Our country has labeled most infractions of the law as a Felony. Often these Felons are put in prison which brings more money to the prison system's coffers. Those who have not committed heinous crimes should be offered the opportunity to redeem themselves by enlisting in our military for 4 yrs of service to our country. After 4 good yrs I would like to see the felony expunged from their records so they can find employment and move on with their lives as contributors to society.
Specialized drug and prostitution courts to replace minimum mandatory sentencing and prison sentences for nonviolent crimes. Connect drug addicts and sex workers with health care professionals focused on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as social workers who connect them with vital services based on their individual needs. Health care, therapy, education, housing, and employment would be top priorities.
Our court system needs to be overhauled as an entity from top to bottom. Eliminate lifetime appointments & establish term limits for the justices, institute merit selection of court justices, create a more meaningful confirmation process, televise all proceedings, & apply ethics rules to all justices.
Develop a comprehensive, coordinated policy for the renewal and health of rural communities, small towns, and landscapes across the nation -- one that connects land conservation, sustainable agriculture, water, food, jobs, health, education, small business. Democrats -- and the national as a whole -- must overcome the great divide between rural and urban America, building connections for the good of our land, our communities, and future generations.
Criminal justice reform including sentencing guidelines, drug scheduling & Youth PROMISE Act. Reschedule ALL drugs by a new set of criteria that better reflects their actual dangers, not propaganda for a failed war on drugs. Tax and regulate recreational/medical marijuana nationwide. Ramp up the American hemp industry for food, textiles, oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper, and fuel.
Make national service mandatory after high school or age 20 whichever comes first for two years. The obligation can be discharged through the military, Peace Corps, teaching assistant in the underserved areas, national park system. Participants will receive a stipend equivalent to E-2 in the military. This will rebuild shared experiences and a true sense of involvement with all others in building and maintaining a country.
Make rape a much more serious crime. Today 1 in 5 women in college and 1in 4 women in the armed services are raped. These are the institutions from which our future police and leaders come from. The backlog on rape kits is over a year, unacceptable! As it is OK to defend against rape with lethal force it should certainly carry life-time sentences for convictions. On this issue the Democrats can take away the "hard on crime" mantle from the Republicans and get 100% of women voters.
Culture is one of the biggest elements that make a country remembered in history (think of Greek & Roman sculptures, or paintings in Renaissance Italy). Support for the Arts & Humanities is essential to our survival as a meaningful nation. The current allocation for Arts & Humanities is not even a tenth of what other countries, including China & Russia, have committed. Let's show the world that we value culture.
Increase the maximum DCFSA (Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account) contribution. The current maximum ($5,000 annually) was put in place in the early to mid-80's. Does anyone really think daycare costs haven't skyrocketed since then? I had an infant and a 2 1/2 year old in daycare in a YMCA-type daycare at a monthly rate of $2,011 (2009). I was through my $5,000 maximum before mid-March. THAT will help working parents.
A Purple Idea: When it comes to the health of a community, the city or county laws should have precedence, as long as no person's human rights are trampled upon. Monsanto/Dow/Pioneer/GMA are suing local communities and states for merely asking for the "right to know" and for the right to protect our communities from products and practices not proven safe.