U.S. Rep Jim Himes, D-4th District, introduced a measure this week that would designate Feb. 12, 2015, as “Darwin Day.”
Though the intention of H.Res.67 is to promote science and science education, the measure would acknowledge officially that the “validity of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is further strongly supported by the modern understanding of the science of genetics.”
Feb. 12 is the birthday of Charles Darwin. Three similar measures, introduced by other lawmakers in prior years, never made it through committee.
The measure was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, headed by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who has been known to question whether CO2 emissions have an impact on the climate.
However, the committee no longer includes Rep. Paul Broun, R-Georgia, the chairman of the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight until January, who once described evolution as “lies straight from the pit of hell.”
McCain, Blumenthal Work on Suicide Prevention
The Senate, meanwhile, took up HR.203, called the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, introduced by Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal along with Arizona Sen. John McCain.
“The Senate should act today to honor all veterans with this legislation, which provides one more opportunity to deliver help — and hope — to heroes who need and deserve it,” Blumenthal said in a release. “Every day in the United States, 22 veterans succumb to suicide — losing their personal battle to invisible wounds of war.”
The bill would require evaluations of veterans’ suicide prevention programs to be carried out by independent third parties, and calls for additional resources for education on such programs that are available to veterans. The measure is also intended to create a student loan program to help the Veterans’ Affairs Department recruit and retain mental health care professionals.
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, who said in a release that she helped craft the House version of bill, said the measure “will go a long way in increasing access to mental health care and suicide prevention resources for military service members and veterans.”
She added: “We need to do better as a country to keep our commitment to our veterans and military service members.”
The measure passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.
Delegation Seeks to Ban High-Capacity Magazines
Esty, along with New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, announced a bill that would ban the manufacture and sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
A press conference announcing the “Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act” included both Blumenthal and Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Florida, as well as advocates from the Newtown Action Alliance in Connecticut.
“High-capacity magazines make weapons more lethal by enabling shooters to fire hundreds of rounds of shots without pause,” Murphy said in a release. “Taking high-capacity magazines out of the equation could force shooters to change magazines more often and save countless lives in episodes of mass violence.”
Senate Votes to Congratulate Patriots on their Super Bowl Win
In what was perhaps not the most vitally important measure to come up for a vote this week, Blumenthal was a co-sponsor of a resolution officially congratulating the New England Patriots on their Super Bowl win last week.
“Whereas on Sunday, February 1, 2015, the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX with a score of 28 to 24, defeating the Seattle Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona,” S.Res. 63 reads, going on to specifically mention “Malcolm Butler’s goal line interception with 20 seconds remaining in the game … Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ offensive line.”
The measure, introduced by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, was approved by a vote of the Senate.
Jordan Fenster is an award-winning freelance journalist. He lives with his family in Fairfield County. He can be reached by or @JordanFenster on Twitter.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Introducing CTNewsJunkie’s latest offering – a once or twice weekly update on Connecticut’s congressional delegates and what they have been up to at the nation’s capitol.
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