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By: iGaming Business

US states would be required to have betting legislation approved by the US Attorney General and purchase official major league data under plans for federal oversight outlined in a leaked Congressional draft bill.

The comprehensive legislation would force states to apply for approval from the Attorney General when implementing new sports betting laws and regulations. However it does not specify if this would be required retrospectively for those states where betting is already legal and regulated.

In a nod to the sports leagues and those lobbying for integrity fees, all operators would be required to use official league data until at least 2023. A National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse would be founded to monitor for any unusual betting patterns, while the Sports Bribery Act of 1964 would be strengthened by criminalising the act of betting based on non-public information.

Looking beyond state borders, the draft bill would alter the Wire Act of 1961 to allow sportsbooks to operate across state lines through compacts. understands the 37-page discussion draft was drawn up and circulated in the US Senate. 

The document is neither titled or dated and it is unclear who precisely the author has sought to discuss it with. Some media reports suggest the author was retiring Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (pictured), one of the authors of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992 who announced plans to progress federal legislation immediately after its repeal in May. Hatch, who is to retire at the end of this month, has yet to comment on the document.

Responding to the leak, the American Gaming Association (AGA) reiterated its support for state autonomy in betting regulation.

“Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in May, the AGA has consistently maintained that federal legislation regarding sports betting is not necessary,” said Chris Cylke, AGA’s vice president of government relations.

“That underlying position remains unchanged. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining an open and constructive dialogue with policymakers considering sports betting legislation at any level of government.”

In May, Hatch described his fears of a “Wild West world of sports gambling” following the “devastating” repeal of PASPA.

Already looking to federal governance of sports betting he said in a statement: “Through balanced legislation, I believe we can create federal standards that not only align with constitutional principles but also uphold the integrity of the sports we love.”

While some have pointed to Hatch as the author of the bill, its text is similar to plans outlined in a briefing by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in August. At the time Schumer proposed a requirement that all sportsbooks only use official league data.

The leak comes two months after the ‘Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America’ hearing on Capitol Hill, when organisations such as the AGA and National Football League (NFL) were among those to give testimony to the Judiciary Committee.

In his closing remarks, hearing chair Jim Sensenbrenner suggested that the federal authorities must have some involvement in the oversight of betting across the country. “For Congress to do nothing is the worst possible alternative," he said.

Following the repeal of PASPA, seven states now have legal, state-regulated sports betting industries, with Pennsylvania and Rhode Island the most recent market entrants.

500,000 girls in the U.S. are at risk of female genital mutilation. With a ban on the practice struck down, we need new legislation to protect them.

For more than two decades, underage girls in this country have been federally protected from the horrific practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). The ritualistic cutting or removal of a young girl’s external genitalia is an anachronistic act that occurs mostly in parts of Africa, the Middle East and a few countries in Asia. Last month, during a trial of a Michigan doctor accused of performing FGM on nine minor girls, a federal judge ruled that the law banning FGM is unconstitutional. Now, Congress and the states must act immediately to re-enact FGM protections. 

FGM is decried internationally for its cruelty. It is denounced by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as a violation of basic human rights and a form of child abuse. At its most basic, this practice is rooted in the desire to control a woman’s sexuality. Physicians worldwide agree that FGM is medically unnecessary, and the procedure poses physical, sexual, and psychological dangers for the young victims. These girls, sometimes only a few days old, are subjected to an act that will have a profound negative effect on their lives. 

Michigan ruling was misguided

In the Michigan case, the defendants were charged under the 1996 statute that banned FGM on minors. In their motion to dismiss, the defense claimed that Congress had overstepped its constitutional authority by enacting this statute. Judge Bernard Friedman agreed with this position and ruled the law unconstitutional.

Judge Friedman’s ruling rests on his belief that Congress, under principles of federalism, lacks the authority to prohibit this activity under the Commerce Clause because it is not a “commercial activity.”  I share those views in some respects. And perhaps, Congress should address the judge’s concerns to make clear the federal aspect of this crime. But this ruling is nevertheless misguided and wrong. 

Judge Friedman is too quick to dismiss the interstate “market” for this horrid procedure.  In his decision, he rejects the comparison of the FGM marketplace to that of other illicit goods, like marijuana or child pornography.  But in his view, because there are only “…a small number of alleged victims” and not billions of dollars at stake, there is no real market for FGM. 

This reasoning fails on two fronts. First, this case absolutely demonstrates an interstate marketplace. Five of the victims were transported across state lines for the sole purpose of undergoing this mutilation. A relatively small marketplace is still a marketplace. Second, while there are the nine victims in this case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2012 that there are likely more than 500,000 women and girls in the United States who are at risk of being victims of this procedure.  Today these women are now at a greater risk as a result of this ruling.

We need to protect at risk girls

The Trump administration should appeal this decision immediately. This law has protected girls from FGM for 22 years. To accept this ruling without contention would be a dereliction of our duty to protect our young girls from this this abuse.

