bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.
Lawmakers and law enforcement credit new wording with taking much of the controversy out of the measure.
The measure won’t affect agreements between state and federal agencies that collaborate on gang and drug investigations.
Likewise, officers who confiscate felons’ firearms won’t get in any trouble.
Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers (R – Mt. Juliet) is on a roll this week. Along with 10 co-sponsors, she introduced “The Health Care Freedom and Affordable Care Act Noncompliance Act” to effectively nullify ObamaCare in her state. Now, she’s taking aim at federal gun-control laws.
Beavers has introduced Senate Bill 1607 to effectively nullify federal gun laws in The Volunteer State. Under the proposed law:
* Any federal enactment or enforcement actions relating to firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition would be void in the state
* Any federal enactment or enforcement action impacting or infringing upon the rights of an individual or entity relative to firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition would be void
* Agents, employees and public officials in the state and its political subdivisions would be prohibited from carrying out federal gun laws
* Any attempt to enforce federal gun laws would be considered a misdemeanor and subsequent attempts would qualify as a felony
The law, if passed, is set to take effect on July 1. Thus, residents of The Volunteer State could see their Second Amendment rights significantly strengthened in less than six months.
Other states, including Missouri, Virginia and Wyoming, have recently considered similar legislation. And Alaska and Kansas have already signed their own Second Amendment protections into law. However, Tennessee’s proposed law appears to be among the strongest out there with the potential for violators to be charged with a felony.
It seems an increasing number of states are fed up with the Obama administration’s gun-grabbing policies. Will Tennessee be the next one to successfully tell the federal government to back off?
Obama off the hook?
Via The Hill:
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and seven other Democrats have proposed legislation that would eliminate the possibility of imposing the death penalty for a range of federal offenses, including several categories of murder and crimes against the government like treason and espionage.
The Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act, H.R. 3741, would end the death penalty for assassination or kidnapping that results in the death of the president or vice president, and also ends it for the murder of a member of Congress.
Under the bill, the death penalty could no longer be used to punish people for using a weapon of mass destruction, or murder done via torture, child abuse, war crimes, aircraft hijackings, sexual abuse, bank robberies or the willful wrecking of a train.
Using chemical or biological materials to kill could also no longer result in the death penalty, nor could deaths related to treason or espionage. The death or injury of an unborn child could not result in the death penalty either.
Death of state or local law enforcement officials, using the mail to kill, kidnapping and killing people to stop them from testifying could no longer lead to the death penalty, nor could the use of firearms or armor piercing ammunition during any crime of violence.
The citizen control lobby keeps trying to strip Americans of their unalienable rights, and liberty lovers keep punching back twice as hard.
Two Republican legislators propose eliminating the license required to carry a concealed handgun in Ohio, a change one describes as an effort to put Second Amendment rights on the same footing as others in the Bill of Rights.
The bill, introduced Wednesday by Reps. Ron Hood of Ashville and Matt Lynch of Bainbridge Township in Geauga County, would allow any person who is at least 21 years old to carry a concealed firearm, so long as they are not legally prohibited for some reason from having guns.
Lynch said the bill is an effort to treat the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment with the same freedom as other rights.“The right in the Second Amendment is the only one in the Bill of Rights that you have to get permission for,” Lynch said.
“You don’t have to have a speech license or a worship license or a freedom of the press license,” he said. “This is designed to put the Second Amendment on equal footing.”
The law would not end restrictions on taking firearms into certain restricted areas, but would end concealed carry licensing restrictions. Constitutional carry is becoming a more popular cause in the past year, as many Americans rebel against the thought of more citizen control laws. The common sentiment seems to be that not only are proposed citizen control laws counterproductive, but the current laws are too restrictive and should be rolled back.
This reality seems to be shocking to citizen control cultists, who can’t seem to grasp the basic concept that citizens want more liberty, not less.
ATLANTA, December 12, 2013 – Today, four Georgia State representatives announced they would be introducing legislation to block Obamacare in their state.
Following the lead of South Carolina, where lawmakers are fast-tracking House Bill 3101 in 2014, the bill would, as Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Fox News this week, “gut Obamacare” in the state.
Based on the Tenth Amendment Center’s four-step plan to nullify Obamacare on a state-level, the legislation would ban state participation, assistance, or any material support for the Affordable Care Act.
State representative Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) along with three other representatives will be holding a press conference on Monday, Dec. 16 to discuss the proposal.
“The bill’s main thrust is to prohibit state agencies, officers and employees of the state from implementing any provisions of the Affordable Care Act, leaving implementation entirely in the hands of the federal government, which lacks the resources or personnel to carry out the programs it mandates,” said Rep. Spencer in a press release.
