Supporting Law Enforcement
I have always been a strong supporter of the men and women of law enforcement who serve to keep our communities safe: since my days in the House of Representatives when I co-authored the comprehensive 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill to put 100,000 new cops on our streets, to my work on the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act which ensures that the families of officers killed in the line of duty receive a Public Safety Officersí Benefit. Iím also a strong supporter of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grant and Byrne Justice Assistance Grant programs, which provide federal support to state and local law enforcement, creating jobs and keeping communities safe from Buffalo to Brooklyn.
Combating Domestic Violence
Recognizing that domestic violence is a pervasive and difficult-to-combat scourge within our towns and cities, I have worked hard to make sure that local communities have the tools to effectively combat domestic violence and aid its victims. As a member of the House of Representatives, I co-authored the original Violence Against Women Act, which provides federal support to local communities to bolster law enforcement efforts aimed at stopping domestic violence, while expanding counseling and shelter services. I have since fought for the Actís successful reauthorization in 2000 and 2005 and for the provision of Services-Training-Officer-Prosecutors (STOP) grants to communities around the state. STOP grants allow local communities to prosecute batterers more effectively and aid victims by maintaining battered womenís shelters and providing counseling and medical services.
Protecting Our Kids
One of my foremost goals as a public servant is to ensure that our children are protected from predators, both online and in local communities. I supported the passage of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act which serves to inform communities on the location of sex offenders in their area, and to deny these offenders employment as teachers and similarly sensitive positions.
The continued rise of the Internet and the increasing popularity of social networking websites require we put reasonable safeguards in place, so that our children can continue to benefit from these advances in communications technology without putting them in harmís way. Thatís why I authored the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators (KIDS) Act, which protects children online by requiring sex offenders to register their email addresses and screen names with law enforcement. I was also a lead cosponsor of the PROTECT Our Children and SAFE Acts. The PROTECT Our Children Act ensures that federal law enforcement and prosecutors have the resources to target and prosecute online predators, wherever they hide. The SAFE Act requires Internet Service Providers to report child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, helping to combat this awful global phenomenon.
Currently, Iím working to provide youth-serving organizations with a better system for performing background checks on their employees and to ensure that states follow the federal rules that I helped to establish with the Adam Walsh Act. The Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA) would establish a permanent, nationally-accessible background check system for youth-serving organizations and would reform current procedures, which are difficult, inefficient, and excessively costly. Iím working to remove these impediments to ensuring the safety of our children. Additionally, Iíve drafted the Preventing Sex Offenders Access to Children in Our Communities Act which would require states to actively prevent sex offenders from serving in positions that put them in close contact with children, and develop a national cooperative program between law enforcement and local communities to ensure that sex offenders out of registration compliance donít slip through the cracks.
Nominations: Excellence, Moderation, and Diversity
Iíve worked to ensure that the ranks of the federal judiciary are filled with candidates embodying excellence, moderation, and diversity. I was a strong supporter of Sonia Sotomayorís appointment to the Supreme Court and one of the first to recommend her to the President. Her successful appointment makes her the first Latina Justice in the Courtís history. In 2010, I recommended New Yorker Denny Chin to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to which Judge Chin was confirmed at the end of the year. In 2009, I recommended Judge Gerard Lynch for the Second Circuit Court Ė whose nomination received an overwhelming confirmation vote in the Senate of 94 to 3. In 2008, I recommended Cathy Seibel and Kiyo Matsumoto to federal district courts, helping to bridge the gender gap on the New York federal bench.
Keeping Drugs Off Our Streets
Iíve worked to protect our children and communities not only from the dangers of illicit drugs, but also from those lurking in the medicine cabinet. In response to the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that plagues some of our communities, I have pushed for harsher penalties for the theft and illegal distribution of prescription drugs, as well as for better systems of tracking certain pharmaceuticals from manufacture to delivery. Iíve also introduced legislation to crack down on the growing trend of synthetic stimulants, falsely marketed as Ďbath saltsí and Ďplant foods,í but which are abused to achieve effects similar to cocaine and methamphetamine. These drugs skirt federal regulation by using synthetic ingredients, but pose similar dangers.