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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2019 today to require prospective federal government contractors to certify that they don’t owe back taxes. 

“If you want to benefit from taxpayer dollars through government contracts, then you need to pay your taxes,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Federal contractors owe billions of dollars in back taxes.  They shouldn’t be rewarded for shirking their responsibilities.  We don’t need to employ deadbeats.”

A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-742T) found that thousands of federal contractors owe more than $7 billion in unpaid taxes.

The bill will:

  • Require contractors to certify they do not have seriously delinquent tax debt during an agency’s grant/contract solicitation process.
  • Authorize the secretary of Treasury to disclose information on seriously delinquent tax debt.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today a $3 million FEMA grant for a drainage project along Highway 56 in Chauvin.

The grant will fund the next phase of a drainage project, including constructing a new four-bay concrete pump station substructure and an access bridge, excavation and embankment stabilization.

“Heavy rainfall and flooding in South Louisiana can wreck towns and cause massive damage,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This grant will help protect towns like Chauvin from dangerous and destructive flooding.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, thanked FBI Director Christopher Wray today for the FBI’s help in arresting the man charged with burning three churches in St. Landry Parish.  Wray appeared before the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing.

 “I want to thank you personally and your entire team for your help in catching the punk that burned three of our churches in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The perpetrator was caught quickly, and I don’t think we could’ve done that without the assistance of the FBI. We, in Louisiana, are very grateful for that.”

Click here or the photo below to hear Sen. Kennedy’s remarks:

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today held his first hearing as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG).  The subcommittee took testimony on the budget requests for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The Financial Services and General Government subcommittee is responsible for allocating $23 billion in taxpayer money to 27 various federal government agencies.

The witness panel attending this hearing included U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph J. Simons.

“The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee might seem small compared to the others that make up the Appropriations Committee, but we are entrusted with allocating $23 billion in taxpayer dollars, and that’s no small matter, said Sen. Kennedy. “The departments and agencies funded by this subcommittee are responsible for promoting our nation’s economy, supporting small businesses and ensuring an efficient and fair judicial system, among many other important government priorities.  I am honored to serve as the chairman of this subcommittee that plays a role in the daily lives of many Americans.”

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s opening statement. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Louisiana:

“I am thrilled that President Trump is coming to Louisiana and visiting Sempra Energy’s LNG facility in Cameron Parish.  Liquefied natural gas is a booming industry in Louisiana that’s creating countless jobs and meeting energy demands around the world.  We have an exciting story to tell.  Cameron Parish cannot wait to welcome President Trump to Louisiana.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today three FEMA grants for Orleans Parish, West Feliciana Parish and St. Mary Parish for flood mitigation.

Orleans Parish was awarded a $1.8 million grant to fund research and data collection for the Orleans Parish Lakeview project designed to prevent flooding by diverting stormwater.

West Feliciana Parish was awarded a $2.5 million grant for flood mitigation necessary for preventing erosion in the Bayou Sara streambank and the undercutting of a local sewer system.

St. Mary Parish was awarded a $2.1 million grant to fund a drainage project that includes installing new culverts and pumps and drainage excavation.

“Flooding in Louisiana can wreck homes and turn streets into rivers,” said Sen. Kennedy. “These FEMA grants spread over three different parishes help us build systems that will divert stormwater and protect our homes and neighborhoods from flooding and erosion.” 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) today introduced the Stop Silencing Victims Act to protect victims of government workplace sexual harassment by limiting the ability of offenders who work in the public sector to hide behind nondisclosure agreements (NDAs).  Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) endorsed the legislation. 

The Stop Silencing Victims Act discourages abusers from repeat offending by limiting the enforceability of NDAs between public sector employers and their employees.  This legislation prioritizes the victim’s privacy by allowing personally identifying information to remain confidential unless the victim chooses to make the information public.

The federal government should set the highest standard of policies that protect victims of workplace sexual harassment,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It is unacceptable that a government employee who sexually harasses a co-worker can use a nondisclosure agreement as a get out-of-jail-free card.  This legislation prioritizes the rights of the victims and ensures offenders in the public sector cannot legally be protected by nondisclosure agreements.”

“Victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment who want to speak out are too often silenced by non-disclosure agreements. Our bipartisan legislation protects and empowers victims and holds abusers accountable,” said Sen. Sinema.

