Blog of Rights

On the Agenda: December 16-20

By Shawn Jain, Media Strategist, ACLU at 11:54am

There were certainly moments when the weather on the East Coast was NAGL this past week(end), but then again, it's December, so what do you expect?

But on a happier note, what WAS 'a good look' this past week was the somewhat surprising budget agreement crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Expected to pass Congress this week, the agreement could leave us heading into 2014 with something we denizens of the nation's capital have been craving for a long time: certainty. Even Speaker Boehner got into the spirit.

Anyway, here at the Washington Legislative Office, it's a relatively slow week to close out what has by all accounts been a very, very busy year. Signing off until 2014, watch out for Santa (the NSA), and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 17th

First Amendment
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on protecting small businesses and promoting innovation by limiting patent troll abuse.

Access to Justice
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the Federal Arbitration Act and access to justice, focusing on whether recent Supreme Court decisions undermine the rights of consumers, workers and small businesses.

Wednesday, December 18th

Human Rights/Education
Deborah Vagins will participate in an Education Week webinar, Moving Away From Corporal Punishment in Schools, on December 18 at 4pm.

Thursday, December 19th

Immigration
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight (Chairwoman McCaskill, D-Mo.) will hold a hearing titled "Alleged Misconduct by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security."

Sentencing Reform
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to markup S. 619, the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013; S.1410, Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013; and S. 1675, the Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Act of 2013.

Happening This Week

National Defense Authorization (NDAA)
After successful passage out of the House of Representatives, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 is expected to go to the Senate floor for a vote by Thursday. The NDAA includes less stringent transfer restrictions that should help facilitate the transfers of detainees, as well as provisions concerning sexual assault in the military and religious liberty.

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