PROTECTING AGAINST CHILD EXPLOITATION ACT OF 2017; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 91
(House of Representatives - May 25, 2017)

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                              {time}  1015
           PROTECTING AGAINST CHILD EXPLOITATION ACT OF 2017

  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 352, I call 
up the bill (H.R. 1761) to amend title 18, United States Code, to 
criminalize the knowing consent of the visual depiction, or live 
transmission, of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and for 
other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Rogers of Kentucky). Pursuant to House 
Resolution 352, in lieu of the amendment in the nature of a substitute 
recommended by the Committee on the Judiciary printed in the bill, an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of Rules 
Committee Print 115-19 is adopted, and the bill, as amended, is 
considered read.
  The text of the bill, as amended, is as follows:

                               H.R. 1761

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled, 

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Protecting Against Child 
     Exploitation Act of 2017''.

     SEC. 2. SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN.

       Section 2251 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) by amending subsections (a) and (b) to read as follows:
       ``(a) Any person who, in a circumstance described in 
     subsection (f), knowingly--
       ``(1) employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or 
     coerces a minor to engage in any sexually explicit conduct 
     for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such 
     conduct, or transmitting a live visual depiction of such 
     conduct;
       ``(2) produces or causes to be produced a visual depiction 
     of a minor engaged in any sexually explicit conduct where the 
     production of such visual depiction involves the use of a 
     minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and such visual 
     depiction is of such conduct;
       ``(3) transmits or causes to be transmitted a live visual 
     depiction of a minor engaged in any sexually explicit 
     conduct;
       ``(4) has a minor assist any other person to engage in any 
     sexually explicit conduct during the commission of an offense 
     set forth in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection; 
     or
       ``(5) transports any minor in or affecting interstate or 
     foreign commerce with the intent that such minor be used in 
     the production or live transmission of a visual depiction of 
     a minor engaged in any sexually explicit conduct,

     shall be punished as provided under subsection (e).
       ``(b) Any parent, legal guardian, or person having custody 
     or control of a minor who, in a circumstance described in 
     subsection (f), knowingly permits such minor to engage in, or 
     to assist any other person to engage in, sexually explicit 
     conduct knowing that a visual depiction of such conduct will 
     be produced or transmitted shall be punished as provided 
     under subsection (e).'';
       (2) in subsection (c)--
       (A) in paragraph (1)--
       (i) by striking ``employs, uses, persuades, induces, 
     entices, or coerces any minor to engage in, or who has a 
     minor assist any other person to engage in, any sexually 
     explicit conduct'' and inserting ``engages in any conduct 
     described in paragraphs (1) through (5) of subsection (a)''; 
     and
       (ii) by striking ``, for the purpose of producing any 
     visual depiction of such conduct,'';
       (B) in paragraph (2)(A), by inserting after ``transported'' 
     the following: ``or transmitted''; and

[[Page H4583]]

       (C) in paragraph (2)(B), by inserting after ``transports'' 
     the following; ``or transmits'';
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(f) The circumstances referred to in subsections (a) and 
     (b) are--
       ``(1) that the person knows or has reason to know that such 
     visual depiction will be--
       ``(A) transported or transmitted using any means or 
     facility of interstate or foreign commerce;
       ``(B) transported or transmitted in or affecting interstate 
     or foreign commerce; or
       ``(C) mailed;
       ``(2) the visual depiction was produced or transmitted 
     using materials that have been mailed, or shipped or 
     transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by 
     any means, including by computer;
       ``(3) such visual depiction has actually been--
       ``(A) transported or transmitted using any means or 
     facility of interstate or foreign commerce;
       ``(B) transported or transmitted in or affecting interstate 
     or foreign commerce; or
       ``(C) mailed; or
       ``(4) any part of the offense occurred in a territory or 
     possession of the United States or within the special 
     maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
       ``(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, 
     no criminal charge under subsection (a)(3) may be brought 
     against an electronic communication service provider or 
     remote computing service provider unless such provider has 
     intentionally transmitted or caused to be transmitted a 
     visual depiction with actual knowledge that such depiction is 
     of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, nor may any 
     such criminal charge be brought if barred by the provisions 
     of section 2258B.''.

     SEC. 3. LIMITED LIABILITY FOR CERTAIN PERSONS WHEN RESPONDING 
                   TO SEARCH WARRANTS OR OTHER LEGAL PROCESS.

       Section 2258B of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a), by inserting ``from the response to 
     a search warrant or other legal process or'' before ``from 
     the performance''; and
       (2) in subsection (b)(2)(C), by inserting ``the response to 
     a search warrant or other legal process or to'' before ``the 
     performance of any responsibility''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. After 1 hour of debate, it shall be in order 
to consider the further amendment printed in part B of House Report 
115-152, if offered by the Member designated in the report, which shall 
be considered read, shall be separately debatable for the time 
specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent 
and an opponent, and shall not be subject to a demand for a division of 
the question.
  The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goodlatte) and the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Conyers) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia.


                             General Leave

  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their 
remarks and include extraneous materials on H.R. 1761.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Virginia?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, today I rise in strong support of H.R. 1761, the 
Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017, and urge my 
colleagues to do the same. I would like to note that May is National 
Missing Children's Month and today marks National Missing Children's 
Day. It is an honor to be on the floor here today as we continue our 
mission to protect these innocent victims.
  We have made great strides toward ending child exploitation. However, 
gaps still exist in our laws that are contrary to Congress' goal of 
protecting children and criminalizing the production of images of child 
sexual abuse.
  H.R. 1761 takes necessary steps to close an unfortunate loophole 
created by a Fourth Circuit decision in United States v. Palomino-
Coronado--a case in which a defendant was able to walk free from 
Federal conviction despite photographic evidence he had engaged in the 
sexual abuse of a 7-year-old child.
  On May 3, 2012, Prince George's County police officers responded to a 
home in Laurel, Maryland, based on a report of a missing 7-year-old 
child known as ``B.H.'' Officers found the child at the fence that 
separated her house and her neighbor's house. Upon investigation, it 
was uncovered that the neighbor, Anthony Palomino-Coronado, a 19-year-
old male, had sexually molested the child.
  At trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of knowingly employing, 
using, persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing a minor in sexually 
explicit conduct, for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of 
that conduct--in other words, for the production of child pornography. 
The defendant appealed his conviction, alleging insufficient evidence.
  Incredibly, the Fourth Circuit vacated the defendant's conviction, 
finding there was insufficient evidence the defendant's sexual abuse of 
the 7-year-old girl was ``for the purpose of'' creating an image of 
such conduct. The court found that, though the defendant engaged in 
sexual conduct with a child, ``the fact that only one image was 
produced militates against finding that his intent in doing so was to 
take a picture.''
  Essentially, the court decided that the defendant had engaged in 
sexual conduct with a 7-year-old and taken a picture but had not 
engaged in sexual conduct with a 7-year-old to take a picture. To me, 
this is a preposterous, offensive result.
  Under the Fourth Circuit's reasoning in Palomino, a defendant could 
admit to sexually abusing a child, and memorializing the conduct, but 
could argue that he should, nonetheless, escape Federal conviction 
because he lacked the requisite purpose or specific intent, prior to 
initiating the sexual abuse. Indeed, defense attorneys have begun to 
raise these Palomino defenses in other courts.
  In response to Palomino, H.R. 1761 establishes additional bases of 
liability to the crime of production of child pornography. 
Specifically, the bill clarifies existing law by prohibiting the 
knowing production of, or knowingly causing the production of, a visual 
depiction of a real minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
  Additionally, H.R. 1761 amends current law to prohibit the knowing 
transmission of, or knowingly causing the transmission of, a live 
visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct while 
also criminalizing the knowing creation of the visual depiction of a 
minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
  This language will serve to fix this judicially created loophole and 
ensure our court system will not have to spend time evaluating this 
meritless defense and will make certain predators such as this will not 
be able to escape Federal consequences.
  Mr. Speaker, with this bill, Congress' intent is clear. We must 
continue to protect our children, the most vulnerable and innocent 
members of society. I commend the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. 
Johnson), a member of the Judiciary Committee, for introducing this 
important legislation, and I urge my colleagues to support it.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time, and I ask unanimous 
consent that the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Johnson) may control 
that time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Virginia?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume, 
and rise in opposition to this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill restructures section 2251 of title 18 of the 
United States Code as apparently requested by the unit at the 
Department of Justice that enforces the laws against child pornography.
  H.R. 1761 is intended to address limitations in the prosecution of 
cases pursuant to section 2251, as identified by the Department.

