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WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) today introduced the Targeting Child Predators Act of 2023 to help stop children from being exploited online. Current law gives suspected predators opportunity to evade prosecution when Internet Service Providers alert them to potential law enforcement investigations.

“Children are uniquely vulnerable to wicked people who hide in the internet’s shadows. Law enforcement needs modern resources to stop and punish child predators, and this bill delivers a critical tool for the good guys,” said Kennedy.

When investigating the exploitation of children online, law enforcement can typically match an IP address to a suspected predator. Officials may then use this evidence to obtain a subpoena to collect the name of the person attached to the IP address from an Internet Service Provider.

Internet Service Providers routinely comply with such subpoenas, but often immediately inform the users—in these cases, suspected child predators—of the request. Suspects who discover that law enforcement is investigating them regularly erase their internet footprints, which can make prosecuting online child predators nearly impossible.

The Targeting Child Predators Act would allow law enforcement to obtain a subpoena that forbids the Internet Service Provider from notifying the targeted user that his or her information has been requested. This prohibition would be valid for 180 days in order to give law enforcement sufficient time to determine whether to prosecute the individual in question.

The legislation applies only in cases of suspected child exploitation. Additionally, law enforcement must certify that, if the Internet Service Provider disclosed the information request to the targeted suspect, that disclosure could enable suspects to:

  • endanger the life or physical safety of an individual,
  • flee from prosecution,
  • destroy or tamper with evidence,
  • intimidate a potential witness, or
  • otherwise seriously jeopardize an investigation.

The Targeting Child Predators Act does not expand what type of evidence law enforcement can collect. The bill allows for judicial review of the subpoenas.

This bill is supported by the National Sheriffs Association.

This bill text is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

Watch Kennedy’s full statement here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, and Federal Rights, today delivered an opening statement in the committee’s hearing about the federal judiciary.

Key excerpts of Kennedy’s statement are below:

Americans may be poor under the Biden administration, but they are not stupid. They know what's going on here. I remember the Democratic leader’s words of March 4, 2020 on the steps of the United States Supreme Court like they were yesterday.

“‘I want to tell you, Gorsuch,’ he said—not Justice Gorsuch—'Gorsuch.’

“‘I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.’

“Wow. Just wow. I think Matthew 12:36 is correct, ‘For by thy words you shall be justified, and by thy words you shall be condemned.’

“Now, the sad truth is that some—not all—some of my Democratic colleagues have been on a crusade to undermine the United States Supreme Court's legitimacy and the credibility of the federal judiciary for years. Today’s hearing is just the next chapter in their federal power grab, and they’ve invited cameras.

“It's worth remembering the very real persecution that some Democrats have levied on very good people. It started with the savage destruction of Judge Robert Bork’s nomination, which even the Washington Post . . . said was a case of ‘sentencing first—verdict afterward.’ In other words, they gave him a fair and impartial firing squad. Then we saw the ‘high-tech lynching’ of Justice Clarence Thomas. Then—for the first time in history—they weaponized the filibuster to kill Miguel Estrada’s nomination, and they also demonized [Janice] Rogers Brown, a very fine person.

“When the United States Senate confirmed three new Supreme Court justices, which the loon wing of the Democratic Party loathed, the campaign of threats ratcheted up. You remember the shouts. ‘Let’s pack the Court,’ they said. . . . The political threats from the highest officials in our government fueled physical threats against the justices.” 

. . .

“’You have released the whirlwind,’ the Democratic leader said. Incensed protestors took to the streets, not outside Congress, not outside the Court, but outside the homes—the homes—of Justices Roberts, Kavanaugh, Thomas and Barrett. Federal law prohibits this intimidation, but the Biden Justice Department allowed it.

“‘You will pay the price,’ the Democratic leader said.  In that spirit, angry protestors publicized the location of the school that Justice Barrett’s children attend.” 

