In a bit of good news, the United States Senate voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994. by a vote of 68-31.
However, among the Senators voting against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (all Republican men, mind you) was Wisconsin’s Junior Senator, Ron Johnson. In a statement explaining why he voted against reauthorizing VAWA, Sen. Johnson explained that debate on the measure was “politicized” and that a number of amendments proposed by Republicans were rejected. In other words, Sen. Johnson seems to have voted against reauthorizing VAWA because he was mad that Republican amendments weren’t considered, which has to be one of the most moronic reasons I’ve ever heard as an explanation for voting against a specific piece of legislation.
Here are some of the provisions contained withing VAWA that Sen. Johnson felt warranted him voting against the bill:
- Enhancing Judicial and Law Enforcement Tools to Combat Violence Against Women – Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to authorize appropriations through FY2016 for grants to combat violent crime against women (STOP grants). Expands the purposes for which STOP grants may be used to include training of law enforcement personnel and prosecutors, addressing backlogs of sexual assault evidence collection kits, and providing protections for male victims of sexual assault crimes. Revises the application process for STOP grants.
- Improving Services for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking – Amends VAWA to extend through FY2016 grant programs to: (1) assist states, Indian tribes, and U.S. territories to establish, maintain, and expand rape crisis centers and other programs to assist victims of sexual assault; and (2) assist victims of domestic violence and other sexual assault crimes in rural areas.
- Services, Protection, and Justice for Young Victims of Violence – Amends the Public Health Service Act to: (1) include tribal or territorial sexual assault coalitions in the grant program for rape prevention and education, and (2) extend through FY2016 the authorization of appropriations for grants for rape prevention and education programs conducted by rape crisis centers. Establishes a minimum allocation of grant funding for states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and each U.S. territory.
- Strengthening the Healthcare System’s Response to Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking –Amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize, revise, and consolidate grant programs that address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking by developing or enhancing and implementing: (1) interdisciplinary training for health professionals, public health staff, and allied health professionals; (2) education programs for health profession students to prevent and respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and (3) comprehensive statewide strategies to improve the response of clinics, public health facilities, hospitals, and other health settings to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
The fact that Sen. Ron Johnson voted against measures designed to help assist and protect victims of domestic violence is an utter disgrace, and he should be ashamed of himself for putting politics and rhetoric above doing the right thing for victims of domestic violence.