  While we all agree that no child pornography offense should go 
unpunished, we cannot overlook the consequences of mandatory minimum 
sentencing.
  Section 2251(a) prohibits the use of a child to produce child 
pornography and related conduct, including overseas production and 
advertising child pornography.
  Pursuant to this bill, two new offenses would be added to this 
section to prohibit the production of child pornography and the 
transmission of live depictions of a child engaged in sexually explicit 
conduct, such as live-streaming abuse online.
  This measure would also modify the existing offense that prohibits 
having a minor assist in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of 
producing or transmitting child pornography. As amended, this offense 
would prohibit

[[Page H4584]]

having a minor assist in sexually explicit conduct that violates each 
of the three newly enumerated production offenses, except the 
transportation of a minor for use in child pornography production.
  In addition, it would amend the prohibition against the production of 
child pornography abroad to forbid the live transmission of child 
pornography produced abroad.
  The jurisdictional requirement for each of the offenses enumerated in 
section 2251, except the production of child pornography abroad, would 
be codified in a separate subsection. Other portions of the bill would 
be modified to follow the restructure of the statute for consistency.
  Unfortunately, current law sets forth a series of mandatory minimum 
terms of imprisonment for production of child pornography offenses. 
First-time offenses are punishable by mandatory imprisonment of at 
least 15 years; offenders with a prior conviction face mandatory 
imprisonment for at least 25 years; and offenders with two or more 
prior convictions must be sentenced to imprisonment of at least 35 
years.
  By modifying and expanding section 2251 to include several new ways 
in which to violate the prohibition against the production of child 
pornography, the bill would subject new classes of defendants to 
mandatory minimum sentences. Although the bill does not establish new 
mandatory minimum sentences, it would--in this way--expand the 
application of the existing mandatory minimums, which I oppose.
  Mandatory minimums have been studied extensively and found to distort 
rational sentencing systems, discriminate against minorities, waste 
taxpayers' money, and violate common sense. Under mandatory minimum 
sentences, regardless of the nature and circumstances surrounding the 
offense, the role of the offender in the particular crime, and the 
history and characteristics of the offender, a judge must impose a 
sentence set by the legislature.
  Even if everyone involved in a case--from the arresting officer, 
prosecutor, and judge to the victim--believes that the mandatory 
minimum would be an unjust sentence for a particular defendant in a 
case, it still must be imposed. Mandatory minimum sentences are the 
wrong way to determine punishment under this or any other statute.
  During the Judiciary Committee's consideration of this bill, the 
committee rejected an amendment that would have eliminated the 
applicable mandatory minimums in the current statute but would still 
have allowed judges to sentence these offenders to lengthy sentences up 
to the existing statutory maximums.
  Because those changes were not made, the bill continues to present 
problems with mandatory minimums.
  Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, I must oppose this legislation, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1030

  Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. McCarthy).
  Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I want to thank the 
gentleman for his leadership on this issue to help save those who have 
been trafficked across not only just America, but around the world.
  Mr. Speaker, they didn't list her name in the report, and that makes 
sense. It all happened before she even reached the age of 16. So to 
protect her identity, they called her Tonya.
  She ran away from home and ended up living with a man they called 
Eddie. Eddie was the stepdad of one of her classmates. Tonya and Eddie 
started a relationship. Tonya felt that she really loved him. Eddie 
took advantage of that, and he pressured Tonya into a life no child 
should have to live.
  Tonya was saved in large part by luck. A tip to the police led to 
action by the Federal special agent. And now Eddie is behind bars 
finishing the second year of his 12-year prison sentence. Meanwhile, 
Tonya is just trying to return to a normal life.
  Mr. Speaker, I wish I could say this story wasn't true, that these 
fictitious names didn't reflect hard reality. I wish I could say it was 
isolated. I wish I could say that this type of thing doesn't happen 
here in America, but it does.
  It repeats itself with different details even more disturbing than 
Tonya's story in towns and cities across our Nation. It is not just sex 
trafficking. It is forced labor. It is exploitation. It is slavery. And 
every single instance cries out against the moral truth written on 
every human heart.
  Now, the numbers are staggering. 20.9 million people are trafficked 
globally. Of that number, over a quarter are children. The majority are 
pressed to work for little to no wages. And 4.5 million of these people 
are victims of forced sexual exploitation.
  Here in America, there were 7,572 cases of human trafficking reported 
in 2016. That is an increase of 35 percent over just the year before. 
My home State of California is particularly dire. Of all the cases in 
the Nation, 1,323 come from California.
  Though we need no explanation for why we are passing anti-trafficking 
and exploitation legislation today, I think it helps that we understand 
the magnitude of this evil.
  We have, in this body, voted on 11 bills so far. Today we will vote 
on two more by the gentlewoman from Indiana (Mrs. Brooks) and the 
gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Johnson). Altogether, these bills address 
many aspects of this problem: international trafficking, recording and 
transmission of child pornography, abuse uncovered on the U.S. Olympic 
teams, the handling of trauma cases in our justice system.
  I don't believe that these bills alone will end human trafficking or 
exploitation in and of themselves, but they will help. They will help 
prevent these crimes, they will help the victims recover, and they will 
bring us closer to a world where every person, especially those who 
need us most, won't be abused but will be truly loved.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his work in this effort.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I now yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Scott).
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 
1761.
  I first want to point out that the case outlined by the chair of the 
Judiciary Committee that failed in Federal court could have been 
brought in State court and the defendant would have been subjected to 
extremely long, lengthy prison time for the heinous conduct that he had 
participated in.
  Mr. Speaker, this legislation expands the use of preexisting 
mandatory minimum sentences. Although the bill does not technically 
create new mandatory minimums, it does expose additional defendants to 
preexisting mandatory minimum sentences of 15, 25, and 35 years.
  While I support the underlying goal of punishing sex offenders--and 
they should be punished harshly--the use of mandatory minimums has time 
and time again been shown to be inappropriate.
  This expansion of mandatory minimum sentences comes on the heels of 
the Attorney General's memorandum of May 12, 2017, which has been 
roundly criticized for directing all Federal prosecutors to pursue the 
most serious charges and maximum sentences, to include mandatory 
minimum sentences. This directive takes away from Federal prosecutors 
and judges the ability to individually assess the unique circumstances 
of each case, including any factors that may mitigate against imposing 
mandatory minimum sentences.
  This law is particularly appalling because it would apply to people 
who I think we should all agree should not be subject to these long 
mandatory minimum sentences. I am talking about teenagers. Teenage 
sexting is widespread. Under this law, teenagers who engage in 
consensual conduct and send photos of a sexual nature to their friends 
or even to each other may be prosecuted and the judge must sentence 
them to at least 15 years in prison.
  The law explicitly states that the mandatory minimums will apply 
equally to an attempt or a conspiracy. That means if a teenager 
attempts to obtain a photo of sexually explicit conduct by requesting 
it from his teenage girlfriend, the judge must sentence that teenager 
to prison for at least 15 years for making such an attempt. If a 
teenager goads a friend to ask a teenager to take a sexually explicit 
image of herself, just by asking, he could be guilty of conspiracy or 
attempt, and the judge must sentence that teenager to at least 15 years 
in prison.

