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Search Senator Leahy’s press releases, floor statements, and Committee speeches by date or by subject.


The Never Ending Work Of Defending The Public’s Right To Know

This is the sixth anniversary of Sunshine Week, a time to take stock of the public's right to know and to celebrate victories in making ours a more open and transparent government. It was more than 40 years ago that Congress enacted the landmark Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This watershed law ushered in a new and unprecedented era of transparency in government. More than four decades later, the public and the press continue to draw on FOIA to better understand what the government is do… Continue Reading


Feinstein, Leahy Move to Restrict Use of Dangerous Cluster Munitions

(THURSDAY, March 10) - U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday introduced legislation to restrict the use and deployment of dangerous cluster munitions. Cluster bombs are designed to come apart in the air before making contact, dispersing between 200 and 400 small bomblets that can saturate a radius of 250 yards. The bombs are intended for military use when attacking large-scale enemy troop formations, but are often used in or near populated areas.… Continue Reading


Vermont Delegation Statement on Nuclear Regulatory Commission Announcement

, March 10 - Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) issued the following joint statement following the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's announcement today regarding Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon, Vt. "It should surprise no one that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has voted to extend Vermont Yankee's license for another 20 years. The NRC has never denied a nuclear plant an extension, and in fact has granted 62 straight license ex… Continue Reading


Bipartisan Vote By SJC Sends USA PATRIOT Act Bill To Senate Floor

(Thursday, March 10, 2011) - A bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday voted to send legislation to address expiring intelligence tools authorized by the USA PATRIOT Act to the full Senate for consideration. The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act is authored by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and will extend until 2013 three expiring intelligence-gathering tools now set to expire on May 27: Roving wiretaps, the "lone wolf" measure, and section 215 order… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Senate Continuing Resoluton For Fiscal Year 2011

Later today we will vote on H.R. 1, the House Continuing Resolution, and then the Senate substitute. I want to speak briefly about how the Senate CR compares to H.R. 1, particularly funding for the Department of State and Foreign Operations. First, Senators should know what is in the House CR or, perhaps more importantly, what is not in it. It is notable that the House defines diplomacy and international development as non-security spending, in spite of, of course, the integral part they both … Continue Reading


Leahy Chairs DHS Oversight Hearing With Secretary Napolitano

(Wednesday, March 9, 2011) - The Senate Judiciary Committee today is holding a Department of Homeland Security oversight hearing with Secretary Janet Napolitano. Under the Chairmanship of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee has held periodic oversight hearings with the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over immigration, citizenship and related issues. Member statements, witness testimony, and a live webcast are availa… Continue Reading


Senate Passes Historic America Invents Act

(Tuesday, March 8, 2011) - The Senate Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to approve legislation to make the first reforms to the nation's patent system in nearly six decades. The America Invents Act is the product of nearly six years of debate in Congress. The bill is sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and is cosponsored by a dozen other Senators. "The America Invents Act will promote American innovation, create American jobs and grow Ameri… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Senate Passage Of S. 23, the America Invents Act

Today, the Senate voted 95-5 to pass S. 23, the America Invents Act. After six years of debate and discussion, the Senate has finally acted to make the first meaningful, comprehensive reforms to the nation's patent system in nearly 60 years. Passage of the America Invents Act demonstrates what we can accomplish when we cast aside partisan rhetoric, and focus on working together for the American people and for our future. The America Invents Act will promote American innovation, create Americ… Continue Reading


Leahy: Now Is The Time To Act On Patent Reform

The Senate continues debate today on the America Invents Act, legislation authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to make the first significant reforms to the nation's patent system in nearly 60 years. The Senate Monday night voted overwhelmingly to move to conclude debate on the legislation. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The America Invents Act March 8, 2011 American ingenuity and innovation have been a cornerstone of the American… Continue Reading


Senate Moves Closer To Final Vote On Patent Reform Bill

(Monday, March 7, 2011) - The Senate Monday night moved closer to a final vote on pending legislation to make the first major reforms to the nation's patent system in nearly six decades. The chamber voted overwhelmingly (87-3) to bring debate to a close on the America Invents Act, sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). The Senate has been considering the long-pending legislation since February 28. Patent reform legislation was first proposed in Congress in 2005. Among the key provisions … Continue Reading


