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Press Releases

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

03.11.09

Critical FOIA Office Receives Funding In Omnibus

(Wednesday, March 11, 2009) - A new office to mediate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) disputes has received key funding necessary to establish its operations, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Wednesday. The omnibus appropriations bill passed by the Senate Tuesday night includes $1 million to establish the new Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) in the National Archives and Records Administration. Congress mandated the establishment of OGIS in the OPEN Govern… Continue Reading


03.10.09

Leahy Taps Former Essex And St. Albans Police Chief As Choice For U.S. Marshal In Vermont

(TUESDAY, March 10) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday announced that he has selected former Essex Jct. and St. Albans Police Chief David E. Demag -- a highly honored, fourth-generation Vermont law enforcement veteran - as his choice to be Vermont's next U.S. Marshal. Demag also is a former Commander in the Burlington Police Department. After interviewing several candidates, Leahy said he will recommend David E. Demag to President Obama to head Vermont's U.S. Mar… Continue Reading


03.10.09

Leahy Chairs Judiciary Committee Hearing On Patent Reform

(Tuesday, March 10, 2009) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) chaired a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning to discuss patent reform in the 111th Congress. On March 3, Leahy, who is the chairman of the Committee, and Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced thebipartisan Patent Reform Act of 2009 (S.515), legislation to make the first significant reforms to the nation's patent system in more than 50 years. Testifying at Tuesda… Continue Reading


03.10.09

Fresh Victories For The Public's Right To Know

There is reason to hope that an era of greater openness is coming. As we mark this fifth annual Sunshine Week, some of the recent clouds obstructing the public's right to know are giving way to more transparency. The American people are beginning to get a better glimpse of how their government works - or sometimes doesn't work so well. Already there is some good news for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the law that gives life to the public's right to k… Continue Reading


03.09.09

Leahy Announces Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Forensic Science

(Monday, March 9) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday announced that the Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, March 18, 2009, to examine a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences on forensic science. The report, which was released on February 18, found that many forensic disciplines lack the standards necessary to ensure scientific reliability in court. The report is the result of three years of study by the National Academy … Continue Reading


03.09.09

Comment On Supreme Court Opinion In Bartlett v. Strickland

"Just after the 44th anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday,' the Supreme Court's decision in Bartlett v. Strickland has dealt a serious blow to the progress of the civil rights movement through its cramped reading of the historic Voting Rights Act." "Congress intended with the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to enable racial minorities to participate in the political life of our democracy. Today's plurality decision is based on a limited reading of the Act, and instead uses the guarantees o… Continue Reading


03.06.09

Leahy Joins Kennedy, Others To Introduce Bill To Reverse Supreme Court Medical Device Decision

(Friday, March 6, 2009) - On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has joined Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) to reintroduce legislation to reverse last year's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that immunized medical device companies from state lawsuits brought by patients who are injured by faulty devices. The Medical Device Safety Act has 18 sponsors in the Senate. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court, for the first time, ruled that medical d… Continue Reading


03.06.09

Remarks At Economic Recovery Conference At Champlain College

Thank you, President Finney and Champlain College, for hosting us at this timely conference today. We welcome this opportunity to offer Vermonters, Vermont businesses, and Vermont communities a chance to learn more about how they can take advantage of the recently passed federal economic recovery act. And the more rapidly and effectively that Vermont puts these resources to work, the better we will be able to keep Vermonters working today, and the better we will be able to… Continue Reading


03.05.09

Statement On United Nations Population Fund

Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I understand that we are on the Wicker amendment. I have listened to the statements made about it. It is hard to understand what the real purpose of the amendment is, although the junior Senator from Mississippi says the purpose is as follows: To require that amounts appropriated for the United Nations Population Fund are not used by organizations which support coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. I do not know anybody who would disagr… Continue Reading


03.05.09

Statement On Protecting Indonesia's Forests

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, at a time when the world seems to finally be speaking in one voice about the need for dramatic action to stop global warming, an article in the Jakarta Post on February 13 reminds us that many difficult obstacles lie ahead. It is well known that Indonesia's forests, and particularly its peat swamps, store huge amounts of carbon. When the trees from these areas are cut and burned, which is happening due to illegal logging and to make way for … Continue Reading