Without a federal ban in place, FGM is now legal in 23 states. Unless these states act swiftly to ban the practice, more of America’s young girls remain at risk. While Judge Friedman suggests that FGM can be prosecuted under existing assault statutes, this especially barbaric form of child abuse — being masqueraded as a religious practice — deserves to be addresses explicitly in our criminal code.

For my part, I intend to introduce legislation early next year to reinstitute a federal ban on this practice. The message should be clear to the women and girls of America — they are protected from this barbaric practice.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner represents Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District. He is a former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and current Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

You can view this piece online here.

By: WisPolitics Capitol Report

A U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson spokesman says the Oshkosh Republican would back a bill aiming to delist the gray wolf in all but two states should it be taken up in the Senate.

But the office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin didn’t say whether she’d support the legislation from 7th CD U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy seeking to remove the wolves from the Endangered Species Act. The bill, which cleared the House earlier this month, would lift protections for the wolves across the continental United States.

A Johnson spokesman this week noted Johnson has been working on the issue “for a while.” Johnson in 2015 introduced a bill that would direct the Department of the Interior to reissue final rules related to the endangered listing of the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming. He reintroduced the legislation last year.

But a Baldwin spokeswoman in an email expressed preference for the Madison Democrat’s HELP for Wildlife Act, which would delist the gray wolf in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes as well as reauthorize and provide funding for a series of conservation programs.

The spokeswoman noted Duffy’s bill “has not yet come up in the Senate” and didn’t answer whether Baldwin would vote for the Wausau Republican’s legislation if it does hit the floor.

The comments follow the House passage of Duffy’s “Manage Our Wolves Act.” The bipartisan legislation — passed on a 196-180 vote — aims to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered or threatened species and reinstate a rule that removed the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region from the list.

“If you live in Wisconsin, especially northern Wisconsin, it might be necessary for us to actually manage this population because it's good for the environment,” Duffy said in a statement following the bill’s passage. “Frankly, I believe that our states are far more in tuned in understanding the ecosystem of their state than bureaucrats in Washington.”

The legislation garnered support from U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay; Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah; and Ron Kind, D-La Crosse. U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont; and Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, voted against the bill, while U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, did not vote.

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, praised Duffy’s work and urged Baldwin to back the bill in a joint statement last week with Michigan Sen. Tom Casperson.

Tiffany this session introduced a bill that would ban police from enforcing state or federal law aimed at managing Wisconsin’s wolf population. The language would also prohibit the state Department of Natural Resources from spending any money to manage wolves — other than paying claims for any losses they cause.

The Obama administration in 2012 first delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2014, the wolves were returned to the federal endangered species list after a lawsuit, resulting in the end of wolf trapping and hunting.

By: CBS 58 Newsroom

MADISON, WI (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has ordered flags of the United States and the State of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff beginning December 1, in honor of former President George Herbert Walker Bush.  Flags will remain at half-staff until sunset on December 30, 2018.

Upon learning of the passing of the former President, the Governor issued the following statement.

“So sorry to hear of the death of President George Herbert Walker Bush. In 1988, I cast my first vote for President for him. I am proud of that vote today. He was a true gentleman and our country is better because of his service. Tonette and I send our love and prayers to the Bush family as America mourns the loss of one of our greatest patriots.”

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson issued this statement via email and twitter.

“Throughout his life, George H.W. Bush fought for freedom and prosperity for all Americans. From his service in World War II as a naval aviator to his efforts organizing international disaster relief, the nation and world will never forget his years of public service.”

In a tweet, Senator Tammy Baldwin said of the former President.

"I have a lot of respect for President George H.W. Bush's lifetime commitment to serving our country. His humility and kindness serve as an example for all who follow him in public service. My thoughts are with the entire Bush family."

Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner issued this statement after learning of the death of the former President.

"My deepest condolences go out to the Bush family, and I join our nation in mourning the passing of George H.W. Bush.  The former president was a heroic veteran, accomplished statesman, and lifelong public servant whose sense of duty and devotion to our country stands as a shining example for all.  He lived a remarkable life, and our nation is stronger today because of him. I am grateful for his contributions to society and will keep his loved ones in my prayers. May he rest in peace."

Former Wisconsin Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary under George W Bush issued this statement on the death of the elder President Bush.

“Today we mourn the loss of a leader who has long-served as a shining example of selfless leadership and compassion. George H. Bush held a steadfast belief in a greater calling, underlined by his service to our country as a World War II hero, public servant, elected official and through countless philanthropic efforts. There was President Bush, a man of great character that our nation truly admired and also the George Bush whom was genuine, sincere and quick-witted that I was fortunate to call a friend. The loss of George H. Bush weighs heavy, may the example he set inspire tomorrow’s leaders.”

The 41st President of the United States died Friday in Houston.   He was 94-years-old. 