“‘You won’t know what hit you,’ the Democratic leader said. A man with a gun, ammunition, knife, pepper spray and zip ties went to justice’s home to assassinate him. Actually, his stated goal was to murder three justices.

“Not so suddenly, the ends justified the means for activists, even inside the Court itself: The Dobbs decision wasn’t leaked by a left-wing blogger.

“Why? You don’t need to be Einstein’s cousin to figure it out. They aren’t getting their way. So, they want to change the rules, but the Constitution isn’t a game, folks. And now, some Democrats want Congress to override the Supreme Court of the United States and apply rules to its justices.

“The constitutional separation of powers means that no branch of the federal government can dictate how another should govern itself. . . . This is to protect the people from abuse. The framers insulated the federal judiciary from political control to ensure that the justices would decide cases impartially, impartially—without fear of the kind of retaliation that fills the pages of some—not all, but some—left-of-Lenin Democrats’ playbook.” 

. . .

“Even if Congress wrote a code of ethics for the Supreme Court, the court could rightly rule that code unconstitutional. None of the laws we make here can trump the United States Constitution.

“What’s more, Democrats want to use the lower courts as a cudgel against the highest court in the land by giving circuit judges the power to rule on whether justices should recuse themselves. Consider the conflicts of interest and the confusion that that would breed.” 

. . .

“The absence of an ethical code in statute doesn’t mean that justices lack guidance or accountability. Judges and judges routinely consult the existing code of conduct, and federal law already requires recusal in certain circumstances, like bias or financial interest. . . . The justices are also subject to strict financial disclosure rules, just like my colleagues here.

“Not only is this Democratic proposal unconstitutional, it is unnecessary. The attacks on conservative justices are targeted. They’re exaggerated. The alarmism is affected. The danger isn’t that rogue justices are operating without ethics. It’s that Democrats aren’t winning every fight and they find that reality intolerable.”

. . .

“Today’s hearing is an excuse to sling more mud at an institution that some—not all—some Democrats don’t like because they can’t control it 100 percent of the time. . . . Until they get the outcome they want in every case, I fear they are going to continue to slander it in an effort to take control of it.” 

Kennedy’s full statement is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $23,395,980 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid. 

“Hurricanes Rita, Delta and Laura struck our communities hard. I am grateful that this $23 million will go to recovery efforts in the southwest and across the state,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $15,964,425 to Louisiana’s Office of Community Development Elevation, Pilot Reconstruction and Immediate Mitigation Measures for elevations and mitigation projects related to Hurricane Rita. 
  • $3,864,946 to the Beauregard Electric Cooperative for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Delta.
  • $3,566,609 to the Southwest Louisiana Hospital Association for permanent repairs as a result of Hurricane Laura.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced the Transparency in CFPB Cost-Benefit Analysis Act to ensure that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) does not establish regulations that would foist unreasonable costs or harms onto taxpayers, financial entities or consumers.

The legislation would amend the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to require a thorough cost-benefit analysis for all rules proposed by the CFPB. That would stop many misguided bureaucratic rules that could hurt hardworking Americans in their tracks.

“Now more than ever, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must make sure that it doesn’t hamstring a struggling economy with burdensome regulations. The CFPB needs to put taxpayers before Washington bureaucrats, and this bill would help ensure that,” said Kennedy.

The bill would require the CFPB to:

  • Conduct a qualitative and quantitative assessment of all direct and indirect costs and benefits of the proposed regulation. This includes compliance costs; effects on economic activity, efficiency, competition and capital formation; regulatory and administrative costs; and costs imposed on state, local and tribal entities.
  • Identify alternatives to the proposed regulation and compare the benefits and costs of those alternatives.
  • Consult with the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy if a proposed rule would increase costs on small businesses.
  • Assess the regulatory burden that the proposed regulation would impose on regulated entities.
  • Provide a probability distribution of potential cost and benefit outcomes.
  • Ensure the proposed rule is not duplicative, inconsistent or incompatible with an existing rule.
  • Disclose the source material for any assumptions and identify any studies or data the rulemaking used.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Independent Community Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association and the Credit Union National Association support this legislation.

