Something frighting is happening all too often in Congress...the intitutionalization of hate directed toward specific groups of people. Hate based legislation is unconstitutional and members of Congress are required to take an oath to uphold our Constitution.
Seldom to these people honor their oath without pressure from citizens.
Two recent cases in point include three pieces of legislation that have nothing to do with criminal justice or rehabilitation...but these have been used as vehicles of hate by the insertion of unrelated amendments. Tragically one of these bills is the bill to restore unemployment payments to out of work Americans. To me this is not only immoral but probably unconstitutional as well.
HR 5618 to restore unemployment benefits to those out of work.
Any State with an agreement under this Act shall implement reasonable
'(2) ensure that benefits under this Act are not provided to any individual convicted of a sex offense against a minor (as such terms are defined in section 111 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (42 U.S.C. 16911));
HR 5297 adjustments to the support for business loans.
LOAN RECIPIENTS- With respect to funds received by an eligible institution under the Program, any business receiving a loan from the eligible institution using such funds after the date of the enactment of this title shall certify to such eligible institution that the principals of such business have not been convicted of a sex offense against a minor (as such terms are defined in section 111 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (42 U.S.C. 16911)).
HR 5072, FHA Reform act had this inserted:
Section 203 of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1709), as amended by the preceding provisions of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
'(z) Required Certifications- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may not insure any mortgage secured by a one- to four-family dwelling unless the mortgagor under such mortgage certifies, under penalty of perjury, that the mortgagor has not been convicted of a sex offense against a minor (as such terms are defined in section 111 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (42 U.S.C. 16911)).'.
Here's the issue. Regardless of anyone's personal emotional response to any sex offense, these people are free world citizens now and have served what ever sentence the state courts have imposed. Many have families and children. If they were receiving unemployment checks that means they were doing exactly what we want from a former felon...working, supporting themselves and their families and trying to become productive citizens. No one I communicated with had any clue how these provisions which seek to deny food, housing and jobs serve to protect the public from future crime. There is no criminal justice or public safety benefit from any of these laws so the ONLY basis is hate...and that is unconstitutional.
What is the real message these amendments send? Are some particularly hate filled members trying to suggest that anyone convicted of a sex offense, once they have paid their debt to society as prescribed by the courts, are to be discouraged from working or feeding their spouses and children?
Are those who may lose their jobs and who have paid into unemployment for years being told that the federal government has just stolen those payments from them and now they risk losing their homes or facing homelessness or not being able to feed their children? Should these people just resign themselves to remaining unemployed and letting their spouse file for welfare and food stamps instead of working?
I am not writing to condone anyones criminal behavior. Least of all that of certain members of Congress. This sort of hate has also been directed at the gay and lesbian community and is losing out in the courts, most recently in Massachusetts. What group could be next if we allow this? Could the same tactic be used to punish members of minority groups as a whole? How about alternative political parties...can they find themselves targets of legislative hate like this?
Let's leave criminal sanctions in criminal code and not put it into unrelated legislation. Let's not put anything in any law that does not actually serve the public good. Nothing that sponsors or attempts to legitimize hate should ever be considered by any moral or ethical politician.
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