FEDERAL LEGISLATION!

This just in from the Chief Counsel…

“Just yesterday Senator Leahy introduced legislation to reauthorize the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  The legislation includes Sec. 107. Criminal provision relating to stalking, including cyberstalking.   This section updates the federal anti-stalking statute to capture more modern forms of communication that perpetrators use to stalk their victims.  I have attached the draft language for this new definition for your reference:

SEC. 107. CRIMINAL PROVISION RELATING TO STALKING,

INCLUDING CYBERSTALKING.

 

3 Section 2261A of title 18, United States Code, is

4 amended to read as follows:

‘‘§ 2261A. Stalking

 

6 ‘‘Whoever—

7        ‘‘(1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce

8 or is present within the special maritime and

9 territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or

10 leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure,

11 harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with

12 intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another

13 person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such

14 travel or presence engages in conduct that—

15               ‘‘(A) places that person in reasonable fear

16 of the death of, or serious bodily injury to—

17                         ‘‘(i) that person;

18                         ‘‘(ii) an immediate family member (as

19               defined in section 115) of that person; or

20                         ‘‘(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of

21               that person; or

22               ‘‘(B) causes or attempts to cause or would

23 be reasonably expected to cause substantial

24 emotional distress to a person described in

25 clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (A); or

JEN11D75 S.L.C.

1        ‘‘(2) with the intent to kill, injure, harass, in

2 intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to

3 kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person,

4 uses the mail, any interactive computer service or

5 electronic communication service or electronic

6 communication system of interstate commerce, or any

7 other facility of interstate or foreign commerce to

8 engage in a course of conduct that—

9                 ‘‘(A) places that person in reasonable fear

10 of the death of or serious bodily injury to a

11 person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of

12 paragraph (1)(A); or

13               ‘‘(B) causes or attempts to cause or would

14 be reasonably expected to cause substantial

15 emotional distress to a person described in

16 clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1)(A),

17 shall be punished as provided in section 2261(b) of

18 this title.’’.

See attached press release:

http://leahy.senate.gov/press/press_releases/release/?id=0AA06EE7-D9B4-4E40-B635-9D46832A3CBC

Legislative history:

13. S.1925 : A bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
Sponsor: Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] (introduced 11/30/2011)      Cosponsors (1)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 11/30/2011 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

US Department of Justice – Violence Against Women Act Office – Stalking Section

http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/aboutstalking.htm

Also, can you please copy Sen. <insert name of state senator for my district> legislative aide on your reply to this e-mail, so that we are connected as we work on federal and state legislation?  Thanks.”

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Building a Coalition

Another representative from another Senator’s office contacted me today. Oh, but not ‘just another representative’ – the Chief Counsel rang me up! And he was brimming with advice about what I need to do next in order to see these bills into legislation.

He also reassured me that, so far, I am on the right track and getting the support of the right people.

And…he is going to “do some additional research into federal legislation on this issue as well as the upcoming Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) now pending in Congress”

Federal. Legislation.

Congress.

Wow. I am completely overwhelmed. You see, to be even more brutally honest than I already have been, I was so inept regarding all things political, legislative, legal, criminal, etc, that I had to go to You Tube and watch the Schoolhouse Rock “How a Bill Becomes a Law: I’m Just a Bill” episode. Then I started reading about the legislative process and writing bills and lobbying. I studied statutes – the format, the language. I took copious notes and bookmarked dozens of reference links. While I’m far from qualified for a position in politics, I can talk the talk now and actually understand what I’m saying. Never before has the phrase, “I am always learning” been more apt.

It has been terrifying putting myself out there as I have over the past three months. I don’t do vulnerable well, but in order to be heard, I had to take this risk. I would like to say I am glad I did, but I am going to reserve that until these bills are made laws. Then I’ll be glad. Make no mistake, I am perfectly thrilled that I’ve come this far. And exceptionally motivated to push further. But I simply won’t be happy until I see this to its fruition.

Now to build a coalition (Once I look up the definition of ‘coalition’).

I also have to contemplate just how badly that County Cop failed me. If I feel it was significant, I can file a complaint. I haven’t thought of that. But I am glad I didn’t – in my fury I would have gone overboard, I’m sure. Now that I have let some of my anger go, I can approach that rather delicate issue more rationally. It is his livelihood, after all. Do I want to disrupt his as mine has been disrupted?

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