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THE DAILY WHIP: THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2017

House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes”

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.

Complete Consideration of H.R. 1973 – Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act (Rep. Brooks (IN) – Judiciary) (One hour of debate).  This bill would require adults authorized to interact with minors or amateur athletes to report any sex-abuse allegations or suspected abuse to the amateur athletics governing bodies, which would then be required to report allegations to the proper local or federal authorities.  This legislation would also limit the legal liability of amateur athletic governing bodies if they properly investigate and promptly report the suspected abuse to the authorities.

In recent years, reports have documented numerous cases of sexual abuse in amateur sports that frequently go unreported and unpunished.  Reports show that this abuse is often part of a larger cultural problem and goes unreported because athletic governing bodies fear they will be prosecuted.  Just this spring, Olympic Gold Medalist Dominique Moceanu testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her own experience as a victim of sexual abuse.  She said, “…everybody around us knew that abuses were going on, but they chose not to act because it became part of the cultural norm.  I do believe that if we could clean this up with the mandatory reporting, I believe that would help a lot of our concerns.” 

H.R. 1973 would create a safe place to report these crimes, and as a result, would create a safe space for amateur athletes, many of whom are minors.  It is essential that Congress pass this legislation to protect amateur athletes from sexual assault and abuse and to show those who are inclined to take advantage of those athletes that their actions will not go unreported and unpunished.

The Rule, which was adopted yesterday, makes in order 3 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent.  The amendments are:   

Rep. Goodlatte (Manager’s) Amendment. Harmonizes language in the bill with language in the underlying statute. Additionally, it clarifies duties of national governing bodies with respect to implementing procedures pertaining to interactions between young athletes and adults. Finally, it makes small technical and conforming changes.
Rep. Costa Amendment.  Strikes the word "reasonably" from HR 1973 to make the Senate statute of limitations apply rather than the House statute.
Reps. O’Halleran/Sinema/Biggs Amendment. Requires national governing bodies to clearly list dedicated information and resources, which may include sexual assault hotlines and victim support resources, on their official websites.

Bill Text for H.R. 1973:
PDF Version

Complete Consideration of H.R. 1761 – Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act (Rep. Johnson (LA) – Judiciary) (One hour of debate).  This bill would expand current statute and make the production of child pornography a crime whenever a minor is engaged in sexually explicit conduct, regardless of whether the conduct was initiated for the purposes of producing such content. The measure also adds new offenses that could be prosecuted as child pornography — including the transmission of live depictions of a child engaged in sexually-explicit conduct, whether produced domestically or from other nations.

The measure proposes to expand and modify the meaning of “sexually exploitation of children” thereby creating new offences that may be prosecuted under federal law and therefore subject to mandatory minimum sentences.   

Although H.R. 1761 is well-intentioned and is a part of a series of anti-trafficking and child protection measures that the House is considering this week, the effect that this bill has of expanding current law would subject more individuals to mandatory minimum sentences.  Federal law provides mandatory minimum sentences for convictions in child pornography cases – first-time offenses are punishable by mandatory imprisonment of at least 15 years; those with a prior conviction face mandatory prison terms of at least 25 years, and those with two or more prior convictions must be sentenced to prison for at least 35 years.

The Rule, which was adopted yesterday, makes in order 1 amendment, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent.  The amendment is:

Rep. Jackson-Lee Amendment. Provides alternative to mandatory minimum sentencing for young people charged with consensual “sexting” of explicit images.

Bill Text for H.R. 1761:
PDF Version

The Daily Quote

“President Donald Trump's 2018 budget plan, released Tuesday, faced nearly universal pushback in Congress, as even members of his party expressed skepticism about its provisions… Perhaps the most damaging sign for Trump's budget is that many lawmakers in his party have taken issue with all or parts of the plan… Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, which has railed against government spending, even said the administration's proposed cuts to some programs were too much. ‘Meals on Wheels, even for some of us who are considered to be fiscal hawks, may be a bridge too far,’ Meadows told The New York Times.”

    -     Business Insider, 5/23/2017