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Columbia County Observer

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US Senator Bill NelsonU.S. Senator Bill Nelson - Update
February 7, 2013

Cosponsoring Violence Against Women Act  

Senator Nelson is cosponsoring S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), which is being debated on the Senate floor this week.

VAWA is a comprehensive national effort to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The bill provides resources to state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute these crimes and to nonprofit organizations that supply important services for victims including crisis intervention, transitional housing, supervised visitation, and legal assistance.

Senator Nelson also cosponsored the VAWA reauthorization in the 112th Congress, which passed the Senate by a vote of 68-31 but was not taken up in the House.

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

Supporting Florida’s Citrus Industry

This week, Senator Nelson reintroduced a bill to create a trust fund to support the research of citrus pests and diseases. The Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund would use no more than $30 million from existing tariffs on imported citrus products to provide a dedicated source of funding for scientific research on citrus diseases, domestic and invasive pests, and other challenges to the U.S. citrus industry. Left unchecked, two diseases in particular--citrus greening and citrus canker--threaten to decimate the nation’s citrus industry. University researchers estimate that citrus greening alone has already cost Florida’s economy $3.6 billion and more than 6,600 jobs since it first hit the state in 2005. Last year, the Senate Finance Committee passed a version of the bill out of committee.

Supporting Democracy Activists in Cuba

Senator Nelson cosigned a bicameral, bipartisan letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to nominate the Ladies in White of Cuba (Las Damas de Blanco) for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. Las Damas de Blanco, founded by the wives, mothers, aunts, and sisters of political prisoners, have marched peacefully through the streets of Cuba since the Black Spring of 2003, when 75 independent journalists and dissidents were arrested by the Cuban regime. Awarding these activists with the Nobel Peace Prize would bring worldwide attention to the plight of the Cuban people and promote the fundamental freedoms that have been denied to them for so long.

Continuing Investigation at Dozier School

Last Friday, Senator Nelson went to Tampa to get an update from a group of University of South Florida scientists relating to their investigation into dozens of young boys’ deaths and burials in unmarked graves at the now-shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida.

Anthropologists and archeologists began an investigation into gravesites at the former boys’ school last year, and in December 2012, announced they had found evidence of almost 100 deaths and 50 gravesites at the school--way more than previously found by a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation in 2010.

The state of Florida was considering selling the land, but put those plans on hold at Nelson’s behest, giving university researchers more time to continue their investigation.

Cosponsoring the Black History Month Resolution

Senator Nelson is an original cosponsor of a resolution commemorating Black History Month, celebrated annually during the month of February. He was an original cosponsor of this resolution last Congress as well. Black History Month dates back to 1926 when Carter G. Woodson set aside a special period of time in February to recognize the heritage and achievements of black Americans. The resolution recognizes the importance of Black History Month as an opportunity to reflect on the complex history of the United States while remaining hopeful and confident about the path that lies ahead.

Supporting the National Guard Civil Support Teams

Senator Nelson and others wrote to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and National Guard Chief General Frank Grass, supporting the continued operations of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams (WMD-CSTs) in New York and Florida.

The FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) permanently authorized the additional WMD-CSTs for both New York and Florida, and both the House and Senate defense appropriations bills and the current continuing resolution sustain the funding necessary to support these teams. Despite this congressional mandate, the Defense Department has taken moves to permanently shut down these teams, who are experts in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

 Letter to President on EPA Administrator

Senator Nelson joined 15 other senators in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to appoint an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator who has a demonstrated record of working to safeguard children and families against air pollution.

The senators requested that the next appointee be another strong leader who will enforce the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws that protect public health. The letter also thanked the President for enacting historic fuel-efficiency standards during his first term.

Improving U.S. Embassy Security

Senator Nelson is cosponsoring a bipartisan bill that would allow the transfer of existing State Department funds to enhance security measure at U.S. Embassies.

The funds, approximately $1.1 billion, will be transferred from the Overseas Contingency Operations funds already appropriated for operations in Iraq; they are no longer needed in Iraq due to reduced operations there. The Accountability Review Board recommended this transfer in their security review of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. February 5, 2013

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

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