Based on the long-standing legal principle, the anti-commandeering doctrine, the legislation is on strong legal grounds. In four major cases from 1842 to 2012, the Supreme Court has consistently held that the federal government cannot “commandeer” states, requiring them to enforce or expend resources to participate in federal law or regulatory programs.
Napolitano noted that the plan was not only legal, it would be highly effective. “If enough states do this, it will gut Obamacare because the federal government doesn’t have the resources… to go into each of the states if they start refusing.”
A bill set for fast-track passage in the South Carolina Senate in January aims to eliminate Obamacare in the state. The law could become a model for other states fed up with the federal health-care law.
House Bill 3101, titled the “South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act,” passed the state House of Representatives last April by a 65-34 vote. The bill now heads to the GOP-controlled Senate with special-order priority, setting up the likelihood that South Carolina will become the first state to exempt citizens and businesses from all participation in the Affordable Care Act.
State Sen. Tom Davis, the bill’s sponsor who recently wrapped up study committee hearings for H3101 in Columbia, Charleston and other cities, says that the proposed legislation renders the Affordable Care Act void or inoperable through a handful of provisions.
“It will essentially have five components to it, all of which in my judgment are legal, effective, and within the state’s power to do,” Davis, a Republican from Beaufort, said in an interview.
The bill’s main component prohibits agencies, officers and employees of the state of South Carolina from implementing any provisions of the Affordable Care Act, leaving implementation of the national health-care law entirely in the hands of a federal government that lacks the resources or personnel to carry out the programs it mandates.
This provision, according to Davis, comes from the anti-commandeering doctrine established in case law that says feds can’t compel states to enforce federal laws.
“What the Supreme Court said in Printz v. United States is that states are not merely political subdivisions of the federal government to carry out what the federal government does; they are sovereign entities,” Davis said. “Congress can pass laws, but it cannot compel the states to utilize either their treasury or personnel to implement those federal laws.”
Additional provisions of H3101 further neuter the Affordable Care Act by outlawing state exchanges, issuing tax deductions to individuals equal to the tax penalties levied by the federal government, and directing the state attorney general to sue over whimsical enforcement of the law. Taken together, the provisions effectively repeal the federal law for the people of South Carolina.
Davis adds that lawmakers in Columbia are considering two additional provisions: one that outlaws Medicaid expansion, and another that suspends the licenses of insurers who receive federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
Given the sizable majority of Republicans in the South Carolina Senate – along with moderate Democrats who may support the bill out of fear of voter wrath – H3101 is likely to pass in short order and be signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley, who has led the Palmetto State’s resistance against nationalized health care.
With just a month to go before the fireworks begin, political forces on the left and right are gathering for battle. On one side are local activists, including the Greenville, Myrtle Beach and Laurens County Tea Party groups, which are mobilizing the grass roots to meet at the Capitol in January to support the bill.
On the other side are opponents of H3101, whose main efforts consist of calling lawmakers racists and questioning the authority of states to oppose federal laws. Such attacks are likely to ring hollow in light of the dozens of state and local governments that have recently rejected federal marijuana laws, the Real ID Act, provisions of National Defense Authorization Act, federal gun control, and even U.S. immigration law. State and local governments governed from both sides of the political spectrum are increasingly flexing their Tenth Amendment muscles against perceived federal overreach.
With the federal health law’s popularity plummeting nationwide, Obamacare supporters have reason to be concerned. If South Carolina’s Freedom of Health Care Protection Act becomes law, the bill could go viral and spread to other states.
Welcome to liberal utopia.
Via Sac Bee:
In the waning hours of the 2013 legislative session, the Assembly on Thursday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses.
The surprise 55-19 vote moved California a signature away from putting into law a measure that immigrant advocates have sought fruitlessly for years, with past attempts thwarted by legislative vote and gubernatorial veto.
“This is a moment, members,” sponsor Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, said in closing remarks on the Assembly floor, “that years from now you’re going to look back on.”
In a statement released shortly after the vote, Brown signaled he will sign the bill.
“This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally,” Brown said in the statement. “Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) admitted Wednesday that under the Senate immigration bill, forging up to two passports is not a crime, adding that the bill leaves the decision whether to charge someone with passport fraud up to the discretion of prosecutors.
On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked Leahy, “One of the provisions has to do with passports, that’s an important component. Do you know how many passports someone is able to forge before it’s a crime?”