Senate Confirms Three District Court Judges

(Monday, Mar. 7, 2011) - The Senate Monday night unanimously confirmed three pending judicial nominees to fill vacancies on district courts in California and Illinois. The nominees confirmed were Anthony Battaglia to the District of Southern California; and Sue Myerscough and James Shadid to fill judicial emergency vacancies in the Central District of Illinois. The nominees received unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee in December 2010, but the Senate did not take final action… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Obama Administration’s Executive Orders Related To Guantanamo Bay And Detainees

"The American justice system is the envy of the world, but the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has done immeasurable damage to that system. Today's announcement has done little to change that. The process outlined in the Executive Order falls far short of core constitutional values by failing to provide judicial review of cases considered by the review board or guaranteeing meaningful assistance of counsel. I am also concerned that these orders do little to bring us closer to closing the… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Supreme Court’s Decision In Skinner v. Switzer

The Supreme Court today issued a ruling in Skinner v. Switzer holding that an individual seeking testing of DNA gathered at a crime scene may pursue that claim in a Federal civil rights lawsuit. "I am pleased that the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia, chose to expand, rather than limit, the opportunity to access testing of DNA evidence. Today's ruling that the federal courts may hear, under civil rights law, a claim by a state prison inmate… Continue Reading


Leahy To Chair Sunshine Week Hearing On FOIA

(Monday, March 7, 2011) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has scheduled an oversight hearing on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which will be held during Sunshine Week 2011. The hearing is entitled, "The Freedom of Information Act: Ensuring Transparency and Accountability in the Digital Age." The seventh annual Sunshine Week will be celebrated the week of March 14. It is a national observance of the importance of an open and transparent government, and participants i… Continue Reading


The America Invents Act Will Address Patent Backlog, Improve Patent Quality

(Monday, March 7, 2011) - The Obama administration today released a white board presentation by Austan Goolsbee, the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, touting the need for patent reform to help American inventors and innovators. The America Invents Act, sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), will make the first comprehensive reforms to the nation's patent system in nearly 60 years. "Chairman Goolsbee's white board presentation highlights the very things the America… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Field Hearing On The Vermont Brand Postponed Due To Inclement Weather

(MONDAY, March 7) -- Due to inclement weather, today's field hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to be chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy, has been postponed. The hearing, entitled "Strategies to Protect and Promote Vermont Brands", was originally scheduled to be held at the Ross Gymnasium at St. Micheal's College. # # # # #… Continue Reading


Leahy: New Vermont Passport Office Will Aid Vermonters’ Travel, Facilitate Vermont Commerce And Cement Vermont’s Bonds To Canada

ST. ALBANS, Vt. (FRIDAY, March 4) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Friday joined senior U.S. State Department officials and other dignitaries to officially open the new Vermont Passport Agency office in St. Albans. The new office is in the old Post Office Building on South Main Street. The renovation of the 6,650 square-foot facility was funded with $2.3 million of the $15 million for new Passport Agencies that Leahy included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - the econo… Continue Reading


Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Delayed Implementation Of The REAL ID Act

"I appreciate Secretary Napolitano's intention to delay implementation of the Real ID Act until at least January 2013. I have made no secret of my disagreement with this policy, which was rushed through Congress with little debate or consideration. This law has saddled the states with enormous costs and burdened citizens with the prospect of what effectively would be a national identification card. "When so many states are struggling with extremely difficult budget choices, the last thing th… Continue Reading


Leahy, On Vermont’s Long History Of Innovation And Invention

(Thursday, March 3, 2011) - The U.S. Senate is debating legislation authored by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy to update the nation's patent system. It has been nearly 60 years since the last comprehensive reforms were made the patent system. The America Invents Act was introduced by Leahy on January 25, and is the culmination of nearly six years of debate. Vermont receives more patents per capita than any other state in the nation. The first U.S. patent issued was awarded to Vermonter Samuel… Continue Reading


Leahy: First-Inventor-To-File Transition Support In Every Corner Of Patent Community

For more information about first-inventor-to-file, click here. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, The America Invents Act March 3, 2011 The America Invents Act will promote innovation, which in turn creates new businesses and as a result, new jobs. This is bipartisan legislation that will allow inventors to secure their patents more quickly, and have better success commercializing them. The pending amendment would eliminate a major piece of t… Continue Reading

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