[[Page H4585]]

  Under the Federal code, the term ``sexually explicit conduct'' 
includes actual or simulated conduct. That means if a teenager asks 
another teenager for a photo simulating sex, even if the minor is fully 
clothed, that attempt would violate the law and the teenager must get a 
sentence of at least 15 years mandatory minimum for making that 
attempt.
  This law does not allow the judge to consider whether or not the 
conduct may have been consensual between minors. This circumstance is 
irrelevant when the sentence is mandatory.
  For decades now, the extensive research and evidence has demonstrated 
that mandatory minimum sentences fail to reduce crime, discriminate 
against minorities, waste the taxpayers' money, and often require a 
judge to impose sentences so bizarre that they violate common sense.
  Unfortunately, there are already too many mandatory minimums in the 
Federal code. If we ever expect to do anything about the problem and 
actually address this major driver of mass incarceration, the first 
step we have to take is to stop passing new mandatory minimums or bills 
that expand existing mandatory minimums.
  Mr. Speaker, we have to recognize that mandatory minimums in the code 
did not get there all at once. They got there one at a time, each part 
of a larger bill, which, on balance, might seem like a good idea. 
Therefore, the only way to stop passing new mandatory minimums is to 
stop passing bills that contain or broaden the application of mandatory 
minimums.
  Giving lip service to the suggestion that you would have preferred 
that the mandatory minimum had not been in the bill and then voting for 
the bill anyway not only creates that new mandatory minimum, but it 
also guarantees that mandatory minimums will be included in the next 
crime bill.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill would not be controversial if it did not 
contain mandatory minimums, but, unfortunately, it does. Therefore, I 
urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on H.R. 1761.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  I am honored today to speak in support of my legislation, the 
Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act, which aims to close a court-
created loophole, and as the title suggests, further protect our 
children from predators.
  When I first arrived to Congress after almost 20 years of litigating 
constitutional law cases and drafting legislation for municipalities to 
control the proliferation of sexually oriented businesses, I was deeply 
concerned to learn that this particular loophole even existed in 
current Federal law, which essentially allows a child rapist to admit 
to sexually abusing a child and yet still evade punishment.
  The background is important to reiterate. As my chairman stated 
moments ago, this comes from a 2015 case, United States v. Palomino-
Coronado, where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit 
reversed the conviction of a child sex offender simply because the 
court determined the perpetrator lacked specific intent to record the 
disgusting images that were found on the offender's smartphone. This is 
despite the fact that the defendant admitted to sexually abusing the 7-
year-old child from next door and memorializing the conduct.
  In its opinion, the court decided the lack of purpose or specific 
intent was enough to overturn the conviction, even though the defendant 
himself took the photo of the heinous act and subsequently admitted to 
sexually abusing this child. This is absolutely in clear contradiction 
of our responsibility and this Congress' intention to protect America's 
children.
  In Scripture, Romans 13 refers to the governing authorities as 
``God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the 
wrongdoer.'' I, for one, believe we have a moral obligation, as any 
just government should, to defend the defenseless.
  My legislation presents a simple fix and updates title 18 of the U.S. 
Code to ensure future defendants are not able to circumvent the law by 
simply claiming a lack of intent, especially after knowingly creating a 
visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually conduct.
  More specifically, my legislation amends section 2251 of title 18 to 
prohibit the production and transmission of a visual depiction of a 
real minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
  Furthermore, it amends current law to include prohibiting the 
depiction of a minor assisting any person in engaging in a sexually 
explicit act.
  Lastly, to clarify potential circumstances of misinterpretation of 
the statute and to ensure the statute is not used erroneously to 
prosecute internet services providers when they have not engaged in 
wrongdoing, my legislation emphasizes that to be criminally liable 
under section (a)(3), an internet service provider must have actual 
knowledge that the child pornography is on its server and that it must 
intentionally transmit that image or intentionally cause its 
transmission.
  We also take the step of prohibiting any criminal or civil liability 
for internet service providers who are required to transmit child 
pornography to law enforcement in response to a legal process, such as 
a search warrant in child exploitation cases. Of course, we would 
never anticipate a prosecution of an internet service provider for 
merely responding to a legal process, but it is my hope that explicitly 
providing for this immunity in the statute will further enhance the 
relationship between internet service providers and law enforcement to 
work together to combat these predators.

  In answer to the opposition that we have heard here, it is important 
to reiterate this legislation does not create new mandatory minimums. 
However, I would like to address the comments regarding the current law 
on mandatory minimum penalties under the production of child 
pornography statute.
  There is simply no evidence that Federal prosecutors are abusing this 
statute. I think we should all recognize that producing child 
pornography is a horrific crime. It often means luring young children 
into acts that no one, man, woman, or child, should be forced to do.
  It is not a photograph of a nude child. It is something far worse. 
Each photo is a crime scene. Such a horrific act by the perpetrator 
requires the maximum amount of legal deterrents.
  While mandatory minimums have reached much scrutiny in the drug 
statutes, in this venue for this statute, there could be no doubt that 
the penalties that exist under current law are appropriate. Child 
sexual exploitation is vastly underreported. The number of images of 
child pornography keeps growing and the images are becoming more and 
more depraved. The harm is too great to these victims not to have 
significant penalties available to deter this conduct and punish the 
producers of child pornography.
  Every time an image of child pornography is viewed, the victim gets 
revictimized. Once an image is on the internet, it is irretrievable and 
can continue to circulate forever. This permanent record of a child's 
sexual abuse can alter his or her life forever. Many victims of child 
pornography suffer from feelings of helplessness, fear, humiliation, 
and lack of control, given that their images are available for others 
to view in perpetuity.

                              {time}  1045

  These images are becoming more sadistic and violent, and the age of 
the average victim is becoming younger and younger. It is a horrifying 
fact that it is not uncommon for even toddlers and infants to now be 
subjects of these images.
  It is also important that there is no confusion about one fact: The 
very creation of these images is repulsive, regardless of whether or 
not the abuse was done with a specific intent of creating an image or 
if the intent to memorialize this conduct was a secondary thought.
  Consider the facts of the case that led to this bill. As was 
mentioned, an adult male had sexual relations with a 7-year-old girl 
who lived next door and decided to photograph it. That is the 
production of child pornography. There is no question about it. No one 
should be permitted to escape responsibility merely by asserting they 
did not have a specific intent to create the image before they abused 
the child. The act of taking a photo or making a video is enough to 
demonstrate intent.
  Mr. Speaker, that is what this bill does. It is appropriate that we 
are doing all this on the day that we recognize as National Missing 
Children's

[[Page H4586]]

