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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Budget Autonomy For The District Of Columbia April 19, 2012
Eleanor Norton, D-DC
"The following is the actual proposal the president included in his fiscal year 2013 budget to prevent a D.C. government shutdown in the event of a federal government shutdown:” Sec. 817. Section 446 of the Home Rule Act (D.C. Official Code sec. 1 204.46) is amended by adding the following at the end of its fourth sentence, before the period “: Provided, That, notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, effective for fiscal year 2013, and for each succeeding fiscal year, during a period in which there is an absence of a federal appropriations act authorizing the expenditure of District of Columbia local funds, the District of Columbia may obligate and expend local funds for programs and activities at the rate set forth in the Budget Request Act adopted by the Council, or a reprogramming adopted pursuant to this section.” (Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2012.)"
District Of Columbia Emancipation Day March 29, 2012
Benjamin Cardin, D-MD
"To recognize and preserve the cultural history and heritage of the District of Columbia; to formally recognize the 150th anniversary of District of Columbia Emancipation Day on April 16, 2012, as an important day in the history of the District of Columbia and the United States in that, on April 16, 1862, 9 months before President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 to begin to end institutionalized slavery in America, President Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act to release the 3,100 enslaved persons of African descent held in the nation’s capital, making them the “first freed” by the federal government, at a cost of nearly $1 million, in 1862 funds, paid to the people who enslaved them; to recognize that, after the Civil War, formerly enslaved people and others commemorated the signing of the 1862 act by parading down Pennsylvania Avenue in festive attire, with music and marching bands, proclaiming and celebrating freedom in the District of Columbia Emancipation Day Parade, which was received by every sitting President of the United States from 1866 to 1901; and to recognize that, on March 7, 2000, the Council of the District of Columbia voted unanimously to establish April 16th as a legal private holiday, the Emancipation Day Parade resumed in the nation’s capital in 2002, and, on April 5, 2005, District of Columbia Emancipation Day was made a legal public holiday, recognized annually on April 16th. Whereas, on April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act (“Emancipation Act”) during the Civil War; Whereas, the Emancipation Act provided for immediate emancipation of 3,100 enslaved men, women, and children of African descent held in bondage in the District of Columbia; Whereas, the Emancipation Act authorized compensation of up to $300 for each of the 3,100 enslaved men, women, and children held in bondage by those loyal to the Union, voluntary colonization of the formerly enslaved to colonies outside of America, and payments of up to $100 to each formerly enslaved person who agreed to leave America; Whereas, the Emancipation Act authorized the federal government to pay approximately $1 million, in 1862 funds, for the freedom of 3,100 enslaved men, women, and children of African descent in the District of Columbia; Whereas, the Emancipation Act ended the bondage of 3,100 enslaved men, women, and children of African descent in the District of Columbia, and made them the “first freed” by the federal government during the Civil War; Whereas, nine months after the signing of the Emancipation Act, on January 1, 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, to begin to end institutionalized enslavement of people of African descent in Confederate states; Whereas, on April 9, 1865, the Confederacy surrendered, marking the beginning of the end of the Civil War, and on August 20, 1866, President Andrew Johnson signed a Proclamation—Declaring that Peace, Order, Tranquility and Civil Authority Now Exists in and Throughout the Whole of the United States of America; Whereas, in December 1865, the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified establishing that “ Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”; Whereas, in April 1866, to commemorate the signing of the Emancipation Act, the formerly enslaved people and others, in festive attire, with music and marching bands, started an annual tradition of parading down Pennsylvania Avenue, proclaiming and celebrating the anniversary of their freedom; Whereas, the District of Columbia Emancipation Day Parade was received by every sitting President of the United States from 1866 to 1901; Whereas, on March 7, 2000, at the Twenty Seventh Legislative Session of the Council of the District of Columbia, Councilmember Vincent B. Orange, Sr. (D-Ward 5) authored and introduced, with Carol Schwartz (R-At Large), the historic District of Columbia Emancipation Day Amendment Act of 2000, effective April 3, 2001 (D.C. Law 13 237; D.C. Official Code Sec. Sec. 1 612.02a, 32 1201), and on that same date moved an emergency version of the legislation that established April 16th as a legal private holiday; Whereas, the District of Columbia Emancipation Day Emergency Amendment Act of 2000, which established April 16th as a legal private holiday, was passed unanimously by the Council on March 7, 2000, and signed into law on March 22, 2000 by Mayor Anthony A. Williams; Whereas, on April 16, 2000, to properly preserve the historical and cultural significance of the District of Columbia Emancipation Day, Councilmember Orange