Congress at Work for March 2018
Protections for Indian Tribes, Caregivers, Child Victims of Sexual Abuse, Human Trafficking and 9-1-1 Callers
Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal RecognitionAct of 2017 (H.R. 984) – Sponsored by Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA) on Feb. 7, 2017, this bill extends Federal recognition to the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe Inc., the Monacan Indian Nation, and the Nansemond Indian Tribe. This makes each of the tribes and their members eligible for the services and benefits provided by the federal government to federally recognized Indian tribes, whether or not they are located on a designated reservation. The bill also prohibits these tribes from conducting gaming activities, and eminent domain may not be used to acquire lands for a tribe recognized under this bill.The bill was enacted after being signed by the president on Jan. 29.
RAISE Family Caregivers Act (H.R. 3759) – This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a Family Caregiving Advisory Council. The purpose of this council is to develop a National Family Caregiving Strategy that recommends ways to recognize and support family caregivers and their diverse needs. The council shall terminate after three years. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) on Sept. 13, 2017, and enacted on Jan. 22.
Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 (S. 534) – In the wake of sexual abuse revelations by the doctor for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sponsored this bill to extend the mandatory reporting requirements of child abuse to national governing bodies, such as USA gymnastics, affiliated amateur sports organizations and local or federal law enforcement authorities. The bill allows civil suits by minors against sex abuse perpetrators with a presumption of $150,000 in monetary damages, and extends the civil statute of limitations for these cases. This legislation also authorizes the creation of a new entity – the Center for SafeSport – to respond to reports of sexual misconduct and develop and implement policies and best practices for preventing sexual and physical abuse of amateur athletes for the U.S. Olympic Committee. Introduced on March 6, 2017, the Act was signed into law on Feb. 14.
Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act (H.R. 4708) – Sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) on Dec. 21, 2017, this bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require the development of training programs for the department’s Blue Campaign to address human trafficking. The bill was signed into law by the president on Feb. 14.
Kari’s Law Act of 2017 (H.R. 582) – H.R. 582 requires all Multi-Line Telephone Systems to have a default configuration that allows users to directly dial 9-1-1. This will require accommodations for current phone systems that require a digit or prefix number dialed to reach a number outside of the system, which is common in office buildings, hotels, university campuses and other similar locations. The bill was introduced on Jan. 17, 2017, by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and enacted on Feb. 16.