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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio votes against Violence Against Women Act; Nelson votes yes



Sen. Marco Rubio today voted against the Violence Against Women Act, despite it including human trafficking legislation he co-sponsored. Sen. Bill Nelson voted for the act, which passed 78-22.

Rubio, in a statement, said he was proud of the human trafficking inclusion and he wished the original VAWA had been reauthorized. But he said "unfortunately, I could not support the final, entire legislation that contains new provisions that could have potentially adverse consequences."

"Specifically, this bill would mandate the diversion of a portion of funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs, although there’s no evidence to suggest this shift will result in a greater number of convictions. These funding decisions should be left up to the state-based coalitions that understand local needs best, but instead this new legislation would put those decisions into the hands of distant Washington bureaucrats in the Department of Justice. Additionally, I have concerns regarding the conferring of criminal jurisdiction to some Indian tribal governments over all persons in Indian country, including non-Indians."

More from Rubio here.

The legislation still has to get through the House, where numerous objections exist. Among them, extending protection to same-sex couples.

"This is the kind of legislation that speaks that speaks to conscious of our nation," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who spearheaded the bill and worked with Rubio on the human trafficking aspect. It would provide a way for battered immigrants to get U Visas, though the new legislation, unlike previous years, did not expand the number of visas available.

More here from the AP.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 5:58pm]


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