Monday, September 15, 2008

Help Pass Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act

Thanks to Oprah for the heads-up! Hopefully as a result of her show that aired today, many people will reach out and demand that this non-partisan bill with funding be passed. Regardless of how you feel about Oprah, please act quickly as voting will take place soon. I just emailed my senators and it only took 2 minutes. Lead sponsors of the bill are Sen. Joe Biden (D), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D), Rep. Joe Barton (R).

Hundreds of thousands of children are victims of sexual abuse each year. Due to the sheer lack of resources, law enforcement is unable to follow up on the majority of leads they have.

The PROTECT Our Children Act will:

  • Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
  • Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
  • Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.

Act Now!

Your U.S. senators will be voting on the bill soon, so it is crucial you contact them immediately. Go to here to find contact information for the senators in your state. Search for your senator by name or state by clicking on the arrow from either dropdown menu. Contact information is provided here. To send an e-mail, click on "Web Form" below his or her name, and e-mail your letter to make a difference!

Call Your Senators

If you choose to contact your senators by phone, be sure to tell them, "Vote yes on Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act."

Write to Your Senators

If you choose to write a letter, fax, telegram or e-mail, you may use the sample letter—on Oprah's website and modify it how you see fit. The sample letter and instructions for how to copy and paste it can be found here.


Larkinsmom said...

Chase and I watched that show last night. My stomach hurt and I thought I was going to vomit. For a while at the beginning I didn't think I was going to get through the show and have to turn it off. I forced myself to see what is happening. I am right behind you on the letter.

Emily said...

Oprah's show was really important. But it is scary to support a bill without knowing all the facts. There definitely needs to be more funding for this issue, but as letter-writers (and awesome citezens) we need to be better informed and decide for ourselves. THEN! we need to write TONS of letters to our senators.

We should have the best legislation on this issue. The bill is not going through because it has TONS of extra totally stuff tacked onto it. The opposing senators want to get these taken off. This article breaks it down really well:

also these contain more info about the bill:

JRS said...

This is the stuff that makes me pull my hair out. Thank you Emily for sending links to those articles. More info is, as a rule, better.
My takeaway after reading them was anger. I heard loud and clear that another and similarly written bill S3344 by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Colburn and McCain is the one that should be passed, not the one authored by Biden and supported by Obama (announced by Oprah who is an Obama supporter). I read about other non-child related items tacked on to 1738, such as interstate commerce of primates?! I scratch my head. I, for one, could give a (expletive) on who writes the bill that gets passed - & who gets the credit - as long as something gets done.
It seems as if this is boiling down to the age old struggle of partisan politics and it makes me ill. So, since I've not yet read slanted responses that rally so hard against McCain's version S3344from the Dems, I'll continue to support 1738. BUT, I'm emailing my senators again today to ask them to respond to the charges that this bill needs to trim the monkey fat. ((SIGH))

JRS said...

email response from Barak Obama:

Dear Jennifer:

Thank you for contacting me in support of S. 1738, the Combating Child Exploitation Act of 2008. I appreciate hearing from you and glad we agree on the need for this legislation. As a lawmaker, and as a father of two young girls, I assure you that protecting our nation’s children from abuse and exploitation is a top priority.

Like you, I am concerned about the threat of sexual predators online and the easy access to profanity, violence, and vulgarity on the Internet. These threats are all too real and pervasive in our society, but we are far from powerless to fight them. By supporting and enhancing local and national law enforcement efforts, we can put an end to the scourge of child exploitation.

That is why I am proud that I cosponsored S. 1738. This legislation requires the Attorney General to appoint a Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction within the Office of Deputy Attorney General to coordinate Department of Justice policies and strategies for the prevention and investigation of child exploitation cases. The bill also establishes an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC Task Force), consisting of state and local task forces to address online enticement of children, child exploitation, and child obscenity and pornography cases, and requires the Attorney General to establish a National Internet Crimes Against Children Data Network Center to assist the ICAC Task Force program and federal, state, local, and tribal agencies investigating and prosecuting child exploitation.

As you know, S. 1738 was introduced by Senator Biden (D-DE) on June 28, 2007, and reported out of the Judiciary Committee on July 7, 2008. A companion measure was passed in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority of 415 to 2 late last year. I will support every effort to get this important legislation signed into law. Please be assured that I will continue to work to find solutions that will make our children safer and strengthen America's most vulnerable families. I hope you will stay in touch during this process.

Again, thank you for writing.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

JRS said...

email response from Senator Dick Durbin:

Thank you for contacting me about S. 1738, the Combating Child Exploitation Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.

I am a cosponsor of S. 1738, which would enhance federal, state, and local governments' ability to fight child exploitation. The bill would direct the Attorney General to create and implement a National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, which would include a complete review of all federal programs aimed at stopping child exploitation and the development of strategies to improve coordination with state, local, international, and private organizations involved with child exploitation prevention.

The measure also would create a new National Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program within the Department of Justice. This program would coordinate and support the efforts of state and local task forces in each state to improve law enforcement's capacity to investigate, prosecute, and prevent crimes against children involving the use of the Internet. The Combating Child Exploitation Act also would strengthen the definitions of crimes related to child pornography to allow for more effective prosecution of these crimes.

This legislation has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I am a member, and is awaiting a final vote by the full Senate. Its provisions also have been included in the Advancing America's Priorities Act (S. 3297). In July, the leadership in the Senate brought the Advancing America's Priorities Act to the Senate floor for consideration. Unfortunately the Minority blocked efforts to debate the bill.

I will keep your views in mind as I continue to support the Combating Child Exploitation Act. Thank you again for your message. Please feel free to keep in touch.

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator