Bipartisan bills include measures to expand support services for victims of military sexual assault in the National Guard and Reserves, address propane shortages, fight the spread of invasive carp, improve breast cancer awareness, cut red tape for families who adopt, and boost tourism in Minnesota and across the country
Klobuchar: This bipartisan progress should serve as a model for how to tackle challenges in 2015
WASHINGTON, DC – Despite widespread congressional gridlock over the past year, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today announced that she passed eight bipartisan bills into law in 2014 and said this progress should serve as a model for how to work together and get things done in the new Congress. The bipartisan bills Klobuchar passed include measures to expand support services for victims of military sexual assault, address propane shortages, fight the spread of invasive carp, improve breast cancer awareness, cut red tape for families who adopt, and boost tourism in Minnesota and across the country.
“Despite the partisanship and gridlock, Democrats and Republicans have managed to come together and pass bills that make progress for Minnesota and the country,” Klobuchar said. “Heading into the new Congress, we need to use these bipartisan successes as models for getting things done so that we can keep moving our country and economy forward.”
Below is information on Klobuchar’s bills that were signed into law in 2014:
Expanding support services for victims of military sexual assault
Klobuchar partnered with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Rep. John Kline (R-MN) to pass bipartisan legislation to ensure the National Guard and Reserve’s ability to assist victims of sexual assault. The Army has released a directive expanding important legal services to certain victims of military sexual assault, but the directive fails to cover Guard members who become victims of sexual assault outside of their drill weekend or military duty. The lawmakers’ bipartisan bill ensures survivors of sexual assault receive support services if there is any connection between the crime and their service. The bill also requires the relevant service secretary to provide Special Victims Counsel to the member regardless of when the assault occurred.
Addressing propane shortages
Klobuchar’s legislation with Senator John Thune (R-SD) to better address future propane and heating fuel shortages was signed into law this summer. The Senators’ legislation allows governors greater autonomy when they declare emergencies, eliminating the need for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to declare that a disaster exists beyond the existing 30-day declarations that are available to governors. The legislation also requires the Energy Information Administration to provide early warnings to governors if the inventory of residential heating fuel (propane, natural gas, and home heating oil) falls below the most recent five-year average for more than three consecutive weeks.
Fighting the spread of invasive carp
This spring, Klobuchar’s bipartisan provision to keep invasive carp out of Minnesota’s waterways was signed into law as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). It will help fight the spread of invasive carp – also known as Asian carp – by closing the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock within one year. The bill was led by Senator Klobuchar in the Senate and Representative Keith Ellison in the House, and cosponsored by Senator Al Franken as well as Representatives Erik Paulsen, Tim Walz, and Rick Nolan.
Improving breast cancer awareness
Klobuchar’s legislation with Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to increase breast cancer awareness among young women across the country passed this month. The bipartisan bill will extend the EARLY Act (Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act), which created an education and outreach campaign administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to highlight the breast cancer risks facing young women and empower young women with the tools they need to fight the disease.
Cutting red tape for families who adopt abroad
Klobuchar passed bipartisan legislation she introduced with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) to help families who adopt abroad correct errors to birth certificates. Previously U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would not recognize state court orders to amend a child’s birth date, forcing families to seek a correction from the adoptee’s country of birth or have two official birth dates for their adopted child. The Accuracy for Adoptees Act authorizes USCIS to recognize state court orders and cut red tape for adoptive families.
Boosting tourism to Minnesota and the U.S.
Klobuchar worked with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) to pass bipartisan legislation they introduced to reauthorize Brand USA and help boost international tourism to the United States. The Senators’ legislation reauthorizes Brand USA, a public-private partnership that enhances tourism in Minnesota and across the country by promoting international travel to the United States. In 2013, Brand USA generated 1.1 million additional international visitors who spent an estimated $3.4 billion, strengthening local businesses and stimulating economic growth.
Improving the lives of patients with muscular dystrophy
Klobuchar introduced and passed bipartisan legislation with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) to help improve the lives of patients with muscular dystrophy. The Senators’ legislation will update and improve current law, the Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research & Education (MD CARE) Act, which supports medical research and policies to improve treatments and quality of life for muscular dystrophy patients.
Giving farmers a voice in EPA decisions
The 2014 Farm Bill included a provision Klobuchar pushed for to give farmers a greater say over regulations affecting agriculture. The provision is similar to legislation Klobuchar introduced to increase agriculture’s presence on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board and creates a new Agriculture standing committee on the Science Advisory Board. The new standing committee will provide scientific advice on decisions that have a major impact on agriculture, as well as provide testimony to congressional committees when needed.