The Leahy Letter - January 29, 2010

Leahy: Supreme Court Opens The Floodgates
To Corporate Contributions

As Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Senator Leahy spoke on the Senate Floor Thursday, January 28, about the Supreme Court's decision last week in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision last week that reversed long standing precedent and barred restrictions on corporate independent expenditures in elections as being in violation of the First Amendment.

You can watch Senator Leahy's speech on YouTube here:


Help For Haiti

Senator Leahy continues to use his post as chair of the Senate Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations to closely monitor rescue and recovery progress in Haiti. The bottleneck at Haiti's U.S. military-controlled airport was an early issue of critical importance, and Senator Leahy's staff has met with the State Department's Haiti Taskforce about this problem. Senator Leahy recently gave a statement on the Senate floor about the situation in Haiti, which you can watch on his YouTube page here. For more information on how you can help the victims in Haiti, visit Senator Leahy's website.


Leahy Visits Vermont National Guard Soldiers
Preparing to Deploy

On Monday, January 25, Senator Leahy traveled to Camp Atterbury in Indiana to visit Vermont National Guard soldiers preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. Joined by Senator Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch, Senator Leahy met with members of the 86th Brigade Combat Team (BCT) engaged in pre-deployment combat training. The Vermont delegation received a briefing from Major General Michael Dubie, Vermont's Adjutant General, about the latest information on the mission of the unit, and they lunched with members of the Vermont Guard in the mess hall. The delegation also received an overview on the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that the Guard will use while in Afghanistan, including the ATV version of the MRAP, whose armor is manufactured in Bennington by Plasan.

Senators Leahy and Sanders with VT Guard troops at Camp Atterbury

During the visit to Camp Atterbury, Senator Leahy and Senator Sanders posed for a photo with Sergeant Morse, whose child attends Williston Central School.

Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack
To Visit Vermont In February

Today, Senator Leahy and Senator Sanders announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will visit Vermont on Saturday, February 13, 2010. The Secretary will join the Vermont delegation, including Congressman Welch, for several events in Burlington and St. Albans. The first event will be a town meeting at the Burlington Hilton at 9:30a.m. with the Secretary and the delegation. Secretary Vilsack will also attend the annual meeting of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery.


Senate Passes Leahy Bill
To Ease Burdens On Trademark Owners

Late Thursday, January 28, the Senate unanimously passed legislation by Senator Leahy to help trademark owners in maintaining the protection of their brands. The bill is called the Trademark Law Technical and Conforming Amendments Act and will make adjustments to the nation's trademark laws, improving efficiency in the trademark system. Many small Vermont businesses that hold trademarks will benefit from improving the efficiency of the system, including Vermont's Rock Art Brewery, whose product came under attack last year by a large corporation exaggerating the scope of their trademark protection. Read more about this effort here.


Judiciary Committee Okays Leahy Bill
To Support Boys & Girls Clubs

Legislation authored by Senator Leahy to support and fund the Boys & Girls Clubs of America through 2015 advanced to the full Senate on January 28. The Boys & Girls Clubs Centennial Reauthorization Act will extend a grant program run through the U.S. Department of Justice. Senator Leahy introduced the legislation in December and successfully championed legislation in the 108th Congress to reauthorize the program through fiscal year 2009. Participation in Boys & Girls Clubs is higher than ever, and the economic climate has forced many organizations to cut services. There are six Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Vermont, operating in 25 locations. Click here to read more.


News You Can Use

Haiti Tax Deductions

On January 22, President Obama signed into law legislation to allow charitable cash contributions made for the Haitian relief effort between January 12 and February 28, 2010, to be deducted from 2009 income tax filings. Senator Leahy supported this and other efforts on behalf of the people of Haiti and continues to monitor the work of relief agencies and organizations on the ground. Visit the IRS for more information on this deduction. To find out more about how you can help victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake, please visit InterAction.com.


Want To Work In The 2010 Census?

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting temporary, part-time census takers for the 2010 Census. These short-term jobs offer good pay, flexible hours and paid training. Best of all, census takers work right in their own communities. Census taker jobs are excellent for people who want to work part-time, those who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money while performing an important service for their community and the nation. Click here for more information or call 1-802-264-0860 to reach the Burlington Census office.

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David Carle: 202-224-3693