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Legislative Update

Goodlatte applauds the enactment of legislation to combat online sex trafficking

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Trump signed into law the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), a product of the House Judiciary Committee. This legislation provides restitution for sex trafficking victims and enhances criminal penalties for websites that facilitate illegal prostitution or sex trafficking. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) applauded the enactment of FOSTA in the statement below.

Goodlatte: “I applaud President Trump for signing into law legislation that combats the scourge of online sex trafficking. The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act is already having an immediate impact to end these terrible crimes. In the days after Congress passed FOSTA, numerous websites advertising prostitution shut down because of the strong criminal provisions contained in the bill. And this week, an indictment was unsealed in the District of Arizona charging the operators of Backpage.com with a variety of offenses, mainly focused on facilitating prostitution. This demonstrates why the House approach will be the most effective tool in the bill to allow state and local prosecutors to bring these types of charges against prostitution websites that host sex trafficking ads. FOSTA provides harsher penalties for bad actor websites that facilitate these horrendous criminal acts and it reaffirms, in the strongest terms, that selling women and girls is wrong and will not be tolerated. The enactment of FOSTA will make the internet safer, dismantle this insidious market, and prevent further victimization.”

What FOSTA does:

  • Holds Bad Actors Accountable: clarifies that section 230 of the CDA does NOT grant immunity to websites that facilitate sex trafficking
  • Creates a New Federal Crime: websites that have the intent to promote or facilitate illegal prostitution can be prosecuted under the new 18 U.S.C 2421A created by the bill
  • Increases Criminal Penalties: prosecutors can seek higher penalties for websites who promote the illegal prostitution of 5 or more persons or act with reckless disregard for the fact that sex trafficking occurs on their website
  • Enforces Existing Laws: allows state and local prosecutors to enforce sex trafficking statutes and the new 2421A
  • Provides Restitution for Victims: gives victims of sex trafficking a pathway to sue bad actor websites for conduct violating the new criminal law, 2421A

Background: The House Judiciary Committee last year held a hearing to review the impact of the Communications Decency Act on sex trafficking online. In December 2017, the Committee approved FOSTA by voice vote, and the House of Representatives approved it in February 2018.

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Legislative Update

Goodlatte and Gowdy release transcript of interview with former Director Comey

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) today released the transcript of the second day of former FBI Director James Comey’s interview before the Committees.

The transcript of Mr. Comey’s interview can be found HERE.

Background: In October 2017, the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee opened a joint investigation into decisions made by the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017. To date, the Committees have interviewed many key witnesses and have reviewed thousands of pages of documents.

Editors note: Royal Examiner thought this may be on interest to our readers.

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Legislative Update

Goodlatte applauds House passage of the 2018 Farm Bill

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WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below regarding the House of Representative’s passing the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018:

“It has been a privilege to serve as a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee and I am pleased to have voted today with my colleagues in the House to pass the 2018 Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill is the most important piece of legislation affecting American agriculture.

Over the past five years, America’s farmers have persevered through a nearly 50-percent drop in net farm income. This legislation provides the stability America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities need. Further, the Farm Bill legalizes the production of hemp as an agricultural commodity and removes it from the list of controlled substances. The well-balanced reforms in this Farm Bill will strengthen business opportunities and provide stability for farmers and rural communities for the next five years.

It has been a true privilege to represent the interests of farmers in Virginia’s Sixth District. I look forward to seeing agriculture remain a vital part of the American economy.”

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Legislative Update

Senate passes bipartisan legislation Kaine cosponsored to strengthen veteran-owned small businesses

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that was cosponsored by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth to help entrepreneurs grow their small businesses and expand economic opportunity. The Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act, which now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, would allow veteran small business owners to acquire equipment and property that the federal government no longer has a use for by adding veterans to the list of eligible recipients for federal surplus personal property, which already includes women and minority small business owners as well as Veterans Service Organizations.

“When the men and women who have tirelessly served our nation come home and begin new careers in their communities, we owe them our support,” Kaine said. “That’s why one of my top priorities in the Senate has been easing servicemembers’ transition from active duty to the civilian workforce. I’m excited that this commonsense legislation brings us closer to that goal by helping veterans who own small businesses thrive and in turn strengthen their communities.”

Kaine has focused in the Senate on supporting veterans, servicemembers, and their families. He’s been a leader on efforts to reduce unemployment for veterans and military spouses and ensure those who serve our nation receive the health care and benefits they were promised. The first bill Kaine introduced in the Senate – the Troop Talent Act of 2013 – was a bill to ease the transition for servicemembers into the civilian workforce. This year, Kaine introduced two bills — the Military Spouse Employment Act of 2018 and the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2018 — to reduce military spouse unemployment and support military families. Key provisions of these two military spouse bills were signed into law as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The General Services Administration (GSA) has overseen distribution of federal surplus personal property for 15 years in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and State Agencies for Surplus Property (SASP) through the Federal Surplus Property Donation Program. When there is no federal need for excess property, SASPs disburse the property to eligible recipients who otherwise may have been unable to acquire it. This legislation is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property (NASASP), and the American Legion.

