Issue Position: Crime and Safety: Public Safety
Balancing our freedoms with security - The USA PATRIOT Act
With several of its more controversial sections set to expire on December 31, 2005, Congress will take a critical look at the USA PATRIOT in the coming year. With the continuing threat of terrorist attacks on our homeland, it is vital that our federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have the tools necessary to keep us safe. However, the first victim of terrorism in our nation should never be the constitution, for as Ben Franklin said, "Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."
I am a cosponsor of the Freedom to Read Protection Act of 2005 (HR 1157), a bill which would eliminate the provision that allows federal law enforcement officers to examine the lists of all the items you've taken out of your local library without a warrant, notice to you, or probable cause. In addition, I supported an amendment to the FY06 Commerce, Justice and State Appropriations bill (H.R. 2862) which, if it had passed, would have eliminated this provision. As Congress begins to take another look at this and other expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act, I will continue to work to ensure that our national security efforts are balanced with the constitutional freedoms that our nation was founded on.
12/14/05 - Larson Committed to Meaningful Balance of Expanded Government Surveillance and Civil Protections
7/20/05 - Larson: Rhetoric Must Meet Reality on Protecting America
Information from the Library of Congress
* USA PATRIOT Act Sunset: A Sketch
* USA PATRIOT Act Sunset: Provisions That Expire on December 31, 2005
* Libraries and the USA PATRIOT Act
* The USA PATRIOT Act: A Sketch
* The USA PATRIOT Act: A Legal Analysis
Supporting our First Responders
Supporting our police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical responders is one of the most important things Congress does. It is vital that municipalities have the resources to hire, train and equip these first responders as they work to keep our nation and local communities safe. I have continually worked to support programs that help first responders in the first district, including:
* The COPS Program
I have worked with my colleagues to fight for increased funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program, which has helped put 117,000 more officers on the streets in the past 10 years. In addition, I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 5277, a bill that would reauthorize the COPS program and provide additional grant money for states and communities to hire, train and equip their police officers.
* Bulletproof Vests
I am a cosponsor of H.R. 1708, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 2003. This legislation would extend funding for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a program which helps States, tribal, and local jurisdictions purchase armor vests for law enforcement officers, through 2007. Through this program, several local police departments in the First District have been able new bulletproof vests for their officers.
* The FIRE Grant Program
I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 4107, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Reauthorization Act of 2004, which provides grants and funding for training and equipment for fire fighters and first responders. Through this program, Fire departments all over the first district have received the critical funds they need to hire, train, and equip their firefighters.
Information from the Library of Congress
* The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background, Legislation, and Issues
* Assistance to Firefighters Program
* Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
The best national estimates for the number of missing children are from incidence studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART 2) was released in October of 2002. According to NISMART 2 data estimates, there were 203,900 children abducted by family members, 58,200 children abducted by nonfamily members and 1,682,900 runaway/thrownaway episodes in 1999.
The best national estimates for the number of missing children are from incidence studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART 2) was released in October of 2002. According to NISMART 2 data estimates, there were 203,900 children abducted by family members, 58,200 children abducted by nonfamily members and 1,682,900 runaway/thrownaway episodes in 1999. I am an original cosponsor of the National AMBER Alert Network Act (H.R. 412), to enhance the operation of the AMBER Alert communications network in order to facilitate the recovery of abducted children, to provide for enhanced notification on highways of alerts and information on such children.
Learn more about AMBER Alert and children's safety.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Since it was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has provided critical funding and services to victims of domestic, child, sexual and other kinds of abuse. In addition to setting up critical grant programs to aid state and local communities, VAWA changed federal law relating to interstate stalking, intrastate domestic abuse, federal sex offense cases, and HIV testing in rape cases. It was reauthorized in 2000 and expanded to help prevent sexual assaults on campuses, provide transitional housing for victims of domestic abuse, and protect elderly and disabled victims of domestic violence.
I am a cosponsor of The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005 (H.R. 2876), which would reauthorize VAWA and expand the act to improve services and outreach to victims, provide resources for sexual assault victims through rape crisis centers and state coalitions, and support prevention, health, housing and economic assistance programs designed to prevent violence and help victims.