Leahy said, “Well, it depends upon which interpretation is being used. You could have one form which is two, but then there are other criminal conduct that would be involved with that.”
“Cause you give prosecutors a certain amount of discretion, you have two or three different crimes you have committed, so then it’s [up to] prosecutorial discretion which one they will charge. I mean, I spent eight years as a prosecutor. One of things you learn [is] the importance of that.”
Leahy made the remarks in an interview with CNSNews.com after he was asked how many passports someone could forge before it was a crime under Senate Bill 744, which passed on a 68-to-32 vote June 27. All Senate Democrats and 14 Republicans voted for the bill.
While not a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” group of senators who sponsored the bill, Leahy was a staunch supporter and voted for passage.
“With this legislation, we honor our American values,” Leahy said in a press release on the day the bill cleared the Senate.
“We honor the search of our forbearers for freedom, for prosperity, and for the promise that America has held out to so many for so long. Today is a good day for the Senate, and for the country. Today, with the help of many Senators, we will address a complex problem that is hurting our families, stifling our economy and threatening our security.”
In June, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) introduced three amendments “that would tighten criminal laws that are being weakened in the comprehensive immigration bill being debated by the Senate,” but amendment #45 regarding passport fraud was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee on an 8-10 vote. Title 18, Section 1541 of the U.S. Code provides for fines and imprisonment up to 25 years for granting, issuing, or verifying “any passport” without proper authority.
But Section 3707 of the nearly 1,200-page Senate immigration bill amends that section to impose criminal penalties only after a person fabricates “three or more” phony passports. (See S 744.pdf)
Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry on Thursday signed into law several new restrictions on abortion, including a ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy and tough new health and safety standards for abortion clinics in the state.
Texas is the most populous state in the nation to impose a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, and the law would allow exceptions to the ban only for the life of the mother or for a fetus with severe abnormalities.
The Texas measures are fiercely opposed by Democrats and abortion rights activists, who say the new strictures will reduce access to abortion in the state and could force dozens of clinics to close. Republican supporters of the law say the warning about mass clinic closures is exaggerated.
Family planning organization Planned Parenthood has vowed to immediately challenge the new law in court.
Texas Republicans, who have a large majority in the state legislature, pushed through the restrictions over the fierce objection of Democrats and supporters of the right to abortion.
Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis briefly caught national attention last month by staging a filibuster to stall the restrictions, although her gambit ultimately failed.
While several other conservative states have approved piecemeal abortion restrictions, Texas is by far the most populous and politically important, and it took more dramatic action by combining several measures into one bill.
The Texas measures are also more far reaching than a ban passed by the U.S. Congress in 2003 on a type of late-term abortion called “partial birth,” which covered only a small fraction of abortions performed each year.
Texas will join 12 other states which have passed bans on abortion after 20 weeks, citing controversial research that a fetus feels pain by that stage. North Dakota and Arkansas have gone further, banning abortion as early as six and 12 weeks respectively.
The current limit for abortions in Texas is 26 weeks.
Texas is also requiring all abortion facilities to meet the same standards as outpatient surgery centers by September 2014, and forcing doctors performing abortions to have the right to admit a patient to a hospital within 30 miles of a clinic.
The law will prohibit anyone other than a doctor dispensing the so-called “abortion pill,” or RU-486 drug, to end pregnancies, and require that a second dosage be administered at a clinic under a doctor’s supervision and not at home.
Texas already has a law passed two years ago requiring a woman to undergo an ultrasound and be shown the results, before an abortion can be performed.
Opponents of the new Texas law say it will be found unconstitutional because the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 allowed abortion up to the point a fetus is viable, or can live outside the womb.
But supporters of the Texas law say technology for treating premature babies has resulted in survival at earlier stages of gestation. They say that the government has a compelling right to protect the fetus as early as 20 weeks.
The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives last month passed a ban on abortion after 20 weeks, although the measure has little chance of passage in the Democratic majority Senate.
Planned Parenthood and other operators of clinics have warned that only a handful of the 42 facilities in Texas providing abortions now meet the standards set in the new law, and the cost of upgrading could force dozens to close. Supporters of the law say that is an exaggeration.
Abortion rights activists have vowed to immediately challenge the Texas law in court. Some challenges of other state laws have been successful. A federal judge on Wednesday extended for two more weeks a hold on a Wisconsin provision requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital, while the judge studies whether to block the law.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled recently on an abortion case. But in 2006 it narrowly endorsed, 5 to 4, the U.S. Congressional ban on “partial birth” abortions.
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Republican lawmakers passed a bill that would give Texas some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws and force most of its clinics to close, leading Democrats to promise a fight over the contentious measure in the courts at the ballot box.
