Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Obama on the Issues - Crime


Senator Obama is a strong proponent of tougher measures to fight crime, in particular the growing problem of methamphetamines, which has ravaged many communities in Illinois. He has also advocated providing more resources to local law enforcement officers.

Fighting the Spread of Methamphetamines

Senator Obama cosponsored the Combat Meth Act (S. 103) which provides more money for fighting methamphetamines, tightens up control on the sale of meth ingredients, and provides assistance to children of meth abusers. The legislation would limit access to cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient used to make methamphetamine. This bill passed the Senate on September 15, 2005, and was signed into law.

Senator Obama has supported greater funding to fight meth through the use of Byrne Justice Assistance Grants. The Byrne Grant program provides important funding to many local Illinois law enforcement groups. For example, the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group (SIEG), a meth taskforce that polices 31 Illinois counties, pays for 5 of its 12 agents through Byrne grants. During Senate consideration of the Department of Justice funding bill, Senator Obama cosponsored an amendment to raise Byrne funding to $900 million in 2006; the amendment passed the Senate.

Support for Local Law Enforcement

Senator Obama has been a strong supporter of efforts to increase funding and support for our local law enforcement. He supported the reauthorization of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in the 109th Congress (PL 109-162) and supports efforts to increase COPS funding. The COPS program provides local law enforcement funding for: (1) hiring and training law enforcement officers; (2) procuring equipment and support systems (3) paying officers to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties; and (4) developing new technologies, including interoperable communications and forensic technology. Since 1994, the COPS program has funded more than 5,800 additional police officers and sheriffs deputies in Illinois and over $45 million in crime fighting technology assistance.

Sex Offenders

Senator Obama cosponsored Dru's Law (S. 792) which creates a nationwide sex offender database and requires greater monitoring of sex offenders upon their release from prison. The bill passed the Senate on July 28, 2005.

He also cosponsored the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. This bill increases the penalties for sex crimes against children under the age of 12, and creates a national Internet site known as the National Sex Offender Public Registry. The bill will also provide grants to local law enforcement to assist in preventing and investigating sex crimes against minors.

Violence Against Women Act

Senator Obama cosponsored extension of Violence Against Women Act (S. 1197), which passed the Senate on October 4, 2005, and was signed into law. The Act provides increased funds to law enforcement to combat violence against women. It also establishes a sexual assault services program and provides grants for education programs to prevent domestic violence and encourage reporting of abuses.

Security for Federal Judges

After the horrific murder of an Illinois federal judge's mother and husband, Senator Obama and Senator Durbin worked together to beef up security at our federal courthouses. The Illinois senators secured $12 million to improve security for federal judges. Senator Obama also joined Senator Durbin in requesting a Government Accountability Office investigation into additional steps that can be taken to protect judges.

Source: http://obama.senate.gov/issues/

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