Legislative Update for May 11, 2012

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The House and Senate came back into session this week at full throttle.

This week the House voted on the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations (CJS) bill. We weighed in on several amendments.Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) offered a pro-marijuana amendment that would have legalized marijuana in certain states and hampered law enforcement. We were able to successfully oppose this amendment. We also supported an amendment by Rep. Time Huelskamp (R-Kansas) to prohibit the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using funds to violate the Defense of Marriage Act.This amendment was passed by a vote of 245-171. CWALAC also successfully supported Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-Tennessee) amendment to prohibit DOJ from using funds to defend against future ObamaCare lawsuits.Americans should not be subjected to this unconstitutional law and should not have to bear the costs to defend it.

The Judiciary Committee passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Tuesday. Despite some improvements, including stronger fiscal accountability measures and immigration reforms, this legislation still includes VAWA policies that are harmful to families.

CWALAC worked hard to include two amendments to protect girls from violence.The first would prevent minor girls from being transported across state lines for abortions and the other would prevent baby girls from being killed just because they are girls.We had met with Reps. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) and Steve King (R-Iowa), who agreed to offer these amendments during the bill’s markup.However, at the behest of House Leadership, they didn’t offer these amendments.

The full House is expected to vote on VAWA next week.We have heard that House Leadership does not want amendments on the floor, so we expect there will be a rule limiting amendments.

The House Armed Services Committee overwhelmingly passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA included two amendments that CWALAC supported. Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-Missouri) amendment protects rights of conscience and religious freedom for military chaplains and personnel.This amendment ensures that chaplains would not be forced to violate their religious convictions by performing same-sex “marriage” ceremonies. Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-Mississippi) introduced an amendment that would reaffirm the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Rep. Palazzo stated that his amendment was intended to make clear that the Department of Defense facilities are federal property which fall under DOMA and would require the law to be upheld.

Act Now: It is likely the House will vote on the NDAA next week.Pleasecall your representative and ask him/her to support the NDAA with the Akin and Palazzo amendments when it comes to the floor. Click hereto find your representative’s contact information.