03.05.09

Statement On Colombia

MR. LEAHY. The abuses perpetrated against civilians by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, popularly known as the FARC, are too numerous to list. From kidnappings to bombings, torture and summary executions, the FARC have lost whatever credibility and popular support they may once have had. They are a criminal enterprise, despised by the vast majority of Colombians, funded with proceeds from the production and sale of cocaine, who show no respect for the laws of … Continue Reading


03.05.09

A $5.7 Million Stimulus For Vermont Transit

, March 5 - Almost $5.7 million was released to Vermont today for transit programs funded by the economic recovery bill, Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Representative Peter Welch announced. The stimulus money for Vermont from the Federal Transit Administration was included in the bill that was designed to create some 8,000 jobs in Vermont to help jolt the economy out of recession. Statewide, the Vermont Agency of Transportation will use $3.9 million to pur… Continue Reading


03.05.09

Friday Conference Quickly Fills As 700 Register For Sessions At Champlain College; Leahy Will Set A Second Session For Late March In Brattleboro

… Leahy and Douglas will open March 6th Conference, featuring free workshops on small business aid, help for families, infrastructure improvements, health care and education, and first responders (THURSDAY, March 5) - Vermonters' interest in the newly enacted economic stimulus bill is so high that registration requests for Friday's workshops on the plan have quickly outstripped capacity. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who organized the sessions, says signup requests topped… Continue Reading


03.05.09

Anti-Fraud Bill Clears Judiciary Committee

(Thursday, March 5, 2009) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday voted to report the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA) to the full Senate for consideration. The legislation would increase tools to help prosecutors combat fraud. The bill was introduced by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Committee member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on February 5. Freshman Senator and Committee member Edward Kaufman (D-Del.) is an original cosponsor of the legislatio… Continue Reading


03.05.09

Judiciary Committee Reports Three Justice Department Nominees

(Thursday, March 5, 2009) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday reported three high-ranking executive nominations. The nominations of Thomas J. Perrelli to be Associate Attorney General, Elena Kagan to be Solicitor General of the United States, and David S. Kris to be Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division will next be considered by the full Senate. Perrelli and Kagan were first scheduled to be considered by the Committee on February 26, bu… Continue Reading


03.04.09

Statement On Coburn Amendment To Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Mr. President, I worked very hard over the last two years with Senator Dodd and Congressman Lewis to pass the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act to provide resources for the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate and prosecute decades-old unsolved civil rights cold case crimes. It could have been law earlier than the end of last year had not Republican opposition obstructed its enactment. This should have been a noncontroversial bill and it sho… Continue Reading


03.04.09

Comment On The House Agreement For Testimony And Documents In U.S. Attorney Firings

"I hope today's agreement will help to finally uncover the truth about the firings of U.S. Attorneys and the Bush White House cover up designed to shield from public view the inappropriate and illegal actions of the last administration. "It should not have taken until now to obtain testimony and documents from Bush administration officials connected to the investigation into the firings. Today's agreement leaves in place the court ruling that rejected the Bush administration's unpreced… Continue Reading


03.04.09

Leahy Announces Witness List For Patent Reform Hearing

(Wednesday, March 4, 2009) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday announced the list of witnesses who will testify at a Committee hearing scheduled for March 10, on patent reform. On Tuesday, Leahy and Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the Patent Reform Act of 2009 (S.515), legislation that would make the first significant reforms to the nation's patent system in more than 50 years. Information about the legislation, including a se… Continue Reading


03.04.09

Comment On Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Jury Award To Vermont Musician Diana Levine In Much-Watched Wyeth v. Levine Case

[The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Nov. 3, 2008, in Wyeth v. Diana Levine, a case in which a jury in Vermont awarded damages to Levine, a musician from Marshfield, Vermont, who sustained life-altering injuries due to a drug manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Wyeth. Wyeth sought to overturn the Vermont Supreme Court's decision, which affirmed a jury verdict in Levine's favor. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced a 6-3 decision which reaffirmed the ruling, uphold… Continue Reading


03.04.09

Statement At Hearing On

Sen. Leahy Chairs A Hearing On Truth Commission In the wake of the tragic attacks on September 11, 2001, we came together as Americans. We need to do so, again, in these difficult economic times. Regrettably, too many seem mesmerized by the siren call of talk radio personalities and extreme special interest groups. Far from grasping the bipartisan hand that President Obama has extended, congressional Republicans are, with few exceptions, following the play book laid out by conserva… Continue Reading

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