Since 1966, the Senate has been attempting to revise the Federal Criminal Code, beginning with the Nixon/Mitchell S. 1, which was defeated among public outcries of “police state.” But the attempt to revise the code has persisted and with amendment and modification descended in 1980 as S. 1722, cosponsored by an unlikely pair — Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Sen. Strom Thurmond.
This bill, which attempts to redraft and update some 3,000 existing laws, has been termed repressive, inaccurate, and sloppily written … and yet has received little media coverage.
1. 1722 increases the number and kinds of Federal offenses, including restrictions of peaceable assembly, freedom of the press, expanded federal intervention in labor disputes, a determinant sentencing system, and a variety of judicial procedures including wiretapping and the power of a federal judge to deny bail and incarcerate an individual prior to trial.
Critics fear that the legislation will have a devastating impact on the civil liberties of all Americans, no matter what their political orientation may be. It contains bad news for conservatives and liberals, for businessmen and labor unions … and few Americans even know about it.
Nation’s Business warned its readers “Some sections of (S. 1722) give government regulators more clout; other sections create vaguely defined new ‘crimes‘ that could be used to harass business managers.” And Sen. James McClure (R-Idaho) said “broad interpretation of this bill would put large numbers of businessmen in jail.”
Another Mother For Peace said “The most frightening part … is the secrecy with which Senate Bill 1722 was skillfully manipulated WITH NO PRESS COVERAGE …” while Spokeswoman warned it provided ” … increased opportunities for government prosecutors and investigators to interfere with political activities which are protected by the First Amendment.”
Ironically, should S. 1722 pass it would take effect in the first month of 1984.
The failure of the media to widely publicize this extraordinary piece of legislation which will affect every American qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1980.
Nation’s Business, July 1980, “Washington Letter;” National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, 510 C St., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 1980 brochure.