Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Costa joins in reviving ‘victims’ rights’ constitutional amendment

Lawmakers including Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, joined Thursday in re-introducing a proposed victims’ rights amendment to the Constitution.

Many states have passed their own victims’ rights measures, as has the federal government for federal crimes. If adopted, the constitutional amendment would apply nationwide, specifying that crime victims shall have the right to reasonable notice of public proceedings related to the offense, as well as the right to be heard at time of release, plea or sentencing.

“Only a constitutional amendment will begin to change the culture that treats crime victims with less than fairness, dignity and respect to which they are entitled,” Costa and his congressional allies wrote.

A perennial proposal since it was first suggested 31 years ago by President Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, the proposal does not appear to have much of a chance of going anywhere. To succeed, it would have to pass the House and Senate with a two-thirds vote, and then win ratification in three-fourths of the states.

Lawmakers this Congress have similarly proposed a host of other constitutional amendments to, among other things: require balanced budgets, lift presidential term limits, curtail corporate campaign contributions, take away the power to levy taxes, ban flag burning and impose congressional term limits.



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