Senate Armed Services Committee Removes Provision Challenging Military Sexual Assault
Yesterday, Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that he will remove a provision from the defense spending bill that would take military sexual assault cases out of the chain of command.
The measure was proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and would allow military prosecutors to decide which cases of sexual assault should go to trial instead of commanders, taking the cases out of the chain of command. The measure has 27 co-sponsors, including four Republicans. However, Levin announced that he would remove the provision and insert a new one that would require senior military officials to review sexual assault cases that commanders decide not to prosecute.
Aides for Gillibrand commented to news sources that Levin's decision was "a real setback." She plans to re-introduce the measure when the budget comes up for a final vote later in the summer. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a co-sponsor of Gillibrand's proposal, told reporters "They basically embrace the status quo here. It's outrageous."
Media Resources: NBC News 6/12/2013; New York Post 6/12/2013; New York Times 6/11/2013
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. . . .