Campaign Begins to Reform Flawed Welfare Law

Proponents of current work-or-else welfare declare it’s a success–and point to a drop of 6.6 million cases. But new welfare reformers say the new law failed to alter the poverty economy and harms currently poor single mothers and their children.

Bill Introduced for Victims of Gender-Based Crime

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced legislation Thursday that would restore the ability of rape and other victims of gender violence to sue their attackers in federal court. The bill was filed in response to a Supreme Court ruling in May that struck down a key portion of the Violence Against Women Act.”The bill will ensure that victims have fair and equal access to the courts in cases of gender-based violence,” said Conyers, the highest ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.The bill, called the Violence Against Women Civil Rights Restoration Act of 2000, is co-sponsored by 43 other House members. It would navigate around the Supreme Court decision by allowing lawsuits in cases that are connected to interstate commerce. The high court had ruled that the original law was unconstitutional because it did not make a strong enough connection to interstate commerce to justify superseding state laws.Under Conyers’ bill, victims could sue their attackers in federal court if at the time of the attack the victim or the attacker was traveling in interstate or foreign commerce such as by using a road, telephone or the Internet, or the attacker used a weapon or controlled substance that had traveled in interstate commerce. It also would include attacks that interfered with commercial activity in which the victim was engaged at the time.The Violence Against Women Act was intended to fill gaps left by the inadequacy of state laws that address gender-based crime.