American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad has previously said: “The American Legion supports legislation that would give veteran-owned small businesses access to surplus federal property. Unclaimed surplus property costs the federal government millions of dollars to dispose of or maintain every year. This same surplus property may help small businesses offset the overhead expenses associated with opening a storefront or office, which benefits the United States.”

There are more than 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses across the country, including approximately 76,000 in Virginia. As more Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans transition out of the military and begin their next career, this number will only increase.

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Legislative Update

Senator Tim Kaine: Our progress to combat Alzheimer’s disease

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded Committee passage of legislation he introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) called the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. This legislation would build out the systems necessary to create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer’s disease and promote brain health. In addition to Kaine and Collins, the bill was also sponsored by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). The legislation will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

Senator Kaine’s family, like nearly 150,000 families in Virginia, knows what it’s like to have a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Kaine has repeatedly called for action to combat this disease. During the HELP Committee’s markup of the legislation today, Kaine discussed how important passing the BOLD Act is to millions of American families.

“Everybody in this place has an Alzheimer’s story that’s directly related to their family. I have a sister-in-law who was diagnosed at age 54, and in just casual conversations with colleagues we all have these stories and that’s not just the United States Senate, that’s the entire American population,” Kaine said. “Over 150,000 Virginians have Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to grow by 35 percent in the next 10 years. And it’s interesting: 150,000 plus with Alzheimer’s, the number of family caretakers in Virginia is 460,000. So it’s about 3 family caretakers for every person that has Alzheimer’s and I think those of us who have experience know how complex the caretaking arrangements are and how much our caretakers need support. So I’m very happy to work together with Senator Collins on this.”

Ahead of the vote at the hearing, Ranking Member of the HELP Committee Senator Patty Murray said, “Alzheimer’s, which affects one in ten people over age 65, is a devastating disease. It is hard on patients fighting to hold on to cherished memories and a feeling of loss of control in their daily lives. It is hard on family members, on friends, on caregivers who are often the family members trying to help a loved on grapple with the day to day challenges of the disease while coping with their own grief and daily needs. This bill takes important steps to bolster our public health response to Alzheimer’s with new partnerships, new tools, and new efforts to build a better support system to ease the burden for families who are affected by Alzheimer’s.”

“The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is an important step to bolster our public health response to Alzheimer’s, a devastating disease impacting millions of Virginians and other Americans,” said Alzheimer’s Association Chief Public Policy Officer, Robert Egge. “We are grateful to Senator Kaine for his support of the bill and his contributions to advance policies to improve the lives of all those affected by Alzheimer’s.”

This legislation would apply a public health approach to Alzheimer’s disease by establishing a modern infrastructure for the prevention, treatment, and care of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Coordinated primarily by the Centers of Disease and Prevention (CDC), it would establish:

Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Public Health Centers of Excellence dedicated to promoting effective Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving interventions as well as educating public health officials, health care professionals, and the public on the most current information and research related to Alzheimer’s disease, including cognitive decline, brain health, and health disparities.

Cooperative Agreements awarded to State, Local, and Tribal Health Departments to develop and carry out evidence-based Alzheimer’s interventions, including supporting early detection and diagnosis, reducing the risk of potentially avoidable hospitalizations, improving caregiver support and care planning, among others.

Improved Data Analysis and Timely Reporting that would help ensure that data on Alzheimer’s, such as cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities are analyzed and disseminated to the public in a timely manner.

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and the National Association of Counties. Click HERE and HERE to read their letters of support.

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Legislative Update

Congressman Bob Goodlatte: Reflection on my time of service

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Along the highways and byways in Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District, I’ve spent countless hours and over a million miles driving during my 26 years in the United States House of Representatives. During the weekly journeys from my home in Roanoke to my workplace on Capitol Hill and on all the trips in between visiting every corner of the Sixth District, I’ve reflected on the trust placed in me to represent more than 760,000 individuals. I learned long ago that in order to do the job, I would never forget the responsibilities of a servant leader. I’ve shared the experiences of my job through this weekly column. This will be the last of 1,350 of them.

Public service is a higher calling. America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and the men and women who’ve heeded the call to serve since our nation’s birth have understood those foundational guidelines. Those principles are in the words of countless American leaders, like those of General Douglas MacArthur: “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and compassion to listen to the needs of others.”

