Friday, August 1, 2014

KKK Calls For ‘Shoot To Kill’ Policy On Undocumented Child Immigrants (Video)

Where is CPS?

The KKK is calling for the death of children and not one child welfare organization has stepped up to the plate.

Where are the religious communities?

Where are all the "Save the children" folks?  (crickets)
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Conyers Introduces BUILD Act to Empower State and Local Governments to Invest in Job-Creation


Economic Development Bond Programs Would Lower Borrowing Costs for Detroit and Cities Across the Nation

(WASHINGTON) — On July 31, 2014, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. introduced H.R. 5330, theBringing Urgent Investment to Local Development (BUILD) Act.  This critical legislation would reauthorize the Build America Bond (BAB) Program and Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds Program to enable states and municipalities to build and repair roads, schools, medical facilities, water sanitation systems, mass transit, and other essential infrastructure at lower cost. 

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“The BUILD Act directly addresses the root causes of the unemployment crisis in communities where it is most severe and enables cities across the country to accelerate much-needed infrastructure projects, while spurring economic development,” said Congressman John Conyers Jr.  “Investing in infrastructure and public works projects is a proven, cost-effective, market-oriented approach to empowering communities.”

BABs are taxable bonds for which the U.S. Treasury pays a direct subsidy to the issuer to reduce interest costs.  The bonds empower state and local governments to build and repair roads, schools, medical facilities, water sanitation systems, mass transit, and other essential infrastructure at lower cost.  In 2009-2010, every dollar from the BAB program leveraged $41 in private capital, enabling the financing of thousands of projects and the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs.  The reauthorization of the BAB program has been supported by diverse organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employeesthe National Association of Counties, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  TIME magazine described this approach as one of the economic recovery effort’s biggest successes.

The BUILD Act will immediately reauthorize the now-expired BAB Program with a 35% subsidy rate for communities facing emergency economic conditions (communities that exceed 150% of national average rate of unemployment or poverty) and a 28% subsidy rate for all other communities.

“It’s time to invest in America’s future and close our infrastructure deficit.  According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, our nation needs to invest approximately $2.7 trillion in roads, bridges, water and sewage systems, electrical grids, and ports by 2020. That’s just 6 years away - yet there’s only an estimated $1.6 trillion in public and private financing projected to be available over that period,” added Conyers. “Left unaddressed, it will mean more frequent power outages, traffic jams, higher prices at supermarkets, and even dangerous accidents like the bridge collapses of recent years.”

The BUILD Act has the support of the following original cosponsors: Representatives Charles Rangel (NY-13), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Matt Cartwright (PA-17).


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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Michele Bachmann blames Obama for her ignorance of foster care

This is the same woman who has, for years, spearheaded the removal of children, because the parents were poor and disabled.

This is the same woman whose husband's clinic, which bills Medicaid, for 'reparative therapy' to 'pray the gay away' in a child.

This is the same woman who spearheads the Congressional Caucus on Foster  Youth to improve the overall well-being of youth and families.

This is the same woman who considers a 'family' to consist of a married man and woman.


This is the same woman who claimed African-American children were better off in slavery.


This is the same woman who was fear-mongering children crossing the boarder as invaders, wanting to do nothing but send them back to a situation of pending death.


This is the same woman who refuses to discuss the r

drugging, rapes, beatings, suicides and eventual life on the streets of children in foster care.

This is the same woman who refuses to acknowledge fraud, waste and abuse of federal funding by christian privately contracted Child Placing Agencies.


This is the same woman hates POTUS because he was elected.


Medical experimentation on children in foster care is not the work of Obama.  It has been in place for years.  If she knew what she was talking about, then perhaps she would be doing something effective for all children, not just the ones she picks and choses to protect...and get paid for.