Full bill text is available here

 

 

 

 

Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today made the following statement about his vote on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA):

“Today, the United States Senate voted on an amendment to our Constitution. I'm very fond of our Constitution, and I think it has done an extraordinary job for the American people. But today, my Democratic colleagues tried to break the rules—they tried to break the rules to add an amendment when three-quarters of our states don't support this change.

“And the deadline for offering this amendment to the Constitution is, and was, long gone.

“I mean, in effect, what my Democratic colleagues tried to do was change the rules in the middle of a game. Congress does not have the authority to ratify this amendment. It's just a fact because the deadline Congress set to ratify this amendment expired 40 years ago—not four years ago, 40 years ago—in 1982.

“What Senator Schumer, the majority leader for the Democratic Party, tried to do today was basically pretend that fact is not a fact. And he required us to vote on it anyway, even though the deadline was 40 years ago, and even though our founding members of the republic made the rules for amending the Constitution very, very clear in Article V of the Constitution.

“So, I voted ‘no’ today. I don't think it's right to cheat. Since 1789, there have been more than 11,000 proposed amendments to our Constitution. It's only been amended 27 times, and every time it was amended, the people and the Congress followed the rules—unlike Senator Schumer's attempt today.

“The deadline to ratify this amendment passed decades ago, in fact, four decades ago. It did not have the necessary support at that time from three-quarters of the states. It did not have the support of the people of Louisiana at that time, and I was not going, today, to help some members in the United States Senate, in effect, to try to cheat to change our Constitution. And that's why I voted ‘no.’” 

Kennedy’s full remarks are here.

 

 

 

Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today raised concerns over the rising price of flood insurance during a hearing to address housing challenges. 

Kennedy encouraged Lou Tisler, executive director of the National NeighborWorks Association, and other witnesses to examine the negative impact that rising flood insurance rates are having on the availability of affordable housing in Louisiana and America.

Key elements of the exchange are below. 

Kennedy: “Mr. Tisler, do you think the federal government should be making it more expensive to build affordable housing?”

Tisler: “Absolutely not, sir.”

Kennedy: “Well, it is. To build a home, of course—I think we can agree on this—requires money. And the people who loan that money, of course, expect to be paid back. And they expect to protect their collateral—which is the affordable home. The mortgagee—or the person who loans the money—oftentimes requires that the homeowner carry insurance. Can we agree on that?”

Tisler: “Yes, sir.”

Kennedy: “And more and more, the mortgageethe person loaning the money—requires the homeowner to carry flood insurance. Yet, while you are here advocating—as we all are—for affordable housing, our federal government through FEMA is working as hard as it can to increase the cost of flood insurance.

“FEMA hired a company called Milliman to write a new algorithm which, Milliman says, can look at every individual home in the United States and predict its flood risk over the next 30 years. Amazing. There’s just one problem: They won't share with anyone the algorithm, and, as a result of that algorithm, national flood insurance costs have gone—I'll give you the national figure—from 808 bucks to $1,808.

“I'll give you some concrete examples. . . . In St. Mary Parish, the median household income is $40,000, roughly. The new flood insurance rate in St. Mary Parish is $5,226 a year, as a result of FEMA’s actions. That doesn’t include homeowners’, that doesn’t include property tax, and that doesn’t include liability insurance—that’s flood [insurance].

“Now, how can you build an affordable home for someone when they have to pay half of the cost of the home—when you add up all this insurance they have to carry—in insurance?”

Watch the full exchange here.


 

Watch full video of Kennedy’s exchange here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned hearing witnesses about whether they support making it legal to abort, with unfettered discretion, an unborn child up to the moment of birth. 