As I’ve served as Congressman, I’ve been mindful of the solemn responsibility to listen to and “stand in” for those constituents throughout the Sixth District. I’ve enjoyed meeting them in my offices, at events I’ve hosted and at community events like lawn parties and parades and festivals, and at the businesses and civic groups large and small I’ve been invited to speak to in the Roanoke Valley, the Shenandoah Valley, the Alleghany Highlands, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Those constituents shared their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams with me; they’ve voiced support for my work and they’ve also let me know why they’ve disagreed with my positions. I’ll be forever thankful for witnessing each of them express themselves as active participants in our Constitutional republic.

My service in the Sixth District also required paying close attention to constituent needs related to government agencies. Every day presented an endless variety of requests for assistance. I’ve been here to assist folks who needed help with federal benefits, the status of tax returns and immigration paperwork, and expediting passports for long-planned family adventures. I’ve helped arrange and even accompanied constituents on tours of the United States Capitol. Through the years, I’ve hosted hundreds of town and tele-town hall meetings. I’ve drawn attention to what I considered government wrongdoing affecting my constituents’ well-being and then shared in my constituents’ relief when problems that lingered for years were resolved. I’ve also visited with each and every young man and woman whom I’ve nominated to our military academies, glimpsing in each one of them the future of what it means to serve our country.

I’ve been moved many times over by the unique opportunity to have served in the world’s longest-serving deliberative body. It’s allowed me to work with colleagues in the House with whom I now share lasting friendships and for whom I will always have unending respect. We each chose to devote a portion of our adult lives to debating the issues and then setting out to create legislation on a myriad of subjects – supporting our military; making it easier to participate in our dynamic economy; and promoting the freedom to live, work, worship, and play in the land of the free.

From the start of my service in Congress, I’ve been joined by another set of colleagues – my staff. The individuals who have worked for me in Washington, D.C. – including on the
Agriculture and Judiciary Committees – and in my Roanoke, Lynchburg, Staunton, and Harrisonburg offices are devoted men and women, plain and simple. They are my eyes, ears, and
even my voice in representing me by fielding phone calls, greeting visitors, and attending countless meetings and events when I can’t be present in the Congressional district that I’m thankful to call my home. I’ve been fortunate to hire those folks – my fellow public servants. I’ve been moved by their breadth of knowledge, their advice on complicated issues, and their abiding commitment to helping my constituents. I will be forever grateful to them for choosing to join me in the public arena and for their unending support.

And from the moment I made my decision to first run for Congress until I announced I would step aside at the end of my present term, my family has served as my bedrock, the essence of why I could choose to serve as an elected official and, now, to enter a time of reflection and some relaxation before I move on to a new venture. With the eternal love of my wife Maryellen, my daughter Jennifer, and my son Bobby — and more recently my son-in-law Matt and my granddaughters — I’ve dutifully reported to Capitol Hill for going on 26 years.

Soon, I’ll make my final drive from my offices in the Rayburn House Office Building for one last work-related trip through what I consider the most beautiful and friendliest Congressional district in the country. I offer my deepest heartfelt thanks to those who elected me to serve in the House of Representatives. It’s a privilege a select few have been entrusted with in America’s history. I was blessed to be able to serve for a quarter century plus one year and to do deeply rewarding work from my first day in Congress. It’s been the honor of my life to have spent this time in service.

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Legislative Update

Army Captain Andrew Patrick Ross from the Shenandoah Valley was one of three servicemen killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

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Photo courtesy of DoD

WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below regarding the passing of United States Army Captain Andrew Ross:

“It saddens me to recognize Captain Andrew Patrick Ross, one of our United States who grew up in Lexington, Virginia, within the heart of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.

Captain Ross approached me when he sought an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He was a remarkable candidate for nomination and shone brightly during my interview with him. Having met Drew personally, his success while enrolled and his graduation from West Point came as no surprise. He excelled in the military, earning the honors and decorations of two Bronze Star Medals, a Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal, among others, and became a distinguished member of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), the Green Berets.

Captain Ross will also be remembered among his friends from the Lexington community and his fellow Rockbridge County High School students. His leadership on the soccer field and his example when leading graduating seniors from the class of 2011 during the Pledge of Allegiance are examples of his dedication and commitment to excellence.

Those cherishing his memory most will, of course, be his family. My heartfelt condolences go out to each one of them.

Drew Ross not only answered the call of his country to protect the freedoms we all so cherish, he paid the utmost price to guarantee freedom for others. Drew gave his life to make our nation stronger and safer for those of us who remain and for generations to come. My prayer is that his family will be comforted during this difficult time and knows that we will hold fast to the example of Drew’s noble service.”

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