New Congressional Legislation
The 106th Congress has wasted no time in fanning
the flames of the drug war. It's a wonder they've found the time
in the middle of their trial. Once again, unfortunately, get-tough
rhetoric has triumphed over common sense and compassion.
Below are some of the new bills proposed that
would directly affect drug policy or general criminal justice,
culled from over 500 new bills introduced in the new Congress.
In the House of Representatives:
- H.R. 12 - A bill to limit jurisdiction
of the Federal courts with respect to prison release orders. - Sponsored by Rep. Tom DeLay. "No court of
the United States or other court listed . . . shall have jurisdiction
to enter or carry out any prisoner release order that would result
in the release from or non-admission to a prison, on the basis
of prison conditions."
- H.R. 75 - Hillory J. Farias Date Rape
Prevention Drug Act - A bill to schedule
Gamma y-hydroxybutyrate in schedule I of the Controlled Substances
Act and to schedule Ketamine in schedule II of such Act, and
for other purposes. - Sponsor: Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee
- H.R. 215 - District of Columbia Prison
Safety Act - A bill to provide discretion
to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons in the transfer of District
of Columbia inmates to private contract facilities. - Sponsored
by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
- H.R. 240 - Bulk Cash Smuggling Act of
1999 - A bill to amend title 31, United
States Code, to prevent the smuggling of large amounts of currency
or monetary instruments into or out of the United States, and
for other purposes. - Sponsored by Rep. Marge Roukema. "Findings-
Congress finds the following:
(1) The use of large sums of cash is one of the most reliable
warning signs of drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering,
racketeering, tax evasion, and similar crimes.
(2) The prevention, investigation, and prosecution of such crimes
depends upon the ability of law enforcement to deter and trace
such movements of cash, and the failure to report such movements
accordingly undermines law enforcement's ability to prevent and
detect serious criminal activity."
- H.R. 278 - A bill to prohibit federally
sponsored research pertaining to legalization of drugs. - Rep. John Sweeney sponsored this bill.
- H.R. 279 - Federal Employment Applicant
Drug Testing Act - A bill to require
pre-employment drug testing with respect to applicants for Federal
employment. - Sponsor: Rep. Sweeney, E. (R-NY)
- H.R. 282 - Correctional Officer Protection
Act - A bill to amend the Omnibus
Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to reduce funding
if States do not enact legislation that requires the death penalty
in certain cases. - Sponsored by Rep. John E. Sweeney
- H.R. 295 - Drug Importer Death Penalty
Act of 1999 - A bill to provide a
sentence of death for certain importations of significant quantities
of controlled substances. - Sponsored by Rep. John Sweeney. (This
is almost a word-for-word rehash of the 105th Congress' H.R.
41, The Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1997, sponsored by
the now unemployed Newt Gingrich.) H.R. 295 mandates a life sentence
for a first offense of trafficking in 100 'dosage units' of any
illegal drug, and a mandatory death sentence for a second offense.
This is a carbon copy of the bill that prompted Mr. Gingrich
to call for mass executions of drug traffickers.
In the Senate:
- S. 5 - The Drug-Free Century Act - A bill to reduce the transportation and distribution
of illegal drugs and to strengthen domestic demand reduction,
and for other purposes. - Although the bill's sponsor, Sen. Mike
DeWine, (R-OH), describes the bill as being "comprehensive,"
the bill emphasizes law enforcement, incarceration, interdiction,
and asset forfeiture, at the expense of innovative or effective
demand reduction programs. The asset forfeiture provisions of
the bill would make it easier for federal law enforcement to
seize vessels, even if no drugs are found on board, and take
the assets of persons who go astray of the ever-expanding money-laundering
laws. The bill also seeks to reduce the crack cocaine/powder
cocaine sentencing disparity by making it easier to imprison
more people on longer sentences for powder cocaine.
- S. 44 -A bill to amend the Gun-Free Schools
act of 1994. - Sponsored by Sen. Jesse
Helms (R-NC), this bill requires local education agencies that
receive funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
to expel students who possess illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia.
- S. 146 - A bill to amend the Controlled
Substances Act with respect to penalties for crimes involving
cocaine, and for other purposes. -
Sponsor by Sen. Abraham (R-MI), this bill increases mandatory
minimums for powder cocaine offenses. It reduces quantity from
5 kilos to 500 grams for a 10-yr mandatory minimum and from 500
grams to 50 grams for a 5-year mandatory minimum.
- S. 227 - A bill to prohibit the expenditure
of federal funds to provide or support programs to provide individuals
with hypodermic needles or syringes for the use of illegal drugs.
Sponsored by Sen. Coverdell (R-GA)
- S. 289 - Faith-Based Drug Treatment Enhancement
Act - Sponsor: Sen. Abraham (R-MI)
Amends the Public Health Service Act to permit federal assistance
to religious-based drug treatment centers, to permit individuals
receiving federal drug treatment assistance to select private
and religiously-oriented treatment, and protect persons from
being required to receive religiously-oriented treatment.
For more on what our Congress is up to, visit
their web page at: http://thomas.loc.gov/