Congressman Deutch Introduces Legislation Promoting Tougher Laws on Texting While Driving

Today, U.S. Ted Deutch (FL-21) joined Reps. Eliot Engel (NY-16) and Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) to introduce the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2015. This legislation creates new incentives for states to enact tougher, more enforceable, and more effective laws against texting-while-driving and related distracted driving behaviors. The introduction of the Distracted Driving Prevention Act comes on the heels of a debate in the Florida legislature over whether to pass new legislation to reclassify the state’s ban on texting-while-driving as a primary offense. Currently, Florida is one of just a handful of states that still classifies distracted driving as a secondary offense, meaning that drivers may only be pulled over by law enforcement for primary offenses like speeding, disobeying traffic lights, and other moving violations. According to research published by the American Journal of Public Health in August 2014, states with laws that classify distracted driving as secondary offenses failed to see any significant reduction in traffic fatalities

“When drivers look down at their phones to send a text or update a Facebook status, they put themselves and everyone around them in danger,” said Rep. Deutch. “Evidence increasingly suggests that states that enact and enforce tough distracted driving laws are helping keep the eyes of drivers on the road where they belong. Unfortunately, laws in several states including Florida fail to count this dangerous behavior as a primary offense, thus rendering them virtually unenforceable. Congress has a responsibility to prevent more needless tragedies by incentivizing states to take action with tougher laws that make our roads safer and ultimately prevent more needless tragedies.”

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Congressman Deutch Cosponsors Arbitration Fairness Act

Today, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21) joined Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-4) to introduce the Arbitration Fairness Act. Forced arbitration forces Americans to choose between improving conditions at their jobs or keeping their jobs. These binding contracts infringe upon the right of all Americans to due process in a court of law. Forced arbitration effectively enables corporations to avoid accountability for even the most egregious abuses.

By amending the Federal Arbitration Act, this bill would prohibit the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer, antitrust, civil rights, and employment contracts that are not collectively bargained. The Arbitration Fairness Act will ensure access to proper adjudication and increase transparency regarding these disputes. Whereas the current laws allow employers to shroud wrongdoing in secrecy, this bill will guarantee corporate accountability and provide the necessary safeguards of the American civil justice system.

A copy of the Arbitration Fairness Act is available here.

Rep. Deutch Issues Statement on Yom Ha'atzmaut

Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Ranking Democrat on the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, issued the following statement on Israel's Independence Day (Yom Ha'atzmaut):

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and celebrate the 67th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. This anniversary represents 67 years in which there has been a strong, independent, and democratic State of Israel; 67 years of growth, advancement, and modernization. But, unfortunately, it also means that for 67 years the only Jewish state in the world has repeatedly had to defend itself from enemies who seek her annihilation. 

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Congressman Deutch cosponsors the Social Security and Medicare Parity Act

Today, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21) joined Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41) to introduce the Social Security and Medicare Parity Act. This legislation will ensure that same-sex couples receive the Social Security, Medicare, and survivor benefits they have earned.

Since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the United States v. Windsor case, the Department of Justice has updated federal regulations in order to recognize the rights of same-sex couples and provide them with the federal benefits they have earned. However, several legal loopholes still remain and infringe on the rights of these Americans. The Social Security and Medicare Parity Act will close some of those loopholes by repealing discriminatory provisions and allowing same-sex couples to combine marriage time and time in domestic partnership in order to qualify for benefits.

A copy of the Social Security and Medicare Parity Act is available here.

Congressman Deutch cosponsors Legislation to Protect Ordinary Investors

Today, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21) joined Congressman Scott Garrett (NJ-5) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) to introduce the Restoring Main Street Investor Protection and Confidence Act (H.R. 1982). This legislation will protect ordinary investors from the fraudulent and abusive schemes of securities brokers and investor advisers in addition to providing protections from further “clawbacks” to the innocent investors who were devastated by Ponzi schemes.

After the hardships of the financial crisis and the shock many Americans felt after witnessing the Ponzi schemes of Bernie Madoff and others, this bill will restore confidence in our financial institutions. H.R. 1982 will require net equity to be determined using one’s last statement or other written confirmations received by the customer. In doing so, ordinary investors will be protected from losing funds fraudulently taken by registered brokers. Finally, this legislation will strengthen the Securities Investor Protection Corporation’s ability to safeguard Americans from illicit investment practices.

A copy of the Restoring Main Street Investor Protection and Confidence Act is available here.