Day. I am going to urge all my colleagues to support the bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the opponents and proponents of 
this legislation because they have said much the same thing.
  H.R. 1761 is a bill that stands against everything we stand against. 
It is for protecting against child exploitation, and we all agree with 
that. We agree, as well, that the bill has existing mandatory minimums 
and the attempt of the proponent of this bill to ensure that the 
decision that occurred in Palomino would not occur again.
  Some clarification has occurred, and that is that the bill, or the 
law, now, with H.R. 1761 explicitly prohibits the creation of a visual 
depiction or live transmission of a minor engaged in sexually explicit 
conduct. That is, of course, a meritorious and unanimously supported 
position. The mandatory minimums continue and also are added to, now, a 
number of other offenses. As have been indicated, those offenses can be 
upwards of 20 years, and they can be for a variety of offenses added 
under this bill.
  So the bill is well intended, and the initial prohibition could draw 
support in a bipartisan manner, but the continued adding of offenses to 
mandatory minimums rather than language that would have left the 
sentencing to the discretion of the Federal court--which, by the way, 
many Federal judges have come to this Congress and to the Committee on 
the Judiciary to ask for and indicate the value of discretion as 
relates to their sentencing. This is not a death penalty case, so, 
clearly, the discretion of the court and the wisdom of the court could 
be utilized for the appropriate new offenses and the appropriate 
sentencing.
  So while the bill is well intended, it is overbroad in scope and will 
punish the very people it indicates it is designed to protect: our 
children. H.R. 1761 would expand and modify the meaning of sexual 
exploitation of children, thereby granting new offenses that may be 
prosecuted under section 2251 of the Federal criminal code, which 
generally prohibits the production of child pornography.
  As indicated, it works to fix the Fourth Circuit decision in 
Palomino, which reversed the defendant's conviction because the 
decision was that there was no proof of intent. The structure of the 
statute, however, would significantly be modified by H.R. 1761, 
separating section 2251(a) into five enumerated offenses, codified as 
2251(a)(1) through (5). Based on the language in this bill, to 
criminalize the knowing consent of the visual depiction or live 
transmission of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, a 
teenager sexting another teenager could be swept up under the statutory 
power of this new measure.
  Research shows that 91 percent of teenagers, tweens, have access to 
the internet and/or a smartphone. Hence, given the rampant advancement 
in technology and, consequently, its usage among this demographic, we 
must exercise prudence when introducing legislation that is seemingly 
ignorant of the growing trend of communication among teenagers.
  H.R. 1761 ignores the life-altering impact it would have on our 
juveniles who engage in otherwise stupid and immature behaviors and, in 
most cases, consensually explicit sexual conduct if we begin to 
criminalize such conduct. While this bill seeks to protect minors--and 
I congratulate the proponent for that intent--in the same vein, it 
drastically alters the penalty for minors who may face mandatory 
minimums in sentencing, and, therefore, it is flawed in its design and 
intended purpose.
  Let me be very clear: Legislators have very good intentions, but we 
cannot stand on the floor and guarantee how it will be interpreted. We 
cannot guarantee that one teenager will not be caught up in this new 
legislation. Court interpretation, prosecutors' interpretation, all 
that will be subjected to mandatory minimums, which is in the 
underlying bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Poliquin). The time of the gentlewoman 
has expired.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from Texas.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to consider these 
concerns.
  I heard the gentleman speak of his effort to ensure that the internet 
provider would have to show intent or have intentionally engaged.
  Again, the interpretation of these bills are subject to 
interpretation, and the clearer we can be here on the floor of the 
House, the more we can be appropriate in its application.
  My point is, in concluding, I hope we will ultimately have 
legislation that comes back to the floor of the House that we all may 
be able to join in and that the elements that do not impact and protect 
our teenagers will be eliminated and we can be assured that internet 
providers are protected as well.

  Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume to just say a couple of important points in rebuttal to 
what we have heard.
  For one thing, there has been no evidence that the cases referenced 
by the gentlewoman involving conduct between minors are being 
prosecuted at the Federal level. I have not seen even one that has been 
cited. The point here is that prosecutorial discretion has been a 
sufficient buffer.
  In committee, our colleagues on the other side have invoked stories 
of juvenile offenders being charged for consensual conduct and placed 
on sex offender registries unjustly; however, these are all cases that 
were prosecuted at the local level. Not one that has been mentioned has 
been a Federal case.
  It is important to note that, for offenders under 18, the Federal 
Department of Justice policy on charging juveniles means that juvenile 
prosecutions very rarely occur, and only if no State court can assume 
jurisdiction. In fact, certification from the Attorney General himself 
is necessary to proceed against a juvenile.
  Again, I know of no such case in which a juvenile has been prosecuted 
federally under any child pornography statute. So while we appreciate 
and understand the concerns about mandatory minimum sentencing and its 
abuse, particularly with the drug statutes, again, it is important to 
reiterate here, that is not the case with child pornography.
  For that reason, Mr. Speaker, I would oppose these arguments and 
trust that my colleagues will see the wisdom in supporting this very 
important and timely legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to close, and I yield myself 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, the Members of the House cannot rely on prospective 
discretion to protect juveniles under this statute. We simply can't 
rely on it, participate in, given the new policy of the Attorney 
General. We are under a new regime here at the Federal level, and I 
can't depend on relying on the prosecutorial discretion to protect 
juveniles under this statute.
  Mr. Speaker, I believe this bill is well intended, and I share my 
colleagues' desire to protect children from being victimized by their 
depiction in pornography. However, I also believe that we must address 
the serious problem presented by the bill, namely, that it would expand 
the application of the existing array of mandatory minimum sentences 
that the code provides for these offenses.
  This aspect of H.R. 1761 directly conflicts with the growing 
bipartisan realization that mandatory minimums are unjust and unwise; 
this is so even for egregious offenses for which judges should be 
allowed to impose sentences--often severe and even beyond the 
minimums--based on the facts and circumstances of each case. I want to 
leave it up to the judges.
  In considering legislation to better protect our children from the 
types of exploitation addressed by this bill, we must not ignore the 
sentencing implications of these revisions to the statute. In light of 
the bill's failure to address these serious concerns, I oppose H.R. 
1761 and urge my colleagues to do likewise.
  We should consider even stronger legislation that addresses all these 
concerns. We are not through with the subject matter by this bill 
coming before us today. There is more work to be done. I thank my 
colleagues for this very important discussion.

[[Page H4587]]

  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Madam Speaker, the concerns stated today 
are misplaced. The child pornography statutes have never been the 
subject of abuse by Federal prosecutors, and there is no evidence that 
that would happen in the future. However, the abuse that is being 
allowed and that we must address today is that of our children, and 
that abuse is being allowed because of a loophole that was, sadly, 
created by a Federal court.
  Today we have an opportunity to correct that wrong. We have an 
opportunity to do what we all acknowledge to be the right thing: to 
defend the most defenseless among us. It is, indeed, an honor for us to 
take this action on the week that commemorates National Missing 
Children's Week and here, even, on this day, National Missing 
Children's Day.
  I urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting the Protecting 
Against Child Exploitation Act. We hope that everyone will do the right 
thing here today.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Ms. Foxx). All time for debate on the bill 
has expired.


               Amendment No. 1 Offered by Ms. Jackson Lee

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 
1 printed in part B of House Report 115-152.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 5, line 3, insert after ``section 2258B.'' the 
     following:
       ``(h) Notwithstanding subsection (e), a person who violates 
     paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection (a) and is 19 years of age 
     or younger at the time the violation occurred may, in the 
     alternative, be punished for a violation of this section by 
     imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine under this 
     title, or both, if--
       ``(1) the minor is 15 years of age or older and not more 
     than 4 years younger than the person who committed the 
     violation, at the time the sexually explicit conduct 
     occurred; and
       ``(2) the sexually explicit conduct that occurred was 
     consensual.''

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 352, the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee) and a Member opposed each will 
control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Texas.

