The Senate, by a wide margin of 78-22, passed a strong inclusive Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act today. All 55 Democratic Senators and 23 Republican Senators voted to pass a bill that will strengthen protections for students, immigrants, Native American women, the LGBT community, and also aid victims of sex trafficking.
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, remarked, "Although the Tea Party, Heritage Action, and FreedomWorks tried to politicize VAWA, the Senate led the way for common sense to prevail. VAWA works. Its prevention provisions work to reduce incidents of domestic violence, date violence, sexual assault and stalking crimes and its protective provisions help the victims of these crimes. Now the House must act immediately and pass the inclusive Senate reauthorization with a bipartisan vote. It currently has 194 cosponsors in the House. The political games that have caused well over a year's delay in passing this VAWA Reauthorization must stop. VAWA has been and must remain a bipartisan effort. Violence against women cannot, must not be politicized, trivialized, or tolerated."
Although Heritage Action, the 501(c)(4) affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, and Freedom Works announced they were scoring the VAWA vote, giving any Senator who voted for VAWA negative marks, three-fourths of the Senate defied the threat and voted yes. Though some opponents argue VAWA is vague, the act is very specific. VAWA deals with felony and misdemeanor crimes of violence including domestic violence, sexual assault, date violence, stalking, and sex trafficking. It even has clauses to protect against family violence such as child and elder abuse.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .