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Senate VAWA S.47 could be on the floor for a vote in a matter of days


From Pat Reuss of National Organization for Women:

We're getting close to passing the Senate VAWA – maybe as soon as this Thursday - and many of you have helped get your Senators on board as sponsors so hooray for you.  Please thank, publicly if possible, the sponsors listed below and please ask the Senators who are NOT sponsors to get on board.  We need 60 or more sponsors to fight off weakening, harmful or non-germane amendments.  Please act on this and also forward to your coalition partners.  And be sure and post and forward NOW's great alert on VAWA  http://action.now.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7193

January 28, 2013
Please forward widely!

VAWA GOAL: 60 Senate co-sponsors by January 31, 2013!

Last week, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID) introduced S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)! This bill is very similar to the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Leahy and Crapo last Congress and would improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence (see description of legislation below for an explanation of some of the changes).

Senator Leahy has arranged for VAWA to go directly to the Senate floor and Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to bring VAWA up for a vote in the next week.  In order to continue our incredible momentum from last Congress and get VAWA passed right now, we need you to take action TODAY by contacting your Senators to co-sponsor S. 47. After only 4 working days since introduction, the bill has 50 sponsors including 5 RepublicansOur goal is to get 60 co-sponsors by January 31st so that VAWA passes resoundingly on the Senate floor for a jubilant bipartisan victory. We need to keep the phones ringing starting right now! 
So far, the bill has the following sponsors: Senators Ayotte, Kelly (R-NH), Baldwin, Tammy (D–WI), Baucus, Max (D-MT), Begich, Mark (D-AK), Bennet, Michael (D-CO), Blumenthal, Richard (D-CT), Brown, Sherrod (D-OH), Cantwell, Maria (D-WA), Cardin, Benjamin (D-MD), Casey, Robert (D–PA), Collins, Susan (R-ME), Coons, Chris (D-DE), Crapo, Mike (R-ID), Durbin, Richard (D-IL), Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA), Franken, Al (D-MN), Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY), Hagan, Kay (D-NC), Harkin, Tom (D-IA), Heinrich,  Martin (D-NM), Heitkamp, Heidi (D–ND), Hirono, Mazie (D-HI), King, Angus (I-ME), Kirk, Mark (R-IL), Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN), Leahy, Patrick (D-VT), Levin, Carl (D-MI), McCaskill, Claire (D-MO), Manchin, Joe (D-WV), Menendez, Robert (D-NJ), Merkley, Jeff (D-OR), Mikulski, Barbara (D-MD), Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK), Murray, Patty (D-WA), Pryor, Mark  (D-AR), Reed, Jack (D-RI), Reid, Harry (D-NV), Rockefeller, John (D-WV), Schumer, Charles  (D-NY), Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH), Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI), Tester, Jon (D-MT), Udall, Mark (D-CO), Udall, Tom (D-NM), Warner, Mark (D-VA), Warren, Elizabeth (D-MA), Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI), Wyden, Ron (D-OR).  Please thank these Senators for their early support of the Violence Against Women Act.
If you don't see your Senator on the list above, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask the operator to connect you to your Senators. If you don't know who your Senators are, you can look them up here (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm). When you're connected to their offices, ask to speak to the staff person who handles VAWA.  Tell the person who answers the phone:
1) I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _________.
2) I urge Senator____ to co-sponsor  S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and to oppose weakening, harmful or non-germane amendments.  The bill could come to the Senate floor in a matter of days.
3) Thank you and I look forward to hearing that the Senator is a co-sponsor and supporter. 

Join our "We need VAWA because…" campaign on Facebook and Instagram!  [Tag your photos on Instragram with #VAWA or submit your photos via email to our partners from The Leadership Conference Education Fund at lccref@gmail.com.    Make sure to include your city and state name and your senators' and representative's names in your statement so that your senators/representative knows that their state/district cares about VAWA.

In light of President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address, we will be holding a "State of the VAWA" Twitter Chat on Monday, February 11th at 2pm EST to answer questions and engage the public in a dialogue about the importance of an inclusive VAWA. Please mark your calendars and send your questions in advance to @NTFVAWA using the #SoVAWA hashtag. More information coming soon!


Description of legislation: In addition to many important improvements, such as addressing the criminal justice response to sexual assault, domestic violence homicides, housing needs, and campus victimization included in legislation last year.  The current Senate bill also maintains enhanced protections for tribal, LGBT and immigrant victims.  These provisions were identified as critical priorities by advocates across the country and received overwhelming bipartisan support last year in the Senate.

One provision from last year's bill was not included- the modest increase in the number of U visas available to immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and certain other violent crimes who assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime (originally created by Congress in VAWA 2000). Increasing the number of U visas would help both victims and law enforcement. Unfortunately, that provision led to a technical objection from House Republican leaders and, in the interest of obtaining the swift reauthorization of VAWA, the Senate introduced the new VAWA bill without that provision in order to avoid any initial technical obstacles. Other important provisions to help immigrant victims and their children from last year's bill are included in S. 47.  The National Task Force and Senator Leahy will also be working hard to include the U visa increase in the comprehensive immigration reform legislation that will soon be considered by Congress.

Another provision was added, the SAFER Act, S. 80, originally sponsored by Leahy and Cornyn (R-TX) which passed unanimously in the Senate late last year and promotes the elimination of sexual assault evidence (rape kits) backlogs that could be used to prosecute offenders and solve cold cases..

For more information, fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates: www.4vawa.org.

Follow us on Twitter at @NTFVAWA and "like" our Facebook page. Don't forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA, #VAWA4all and #VAWA.

If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mail list, send names and contact information including email to ntfvawaalerts@icasa.org. For more info, go to www.4vawa.org

Potential Sponsors of S. 47
%+Boxer, Barbara - (D - CA)
+Schatz, Brian - (D - HI)
N Donnelly, Joe - (D - IN)
N Fischer, Deb - (R - NE)
N Kaine, Tim - (D - VA)
N Murphy, Christopher - (D - CT)
%Carper, Thomas R. - (D - DE)          
%Heller, Dean - (R - NV)
%Johnson, Tim - (D - SD)
%Nelson, Bill - (D - FL)
#Alexander, Lamar - (R - TN)
 #Coats, Daniel - (R - IN)
#Corker, Bob (R-TN)
#Hoeven, John - (R - ND)
#McCain, John - (R - AZ)
#Portman, Rob - (R - OH)
#Vitter, David - (R - LA)
Cornyn, John - (R - TX)
Enzi, Michael B. - (R - WY)
Graham, Lindsey - (R - SC)
Grassley, Chuck - (R - IA)
Hatch, Orrin G. - (R - UT)
Rubio, Marco - (R - FL)

N=new, +Sponsored S. 5 (2013), %Sponsored VAWA 2012, #Voted for VAWA 2012