Michele Bachmann accuses Obama of wanting to experiment on immigrant children

Michele Bachmann on CNN
Outgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) accused President Barack Obama’s administration during a radio interview of encouraging more Central American immigrant minors to come to the U.S. for the purposes of procuring subjects for medical experiments, Right Wing Watchreported on Wednesday.
“We can’t imagine doing this,” she said. “But if you have a hospital, and they are gonna get millions of dollars in government grants so that they can conduct medical research on somebody — and a ward of the state can’t say no, a little kid can’t say no, if they’re a ward of the state — so here you could have an institution getting millions of dollars from our government to do medical experimentation, and a kid can’t even say no. It’s sick.”
According to Right Wing Watch, Bachmann’s claim is an offshoot of her introduction of “Justina’s Law,” named after Justina Pelletier, the Massachusetts teenager who was the focal point of a court battle between her parents and the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) dating back to February 2013.
Pelletier’s family and the agency’s dispute began when Boston Children’s Hospital diagnosed the girl with “a persistent and severe somatic symptom disorder,” countering an earlier diagnosis by Tufts Medical Center saying her inability to walk or eat was caused by mitochondrial disease. DCF was granted emergency custody over Pelletier until she turned 18 this past March, but the ruling was reversed three months later when juvenile court judge Joseph Johnston ruled that her parents had demonstrated they could provide adequate care for her.
Right Wing Watch reported that, according to Bachmann and other religious conservatives, the hospital diagnosed Pelletier with somatoform disorder because it wanted a federal grant to study the disease
Bachmann’s resolution, co-sponsored by Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Tom Marino (R-PA) subsequently accused Children’s Hospital and similar facilities of having “an internal policy that allows for children who are deemed ‘wards of the State,’ including foster children, to receive treatment or be involved in research that presents great risk even if there is no prospect of any benefit to the child.”
But in reality, the hospital’s policy only sanctions research involving “greater
than minimal risk with no prospect of direct benefit” if it is related to a child’s status as a ward. The policy also calls for any child included in this kind of study to have an advocate appointed to serve on their behalf in addition to any guardian or “in loco” family the child may have.
“We have 400,000 foster children in this country, and now President Barack Obama is trying to bring all of those foreign nationals, the illegal aliens, to the country and he has said that he will put them in the foster care system,” Bachmann said during her radio interview. “I will tell you from personal experience, we don’t have enough foster parents now in the country for the kids in America. We certainly don’t have enough foster parents for all of the illegal aliens that the president is trying to bring in right now.”
The remarks signify a slight change in tack from Bachmann, who earlier this month referred to the thousands of children who have emigrated from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua as“invaders” and linked them to an unidentified rape case and a fatal 2008 auto accident.
Listen to Bachmann’s remarks, as posted online on Wednesday, below.


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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vote for Floyd Johnson: Click, Like and Share Today!!!!!

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My very beautiful friend, Floyd Johnson is in the Easyriders Rodeo Contest for the best "Father Son picture.

All you have to do is:




Just do it.

They hung out with SOA.

Floyd Johnson
Floyd Johnson and his son.  Click to "Like and Share" so they can win the contest!

Conyers: GOP Needs to End Partisan Diversions and Get Back to Doing the Business of the American People


WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman John Conyers Jr. , Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, made opening remarks at the full House Judiciary Committee legislative hearing on the “IRS Targeting Scandal: The Need for a Special Counsel.” Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“Mr. Chairman, today is the last full working day before the August recess. 

“I am concerned, and deeply disappointed, by how we have chosen to spend it.

“Under federal regulations, and according to all available precedent, the appointment of special counsel is reserved for extraordinary circumstances—where a conflict of interest at the highest levels of government requires the Department of Justice to abandon its normal process of investigation and prosecution.

“Two separate congressional committees have sorted through more than half a million pages of documents, conducted 40 transcribed interviews, and held more than three-dozen hearings and markups to examine the criteria used by the IRS to screen applicants for tax-exempt status.

“The committees have not uncovered one shred of evidence to suggest that the involvement of senior officials at the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, or the White House.

“Without that evidence, calls for a special counsel are simply unwarranted.

“The Chairman has mentioned H. Res. 565, which demands that the Attorney General appoint special counsel in this matter.  Of course, as a matter of law, the Attorney General has absolute discretion to determine whether a special counsel is necessary.  Congress cannot compel him to do so.

“We might have explained this point had we maintained regular order, and discussed H. Res. 565 in this Committee prior to consideration on the House floor.

“What troubles me most about this resolution is its preamble: 8 pages of unsubstantiated claims, carefully tailored half-truths, and political innuendo.

“For example, the resolution references two anonymous sources in a January 13th Wall Street Journal article, who claim that the Department has concluded its investigation.  That claim ignores the testimony of both Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey, who assured this Committee that the investigation is ongoing.

“The resolution claims that the Department of Justice and the FBI “have refused to cooperate with congressional oversight.” 

“Of course, the Chairman knows that—under longstanding policy, applied consistently by Administrations of both parties—Congress is not entitled to materials related to an ongoing criminal investigation.  Otherwise, the Department’s attempt to accommodate our needs have been extraordinary.