                              {time}  1100

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I associate myself with the words of 
the ranking member, Mr. Conyers.
  I look forward to strengthening these laws and, as well, working on 
legislation to continue to protect our children, our innocent children, 
from sexual abuse, sexual assault, and the devastation that it has on 
their lives.
  So I rise to continue that theme and to indicate, as I said earlier, 
that some of the clarifications in the underlying bill are important, 
and important to clarify, and important to provide prohibitions that 
will be clear in possible further court interpretations. But I maintain 
that we cannot predict the court interpretations, and the better and 
clearer that we are to protect our children, I believe, is a route that 
we should take.
  The bill would add new classes of offenses. But section 2251 does not 
provide for Romeo and Juliet exceptions; i.e., the penalties apply even 
when conduct is consensual and when the victim and offender are close 
in age. For example, a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old who videotaped 
themselves engaged in a sexual act, then emailed the video to their own 
email accounts, the 19-year-old would be subject to mandatory minimums. 
That is the basis of the amendment, the Jackson Lee amendment.
  The Jackson Lee amendment is a Romeo and Juliet exception. The 
amendment is a reasonable approach to treatment of adolescent behavior 
that should not be left to prosecutors. The pervasiveness of personal 
technology, such as cell phones and tablets, have given rise to teenage 
sexting. Research has shown that teenage sexting is widespread, even 
among middle school-age youth.
  Under section 2251, teenagers prosecuted for talking and sending 
messages, and then taking and sending messages, would be subject to 
mandatory prison sentences of at least 15 years and sex offender 
registration.
  In light of the recent troubling statements by Attorney General 
Sessions, Congress should provide an alternative to existing mandatory 
penalties in sexting cases, particularly with juveniles. We cannot say 
that a juvenile will not be prosecuted federally. They could be, under 
this particular statute.
  So this is a carve-out, a Romeo and Juliet carve-out, to ensure that 
it does not happen, to protect against the possibility of it happening.
  A study conducted by Drexel University found that more than half of 
the undergraduate students who took part in an online survey said they 
had sexted when they were teenagers, and 30 percent said that they 
included photos in that message, meaning that they had sent sexual 
texts.
  Therefore, I ask that my colleagues come together and support the 
Jackson Lee amendment for a Romeo and Juliet carve-out.
  Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to the 
amendment.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Madam Speaker, it is not only unnecessary, 
but it is fashioned in such a manner which may potentially create the 
type of loophole that we are looking to close.
  Under current law, so-called Romeo and Juliet cases, such as those 
between 19- and 50-year-olds, could be prosecuted under any of the 
child pornography laws--possession, production, or distribution. That 
has always been the case.
  However, I reiterate that we know of no such instance that has been 
brought under any of these Federal provisions under the circumstances 
covered by this amendment, which further supports the fact that Federal 
prosecutors do not appear to be bringing such cases. There is just 
simply no evidence that has been produced to suggest otherwise. For 
that reason, the amendment is completely unnecessary, and it is based 
upon no evidence at all.
  On the contrary, the underlying bill is based upon a real case where 
a real 7-year-old girl was sexually abused and photographed by a real 
sexual predator.
  Our colleagues on the other side have also continually referred to 
Attorney General Sessions' recent charging memoranda which suggests 
that under the policy in his memo prosecutors will suddenly be forced 
to aggressively prosecute 19-year-olds who are engaging in consensual 
sexual conduct under this statute. But that notion is preposterous and 
is also based on no evidence.
  As an initial matter, the minority completely ignores the fact that a 
prosecutor makes an initial determination as to whether to commence or 
decline prosecution. And this is distinct from the subsequent decision 
of what charges should be brought, which would only occur if the 
decision to prosecute is made in the first place.
  According to the U.S. attorneys' manual, in making the initial 
determination to commence a prosecution, a prosecutor must consider 
whether ``a substantial Federal interest would be served by the 
prosecution,'' and whether, ``in his or her judgment: One, the person 
is subject to effective prosecution in another jurisdiction; or, two, 
there exists an adequate noncriminal alternative to prosecution.''
  The Sessions memo doesn't change any of that, and it is absurd to 
think that the memo will cause the Department of Justice to suddenly 
shift its prosecutions to aggressively go after Romeo and Juliet cases. 
This is especially ridiculous, as Attorney General Sessions had made 
clear from the outset, that the priorities of DOJ and this 
administration are to prosecute violent crimes and violent offenders.
  I think that the minority just fundamentally misunderstands and 
mischaracterizes not only the Sessions memo but this legislation. For 
that reason, I urge all of my colleagues to oppose the Jackson Lee 
amendment.
  Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, let me quickly say that I respect the

[[Page H4588]]

gentleman, but I take great issue in calling a Member's amendment, or 
the analysis of that amendment, ridiculous, because it is not 
ridiculous. It is an extremely reasonable amendment. And unless he has 
some powers that I am not aware of, no one can predict when a 
prosecutor will determine that they will prosecute. We cannot. We pass 
criminal justice laws every day and cannot predict.

  Whether or not it is based upon the Sessions memo, which as far as 
anyone who can read knows that we are going back to a stricter 
enforcement of everything criminal against everyone. That is clear.
  The Jackson Lee amendment recognizes that not all sex offenses are 
the same. And currently, section 2251 is a one-size-fits-all sentencing 
scheme. It fits all, even a 19-year-old.
  The Jackson Lee amendment would provide a better alternative. 
Punishment will be available involving offenses. When defendants are no 
more than 19 years old, they would have other alternatives. The judge 
would have discretion. That is simply what we are asking for.
  Madam Speaker, I include in the Record an article entitled, ``Keep 
Mandatory Minimums Out of the Juvenile Justice System.'' This bill does 
not do that; and I also include an article entitled, ``Teenage Sexting 
is Not Child Porn.''

                            [June 16, 2014]

   OP-ED: Keep Mandatory Minimums Out of the Juvenile Justice System

                           (By Lizzie Buchen)

       Across the country, mandatory minimum sentences are falling 
     out of favor. From Sen. Rand Paul to Attorney General Eric 
     Holder, people from both ends of the political spectrum are 
     blaming these harsh and punitive sentences for driving our 
     skyrocketing incarceration rates and exacerbating racial 
     disparities in the criminal justice system. But in this era 
     of smart sentencing reform--particularly toward young 
     people--a disturbing piece of legislation is coasting through 
     the California legislature, threatening to wrench the state 
     in the opposite direction. Senate Bill 838, authored by state 
     Sen. Jim Beall (D-Santa Clara), would break new ground by 
     establishing the first mandatory minimum sentences in the 
     state's juvenile justice system.
       The juvenile justice system was founded on the 
     understanding that young people who commit offenses are often 
     struggling in situations outside of their control, are highly 
     amenable to rehabilitation and have the potential to lead 
     productive and law-abiding lives. Mandatory minimum sentences 
     automatic sentences of incarceration or confinement, meted 
     out regardless of the facts of the case are completely at 
     odds with these foundational principles. They are determined 
     not by the youth's past circumstances or potential life 
     ahead, but by what he or she has done. The only result is 
     punishment, a sharp contrast to the rehabilitative ideals of 
     the juvenile justice system.
       Mandatory minimum sentences are completely incompatible 
     with how juvenile court works. When a youth has committed an 
     offense, juvenile court judges tailor sanctions to best meet 
     a youth's unique needs for rehabilitation by weighing a 
     comprehensive set of factors, including the severity of the 
     crime, the statement of the victims, and the circumstances of 
     the youth's life--including mental health issues and 
     experience with abuse, homelessness and extreme poverty. The 
     judge then chooses from a wide range of community-based and 
     residential options, allowing him or her to tailor the 
     sanction to best treat the youth and protect the community. 
     In line with this focus on rehabilitation, the sentences are 
     indeterminate, with terms based on the youth's progress.
       Proponents of mandatory minimum sentences, including 
     supporters of California's youth mandatory minimum bill, 
     claim that these sentences deter crime. But the evidence 
     tells us this is a dubious notion at best. Although this bill 
     would introduce the first mandatory minimum sentences in 
     California's juvenile justice system, such sentences have 
     been in place in the adult system for decades--and are widely 
     recognized as failures. A large and growing body of research 
     has found that mandatory minimum sentences have come at 
     enormous social, financial and human costs, with little 
     benefit to public safety. There is no evidence that these 
     sentences have a significant deterrent effect. If anything, 
     these harsh punishments are counterproductive, putting the 
     public at risk by disrupting families, impoverishing 
     communities of human capital, making it more difficult for 
     people to return to law-abiding society and diverting 
     precious public resources away from social services and 
     toward costly incarceration.
                                  ____


