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Justice, Civil Liberties and Government Accountability
Justice, Civil Liberties and Government Accountability impact all of us and are important to my work in Congress.
What Hank believes:
- The criminal justice system is ridden with injustice that penalizes minority and poor Americans.
- Mandatory minimum sentencing is fundamentally unfair.
- The death penalty is immoral.
- The government should serve and protect – not harass or inconvenience – American citizens.
- The government should not detain or spy on Americans without a warrant.
- Congress should exercise its government oversight prerogatives to their fullest in an effort to destroy waste and corruption.
- The federal government's reckless borrowing and spending threaten America's economic and national security, and unfairly and unethically burden future generations who will be responsible for repaying today's debts.
- It is irresponsible and unsustainable to increase spending while cutting taxes, as the Bush Administration did.
What Hank has done:
- Introduced the Effective Death Penalty Appeals Act in 2009, which would ensure that death row inmates have the opportunity to present newly discovered evidence of innocence.
- Cosponsored the successful Second Chance Act of 2007, which will lower crime rates in communities by increasing the care and aptitude with which the criminal justice system deals with ex-prisoners, probationers, and recidivists.
- Cosponsored the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which passed the House. It enables the federal government to assist local law enforcement with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.
- Cosponsored the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which passed the House. It directed the Department of Justice to open an office for the investigation of unsolved civil rights crimes committed before 1970.
- Cosponsored the COPS Improvement Act, which passed the House. It expands the authority of the Attorney General to make grants for public safety and community policing programs.
- Cosponsored the Stop AIDS in Prison Act, which passed the House. It would direct the Bureau of Prisons to implement a comprehensive policy to provide HIV testing, treatment, and prevention for inmates in federal prisons and upon re-entry to the community.
- Voted, during the first 100 Hours of this historic 110th Congress, to reestablish the PAYGO system, which requires that new spending or tax breaks not be added to the federal deficit; costs must be offset elsewhere in the budget.
What Hank will do:
- From his post on the Judiciary Committee, continue to support efforts to rid our criminal justice system of discriminatory practices.
- Serve as a check against undue government interference in the daily lives of Americans.
- Continue to provide federal and local law enforcement with the resources needed to fight crime effectively and humanely.
- Work to form a bipartisan consensus which resolves that, by avoiding unnecessary wars and eliminating unfair subsidies to powerful constituencies, we can balance the budget without cutting vital social services like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Food Stamps.