More than 2,000 demonstrators filled the Capitol building in Austin to voice their opposition to the bill, including six protesters who were dragged out of the Senate chamber by state troopers for trying to disrupt the debate. The Republican majority passed the bill unchanged just before midnight, with all but one Democrat voting against it.
“Today the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life,” said Gov. Rick Perry, who will sign the bill into law in the next few days. “This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women’s health.”
Democrats promised a legal challenge to the measure, which will ban abortions after 20 weeks, require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and require all abortions to take place in surgical centers. Only five out of Texas’ 42 existing abortion clinics meet the requirements to be a surgical center, and clinic owners say they can’t afford to upgrade or relocate.
“There will be a lawsuit. I promise you,” Dallas Sen. Royce West said on the Senate floor, raising his right hand as if taking an oath.
Democrats proposed 20 amendments to the bill, including making exceptions in cases of rape and incest and allowing doctors more leeway in prescribing abortion-inducing drugs. But Republicans would have none of it.
The bill is one of many championed in Republican-led states this year by anti-abortion groups set on challenging the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which established a woman’s right to get an abortion until the point in which a fetus could viably survive outside the womb. A fetus is generally considered viable at 22 to 24 weeks.
Texas falls under the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has shown a willingness to accept more stringent limits on abortions.
By passing the new restrictions, Republicans pleased the Christian conservatives who make up the majority of primary voters. But they inspired abortion rights supporters to protest at the state Capitol in numbers not seen in Texas in at least 20 years.
Demonstrators packed normally boring committee hearings to voice their anger over the abortion bill and managed to disrupt key votes. They finished a lengthy filibuster by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis, of Fort Worth, by jeering for the last 15 minutes of the first special legislative session, effectively killing the bill.
That’s when Perry called lawmakers back for round two. But opponents said the fight is far from over and used the popular anger to register and organize Democratic voters.
“Let’s make sure that tonight is not an ending point, it’s a beginning point for our future, our collective futures, as we work to take this state back.” Davis told 2,000 adoring supporters after the bill passed.
The Texas Republican Party, meanwhile, celebrated what they consider to be a major victory that makes Texas “a nationwide leader in pro-life legislation.”
“As Democrats continue to talk about their dreams of turning Texas blue, passage of (the bill) is proof that Texans are conservative and organized and we look forward to working with our amazing Republican leadership in the Texas Legislature as they finish the special session strong,” a party statement said.
Friday’s debate took place before a packed gallery of demonstrators, with anti-abortion activists wearing blue and abortion-rights supporters wearing orange. Security was tight, and state troopers reported confiscating bottles of urine and feces as they worked to prevent another attempt to stop the Republican majority from passing the proposal.
Those arrested or removed from the chamber included four women who tried to chain themselves to a railing in the gallery while singing, “All we are saying is give choice a chance.” One of the women was successful in chaining herself, leading to a 10-minute recess.
Sen. Glen Hegar of Katy, the bill’s Republican author, argued that all abortions, including those induced with medications, should take place in an ambulatory surgical center in case of complications.
Democrats pointed out that childbirth is more dangerous than an abortion and there have been no serious problems with women taking abortion drugs at home.
Cecile Richards, the daughter of former Gov. Anne Richards and president of Planned Parenthood, said Texas Republicans and abortion opponents won this political round — but it could cost them down the road.
“All they have done is built a committed group of people across this state who are outraged about the treatment of women and the lengths to which this Legislature will go to take women’s health care away,” she said.
The dedication of those activists will be tested during the 2014 elections. Democrats have not won a statewide seat in Texas since 1994, the longest such losing streak in the nation.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, tweeted Wednesday evening that the Senate’s immigration bill is unconstitutional because it raises revenues and originated in the Senate instead of the House.
“Chairman Camp: Senate immigration bill a revenue bill; unconstitutional and cannot be taken up by the House,” the official House and Ways Means Committee Twitter account sent out Wednesday evening.
As of this writing, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not sent the immigration bill that passed the Senate 68-32 to the House of Representatives. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) announced that news in a late Wednesday statement, after circulating a “dear colleague” letter arguing the Senate immigration bill was unconstitutional because it raised revenue and did not originate in the House.
