Senate Approves McCain-Lieberman Youth Violence Commission Bill
May 20, 1999WASHINGTON -- The Senate today passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) that would create a select national commission to examine the causes of youth violence.
The commission proposal was unanimously approved by the Senate late Wednesday night as part of a package of non-controversial amendments to the juvenile justice bill. The Senate passed the underlying juvenile justice early Thursday evening.
"We need to look at all the of the influences in our children's lives today in order to effectively stem the rising tide of youth violence," McCain said. "Gathering together a wide variety of experts to study these issues will help us find the answers for which we are all searching."
"This is an honest admission on our part that we don't have all the answers to explain why so many kids are turning into killers," Lieberman said. "I am glad that we have taken some immediate steps to begin dealing with this threat, particularly in terms of limiting the access of children to guns. But this is an extremely complicated problem, with many different contributing causes, not all of which may be apparent today. We need to step back and take a hard look at all the possible reasons kids are killing, which is exactly what this commission will help us do."
The McCain-Lieberman commission would be a composed of a wide array of experts in the fields of law enforcement, school administration, teaching and counseling, parenting and family studies, and child and adolescent psychology, as well as Cabinet members and national religious leaders.
It would charged with thoroughly studying the different dimensions of the recent outbreak of school shootings and the larger epidemic of youth violence. After deliberating for a year, the commission would report its conclusions to the President and Congress and recommend a series of tangible steps to better protect children from this threat.
In addition to McCain and Lieberman, the commission amendment was cosponsored by Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Richard Bryan (D-NV), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Max Cleland (D-GA), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Jack Reed (D-RI).