LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN 2005
January 6, 2006
Since the beginning of the 109th Congress, thousands of bills and resolutions have been introduced in the House of Representatives, but a much smaller number have made it through the legislative process to pass the House or be signed into law by the President. I am proud to have worked on several important pieces of legislation that have been voted on in the House and will greatly benefit the Sixth District as well as citizens throughout the nation.
Early in the 109th Congress, the President signed the Class Action Fairness Act which will help to curb the growing abuse of class action lawsuits. This legislation, which I introduced with bipartisan support, clarifies the rights of consumers. It reduces the strain on overburdened state courts by directing interstate lawsuits to the federal courts and helps restore confidence in America's civil justice system. This legislation better preserves citizens' rights to file legitimate suits while limiting the widespread abuse of class action lawsuits.
Additionally, I introduced the Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act of 2005 to better protect consumers and businesses from the negative effects of spyware. Spyware is software that is downloaded onto computers without the user's knowledge and used to harvest personal information. The consequences of spyware, including identity theft, are severe and this legislation, which was passed by the House, would impose criminal penalties on spyware abusers.
In June, a Supreme Court ruling gave local governments broad power to seize property under the guise of "economic development" to generate tax revenue. This decision threatened every home, business, farm, or other private land. Along with others, I introduced the STOPP Act discouraging state and local governments from invoking eminent domain power to obtain private property for private commercial development. The Agriculture Committee held the first Congressional hearing and markup on this legislation. A revised version of this legislation was later passed by the House with a strong bipartisan vote. This bill will help curtail eminent domain abuses and better protect private property ownership.
Preserving the integrity of our nation's security is a top priority for the Congress. Shortly before Christmas, the House passed an immigration enforcement bill that included two provisions I introduced, including eliminating the visa lottery program and increasing penalties for certain crimes committed by illegal aliens. The visa lottery is flawed policy and should not be permitted to jeopardize our nation's security any longer. It is important to nurture the diversity of our country, but not at the cost of our safety and security.
It is an honor to serve the 6th District and our nation in the House of Representatives. The second session of the 109th Congress will convene in a few weeks and I will continue to work hard to create and maintain good policies for America.