12.23.09

Statement on the Legislative Work of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary During the First Session of the 111th Congress

This is been an extraordinary year in the history of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Thanks to the members and their work through 87 hearings and 33 business meetings this year we have been productive.  Here are some of the legislative highlights:

We have considered and reported to the Senate several important legislative initiatives:  We successfully considered and reported to the Senate the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act that President Obama signed into law in May.  We reported the important Patent Reform Act, which can help our economic recovery and lead to additional American jobs.  We reported significant cyber security legislation, including the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act.

We also reported the Improving Assistance to Domestic Violence Victims Act; Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act; the Crime Victims Fund Preservation Act; and the Performance Rights Act.  We reported the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act; the PACT Act on cigarette smuggling; and the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act, to end anticompetitive pay-for-delay schemes in the drug industry.

Mindful of the end of the year deadlines, we worked hard to report with bipartisan support the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act and the Satellite Television Modernization Act.

We reported the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act just last week.  And after many working session, we were finally able to report the historic Free Flow of Information Act to establish a qualified privilege in Federal law for journalists to protect their confidential sources and the public's right to know.    

Through the course of the year Senators on this Committee contributed to enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, the OPEN FOIA Act, the Human Rights Enforcement Act, the Webcasters Settlement Act, an extension of the EB-5 program for three years, an end to the “widow penalty” in immigration law, the Judicial Survivors Protection Act, the Reserve Officers Modernization Act, the charter for the Military Officers Association of America, as well as legislation to keep the Patent Office on a financial footing, and legislation to clarify statutory time periods for litigation. We worked to include in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provisions to provide needed funding to state and local law enforcement and to protect privacy as we improve health care information technology.

Many of us worked for Senate passage of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act.

Within the health insurance reform legislation being passed by the Senate this week are provisions we worked on to improve our anti-fraud efforts and to provide recourse for those harmed by health services.

I thank the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for their contributions and cooperation.

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