“The resolution’s largest error is the same false premise underlying this hearing.  H. Res. 565 claims that the IRS “targeted conservative nonprofit groups for extra scrutiny in connection with applications for tax-exempt status.” 

“That is partly true.  But it is a deliberate half-truth, and one that leads to the wrong conclusion.

“The record is clear: overwhelmed with applications for tax-exempt status after the Citizens United decision, the IRS created a list of search terms in an attempt to sort legitimate applicants from mere political shells. 

“Those search terms applied across the political spectrum—to Tea Party groups, but also to groups with the words “progressive” and “Occupy” in their titles.  We all agree that this approach was poorly conceived, but not a single applicant was denied tax-exempt status because of it.

“The Majority knows that this is a case of bureaucratic ineptitude, and not so-called ‘political targeting.’ They only frame it as such because it is politically expedient to do so.

“This underscores my final point. Given the long list of urgent matters pending before us, this hearing is an unacceptable misuse of our time and resources.

“The 113th Congress has spent more than $18 million taxpayer dollars investigating the IRS.  The House has held more than three dozen hearings and markups on the topic.  We have already voted on the particular question of appointing special counsel.
           
“But we have held not one hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on comprehensive immigration reform.

“Not one hearing on legislation to update the Voting Rights Act.

“Not one hearing on much-needed reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.           

“Not one hearing on stemming the tide of gun violence in this country, a scourge that has claimed nearly 20,000 lives since this Congress began.

“Not one hearing on a range of local civil rights issues across the map: including police practices in New York, due process rights for minors at the Texas border, prison conditions in California, access to the ballot box in Florida, and access to drinking water and other basic utilities in Michigan.

“Any one of these topics would be appropriate for consideration today, our last full day of work before the break. 

“Instead, we will hold one more hearing—in the line of dozens of hearings—on a so-called “scandal” in which one office in the IRS bureaucracy denied zero applications for tax-exempt status.

“In terms of actually compelling the Attorney General to appoint a special counsel, this hearing stands about as much a chance of success as the Speaker’s woefully misguided lawsuit against the President.

“I hope that, after the break, cooler heads will prevail.  There is still time to correct this Committee’s priorities before the Congress ends. 

“I yield back.”


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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BIPARTISAN COALITION OF HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MEMBERS INTRODUCE THE TRADE SECRETS PROTECTION ACT OF 2014



(WASHINGTON) – Today, a bipartisan coalition of six House Judiciary Committee members introduced, H.R. 5233, the “Trade Secrets Protection Act of 2014.”  The legislation creates a civil cause of action for companies to enforce their rights and safeguard trade secrets. 

The bipartisan coalition includes Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Howard Coble (R-NC), and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH).  All are members of the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.

Introduction of the “Trade Secrets Protection Act of 2014” follows a House Judiciary Committee hearing that established the need for a federal civil remedy for trade secret protection. The legislation is part of a bipartisan, bicameral legislative effort to amend the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. The bill will help create a federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation within the Act’s definition of misappropriation and does not preempt state law.

Ranking Member Rep. John Conyers (D-MI): "Trade secrets are fundamental to the success of any business.  U.S. companies have struggled to protect trade secrets due to innovative technology.  To combat further economic damage of trade secret theft, my colleagues and I worked together to draft bipartisan legislation that will create a civil cause of action and allow companies to enforce their rights in federal court.”
Rep. George Holding (R-NC): “American businesses face relentless cyber security threats every day, costing our economy billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs each year. As a way to help create jobs, grow our economy and protect our businesses, I have introduced the Trade Secrets Protection Act of 2014. This bill will help supply American businesses, both large and small, with the tools needed to combat these destructive threats.”
Intellectual Property Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): “The value of trade secrets to U.S. companies is matched only by their tremendous vulnerability to theft. Innovative technologies have made it easy to obtain information and transfer it across the globe with the click of a cell phone, tablet, or computer key. At the same time, U.S. companies are increasingly targeted for trade secret theft by competitors, with some foreign governments actively encouraging and facilitating the theft of U.S. trade secrets, In light of their value and vulnerability, it is essential that Congress provide robust protection for trade secrets and pass our bill.”
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH): “Trade secrets are extremely valuable and important to many American businesses, and, because they derive their value through their secrecy, trade secrets need strong protections to prevent their theft and disclosure,” said Chabot.  “Unfortunately, current law consists of a patchwork of federal and state provisions that are too often inadequate to prevent misappropriation of trade secrets, particularly in our ever-evolving digital world.  Our legislation will give American companies new tools to protect their trade secrets as well as seek damages when misappropriation occurs.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY): “American companies lose billions of dollars a year due to trade theft.  The FBI has worked diligently to address the threat presented to our economy, but additional tools are needed. The option of a federal civil cause of action is another arrow in the quiver to strike at the heart of trade secret theft. I am pleased to join with my Judiciary Committee colleagues today in co-sponsoring the Trade Secrets Protection Act of 2014.”

