What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Punishment Fitting the Crime : H.R. 1104. Protections for Children/Vote to Allow Consideration of a Bill to Impose Minimum Sentencing Guidelines and Thereby Reduce Judges' Discretion in Cases Involving Child Pornography and Sexual Abuse. (2003 house Roll Call 86)
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H.R. 1104. Protections for Children/Vote to Allow Consideration of a Bill to Impose Minimum Sentencing Guidelines and Thereby Reduce Judges' Discretion in Cases Involving Child Pornography and Sexual Abuse.
house Roll Call 86     Mar 26, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

Following the rescue of Elizabeth Smart, attention crystallized to improve the AMBER alert system (which stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response). Edward Smart, Elizabeth's father, advocated on national television for improving the AMBER alert system. AMBER alerts are bulletins that provide information regarding a recent kidnapping and are broadcast on local television, radio stations, and even on electronic highway signs. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate overwhelmingly support increasing state grants for the AMBER system. In drafting the AMBER legislation, however, Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI) packaged the proposal with several failed bills addressing other protections for children. Those failed bills included efforts to ban virtual (or computer-generated) child pornography, make crimes involving child abuse eligible for federal first-degree murder charges, impose minimum sentencing requirements for individuals convicted of abusing children, and authorize wire-tapping authority to investigate those suspected of child abuse. Progressives supported improvements to the AMBER system but objected to other provisions in the bill which would curtail civil liberties and limit the discretion of judges in punishing those convicted of crimes against children. Democrats voted unanimously in opposition to the Sensenbrenner bill but the measure was adopted on a 218-198 vote.

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