 “We’ve seen how mandatory non-disclosure agreements can shield serial sexual harassers and hide important information from the public,” said Scott Berkowitz, president of RAINN.  “We’re grateful to Sen. Kennedy for finding a way to bring this misconduct by government employees, and the millions it costs taxpayers, to light — without silencing victims,”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement on the Department of Interior’s revisions to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Well Control Rule:

“The Department of Interior’s adjustment to the Well Control Rule will both reinforce safety and address over-regulation of the offshore drilling industry,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We need to enforce regulations that make sense.  This rule change upholds safety as its number one priority and allows businesses to create jobs without excessive government interference.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $320,000 to the Ouachita Parish School District to retrofit 16 diesel school buses.

Rebates are awarded through the EPA in order for select school districts to replace older diesel buses with newer buses that promote cleaner air for school children.

“Just as we expect our bus drivers to be safe drivers, we expect our school buses to be safe for our children to ride in,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “These funds to retrofit school buses in Ouachita Parish will help ensure a healthier school day for Louisiana children.”

“Children’s health is a top priority for EPA, and these grants will help provide cleaner air and a healthier ride to and from school for America’s children,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This DERA funding reflects our broader children’s health agenda and commitment to ensure all children can live, learn, and play in healthy and clean environments.”

  

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced Wednesday the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, S.1273.  This bipartisan legislation establishes the Copyright Claims Board at the Copyright Office to make it easier and less expensive for creators, like photographers, musicians and graphic designers, to defend their intellectual property from theft.

Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“Creative ideas are your property, whether you’re a photographer or an independent movie director,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It shouldn’t cost you a fortune to protect your creativity from copyright infringement.  This bill creates a legal avenue for artists to pursue copyright violations more quickly and less expensively.  Louisiana’s rich culture and history are rooted in the successes of talented artists, musicians and authors.  We need to make sure that Americans’ creative spirit is preserved and protected.”

“Independent artists who rely on copyright laws to protect their work play an important role in our communities, but the current system makes it difficult for them to receive damages in a cost-effective manner,” said Sen. Tillis.  “This bipartisan bill will provide a more efficient way for copyright holders to protect their intellectual property and ensure that our content creators can be properly paid when their work is used without authorization.”

“I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the CASE Act, which will provide individual content creators and small businesses with the option of using a small claims Copyright Office tribunal to address infringement claims.  Copyright infringements that involve several thousand dollars in damages can have a huge impact on an individual creator or small business, but claims this size are rarely brought in federal court.  Our bill would create a voluntary small claims process to allow content creators to seek meaningful recourse for their small dollar claims,” said Sen. Durbin. “We have worked to make this bill fair to all participants in the copyright system, and we look forward to advancing it in both the House and Senate this Congress.”

“In its current form, the copyright system leaves no practical way for many creators to protect their rights as copyright holders.  Federal district court litigation is simply too expensive and too complex for small photographers, artists, and the like to pursue valid claims against copyright infringers.  The result is a system where those who rely most on their copyrighted works for their livelihoods are forced to sit back and watch while others use those copyrighted works free of charge,” said Sen. Hirono. “The CASE Act will go a long way toward fixing this situation.  By creating the Copyright Claims Board, the CASE Act establishes a venue where small creators can actually enforce their intellectual property rights and finally bear the fruit of their work.”

 

On Wednesday, Sen. Kennedy met with country music artist Raelynn and members of the Nashville Songwriters Association to discuss the positive impacts of the CASE Act on the music industry.

Supporters of the CASE Act include:

  •          American Association of Independent Music
  •          American Intellectual Property Law Association
  •          American Photographic Artists
  •          American Society for Collective Rights Licensing
  •          American Society of Journalists and Authors
  •          American Society of Media Photographers
  •          Association of American Publishers
  •          Authors Guild
  •          Copyright Alliance
  •          Digital Media Licensing Association
  •          Dramatists Guild of America
  •          Future of Music Coalition
  •          Garden Communicators International
  •          Graphic Artists Guild
  •          Horror Writers’ Association
  •          Nashville Songwriters Association International
  •          National Press Photographers Association
  •          National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981
  •          News Media Alliance
  •          North American Nature Photography Association
  •          Novelists, Inc.
  •          Recording Academy  
  •          Professional Photographers of America
  •          Recording Industry Association of America
  •          Romance Writers of America
  •          Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; Screen Actors Guild?American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
  •          Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
  •          Songwriters Guild of America

 

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