                [From the New York Times, Apr. 4, 2016]

                   Teenage Sexting Is Not Child Porn

                        (By Amy Adele Hasinoff)

       Teenagers who sext are in a precarious legal position. 
     Though in most states teenagers who are close in age can 
     legally have consensual sex, if they create and share 
     sexually explicit images of themselves, they are technically 
     producing, distributing or possessing child pornography. The 
     laws that cover this situation, passed decades ago, were 
     meant to apply to adults who exploited children and require 
     those convicted under them to register as sex offenders.
       Though most prosecutors do not use these laws against 
     consensual teenage sexters, some do. The University of New 
     Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center estimates 
     that 7 percent of people arrested on suspicion of child 
     pornography production in 2009 were teenagers who shared 
     images with peers consensually.
       Almost two dozen states, including New York, Illinois and 
     Florida, have tried to solve the legal problems that surround 
     sexting with new legislation, and others, like Colorado, are 
     considering new sexting laws. These reforms typically give 
     prosecutors the discretion to choose between child-
     pornography felony charges or lesser penalties like 
     misdemeanor charges or a mandatory educational program.
       These new laws may seem like a measured solution to the 
     problem of charging teenage sexters with child pornography 
     felonies. However, once they have the option of lesser 
     penalties, prosecutors are more likely to press charges--not 
     only against teenagers who distribute private images without 
     permission, but also against those who sext consensually.
       Given the extensive research that shows that young people 
     who are nonwhite, low income, gay or transgender are 
     disproportionately prosecuted for many crimes, there is good 
     reason to suspect that laws that criminalize teenage sexting 
     are being unfairly applied as well. As legislators have tried 
     to cope with the legal fallout, they have also opened up more 
     types of images to scrutiny: While child pornography laws 
     apply only to sexually explicit images, many new sexting laws 
     criminalize all nude images of teenagers, including photos of 
     topless teenage girls.
       A better solution would be to bring child pornography laws 
     in line with statutory rape laws by exempting teenagers who 
     are close in age and who consensually create, share or 
     receive sexual images. Vermont tried to enact major reform to 
     its child pornography laws in 2009, but abandoned the effort 
     after a national backlash and settled instead on a new 
     misdemeanor law.
       In February, New Mexico passed a limited version of child 
     pornography reform, which shields teenagers who receive a 
     sexual image from a peer from facing child-pornography 
     possession charges. Teenagers who create or share sexual 
     images can still be convicted of child pornography production 
     or distribution.
       Both existing child pornography laws and new sexting-
     specific laws criminalize a common behavior among teenagers. 
     Studies have shown that roughly one-third of 16- and 17-year-
     olds share suggestive images on their cellphones. Among young 
     adults, rates are above 50 percent. In the past, partners 
     wrote love letters, sent suggestive Polaroids and had phone 
     sex. Today, for better or worse, this kind of interpersonal 
     sexual communication also occurs in a digital format. And 
     it's not just young people: An article in an AARP magazine 
     describes sexting as ``fun, easy and usually harmless.''
       Like any sexual act, consensual sexting is somewhat risky 
     and requires trust, but it is not inherently harmful as long 
     as partners respect each other's privacy and are attentive to 
     consent. Studies have found that around 3 percent of 
     Americans report that someone has distributed private sexual 
     images without their permission, and around 10 percent of 
     sexters report negative consequences. The risk of 
     distribution is significantly higher among those who were 
     coerced into sexting.
       The victim of a sexual privacy violation can be traumatized 
     and humiliated, and is often blamed for his or her 
     victimization. Unfortunately, the criminalization of sexting 
     worsens this problem because teenagers know that if they 
     report the incident they may be punished at school and 
     possibly charged with the same offense as the perpetrator. In 
     most jurisdictions, distributing a sexual image of a teenager 
     is illegal, regardless of whether one is consensually sending 
     a nude selfie to a partner or maliciously distributing a 
     private photo of another person without permission.
       Though some people believe that prohibiting sexting 
     discourages the practice and protects teenagers from harm, 
     research on abstinence-only sex education demonstrates that 
     those policies actually increase unwanted pregnancies and 
     sexually transmitted infections. Abstinence-only messages 
     about sexting are likely to be counterproductive as well.
       What parents and educators need to do instead is help young 
     people learn how to navigate sexual risk and trust. Whether 
     or not it is criminalized, we cannot prevent sexting, just as 
     we cannot prevent teenagers from having sex. What we need to 
     focus on is preventing acts of sexual violation, like the 
     distribution of a private image without permission, 
     pressuring a partner to sext or sending a sexual image to an 
     unwilling recipient. Though not all teenagers are sexting, 
     those who are (and those who will when they are older) need 
     to learn how to practice safer sexting, which means that it 
     always has to be consensual.
       As State Senator George Munoz, a prominent supporter of the 
     amendment that established New Mexico's new sexting regime, 
     told

[[Page H4589]]

     The Guardian, ``Our laws have to change with technology.'' To 
     keep up with those changes, the first step is to 
     decriminalize consensual sexting by creating exceptions in 
     child pornography laws for teenagers who are close in age.
       Once we do this, we can concentrate on developing better 
     ways to deal with the new digital forms of harm.