hosted a celebration program in the historic 15th Street Presbyterian Church, founded in 1841 as the First Colored Presbyterian Church; Whereas, on April 16, 2002, after a 100-year absence, the District of Columbia, spearheaded by Councilmember Orange with the support of Mayor Anthony Williams, returned the Emancipation Day Parade to Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., along with public activities on Freedom Plaza and evening fireworks (D.C. Official Code Sec. 1 182); Whereas, the District of Columbia Emancipation Day Parade and Fund Act of 2004, effective March 17, 2005 (D.C. Law 15 240; D.C. Official Code Sec. 1 181 et seq.), established the Emancipation Day Fund to receive and disburse monies for the Emancipation Day Parade and activities associated with the celebration and commemoration of the District of Columbia Emancipation Day; Whereas, the District of Columbia Emancipation Day Amendment Act of 2004, effective April 5, 2005 (D.C. Law 15 288; D.C. Official Code Sec. 1 612.02(a)(11)), established April 16th as a legal public holiday; Whereas, on April 16, 2005, District of Columbia Emancipation Day was observed for the first time as a legal public holiday, for the purpose of pay and leave of employees scheduled to work on that day (D.C. Official Code Sec. 1 612.02(c)(2)); Whereas, April 16, 2012, is the 150th anniversary of District of Columbia Emancipation Day, which symbolizes the triumph of people of African descent over the cruelty of institutionalized slavery and the goodwill of people opposed to the injustice of slavery in a democracy; Whereas, the Council of the District of Columbia remembers and pays homage to the millions of people of African descent enslaved for more than 2 centuries in America for their courage and determination; Whereas, the Council of the District of Columbia remembers and pays homage to President Abraham Lincoln for his courage and determination to begin to end the inhumanity and injustice of institutionalized slavery by signing the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act on April "
Department Of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012 June 2, 2011
Keith Ellison, D-MN
"Rightwing activists and propagandists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, employees of con-artist and propagandist Andrew Breitbart, may not use the First Amendment as an excuse for breaking the law in California, according to a federal judge’s ruling this week. Judge M. James Lorenz rejected the defendants’ argument and motion for summary judgment in federal court, as part of the civil lawsuit filed against them by former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera. Giles had previously thrown O’Keefe under a bus by arguing that she should not be held accountable at all for violating California’s Invasion of Privacy Act [CA Penal Code Sec. 632], since he, not she, was actually wearing the hidden video camera used to secretly tape their conversations with Vera, even after they had asked if their meeting would be kept confidential. For his part, O’Keefe, a convicted federal criminal, argued that he was allowed to violate the law because the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protected him as a “journalist”. The judge ruled against the defendants on all points … According to Maria Dinzeo of Courthouse News Service: Juan Carlos Vera claimed James O’Keefe III and Hannah Giles visited his office in August 2009, and conspired to create video and audio tapes of him, even after asking him if their conversation would be confidential. [Lorenz ruled] that the law “is directed to the surreptitious recording of confidential communications and not the manner or method of recording the conversation.” Given the meaning of the word “record,” Lorenz found Giles equally responsible. Lorenz also rejected O’Keefe’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, in which he argued that First Amendment protections for journalists supersede the California Privacy Act. Since there was a mutual understanding that the conversation was confidential, Lorenz found that the privacy law “is not an overbroad intrusion on expose newsgathering in which O’Keefe participates.” “Expose newsgathering” is not what O’Keefe traffics in, as demonstrated again most recently by, ironically enough, the “news” website of Fox “News” host Glenn Beck after a similarly deceptive and secretly video taped smear of an NPR employee by O’Keefe last March. But O’Keefe’s long track record of deceptive video hit-jobs was not at issue in this particular legal argument. In his ruling [PDF], Judge Lorenz highlighted specific portions of the CA law which is violated by “Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication.” The ruling goes on to further cite the statute which reads “The term `confidential communication’ includes any communication carried on in circumstances as may reasonably indicate that any party to the communication desires it to be confined to the parties thereto.” “California’s law is quite clear,” Lorenz wrote in response to the First Amendment arguments by O’Keefe and Giles, “that persons who engage in news gathering are not permitted to violate criminal laws in the process.” O’Keefe and Giles were sued by Vera last summer, after an investigation by California’s Attorney General found that the pair had likely violated the CA Privacy Act by secretly taping workers at ACORN. The duo were spared criminal charges for violation of the same law after bargaining for immunity in exchange for finally providing law enforcement with the unedited videos of their secretly taped meetings with ACORN employees. After examining the unedited video tapes, the CA AG echoed all other independent investigations of