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Michele Bachmann and the illegal border babies

In my search for answers regarding the silence of the most outspoken advocates of child welfare, I found this video of U.S. Representatives Michele Bachmann and Charlie Rangel.

Representative Rangel comes to Bachman's defense by pointing out the political delicacy with the issues of border children.
 

To date, the only statement from a religious leader has been Pope Francis who calls for compassion to give aid to these children who have risked their lives to seek help.

Every other religious organization has been silent.

The children crossing the border are not illegal.  These children are entering under United States law, signed by President Bush.  The law is a child protection law.  The services are child protection.

This is CPS, international.

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HOUSE JUDICIARY DEMOCRATS LAUD SENATOR LEAHY’S INTRODUCTION OF THE USA FREEDOM ACT


(WASHINGTON) – Today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced a Senate version of H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act, which ends domestic bulk collection and reforms the government’s surveillance of United States citizens.  On May 22, 2014, the House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Act by a vote of 302-121.  Senator Leahy’s version of the bill includes a new definition of “specific selection term” that addresses many of the concerns aimed at the House-passed compromise legislation.

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“Senator Leahy’s introduction of the USA FREEDOM Act reinforces our commitment to protecting the civil liberties and rights of all Americans.  This critical legislation will end domestic bulk data collection and increase much-needed oversight of intelligence-gathering programs, while ensuring that our national security remains intact. Enactment of this legislation would constitute the first significant rollback of any aspect of government surveillance since passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The House passed its version of the bill in May. It is important that the Senate take the next step and pass this legislation without delay.”

Below are key provisions of H.R. 3361 as passed by the House of Representatives on May 22, 2014:

Prohibits Bulk Collection of Data: The bill protects Americans’ privacy by ending the bulk collection of Americans’ business records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, such as telephone and electronic communications records, among many others. The bill also prohibits bulk collection under other national security authorities.

New Process for Obtaining Call Records: The USA FREEDOM Act makes clear that the government cannot indiscriminately acquire Americans’ records and creates a new process for the collection of call detail records. Specifically, the bill requires that these call detail records can only be collected on an ongoing case-by-case basis after approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The FISC is authorized to allow up to two “hops.”

Protects Americans’ Privacy: The bill codifies current minimization procedures, requiring the government to minimize the acquisition and prohibit the retention and dissemination of information about Americans. Additionally, it prohibits the government from using unlawfully obtained information about Americans acquired outside the scope of court-approved procedures.

Ensures Robust Oversight of Intelligence-Gathering Programs: The bill increases oversight of our intelligence-gathering programs by providing for judicial review of minimization procedures for the production of business records.

Increases Transparency of Intelligence-Gathering Programs: The bill creates a panel of legal experts to help ensure the FISA court adequately considers privacy concerns and Constitutional rights of Americans and also requires the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General to conduct a declassification review of each decision, order, or opinion of the FISA court that includes a significant construction or interpretation of the law. The bill requires the government to disclose the number of requests made for call detail records and requires the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to publicly report annually the number of FISA orders issued, modified, or denied by the FISC.

Allows American Tech Companies to Disclose FISA Orders: Last year’s national security leaks have also had a commercial and financial impact on American technology companies that have provided these records. They’ve experienced backlash from both American and foreign consumers and they’ve lost their competitive edge in the global marketplace. In January of this year, the Justice Department entered into a settlement with several companies to permit new ways to report data concerning requests for customer information under FISA. The USA FREEDOM Act builds upon this settlement, allowing tech companies to inform their American and foreign customers by publicly reporting national security requests.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

KY boy raped by pastor church had hired because God ‘forgave’ past sex crimes: police


