Congress

House staff told by judge to obey insider probe subpoenas

November 17, 2015
 Bloomberg News
The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and a former top staff member must obey subpoenas in a Securities and Exchange Commission insider-trading investigation tied to health-care legislation, a federal judge ruled, rejecting their claims of immunity from such an inquiry.
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Congress OKs bill banning Guantanamo detainees from US

November 10, 2015
 Associated Press
Congress sent President Barack Obama a $607 billion defense policy bill Tuesday that bans moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States — something Obama has been trying to do since he was sworn in as president.
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House passes defense bill that still hampers closing Gitmo

November 5, 2015
 Associated Press
The House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a revised $607 billion defense policy bill that restricts President Barack Obama's efforts to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
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Senate blocks legislation to undercut EPA clean water rules

November 4, 2015
 Associated Press
Democrats have blocked a Senate bill that would have forced the Obama administration to withdraw new federal rules to protect smaller streams, tributaries and wetlands from development and pollution.
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Court rejects ACLU's request to stop phone record collection

October 29, 2015
 Associated Press
A federal appeals court in New York has rejected the American Civil Liberties Union's effort to stop bulk collection of its phone records while a more limited collection system is put in place.
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Dennis Hastert pleads guilty, acknowledges hush-money scheme

October 29, 2015
 Associated Press
Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty Wednesday to evading banking laws in a hush-money scheme, averting a potentially lurid trial that could have dredged up sexual allegations by agreeing to a deal with prosecutors that recommended he serve no more than six months in prison.
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Hastert attorney says former speaker intends to plead guilty

October 15, 2015
 Associated Press
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert intends to plead guilty in a multimillion-dollar hush-money case linked to allegations of sexual misconduct from decades ago, a defense attorney told a federal judge Thursday.
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Zoeller, other attorneys general urge OK of addiction law

October 5, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and 37 other attorneys general are urging the Senate to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015.
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Congress passes bill easing small business health law rules

October 2, 2015
 Associated Press
Congress approved bipartisan legislation Thursday aimed at preventing premium increases that some smaller businesses were expecting next year under President Barack Obama's health care law.
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US senators reach deal to reduce prison time for some offenders

October 1, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
A bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation on Thursday that would overhaul the nation's criminal justice system, allowing some nonviolent drug offenders to get reduced prison sentences and giving judges greater discretion in sentencing.
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Ex-US House speaker's lawyers talking possible plea deal

September 28, 2015
 Associated Press
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's attorneys are talking with prosecutors about a possible plea deal in the Republican's hush-money case, both sides told a federal judge Monday.
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Embrace immigrants, Pope Francis urges Congress

September 24, 2015
 Associated Press
Standing before a rapt Congress, Pope Francis issued a ringing call to action on behalf of immigrants Thursday, urging lawmakers to embrace "the stranger in our midst" as he became the first pontiff in history to address a joint meeting at the U.S. Capitol.
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Indiana AG Zoeller enters congressional race

July 20, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is looking for a return to Washington by seeking the congressional seat that Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Young is giving up to run for the U.S. Senate next year.
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US personnel chief resigns in wake of massive data breach

July 10, 2015
 Associated Press
The head of the U.S. government's personnel office resigned abruptly on Friday, bowing to pressure for her to step down following a massive government data breach on her watch.
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Indiana attorney general asserts state laws in national data breach debate

July 7, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Warning that a national data breach law would “make consumers less protected,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has joined 46 other state and territorial attorneys general in asking Congress to preserve states’ ability to respond to cyber theft. 
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Court ruling spurs backers' hopes for redistricting changes

June 30, 2015
 Associated Press
Groups trying to curb the partisan sculpting of U.S. House of Representative districts are hoping their Supreme Court of the United States victory will prompt more states to create independent commissions to redraw congressional lines.
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High court rules against Spider-Man toy inventor

June 22, 2015
 Associated Press
The inventor of a popular Spider-Man web-shooting toy can't keep reeling in royalties after his patent ran out, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Monday.
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Court strikes down ‘born in Jerusalem’ passport law

June 8, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States struck down a disputed law Monday that would have allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to list their birthplace as Israel on their U.S. passports in an important ruling that underscores the president's authority in foreign affairs.
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Expected changes to Patriot Act better, says IU Maurer cybersecurity expert

June 1, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The failure of the U.S. Senate to reauthorize parts of the Patriot Act surprised cybersecurity expert Fred Cate, but he hesitated to describe the expiration of the legislation as a major shift in current policy.
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Senate under pressure after House votes to end NSA program

May 14, 2015
 Associated Press
After the House of Representatives' lopsided bipartisan vote to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of Americans' phone records, the Senate is under considerable pressure to pass a similar measure. If it doesn't, lawmakers risk letting the authority to collect the records expire June 1, along with other important counterterrorism provisions.
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House votes to block EPA regulation of streams, wetlands

May 13, 2015
 Associated Press
House Republicans on Tuesday voted to block government rules that would clarify which streams, tributaries and wetlands should be protected from pollution and development under the Clean Water Act.
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2nd Circuit: NSA phone record collection is excessive

May 7, 2015
 Associated Press
The bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the government exceeds what Congress has allowed, a federal appeals court said Thursday as it asked Congress to step in and decide how best to protect national security and privacy interests.
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Senate deal may yield attorney general vote

April 21, 2015
 Associated Press
U.S. Senate leaders announced a deal Tuesday to move forward on a stalled human trafficking bill, clearing the way for a vote on President Barack Obama's attorney general nominee within days.
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Zoeller calls for congressional inquiry into herbal supplements

April 2, 2015
IL Staff
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and his New York counterpart A.G. Schneiderman are leading a bipartisan group of 14 attorneys general who want Congress to look into the herbal supplements industry.
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SCOTUS sides with Idaho in Medicaid pay dispute

March 31, 2015
 Associated Press
Private health care providers cannot sue to force states to raise their Medicaid reimbursement rates to keep up with rising medical costs, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Tuesday.
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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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