The original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 made domestic violence a federal crime, in addition to a state or local crime. Reauthorizing VAWA allows for “emotional distress” to be classified as domestic violence. While conservatives abhor domestic violence and advocate for the rule of law, the lack of authority for this legislation in the Constitution gives conservatives pause. Conservatives have argued that State and local governments are better equipped to stop domestic violence than the federal government. The Senate passed this bill on February 12, 2013 by a roll call vote of 78-22.
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Conservative position: NO