Pastor Roy Neal Yoakem
Officials at a Kentucky church said this week that they knew their pastor was a registered violent sex offender when they hired him, and now he’s facing more charges for repeatedly raping a 14-year-old member of the congregation.
The Gallatin Police Department said in a statement this week that 46-year-old Pastor Roy Neal Yoakem had been arrested Monday on charges of aggravated statutory rape, sexual battery by an authority figure, statutory rape by an authority figure and fugitive from justice, The Tennesseanreported.
Yoakem is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy once inside New Gospel Outreach Church in Scottsville, Kentucky, and once at his home in Gallatin, Tennessee.
The pastor had been required to register as a violent sex offender after being found guilty in 2005 of abusing an 8-year-old boy in Kentucky.
“If (a convicted sex offender) has a secondary address or if they spend a certain amount of time a month in the state, they have to register here,” a statement from Gallatin Police Department spokesperson Bill Storment explained. So, his primary residence is in Kentucky, but the Gallatin residence is considered his secondary address.”
New Gospel Outreach Church Interim Pastor Stephen Bratcher told WZTV that he was “shocked” to hear of the allegations, even though church leaders knew Yoakem was a registered sex offender when they hired him.
Bratcher asserted that the church had determined that the previous allegations of sexual assault were false.
“Kentucky State Police was contacted, Kentucky Attorney General’s Office was contacted,” Bratcher said. “You know, about the legality, and they — the troopers over at the Bolling Green post — said that they contacted the sex offenders branch, and they said there’s nothing illegal about it.”
He added that he was “not in a position to judge anyone.”
“We’re firm believers in the Bible so if God’s forgiven you, then we’re in no position to treat you otherwise,” Bratcher explained to WBKO last month.
Storment said that the Gallatin Police Department was investigating the possibility that more children were victimized.
“We are not aware of any additional victims at this time, but because of his position of authority in a church certainly if someone becomes aware or suspicious that their child might be a victim, then we need to talk to them,” Storment noted.
Yoakem was extradited to Sumner County Jail where he was being held on $250,000 bond.
Watch the video below from WZTV, broadcast July 8, 2014.





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Friday, July 25, 2014

Rep Conyers asks about overcriminalization and copyright penalties

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Conyers: Water Shutoff Moratorium is an Important First Step in Safeguarding Detroiters’ Right to Access Water


Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) issued the following statement regarding the decision by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to suspend its water shutoff policy for 15 days:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“Access to water is a basic human right. I applaud today's decision to suspend water shutoffs for 15 days to enable residents to demonstrate financial hardship. This is a first step in preventing a regional public health crisis that could impact the most vulnerable among us, particularly infants and seniors.

The application of recent water shutoffs and threats have been arbitrary and inhumane, targeting many households with a clear inability to pay their bills. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department must use the moratorium period to reconsider its use of water shutoffs as a means of collection enforcement and to ensure that any future shutoffs do not proceed unless the Department has verified the accuracy of customers’ bills and confirmed their ability to pay.

I am committed to addressing the immediate crisis and ensuring Detroit residents' long-term access to clean water at affordable rates. I am working with Michigan's state government and the U.S. Treasury to ensure access to the state’s ‘Hardest Hit Fund,’ which can be used to provide funding for emergency water payments and infrastructure upgrades.

On July 17, I introduced H.R. 5132, legislation that would protect struggling families' access to essential utilities during bankruptcy.  On July 25, I will introduce new legislation to reinstate the successful ‘Build America Bonds’ program that enables cities, including Detroit, to affordably finance improvements to water systems and other infrastructure."


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Friday, July 18, 2014

Conyers & Scott Hail Sentencing Commission’s Vote Providing Retroactive Fairness for Low Level Offenders


(WASHINGTON) – Today, the United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to apply a reduction in the sentencing guideline levels applicable to most federal drug inmates retroactively.  Unless Congress disapproves the amendment, beginning November 1, 2014, eligible inmates can ask courts to reduce their sentences.  Courts will review a number of individualized factors, including public safety, in consideration of whether to grant these reductions.  Inmates whose requests are granted by the courts can be released no earlier than a year later on November 1, 2015, to allow sufficient time for federal judges to closely review the facts and circumstances of each petition that is filed, for the Federal Bureau of Prisons to provide the necessary transitional services and opportunities to eligible inmates in support of successful reentry into society, and to the Office of Probation and Pretrial Services to prepare for the effective supervision of the releases.

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) had written to the United States Sentencing Commission on July 7, 2014 urging this action. The Commission acknowledged their letter, which was considered as the Commission deliberated on this proposal.

