Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Forfeiture Reform Bill, Colombia Aid Package Stalled 3/24/00

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A bill to place some restrictions on the federal government's ability to seize property was passed yesterday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. S. 1931, which was sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), would require the government to makes its case "by a preponderance of the evidence," would enable judges to release property to the owners while a case is in process, if government possession would create substantial hardship, would extend the period of time an owner has to challenge a seizure in court, and ends the requirement that such an owner post a bond with the court.

The House version of the bill, H.R. 1658, required the government present "clear and convincing evidence" in order to seize property. The lesser standard of "preponderance of the evidence" was a compromise made with the Clinton administration and some senators. H.R. 1658 was sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), and passed the House last year in a 375-48 vote.

Please visit to let your Senators know you'd like them to support S. 1931 when it comes to a vote.


The latest report on the Colombia military drug war aid package is that it has stalled in the Senate due to opposition from Sen. Trent Lott. Lott is not opposing the Colombia funding, but other measures that were tacked onto it, and says all the measures should be debated during the regular appropriations process next fall.

Nothing is certain on Capitol Hill, however, and it could still come back, and only substantial public opposition will have a chance of blocking it in September. Please visit to add your voice to those opposing aid to this brutal military.

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Issue #130, 3/24/00 Innocent, Unarmed Man Shot by New York City Drug Unit | National Drug Strategy Released, and Testimony by Eric Sterling | Dump Judge Judy Campaign Growing, Needs Volunteer Monitors, Pain Patients Speak Out | Another Medical Marijuana Bill Goes Before Maryland House Committee | Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Forfeiture Reform Bill, Colombia Aid Package Stalled | Medical Marijuana Patients Begin Northern Florida "Journey For Justice" | Breaking News: UK to Legalize Medical Marijuana | No Hemp for the Masses | High School Anti-Drug Lesson Daringly Different | Link of the Week: "Lost Political Causes" by William F. Buckley | OP-ED: No End in Sight in Los Angeles Police Scandal

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