the tapes published by Breitbart, to determine that they had been “severely edited” to present a false portrait of ACORN and of the meetings with workers there. The AG found the CA ACORN workers “committed no violation of criminal law.” Previously, a New York District Attorney investigation also found “no criminality” in the “highly edited” video tapes of ACORN workers there. Similarly findings were also offered by a former Massachusetts attorney general and an investigation by the Congressional Research Service. Vera, however, and other ACORN employees across the country, were fired by the organization shortly after Breitbart’s publication of the falsely edited video tapes on his Rightwing political websites. No employees of ACORN have been charged with any crimes in relation to the O’Keefe/Giles/Breitbart hit-jobs carried out during the summer of 2009 in which Breitbart and O’Keefe had purported to the media that he had played a pimp during meetings with ACORN to Giles, who was dressed as a prostitute during those encounters. In fact, ACORN workers had been told that O’Keefe, playing her conservatively dressed boyfriend, was hoping to rescue Giles from an abusive pimp who had been threatening her life and stealing her money. (One of the videos was deceptively edited to make it appear that ACORN workers had told Giles to bury her money in the backyard, so the government couldn’t get at it for tax purposes. In fact, as the actual transcripts revealed, the worker was advising her on how to keep the abusive pimp from stealing it from her. Giles blatantly lied about that point on Fox “News.”) Their hoax was successful, however, resulting in the loss of federal funding for ACORN which led to a loss of private donations, eventually forcing the four-decade-old community organization to close its doors. ACORN had long been targeted by Rightwingers due largely to their years-long success in legally registering millions of legal low- and middle-income citizens to vote. Most such voters tend to vote for Democrats. Despite persistent, yet evidence-free, claims by the Right over many years that ACORN participated in “voter fraud,” there is no known evidence of even a single fraudulent vote ever having been cast in any election due to an improper registration by any ACORN worker. The BRAD BLOG spent a fair portion of 2010 demonstrating to the New York Times and other media outlets that they had repeatedly misreported the story of the hoax carried out by O’Keefe, Giles and Breitbart. In fact, O’Keefe neither dressed as a “pimp” nor represented himself as one in the secretly-taped meetings with ACORN workers, even as he famously lied to the public and media about having done so. Following our numerous exposes, the NY Times was eventually forced to issue corrections for some of their reporting after their Public Editor admitted both he and the paper had been “wrong” about O’Keefe’s version of the story which they had reported uncritically. In addition to the civil lawsuit O’Keefe and Giles are facing in San Diego, O’Keefe’s high-powered Republican attorneys were able to obtain a plea deal for him in another case, in which felony counts were lowered to misdemeanor charges in exchange for his guilty plea. That case involved a scam similar to the one carried out against ACORN. O’Keefe and his fellow conspirators were caught secretly taping federal employees at the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) after entering the property under false pretenses and attempting to access her phone system. For his part, admitted liar Breitbart is busy defending himself against a lawsuit brought by former USDA official Shirley Sherrod. She was fired after Breitbart published yet another deceptively edited video, purporting to serve as evidence that the African-American Sherrod was discriminating against white farmers in her role as a federal worker. The unedited version of the tape demonstrated that Sherrod had been doing the complete opposite of what Breitbart attempted to illustrate her as doing. Though an apology was quickly issued to Sherrod by the White House, they have never apologized for having defunded ACORN under the fraudulent pretenses knowingly presented to the public by O’Keefe, Giles and Breitbart."
Faa Reauthorization And Reform Act Of 2011 March 31, 2011
John Mica, R-FL
"(a) Short Title.—This Act may be cited as the “FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011”. (b) Table of Contents.—Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.Sec. 2. Amendments to title 49, United States Code.Sec. 3. Effective date."
Criminal Code Modernization And Simplification Act Of 2009 March 26, 2009
F. Sensenbrenner, R-WI
"Courts and commentators have decried the confusion that follows use of the word “willful” in statutes. The lower courts repeatedly cite the fluctuating meaning of the term “willfully,” which has “defied any consistent interpretation by the courts.” United States v. Granda, 565 F.2d 922, 924 (5th Cir. 1978). Judge Learned Hand criticized use of the term “willful” in statutes: “It’s an awful word! It is one of the most troublesome words in a statute that I know. If I were to have the index purged, “willful” would lead all the rest in spite of its being at the end of the alphabet.” Model Penal Code and Commentaries, Sec. 2.02, at 249 n.47 (Official Draft and Revised Comments 1985) (citing A.L.I. Proc. 160 (1955)). Indeed, the drafters of the Model Penal Code, for example, deliberately excluded the term “willfully” in the definition of crimes, stating that the term “is unusually ambiguous standing alone.” Model Penal Code Sec. 2.02 explanatory note at 228 (Official Draft and Revised Comments 2005)."

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