After the public announcements, Representatives Conyers and Scott issued the following statement:

U.S. Representative
Joh Conyers, Jr.
“We commend the United States Sentencing Commission’s unanimous vote today that fixes a flaw inherent in the drug sentencing guidelines since 1987which has resulted in excessive sentences, and applies that fix retroactively to 46,290 currently incarcerated federal drug offenders.  Since 1987, the low end of the calculated guideline drug sentence has actually been higher than the mandatory minimum prison term.  As a direct result, as the Commission has recognized, the drug guidelines have been higher-than-necessary for many years.  This amendment would bring federal drug guidelines into line with the mandatory minimums Congress created and is consistent with the Commission’s long and commendable track record of applying fixes to flawed amendments retroactively as it did in 1993 (LSD), 1995 (marijuana), 2007 (crack cocaine), and 2011 (crack cocaine). Justice should not depend on something as arbitrary as the date a person was sentenced, especially when the flaw being corrected has been present since the guidelines’ creation in 1987.

“Just the retroactive application of this amendment is projected to save $2.3 billion.  Our federal prisons are at over 132% overcapacity (and increasing every year).  Drug offenders represent 50% of the current federal prison population and over 66% of the increase in the federal prison population.  While these figures are staggering, the human cost has been even greater.  For decades, the federal ‘War on Drugs’ has been the primary engine of mass incarceration.  Drug convictions alone comprise more than 66% of the increase in our federal prison population.  This war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies have consistently shown---for decades---that people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than Whites.    While national data show that people of all races use drugs at about the same rate, Black and Hispanic men and women are sentenced and imprisoned for federal drug offenses at disproportionately high rates, for virtually every kind of drug. For example, in FY 2013, Blacks and Hispanics comprised almost 75 percent of all federal drug offenders and more than 80 percent of offenders sentenced for powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin offenses. Currently, almost 40 percent of all federal inmates are Black; 35 percent are Hispanic.

“The Commission’s historic vote today also seeks to right this disproportionate racial impact.  According to the Commission’s own retroactivity impact analysis, almost 75% of the people eligible for retroactive application of the ‘drugs minus two’ amendment are Black or Hispanic.  This action builds on the progress that the Judiciary Committee began, in the 111th Congress, in passing the Fair Sentencing Act to reduce the arbitrary disparity in drug sentencing.

“To be clear, retroactive application will not jeopardize public safety as there are no automatic sentence reductions.  Courts will review each motion for sentence reduction presented to it and, when merited, deny retroactive sentence reductions to offenders who pose a danger to public safety, as they have previously done for other drug amendments.  Moreover, an inmate’s criminal history is already included in the guidelines calculation and the judge’s consideration and imposition of the sentence, including any enhancement or upward departure or variance.  Thus, the sentence the offender is serving is already calibrated to reflect and account for prior criminal records.  A retroactive reduction without restriction would be a reduction from a sentence that has already been increased due to criminal history.

“We commend the United States Sentencing Commission for unanimously voting to apply  for taking this historic first step, but in doing so we also call on Congress to lead the way for the United States to see lasting criminal justice reform. While this retroactive amendment to the advisory sentence guidelines offers relief to 46,290 inmates and to those who will be sentenced in the future, this amendment does not help those whose sentences were statutorily increased by mandatory minimums, enhancements, and consecutive counts.  To put this into perspective, in fiscal year 2012, 60% of federal drug defendants were convicted of offenses carrying mandatory penalties of some kind---oftentimes with several mandatory penalties at once.  To repair the damage caused by the unjust system of mandatory sentencing---the primary engine of mass incarceration in the federal system----Congress must work to eliminate or greatly reduce mandatory sentencing provisions, and restore judge’s discretion to avoid disproportionate sentences when mandatory penalties are charged. Again and again studies show that mandatory sentences discriminate against minorities, are ineffective at preventing crime, are inefficient from a cost perspective, and often require judges to impose sentences that violate commonsense. For these reasons, we have a moral obligation to put an end to mandatory sentencing and pass laws with proportional penalties that make sense. Only then will justice truly be restored to an American criminal system gone awry.  Repealing or reducing mandatory penalties will not only provide the more proportionate sentences that eligible offenders---particularly those of color---should have received to begin with, but also restore these offenders to their communities and families sooner, strengthening communities---particularly those of color---and increasing the perception – and reality – that the justice in our system applies equally to everyone, irrespective of race.”

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