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Congress at Work for November 2016

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Buy Cattle Online, No Taxes for Olympians, a New Wall and a Moment of Silence for Vets

Congress - Nov 2016Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016 (H.R. 5578) – Introduced in June by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), this bill guarantees specific rights for people who have been victimized by a sexual assault. The measure focuses on collecting and preserving rape kits, including measures to ensure forensic evidence collected in a medical examination after a suspected sexual assault is appropriately preserved and tested. Moreover, the DNA collected from rape kits is to be input into state and national databases to aid in identifying and solving other crimes that may be related to the rape case. Rape victims can no longer be charged fees or prevented from receiving a rape kit examination, even if they have not yet decided to file a police report. Survivors can request to be notified before authorities destroy their rape kits and have the right to request the evidence be preserved. President Obama signed this Act into law on Oct. 7.

Clarification of Treatment of Electronic Sales of Livestock Act of 2016 (H.R. 5883) – Like many modern-day business models, livestock auctions are held online and sold via credit cards. This Act, sponsored by Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC), makes technical changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 to include these types of businesses and forms of payment under the Act. The bill was signed into law on Oct. 7.

United States Appreciation for Olympians and Paralympics Act of 2016 (H.R. 5946) – This bill was signed into law on Oct. 7. It amends the Internal Revenue Code to exclude the value of certain medals or prize money won in competition in the Olympic Games or the Paralympic Games from the participant’s gross income, for income tax purposes. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) and passed by unanimous consent in both chambers of Congress.

Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall of Remembrance Act (H.R. 1475) – This bill authorizes the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation to construct a Wall of Remembrance at the site of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and was signed into law on Oct. 7.

Eliminate, Neutralize and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016 (H.R. 2494) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service usually concerns itself with animals indigenous to the United States, but this bill was introduced after a government official observed the ravaged carcass of an elephant at the hands of poachers during a trip to Kenya. Globally, international trade of poached wildlife-turned-illegal merchandise is valued between $7 billion and $23 billion a year. This bill, sponsored by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-CA) and signed into law in October, supports a collaborative, interagency approach to provide increased assistance to local officials fighting poachers in the illegal wildlife trade.

Veterans Day Moment of Silence Act (S. 1004) – Sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), this bill encourages a nationwide observance of two minutes of silence to honor veterans each Veterans Day. The law was initially proposed by private citizens back in 2010, which included 22 trips to Washington and 652 meetings and conversations with federal officials. It was signed into law by the President in October.