Language in the U.S. Constitution requires any bill that raises revenue, also known as a tax, must originate in the House of Representatives, not the Senate. America’s founders included that language because they believed the House was more accountable to the people of the country than the Senate, which was elected at that time by state legislators rather than through a direct vote. That clause of the Constitution is called the “origination clause” and reads as such: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”
When such a revenue-raising bill comes out of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, currently Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), can use a procedure called a “blue slip resolution” to automatically kill it on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. Stockman has been promising to attempt to kill the Senate’s bill that way and, as such, Reid has refused to send it to the House, thereby protecting the bill from being “blue slipped.” The term “blue slip,” Stockman’s office noted in a release, comes from the blue color of the paper on which a resolution is printed that returns a Senate bill back to the Senate in these situations.
“Even Harry Reid now admits the Senate’s amnesty bill is unconstitutional and cannot become law,” Stockman said in a Wednesday evening statement. “Any bill that raises revenue must start in the House. By creating their own amnesty taxes Senate Democrats broke the rules. Senate Democrats were so hell-bent on ramming through a gift to radical political activists they didn’t bother to check if it was even legal.”
“They got caught trying to sneak an illegal bill past the Constitution’s borders,” Stockman added.
Stockman’s office notes that Section 2102 of the bill “requires the payment of certain taxes and forgives the payment of other taxes as a condition of receiving amnesty and other benefits.”
Stockman’s office also cites the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the bill from June 18, which states in part that “enacting S. 744 would have a wide range of effects on federal revenues, including changes in collections of income and payroll taxes, certain visa fees that are classified as revenues, and various fines and penalties. Taken together, those effects would increase revenues by $459 billion over the 2014-2023 period, according to estimates by JCT and CBO.”
On Wednesday, Stockman sent around a letter to his colleagues on Capitol Hill asking if they would back him in this argument. It appears many of his colleagues have, but a list was not immediately available.
Stockman sent a similar letter to Camp, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, because Camp’s committee has jurisdiction over tax issues in the House.
The Illinois House, without debate, has struck down the amendatory veto Governor Pat Quinn issued to House Bill 183 by a 77-31 vote, allowing residents to carry concealed firearms. The Illinois Senate has now followed suit and also voted against Quinn’s veto by a margin of 41-17.
With the passage of the bill, Illinois becomes the last state in the union to allow its residents to carry concealed firearms.
The Illinois State Police must now be ready to process an anticipated 300,000 first year applications within six months. Residents must pay $150 and non-residents will be required to pay $300, in addition to 16 hours of required training, to apply for the five-year permit.
See Illinois State Police FAQ’s regarding the legislation here.
Texas pro-life advocates and supporters cheered Tuesday as Texas HB 2, which would end late term abortion in the state, was approved by the Texas House. During the long HB 2 debate in the Texas House, pro-abortion activists have threatened legislators and their children with rape, tweeted death threats to the Lt. Governor in Texas and chanted “f- the church” outside the Texas capitol. Pro-abortion advocate, Texas state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) and also a former public school teacher (surprise, surprise), even made the ridiculous argument that pro-life men were “taught how to potty” by women. TPM reported:
“We were these men’s first teachers. We taught them how to put their pants on, how to tie their shoes, how to potty,” Thompson said. “And all of a sudden when we get to be adults, then we become senile to the extent that we don’t know what is good for ourselves, we cannot make decisions for ourselves, like we can’t think ourselves out of a paper bag. And we can.”
Despite the small outcry from baby killers there is a much larger group that supports Texas HB 2 because of the chance to save the lives of innocent children. The bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks in Texas will save at least one baby a day. According to an Abortion Surveillance report published in 2012, 465 babies were aborted in Texas after 21 weeks. Governor Rick Perry intends to push HB 2 through the Republican controlled Legislature in a second special session. It looks as though the Democrats have little chance to vote this bill down. Their final hope is to file a federal lawsuit to block it once it becomes law.
Under this bill a woman has five months to make up her mind if she wants to have an abortion, why would she need a coat hanger?
The Texas Legislature got off to a dramatic start on Tuesday with one lawmaker brandishing a coathanger on the House floor as the chamber took up the abortion measure that has roiled the state and the country in the weeks since a 13-hour filibuster derailed its passage in the last session.
The Texas House of Representatives opened at 10 a.m. local time after the July Fourth recess to consider House Bill 2, which imposes a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and, critics charge, would shutter nearly every abortion-providing clinic in the state due to stringent clinic regulations. The measure failed to be fully passed at the end of the last session due to a filibuster late last month led by state Sen. Wendy Davis, who became a national liberal icon overnight. [...]
Thompson and others who accompanied her on the floor brandished several props including wire coat hangers, knitting needles, feathers and turpentine. She charged that without rape and incest exceptions extended beyond the first five months of gestation, sexual assault victims would use those tools to obtain abortions.