Hey, my Congressman John Kline sent me a personal note. Ok another 250,000 supporters got the same personal note but that doesn’t sound quite as impressive. Anyway I thought it would be worthwhile to let you read it.
For the past three weeks the nation’s attention has been riveted to the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. While Congress continues to assist with recovery efforts for the people and communities devastated by this natural disaster, we are also pressing forward on other issues of importance to our nation.
On Wednesday of this week, my colleagues and I passed the Children’s Safety Act. This legislation – of which I am an original cosponsor – aims to protect our nation’s children from the epidemic of violence and sexual abuse.
Over two-thirds of all victims of sexual assault are children under the age of 18; over one-third are under the age of 12. Nearly one-fifth of the approximately 550,000 convicted sex offenders in the United States have failed to register in communities as required under current law.
The Children’s Safety Act is a coordinated law enforcement approach that includes a broadening of the definition of sex crimes, increased reporting requirement for known offenders, and increases in penalties for those convicted of sexual and violent crimes against minors. Among its highlights, the Children’s Safety Act creates a new mandatory minimum of five years for a sex offender who fails to comply with registration requirements; improves the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Program to ensure sex offenders register, and keep current, where they reside, work, and attend school; and expands law enforcement use of DNA to solve sex crimes.
The comprehensive approach of the Children’s Safety Act is an important step toward keeping our children safe from sexual predators and would-be attackers. I am pleased we finally passed this important legislation.
Also this week, in response to the bankruptcy declaration of Northwest Airlines, I called on Congress to move forward rapidly to implement changes in our nation’s pension laws.
As Vice-Chairman of the Employer-Employee Relations Subcommittee, comprehensive pension reform has been a priority for me. Earlier this year my colleagues and I on the Education and the Workforce Committee passed comprehensive legislation intended to fix outdated worker pension laws that present a threat to the retirement security of workers and retirees. Yesterday’s decision by Northwest and Delta Airlines to declare bankruptcy demonstrates the unique challenges faced by the airline industry and validates the need for special consideration. Members of Congress have a responsibility to ensure airline employees, retirees, and their families are protected.
Over the past few months, I have been in contact with Northwest Airlines CEO Doug Steenland and know of his efforts to resolve the company’s financial woes. I will continue to work with Northwest to determine the most effective solution for their employees and retirees. I have also shared my concerns with Treasury Secretary John Snow and requested his assistance in addressing the specific needs of Northwest Airlines.
As my colleagues and I continue to work toward comprehensive pension reform, I remain committed to finding a solution which will protect the secure retirement of airline employees and retirees.
The Question of the Week is:
With four of our nation’s seven major airlines now in bankruptcy, do you believe the airline industry should receive special consideration to help them maintain their pension systems for their workers and retirees? Click here to answer.
If you have any comments or questions about this week’s Corner, click here to send me an e-mail.