|Sponsor||Rep. Smith, Lamar|
|Date||July 31, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)|
|Staff Contact||Sarah Makin|
On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 6063, the Child Protection Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. H.R. 6063 was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) on June 29, 2012, and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which held a mark-up and reported the bill on July 10, 2012 by a voice vote.
H.R. 6063 would increase the maximum penalty from 10 to 20 years for offenses involving prepubescent minors or minors under the age of 12.
The bill would amend Federal code to expand protection of minor victims and witnesses from harassment or intimidation. The bill would allow a federal court to issue a protective order if it determines that harassment or intimidation exists specifically in the case of a minor witness and that the intimidation would affect the willingness of the witness to testify in an ongoing investigation or Federal criminal matter. Protective orders for minor witnesses would be issued for three years or until the witnesses’ 18th birthday, whichever is longer (protective orders for adults are capped at three years in length).
H.R. 6063 would permit courts to issue protection orders to restrict the harassing or intimidating distribution of a witness’s restricted personal information on the Internet.
H.R. 6063 would seek to fill a gap in current law by creating criminal penalties of a fine, imprisonment up to five years, or both, for knowing and intentional violations of any protective order issued under current law. Under the statute as currently written, there is no criminal enforcement capability for protective orders issued, and violators likely face nothing more than a contempt citation.
The bill would instruct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review, and increase if appropriate, the Sentencing Guidelines contained in current law, relating to penalties for witness intimidation in certain crimes against children offenses.
H.R. 6063 would amend current law (governing the powers and duties of the U.S. Marshals Service) to authorize the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) to issue administrative subpoenas in investigations of unregistered sex offenders. The bill would also make a conforming amendment to current law (governing administrative subpoena authority) to authorize such authority for the USMS in apprehending unregistered sex offenders.
The bill would increase the cap in training funding grants from $2 million to $4 million to ensure sufficient funding for the organizations that provide critical training to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces.
H.R. 6063 would clarifyCongress’ original intent from the PROTECT our Children Act of 2008 that the National Coordinator should be a high-ranking official within the Justice Department with expertise in child exploitation investigations or prosecutions.
The bill would extent the current authorization level of $60 million a year for the Task Forces for an additional five years through fiscal year 2018.
H.R. 6063 wouldamend the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008 to omit “volume” as a specifically enumerated indicator that must be established to identify a person as a high-priority suspect for purposes of the National Internet Crimes Against Children Data (NIDS) system.
Finally, the bill would direct the Attorney General to submit a report to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on the status of the Department’s implementation of the NIDS system within 90 days of enactment of this Act.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing the bill would cost $121 million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts. Enacting H.R. 6063 could affect direct spending and revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that any net effects would be insignificant in any year.