Press

Hate Crimes and Welfare Proposals Are Ready to Move In the Senate!

Date: 
May 24, 2002

Meet With Your Senators During Memorial Day Recess!

The U.S. Senate will be in recess next week in recognition of Memorial Day. In the first or second week of June, the Senate will likely debate and vote on the hate crimes bill (the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act). Also, the House passed a welfare reform bill that now awaits consideration in the Senate. The recess is an excellent time to arrange a visit with your elected officials while they are home and speak out against the welfare reform bill and in favor of the hate crimes bill. In addition, many Senators hold events in their states at which you can share your opinions.

Action Needed!

Make appointments with your Senators while they are home for the Memorial Day recess (May 24 - June 2). Look up the local office contact information at:
http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm.

You can also call your officials' home offices during the recess to register your opinion. However, an in-person visit by a constituent is always the most effective lobbying technique.

Information about the pending hate crimes measure (Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act) and the welfare reform debate are below.

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Hate Crimes
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The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LLEEA) (S. 625/H.R. 1343) is an important step toward combating violence against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community. If passed, the LLEEA would grant the federal government additional authority to respond to hate crimes based on actual or perceived race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender and disability.

The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act improves existing law by adding gender, sexual orientation and disability. It provides essential assistance to local law enforcement agencies that do not have the resources to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. The LLEEA allows the Department of Justice to commit its resources, including those of the FBI, to solving hate crimes when local law enforcement is unable or unwilling to do so. It also broadens the ability of the Department of Justice to respond to crimes based on race, religion and national origin.

Take Action!

Visit your Senators during the Memorial Day recess or call them to tell them you support giving local law enforcement the tools to better identify, investigate and prosecute crimes based on gender, sexual orientation and disability.

There will be a designated call-in day for the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act in early June when the bill is considered by the full Senate. A separate action alert will be sent regarding the call-in day.

Message

"I'm asking Senator ____ to vote YES on S. 625, with NO amendments. I also ask that the Senator vote YES on all efforts to move S. 625 to a vote (like a cloture motion). Local law enforcement needs this bill to effectively combat violence against the GLBT community."

Hate Crimes Resources

Key provisions of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act:
http://www.ngltf.org/downloads/locallawenfact.pdf

Review of Federal Hate Crimes Laws:
http://www.ngltf.org/downloads/fedhatecrimeslaw.pdf

Background on GLBT Hate Crimes:
http://www.ngltf.org/downloads/hatecrimesgeneral.pdf

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Welfare Reform
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The Bush/Republican vision is not the one that will best help gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender welfare recipients or ANY other recipients. The Republican bill provides funds for "healthy marriage promotion activities" and "fatherhood programs." Furthermore, it would continue to provide funds for abstinence-only education. We need a bill that is sensitive to the needs of GLBT people. The current proposals also disproportionately impact women, people of color, and others who rely on welfare for basic support.

On Thursday, May 16, 2002, the House passed the Republican Welfare Reauthorization bill, H.R. 4737, by a party line vote of 229-197. The debate now moves to the Senate. The Senate Finance Committee is hammering out their welfare reauthorization bill. Changes will be made during the week of June 10th and a vote is expected before July 4th. This past week, Democratic Senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee drafted a letter of principles for TANF Reauthorization to send to Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Grassley of the Finance Committee. This letter is designed to move the discussion left and influence the bill that will come out of the Finance committee. This is especially crucial in light of the Bayh-Carper bill introduced this week (S. 2524) which could have the opposite effect, and push the discussion to the right.

Take Action!

Visit your Senators during the Memorial Day recess or call them to let them know how important welfare reauthorization is to their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender constituents.

Message

"I'm asking Senator ___ to ensure that the welfare reauthorization bill reallocates the $300 million from marriage promotion and abstinence-only education into programs that are proven to reduce poverty, like education and job training. The bill does not take into account the reality of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people."

Welfare Resources

For more information on the impact of welfare reform, read the NGLTF publication "Leaving Our Children Behind: Welfare Reform and the GLBT Community" at http://www.ngltf.org/library. Also, the NGLTF welfare fact sheet at http://www.ngltf.org/downloads/welfarefactsheet.pdf.

Washington Post from 5/16: "House Clears GOP Welfare Bill"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28097-2002May16.html

New York Times from 5/23: "Liberals Try to Reshape Welfare Bill"
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/23/politics/23LIBS.html

NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund welfare information:
http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/wel/tanf_overview.htm

The Coalition on Human Needs welfare information:
http://www.chn.org/issues/issue.asp?iss=24

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.