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to support the 
Jackson Lee amendment.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak about my amendment to H.R. 1761, 
``Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act.''
  As Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, I 
offer this amendment to help make H.R. 1761 a better bill to achieve 
its intended purpose.
  Though troubled by any sexually explicit activity that may exploit 
and otherwise, harm our children, I believe that H.R. 1761, the 
``Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act,'' is deadly and 
counterproductive to ensuring protection of our youth population in our 
new technology era.
  This bill will exacerbate overwhelming concerns with the unfair and 
unjust mandatory minimum sentencing that contributes to the over-
criminalization of juveniles and mass incarceration generally.
  Simply put, this bill will add to the already tragic realities of 
many juveniles. Rather than proceeding with the caution befitting an 
expansion of the mandatory sentencing penalty, H.R. 1761 is being 
rushed to the House Floor, without a single hearing and without the 
opportunity to consider amendments directly relevant to whether our 
system of criminalizing juveniles for sexting is fair, just, and sound 
policy.
  Though presented as a proposal to protect children, H.R. 1761 
excessively penalizes juveniles and creates life altering criminal 
charges when engaged in `sexting'.
  Rather, it raises new constitutional concerns; and it does not 
address documented and systemic unfairness and racial disparity in the 
imposition of mandatory sentencing and its overbroad sweep of 
criminalizing juveniles.
  My amendment fixes that problem. It creates an alternative punishment 
(not more than one year of imprisonment) under section 2251 for 
teenagers who participate in ``sexting'' and might otherwise be subject 
to mandatory minimum sentences of at least 15 years in prison.
  The Jackson Lee is a thoughtful, narrowly-drawn provision that 
provides judges with a sensible sentencing option for teenagers no more 
than 19 years old who participate in sexting that may be applied in the 
judges' discretion, in appropriate cases.
  The Jackson Lee amendment is a reasonable approach to treatment of 
adolescent behavior that should not be left to prosecutors. The 
pervasiveness of personal technology, such as cellphones and tablets, 
has given rise to teenage ``sexting.'' Research has shown that teenage 
sexting is widespread, even among middle school-aged youth. Under 
section 2251, teenagers prosecuted for taking and sending such messages 
would be subject to mandatory prison sentences of at least 15 years and 
sex offender registration. In light of the recent troubling statements 
made by Attorney General Sessions, Congress should provide an 
alternative to existing mandatory minimum penalties in ``sexting'' 
cases.
  A study conducted by Drexel University found that more than half of 
the undergraduate students who took part in an online survey said that 
they sexted when they were teenagers. Thirty percent said they included 
photos in their messages and 61 percent did not know that sending nude 
photos via text could be considered child pornography. Another online 
survey published in 2008 found that almost 40 percent of teenagers 
between ages 13 and 19 had sent ``sext'' messages, almost 50 percent 
had received a sext message, and 20 percent posted nude or semi-nude 
content online.
  The Jackson Lee amendment recognizes that not all sex offenses are 
the same. Currently, section 2251 employs a one-size-fits-all 
sentencing scheme. Under section 2251, a 19 year-old, who engages in 
``sexting'' (sending or receiving a sexually explicit photo or video of 
a minor) with a willing, 17 year-old girlfriend or boyfriend, would be 
subject to the same mandatory minimum sentence as a 50 year-old man, 
who engages in the same conduct with a 17 year-old.
  The Jackson Lee amendment would provide a better alternative. The 
alternative punishment would be available in prosecutions involving 
offenses under section 2251(a)(2) or 2251(a)(3), when the defendant is 
no more than 19 years old, the difference in age between the defendant 
and victim is no more than four years, and the sexually explicit 
conduct depicted in the photo or video was consensual. Judges would not 
be required to sentence teenagers pursuant to the alternative 
punishment.
  Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers).
  Mr. CONYERS. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman and congratulate 
her on this very important amendment.
  This amendment creates alternative sentencing specifically for 
teenagers who participate in sexting and could, as a result of this 
bill and the application of current mandatory minimum sentences, be 
subject to mandatory sentences of at least 15 years. We should not, as 
she has already stated so well, leave it to prosecutors to determine 
whether teenagers take part in teenage behavior.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Madam Speaker, I have tremendous respect 
for my colleagues on the other side, Mr. Conyers and Ms. Jackson Lee. I 
understand her amendment is heartfelt and has the proper motive and 
attention.
  I would just suggest, again, that the risk of this amendment 
outweighs any potential benefit because it creates the kind of 
loopholes that we are trying here desperately to prevent.
  Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to oppose the amendment, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the previous question 
is ordered on the bill, as amended, and on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the noes appeared to have it.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 and clause 9 of rule 
XX, this 15-minute vote on adoption of the amendment will be followed 
by 5-minute votes on passage of the bill, if ordered, and passage of 
H.R. 1973.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 180, 
nays 238, not voting 12, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 283]

                               YEAS--180

     Adams
     Aguilar
     Amash
     Barragan
     Bass
     Beatty
     Beyer
     Bishop (GA)
     Blumenauer
     Blunt Rochester
     Bonamici
     Boyle, Brendan F.
     Brady (PA)
     Brown (MD)
     Brownley (CA)
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Capuano
     Carbajal
     Cardenas
     Carson (IN)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu, Judy
     Cicilline
     Clark (MA)
     Clarke (NY)
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Cohen
     Connolly
     Conyers
     Cooper
     Correa
     Courtney
     Crist
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Davis (CA)
     Davis, Danny
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Demings
     DeSaulnier
     Deutch
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Doyle, Michael F.
     Ellison
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Espaillat
     Esty (CT)
     Evans
     Foster
     Frankel (FL)
     Fudge
     Gabbard
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Gonzalez (TX)
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hanabusa
     Hastings
     Heck
     Higgins (NY)
     Himes
     Hoyer
     Huffman
     Jackson Lee
     Jayapal
     Jeffries
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kaptur
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kennedy
     Khanna
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     Krishnamoorthi
     Kuster (NH)
     Labrador
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lawrence
     Lawson (FL)
     Lee
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lieu, Ted
     Lipinski
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Lowenthal
     Lowey
     Lujan Grisham, M.
     Lujan, Ben Ray
     Lynch
     Maloney, Sean
     Matsui
     McCollum
     McEachin
     McGovern
     McNerney
     Meng
     Moore
     Moulton
     Murphy (FL)
     Nadler
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Norcross
     O'Halleran
     O'Rourke
     Pallone
     Pascrell
     Payne
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Pingree
     Pocan
     Polis
     Price (NC)
     Raskin
     Rice (NY)
     Richmond
     Rosen
     Roybal-Allard
     Ruiz
     Ruppersberger
     Rush
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez
     Sarbanes
     Schakowsky
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, David
     Serrano
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Sherman
     Sinema
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (WA)
     Soto
     Speier
     Suozzi
     Takano
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Titus
     Tonko
     Torres
     Tsongas
     Vargas
     Veasey
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Walz
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters, Maxine
     Watson Coleman
     Welch
     Wilson (FL)
     Yarmuth

                               NAYS--238

     Abraham
     Aderholt
     Allen
     Amodei
     Arrington
     Babin
     Bacon
     Banks (IN)
     Barletta
     Barr
     Barton
     Bera
     Bergman
     Biggs
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (MI)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Blum
     Bost
     Brady (TX)
     Brat
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Buchanan
     Buck
     Bucshon
     Budd
     Burgess
     Byrne
     Calvert
     Carter (GA)
     Carter (TX)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Cheney
     Coffman
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Comer
     Comstock
     Conaway
     Cook
     Costa
     Costello (PA)

[[Page H4590]]


     Cramer
     Crawford
     Culberson
     Curbelo (FL)
     Davidson
     Davis, Rodney
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Diaz-Balart
     Donovan
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Dunn
     Emmer
     Estes (KS)
     Farenthold
     Faso
     Ferguson
     Fitzpatrick
     Fleischmann
     Flores
     Fortenberry
     Foxx
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gaetz
     Gallagher
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gohmert
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gottheimer
     Gowdy
     Granger
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (LA)
     Graves (MO)
     Griffith
     Grothman
     Guthrie
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Hice, Jody B.
     Higgins (LA)
     Hill
     Holding
     Hollingsworth
     Hudson
     Huizenga
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurd
     Issa
     Jenkins (KS)
     Jenkins (WV)
     Johnson (LA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Jones
     Jordan
     Joyce (OH)
     Katko
     Kelly (MS)
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger
     Knight
     LaHood
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Latta
     Lewis (MN)
     LoBiondo
     Long
     Loudermilk
     Love
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     MacArthur
     Marchant
     Marino
     Marshall
     Massie
     Mast
     McCarthy
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McHenry
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Messer
     Mitchell
     Moolenaar
     Mooney (WV)
     Mullin
     Murphy (PA)
     Noem
     Nunes
     Olson
     Palazzo
     Palmer
     Panetta
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Perry
     Peters
     Peterson
     Pittenger
     Poe (TX)
     Poliquin
     Posey
     Ratcliffe
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Rice (SC)
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney, Francis
     Rooney, Thomas J.
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Rouzer
     Royce (CA)
     Russell
     Rutherford
     Sanford
     Scalise
     Schrader
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Sensenbrenner
     Sessions
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Smith (MO)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smucker
     Stefanik
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Taylor
     Tenney
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Trott
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Walker
     Walorski
     Walters, Mimi
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Wenstrup
     Westerman
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (IA)
     Zeldin

                             NOT VOTING--12

     Cummings
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, Sam
     Kihuen
     Kustoff (TN)
     Maloney, Carolyn B.
     McSally
     Meeks
     Newhouse
     Nolan
     Quigley
     Swalwell (CA)


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (during the vote). There are 2 minutes 
remaining.

