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Columbia County Observer

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US Senator Bill NelsonU.S. Senator Bill Nelson - Update
Feb 2, 2012

Field Hearing on Voting Rights 

Chairman Richard Durbin held the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights’ first-ever field hearing on January 27 in Tampa, Florida. Senator Nelson requested the hearing in order to investigate the effects of the Florida Legislature’s bill HB 1355, which became law last April. Approximately 500 people attended the hearing at the Hillsborough County Courthouse, and numerous organizations submitted statements for the record.

You can get access to the hearing here.

Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011

Senator Nelson is a cosponsor of S. 506, the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011.

The legislation would aim to prevent bullying on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. It would establish new requirements for state and local education agencies to measure and report bullying and harassment at schools and direct the Secretary of Education to evaluate programs designed to combat bullying and harassment across the country

Preserving Testing Mission at Eglin

For more information
Lynn Bannister: Director of Outreach
111 North Adams St
Tallahassee, FL  32301
850-942-8415 / 850-942-8450 (fax)

Senator Nelson and other members of the Florida delegation wrote to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta outlining their concerns with the recently announced reorganization of Air Force Materiel Command.

The reorganization will impact weapons testers at Eglin Air Force Base, who will now report to a brand new center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Though weapons testing will still take place at Eglin under the reorganization, Senator Nelson wants to ensure that this important mission—and the high-paying jobs that come with it—are preserved at Eglin.

Camp Lejeune Water Study

Senator Nelson signed a bipartisan letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which is conducting a study on the extent of water contamination at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina from the 1950s through 1987.

The letter requests that information the Marine Corps sought to redact from the study be included. The study must be able to fully address the extent of the contamination at Camp Lejeune, because it will be instrumental to determining government liability for such contamination.

Honoring Cuban Champions of Democracy and Freedom

Senator Nelson is a cosponsor of S.RES.354, a bipartisan resolution that honors the life of Cuban dissident and democracy activist Wilman Villar Mendoza and condemns the Castro regime for his death.

Mendoza died last week in Cuba, following a 56-day hunger strike after his arrest for participating in a peaceful demonstration calling for greater political freedom and respect for human rights. The resolution also condemns the repression of basic human and civil rights by the Castro regime in Cuba that resulted in more than 4,000 detentions and arrests of activists in 2011.

Senator Nelson signed a bipartisan letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee that nominates two Cuban champions of democracy and freedom, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and the Ladies in White, for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet and the members of the Ladies in White deserve the prize because their courageous characters have led them to become some of the most moving opposition voices against the atrocities committed by the Cuban regime.

By awarding these activists with the Nobel Peace Prize, the international community would bring worldwide attention to the plight of the Cuban people and promote the fundamental freedoms that have been denied to the citizens on the island for so long.

The Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Act

Senator Nelson is a cosponsor of S. 1591, which directs Congress to honor Raoul Wallenberg with a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his achievements and heroic acts during the Holocaust.

The gold medal would be presented in 2012, during the centennial of Wallenberg’s birth. Wallenberg, a Swedish businessman and diplomat who was stationed in Hungary during WWII, is credited with saving an estimated 100,000 of the 120,000 Jews in Hungary who survived the war.

Honoring Vaclav Havel

Senator Nelson is a cosponsor of a bipartisan resolution honoring the life and democratic legacy of former Czech President Vaclav Havel.

 Havel passed away on December 18, 2011. The resolution recognizes Havel as a leader for human rights and peaceful democratic movements. It also highlights how Havel courageously challenged the ideology and legitimacy of the authoritarian communist regimes that ruled Central and Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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