Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) issued the following statement regarding his procedural vote to oppose ending debate on the First Step Act:
"The First Step Act contains worthwhile provisions that seek to improve the criminal justice system and reduce offender recidivism, which is why I am seriously considering supporting it. However, today's procedural vote was designed to preclude amendments, including one I intended to offer to support victims of crime. The First Step Act should have been subject to a full and robust amendment process."
Senator Toomey filed the following three amendments to the First Step Act. Unfortunately, today's procedural vote will likely prevent consideration of these and other amendments by the Senate.
Fairness for Crime Victims Act
The amendment mirrors Senator Toomey's Fairness for Crime Victims Act (S. 3746), which passed the Senate Budget Committee unanimously last session.
The Fairness for Crime Victims amendment would ensure that crime victims and groups that support them receive a steady stream of funds from the Crime Victims Fund each year. The Crime Victims Fund (CVF) was created in 1984, based on the principle that the money the federal government collects from those who are convicted of crimes should be used to help those victimized by crime. Funded entirely by criminal fines and penalties collected by the federal government, the CVF is used to compensate victims directly and to support victims' service groups, such as child advocacy centers, rape crisis centers, and domestic violence shelters. Read more here.
The amendment is cosponsored by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and James Lankford (R-OK).
Combat Online Predators Act
The Combat Online Predators Act increases the maximum prison sentence that a criminal can receive for stalking or cyberstalking a child.
The Combat Online Predators Act was inspired by the story of the Zezzo family of Bucks County, PA whose teenage daughter was cyberstalked by a friend's father on social media.
Thin Blue Line Act
Anyone who murders or targets a public safety officer should be prepared to pay the ultimate price.
When a jury in a federal case considers whether to impose the death penalty, the jury must consider certain "aggravating" factors. Current law states that if the murder victim is a federal law enforcement officer or federal prosecutor, this fact shall weigh as an aggravating factor in favor of the death penalty. The Thin Blue Line Act provides the same level of justice to local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and first responders. It also enhances the penalty when a defendant targets a law enforcement officer, prosecutor, or first responder solely because that individual has chosen to protect and serve.