                              {time}  1132

  Ms. STEFANIK, Messrs. WILSON of South Carolina, ARRINGTON, BURGESS, 
BISHOP of Michigan, GARRETT, ROGERS of Alabama, YOHO, and DIAZ-BALART 
changed their vote from ``yea'' to ``nay.''
  Mr. RICHMOND changed his vote from ``nay'' to ``yea.''
  So the amendment was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the engrossment and third 
reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the bill.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.


                             Recorded Vote

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I demand a recorded vote.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. This is a 5-minute vote.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 368, 
noes 51, not voting 11, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 284]

                               AYES--368

     Abraham
     Adams
     Aderholt
     Aguilar
     Allen
     Amodei
     Arrington
     Babin
     Bacon
     Banks (IN)
     Barletta
     Barr
     Barragan
     Barton
     Beatty
     Bera
     Bergman
     Biggs
     Bilirakis
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (MI)
     Bishop (UT)
     Black
     Blackburn
     Blum
     Blunt Rochester
     Bost
     Boyle, Brendan F.
     Brady (PA)
     Brady (TX)
     Brat
     Bridenstine
     Brooks (AL)
     Brooks (IN)
     Brown (MD)
     Brownley (CA)
     Buchanan
     Buck
     Bucshon
     Budd
     Burgess
     Bustos
     Butterfield
     Byrne
     Calvert
     Capuano
     Carbajal
     Carson (IN)
     Carter (GA)
     Carter (TX)
     Cartwright
     Castor (FL)
     Chabot
     Chaffetz
     Cheney
     Cicilline
     Clark (MA)
     Coffman
     Cohen
     Cole
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Comer
     Comstock
     Conaway
     Connolly
     Cook
     Cooper
     Correa
     Costa
     Costello (PA)
     Courtney
     Cramer
     Crawford
     Crist
     Crowley
     Cuellar
     Culberson
     Curbelo (FL)
     Davidson
     Davis, Rodney
     DeFazio
     DeGette
     Delaney
     DeLauro
     DelBene
     Demings
     Denham
     Dent
     DeSantis
     DesJarlais
     Deutch
     Diaz-Balart
     Dingell
     Doggett
     Donovan
     Doyle, Michael F.
     Duffy
     Duncan (SC)
     Duncan (TN)
     Dunn
     Emmer
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Espaillat
     Estes (KS)
     Esty (CT)
     Farenthold
     Faso
     Ferguson
     Fitzpatrick
     Fleischmann
     Flores
     Fortenberry
     Foster
     Foxx
     Frankel (FL)
     Franks (AZ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Gabbard
     Gaetz
     Gallagher
     Gallego
     Garamendi
     Garrett
     Gibbs
     Gohmert
     Gonzalez (TX)
     Goodlatte
     Gosar
     Gottheimer
     Gowdy
     Granger
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (LA)
     Graves (MO)
     Green, Gene
     Griffith
     Grothman
     Guthrie
     Hanabusa
     Harper
     Harris
     Hartzler
     Heck
     Hensarling
     Herrera Beutler
     Hice, Jody B.
     Higgins (LA)
     Higgins (NY)
     Hill
     Himes
     Holding
     Hollingsworth
     Hoyer
     Hudson
     Huizenga
     Hultgren
     Hunter
     Hurd
     Issa
     Jeffries
     Jenkins (KS)
     Jenkins (WV)
     Johnson (LA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Jones
     Jordan
     Joyce (OH)
     Kaptur
     Katko
     Keating
     Kelly (IL)
     Kelly (MS)
     Kelly (PA)
     Kennedy
     Kildee
     Kilmer
     Kind
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger
     Knight
     Krishnamoorthi
     Kuster (NH)
     Labrador
     LaHood
     LaMalfa
     Lamborn
     Lance
     Langevin
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Latta
     Lawrence
     Lawson (FL)
     Levin
     Lewis (MN)
     Lieu, Ted
     Lipinski
     LoBiondo
     Loebsack
     Lofgren
     Long
     Loudermilk
     Love
     Lowey
     Lucas
     Luetkemeyer
     Lujan Grisham, M.
     Lujan, Ben Ray
     Lynch
     MacArthur
     Maloney, Sean
     Marchant
     Marino
     Marshall
     Mast
     Matsui
     McCarthy
     McCaul
     McClintock
     McCollum
     McHenry
     McKinley
     McMorris Rodgers
     McNerney
     Meadows
     Meehan
     Meng
     Messer
     Mitchell
     Moolenaar
     Mooney (WV)
     Moulton
     Mullin
     Murphy (FL)
     Murphy (PA)
     Napolitano
     Neal
     Noem
     Norcross
     Nunes
     O'Halleran
     O'Rourke
     Olson
     Palazzo
     Palmer
     Panetta
     Pascrell
     Paulsen
     Pearce
     Pelosi
     Perlmutter
     Perry
     Peters
     Peterson
     Pingree
     Pittenger
     Poe (TX)
     Poliquin
     Polis
     Posey
     Price (NC)
     Quigley
     Raskin
     Ratcliffe
     Reed
     Reichert
     Renacci
     Rice (NY)
     Rice (SC)
     Roby
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rohrabacher
     Rokita
     Rooney, Francis
     Rooney, Thomas J.
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Rosen
     Roskam
     Ross
     Rothfus
     Rouzer
     Roybal-Allard
     Royce (CA)
     Ruiz
     Ruppersberger
     Russell
     Rutherford
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez
     Sanford
     Sarbanes
     Scalise
     Schiff
     Schneider
     Schrader
     Schweikert
     Scott, Austin
     Scott, David
     Sensenbrenner
     Serrano
     Sessions
     Sewell (AL)
     Shea-Porter
     Shimkus
     Shuster
     Simpson
     Sinema
     Sires
     Slaughter
     Smith (MO)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smucker
     Soto
     Speier
     Stefanik
     Stewart
     Stivers
     Suozzi
     Taylor
     Tenney
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Thompson (PA)
     Thornberry
     Tiberi
     Tipton
     Titus
     Tonko
     Torres
     Trott
     Tsongas
     Turner
     Upton
     Valadao
     Vargas
     Vela
     Velazquez
     Visclosky
     Wagner
     Walberg
     Walden
     Walker
     Walorski
     Walters, Mimi
     Walz
     Weber (TX)
     Webster (FL)
     Welch
     Wenstrup
     Westerman
     Williams
     Wilson (SC)
     Wittman
     Womack
     Woodall
     Yarmuth
     Yoder
     Yoho
     Young (AK)
     Young (IA)
     Zeldin

                                NOES--51

     Amash
     Bass
     Beyer
     Blumenauer
     Bonamici
     Cardenas
     Castro (TX)
     Chu, Judy
     Clarke (NY)
     Clay
     Cleaver
     Clyburn
     Conyers
     Davis, Danny
     DeSaulnier
     Ellison
     Evans
     Fudge
     Green, Al
     Grijalva
     Gutierrez
     Hastings
     Huffman
     Jackson Lee
     Jayapal
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Khanna
     Lee
     Lewis (GA)
     Lowenthal
     Massie
     McEachin
     McGovern
     Moore
     Nadler
     Pallone
     Payne
     Pocan
     Richmond
     Rush
     Schakowsky
     Scott (VA)
     Sherman
     Smith (WA)
     Takano
     Veasey
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters, Maxine
     Watson Coleman
     Wilson (FL)

                             NOT VOTING--11

     Cummings
     Davis (CA)
     Johnson, Sam
     Kihuen
     Kustoff (TN)
     Maloney, Carolyn B.
     McSally
     Meeks
     Newhouse
     Nolan
     Swalwell (CA)


                Announcement by the Speaker Pro Tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (during the vote). There are 2 minutes 
remaining.

                              {time}  1140

  Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ changed her vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''
  So the bill was passed.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________