Two witnesses invited by Democrats repeatedly refused to tell Kennedy whether they would support such a law. Both witnesses invited by Republicans on the committee said they would not support that law.

After giving majority witnesses Michele Goodwin, a professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and Nisha Verma, M.D. several opportunities to answer whether they support “making it legal to abort an unborn baby for any reason—any reason—up to the moment before birth,” Kennedy noted the significance of their refusal. 

“I want you to all understand where I'm coming from. This is a tough issue. And it’s a tough issue because there’s some tough questions we’ve got to answer. And when you won’t answer the questions, when you're invited by my Democratic friends—the majority—and you won’t answer the most fundamental question: We’ve got a bill in front of us that will basically say, ‘A woman has the unfettered right to abort, at any time, for any reason, up to the moment of birth.’ And that’s a gut-check issue. And, I would expect you, as experts, to answer that truthfully, how you’d do it,” he said.

When presented with the same question, the two witnesses invited by Republicans responded candidly.

Monique Wubbenhorst, M.D. said, “No.”  

Ingrid Skop, M.D. replied, “I do not support unfettered abortion, and I would like to point out that, if a woman did have a life-threatening condition in pregnancy past approximately 22 weeks, that baby can be delivered alive by induction or C-section, and we can try to save that baby. The intent of abortion is a dead baby, and that is not necessary in that situation.” 

Watch the full exchange here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $6,293,558 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“I am grateful to see that this $6.3 million will go towards protecting multiple properties in Slidell and Jefferson Parish from flooding,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,397,731 for the elevation of 19 properties affected by flooding in Slidell, La.
  • $2,895,827 for the elevation of 18 properties affected by flooding in Jefferson Parish.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today wrote to the chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission, David Johanson, about the need to keep antidumping duty orders on frozen warmwater shrimp from China, India, Thailand and Vietnam.

“The continued importation of foreign shrimp threatens the entirety of our nation’s shrimp value chain, which includes our beloved fishermen, dockworkers, processors, and distributors. In 2003, before these petitions were filed, the industry began to feel extreme pressures as dumped imports rapidly depressed domestic prices, resulting in significant reductions in employment and revenues across the country,” Kennedy wrote.

Louisiana’s shrimp industry accounts for nearly 15,000 domestic jobs, which generate roughly $1.3 billion in economic value across the state each year. 

“Not only is the shrimp industry a substantial source of economic value, but it also represents a way of life for thousands of Louisianians and their families. Simply put, these folks take great pride in their work, and their unwavering participation in the domestic shrimp industry has helped keep it afloat,” explained the senator.

“I encourage you to give the positions submitted by the U.S. shrimp industry full and fair consideration . . . Louisianians involved in this industry deserve the opportunity to compete fairly, and I hope that you will provide them with that chance,” Kennedy concluded. 

The letter is available here

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) today introduced a resolution to recognize the Louisiana State University (LSU) Fighting Tigers women's basketball team for their historic win over the Iowa Hawkeyes, earning their first national championship title.

“Louisiana could not be prouder of LSU’s Lady Tigers and Coach Kim Mulkey for making history. LSU scored the most points ever in a NCAA women’s championship game, and it’s an honor to recognize how much their hard work and fighting spirit paid off. Geaux Tigers!” said Kennedy.

“Kim Mulkey and the Tigers have left their mark on college sports history. They went from a losing season two years ago to winning a national championship and packing stadiums in record numbers. What a triumph! Geaux Tigers!!” said Cassidy.

The senators’ resolution would also:

  • Congratulate Head Coach Kim Mulkey on becoming the third coach to win four national championships in NCAA Division I women’s college basketball history in addition to being the first to win championships with multiple programs.
  • Thank LSU fans for their dedication to the sport, as well as assistant coaches Bob Starkey, Daphne Mitchell and Gary Redus II.
  • Thank LSU President William Tate IV and LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward.

Read the full resolution here