unit four discussion quot there oughta be a law quot

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For the final discussion, and since you are now well-versed in Texas Government, you need to tell the legislature what law they need to pass. Come up with a new law or tweak an existing law – there are only a few restrictions. First, it has to be constitutional – no “banning Republicans/Democrats” or “chop off someone’s hand for a misdemeanor” laws. Second, since we have already discussed guns and drugs, you need to come up with a new area to explore. Also, since you also know about interest groups now, what interest groups do you think will oppose/support your law as it goes through the legislative process?

The rules:

1. Your answer needs to be no less than 300 words and no more than 400 words.

2. Students then must post thoughtful replies to two other student’s posts asking questions or adding more thoughts to their material (100 word minimums).

Remember Inappropriate comments will cause students to lose credit for the assignment

please reply to other’s below

Jacqueline S

I believe that a federal law should be passed mandating the submission of rape kits to a crime lab within a determined period of receipt, such as 15-30 days, and the processing of rape kits within a certain time period, such as 6-9 months following submission. The reasons for supporting this type of law are multi-faceted.

Two distinct issues cause rape kit backlogs. A problem referred to as the ‘hidden rape kit backlog’ is caused by receipt of rape kits by police departments, which are never sent to crime labs to be tested. These kits are often found in inappropriate storage facilities months and years after the assault occurred, which robs the victims of justice. The second part of this problem is caused by a backlog within the crime lab itself. These rape kits are submitted to a crime lab to be processed, but then sit untouched for months or years. Some samples will never be reviewed and tested, which offers no closure to the victims who endured the intrusive and painful sample retrieval. This issue has gotten increased national attention in recent years as rape kits have been found in multiple states, stored inappropriately, and damaged by the growth of mold on the samples enclosed.

In the year 2017, the state of Texas reported a backlog of 18,955 rape kits. At current time, 2,138 of those same kits have still not been tested, per EndTheBacklog.org. This doesn’t account for any of the rape kits submitted between the 2017 date and today. This decrease, though only marginally impressive, is due to the 2017 passage of a Texas law requiring newly obtained kits to be sent to state labs within 30 days of receipt. While this law benefits Texas residents, rape victims in other states aren’t offered the same protections. Creating a federal law to clean up all rape kit backlogs and properly process new rape kit samples would protect victims rights by allowing them an opportunity to press charges prior to the statute of limitations running out on their assault, and would protect communities from potential serial rapists who remain free due to the evidence of their crimes remaining unreviewed.

I believe this type of legislation would be supported by numerous Women’s Rights interest groups. I would hope that Police associations would also support this measure.

As a side note, if you would like to learn more about this problem, you can do so at the links below:

http://www.endthebacklog.org/backlog/what-rape-kit-backlog

http://www.endthebacklog.org/texas

https://www.rainn.org/articles/addressing-rape-kit-backlog

https://natashasjusticeproject.org/about/statistics/

https://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/past-programs/dna-resource-center/untested-sexual-assault-kits/sexual-assault-kit-backlog-laws

https://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/past-programs/dna-resource-center/untested-sexual-assault-kits/sexual-assault-kit-backlog-laws/sexual-assault-statute-of-limitations-resources

https://victimsofcrime.org/docs/DNA%20Resource%20Center/sol-for-sexual-assault-check-chart—final—copy.pdf?sfvrsn=2

Grant H

My idea stems from the recent referendum that allowed tier-II counties to choose what kind of county they are, and what abilities the city had in terms of land ownership. Prior to the passing of the amendment, many cities across the state had the ability to annex lands, and even lands from other townships, often without opposition. Those who were annexed by these cities were enraged due to the new taxes and services (such as water, sewage, and police) they had to pay for, and often didn’t receive for several years afterward. With the passing of the amendment, elections were held to allow the population of many counties across the state to decide on whether or not they could be considered a “Tier I” county, which prohibits the cities inside of these counties to grow without first hosting an election amongst those who would be annexed. Cities can no longer grow without public approval.

Getting this amendment passed was quite difficult; the legislature first had to organize a referendum (which took years to organize), then once the referendum passed, it took a couple years for the legislature to create an amendment, which then finally passed. What I propose would streamline this process without loosing any of the democratic principles:

I believe there should be a law passed through that allows citizens to petition for a referendum, of which the legislature would then be required to host a referendum which may or may not pass. The law would go like this:

Upon the receipt of a validated state-wide petition of no less than 1% (or potentially more) of the voters of the state of texas (in our case, 300K people or more) the State Legislature will be required to, at the next regular session or any special session directed by the governor, issue a state-wide constitutional referendum on the matter.

This would short-circuit the role of the legislature, and take years off of the process, without any conceivable cons. I can’t perceive any interest groups being opposed to this, on either side, because this would only make their job easier. The only people I can think of that would take issue with this proposed law are politicians who would be losing power in some respects.

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