WAR National is issuing an Action Alert requesting that you contact U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer AND your own senator. The Minority Leader has the ability to move the First Step Act to the full senate and your senator can support the bill with their vote.
We prefer that you call his office and speak to a staffer. Ask that the senator move the First Step Act to the Senate floor. Of course, you can use your own words but here is an example of what you can say:
“By supporting the First Step Act, you are giving our families a chance at restoration. Our loved ones want to be contributing members of society as working taxpayers instead of behind bars at the cost of $26k to $46k per year per individual depending on the state. Please put partisan politics aside and back this legislation that can truly be a first step in much needed sweeping judicial and penal reform. Please consider all our families, including the 904,000 men, women and children (6, 8 and 10 years of age in some states) currently required to register as sex offenders. Per empirical research there is no reason to exclude them.
Then click on the link below to locate your Congressional Senator in Washington D.C. and call them immediately. Thank you very much for your time.”
To determine your senator:
Select your state and the senators should pop-up and click on each to obtain their Washington D.C. phone number.
Call immediately and a staffer will answer. Advise of the following:
Tell the staffer your name, that you are a constituent, and request that they fully support the First Step Act. Then tell them what you told Senator Schumer’s staffer (in quotes above).
We received the notification from a number of our partner advocacy groups about the first step act and how one senator is attempting to sabotage it using false information to deny registered citizens their fair chance to be included in the bill. Naturally the senator who is attempting to deny registered citizens and their family’s a affair chance is using antiquated and false information about re-offense rates, this is the same tactic that was used on the farm bill the attempt to deny registered citizens and their family members food stamps. This tactic is unconstitutional in that it violates the 14th amendment equal protection clause as well as the prohibition of special laws and bills of attainder. We agree with other advocacy organizations such as NARSOL, WAR, ACSOL, as well as all the state-based organizations. That this discrimination must stop. In our recent article /blog/2018/09/29/action-alert-the-fight-to-remove-the-2018-farm-bills-ban-on-registered-citizens-from-snap.html on SOSEN we pointed out the need for this type of action against the Act of 2018 (HR 2, or simply known as “The Farm Bill”) now once again we have a legislator attempting to deny a disfavored group access to a government benefit based on the high re-offense mythology. There is no high re-offense rate for people on the registry the overall re-offense rate in any given year is less than 1% and the number of people on the registry involved in the new sex crime is also less than 1% interestingly law enforcement who has approximately the same number of people 900,000 in their ranks are responsible for 3% of the new sex crimes in any given year. Before you make a phone call I suggest you educate yourself on the fact that there is no high re-offense rate and use that as another talking point to the legislative staffers a good starting point is one of our articles
Another important point is that this discrimination will be challenged in the United States Courts and those courts have has already spoken before about discrimination so It is important to also remind our legislators that SCOTUS has already established that unpopular groups of persons cannot be excluded from SNAP without a valid reason and I doubt that the courts would see a re-offense rate of less than 1% as a valid reason.
“Thus, if it is to be sustained, the challenged classification must rationally further some legitimate governmental interest other than those specifically stated in the congressional “declaration of policy.” Regrettably, there is little legislative history to illuminate the purposes of the 1971 amendment of 3 (e). 6 The legislative history that does exist, however, indicates that that amendment was intended to prevent so-called ‘hippies’ and ‘hippie communes’ from participating in the food stamp program. See H. R. Conf. Rep. No. 91-1793, p. 8; 116 Cong. Rec. 44439 (1970) (Sen. Holland). The challenged classification clearly cannot be sustained by reference to this congressional purpose. For if the constitutional conception of ‘equal protection of the laws’ means anything, it must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest. As a result, ‘[a] purpose to discriminate against hippies cannot, in and of itself and without reference to [some independent] considerations in the [413 U.S. 528, 535] public interest, justify the 1971 amendment.’ 345 F. Supp., at 314 n. 11.”i
Oyez.org summarizes the Moreno case as follows:
“In a 7-2 decision, the Court upheld the District Court and maintained that amended Section 3 violated the Fifth Amendment in creating two types of households – one in which all members were related and one in which at least one member was unrelated. Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., writing for the majority, acknowledged the interest of Congress in preventing abuse of the Food Stamp program. However, the statute did not fulfill Congress’ stated purpose of preventing ‘hippies’ and ‘hippie communes’ from enrolling the food stamp program. Additionally, there existed other measures within the Food Stamp Act that were specifically aimed at preventing abuse of the program. Since the statute ‘simply does not operate so as rationally to further the prevention of fraud,’ the distinction between households with related members and households with unrelated members did not further the state interest and therefore violated the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”
Also noteworthy, this act would violate the US Constitution’s ban legislative bills of attainder: in federal law under Article I, Section 9, and in state law under Article I, Section 10. (For those who don’t know what a bill of attainder is, it is defined as “A legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment without a trial