Brookfield, WICongressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) issued the following statement after the death of the 41st President of the United States, President George H.W. Bush:

"My deepest condolences go out to the Bush family, and I join our nation in mourning the passing of George H.W. Bush.

The former president was a heroic veteran, accomplished statesman, and lifelong public servant whose sense of duty and devotion to our country stands as a shining example for all. 

He lived a remarkable life, and our nation is stronger today because of him. I am grateful for his contributions to society and will keep his loved ones in my prayers. May he rest in peace."

By: Rachel Farrell and Laura Larkin of the Irish Independent

Thousands of Irish citizens will be able to avail of a visa to work in the United States under proposed legislation passed by the lower house in the US Congress.

The E-3 work visa, a two-year renewable visa currently reserved for Australian nationals, would under the bill which passed through the House of Representatives become available to Irish applicants.

It is for workers in "special occupations" - there is no prescribed list of jobs but the requirement mandates a specialised knowledge.

Only unused visas, not taken up by Australians, would be issued to Irish citizens under the proposed changes.

The bill must now be cleared by the Senate where it needs unanimous consent.

Work has been ongoing, spearheaded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, to gain access for Irish people to the coveted scheme over the past number of months.

Ireland's special envoy to the US, John Deasy, welcomed the bill's progress but said he was under no illusions over the difficulty the bill may face in getting through the Senate.

Tanáiste Simon Coveney has also welcomed the passage of the bill, describing it as a "positive development for future generations to travel to [the] USA". However, he acknowledged there was "still work to do".

To qualify for the scheme as it stands, a legitimate offer of work from a US employer must be in place, and have been accepted, for a person to apply.

The visa can be "indefinitely" renewed and a spouse can also work in the US but not their children.

If the law is passed, there will be a maximum of 5,000 visas awarded to Irish citizens. It will not be accessible to undocumented Irish in the US.

Jim Sensenbrenner, who helped to introduce the legislation, said the bill would add to the "great legacy" between Ireland and the United States.

By: Andrew Clancy Rogers of Green and Spiegel LLP

When Congress reconvenes in Washington following the Thanksgiving holiday, it may be Irish Nationals that have most cause to be grateful.

In a bipartisan effort, Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Richard Neal and Wisconsin Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner have introduced a bill to Congress (H.R. 7100) that proposes adding Irish Nationals to the E-3 “Australian Special Occupation” Program. The E-3 program provides 10,500 visas each fiscal year to Australians entering the U.S. to “perform services in a specialty occupation”. The E-3 visa classification is very similar in substance to the H-1B classification, except that it is only available to Australians and as such, in the twelve years that the E-3 program has existed, the program has yet to reach the stated cap of 10,500 visas per fiscal year. Therein lays the opportunity: this bipartisan bill proposes that 50% of these 10,500 visas should be made available to Irish nationals.

This is welcome news for Irish nationals seeking to work in the United States. The E-3 visa is one of the most efficient U.S. visa options for Australians. Applicants may apply directly at a U.S. consulate (thus avoiding lengthy processing times with USCIS), the visas are granted for 2 year periods (renewable indefinitely), and spouses of E-3 visa holders are permitted to apply for employment authorization documents. Further, the proposed cap of 5,250 would not apply to E-3 extensions, and E-3 visa holders may be the beneficiaries of Immigrant Visas (although they are still required to intend to depart the U.S. upon termination of their E-3 status).

This significant addition to the U.S. immigration system will not only benefit Irish nationals seeking employment in the United States, but will also open up an additional talent reservoir for U.S. employers. Green and Spiegel remains cautiously optimistic and will be monitoring the development of this legislation closely. 

By; Ryan Prete of Bloomberg Law

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has introduced yet another online sales tax bill.

The Congressman introduced the No Retroactive Online Taxation Act of 2018 Nov. 29, a new online sales tax bill that would prohibit states from imposing sales tax collection duties on remote sellers for any sale that occurred prior to June 21, 2018—the day the U.S. Supreme Court delivered the Wayfair decision.

Sensenbrenner has been the most active federal lawmaker in the online sales tax field since the Wayfair ruling. In September, he filed the Online Sales Simplicity and Small Business Relief Act of 2018 (H.R. 6814), a which would also ban retroactivity and would require all states to push back online sales tax law implementation dates to Jan. 1, 2019.

As of Nov. 1, 23 states have seen online sales tax enforcement laws go live.

Sensenbrenner told Bloomberg Tax in September he was he was “very confident” that H.R. 6814 would be considered by the House by the end of 2018. The bill hasn’t moved since its introduction.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s groundbreaking ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair tossed out Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, the Supreme Court’s 1992 physical presence threshold for when states could tax remote sales. The majority in the 5-4 ruling suggested strongly that South Dakota’s law requiring remote sellers that meet thresholds of $100,000 in annual in-state sales or 200 transactions to collect and remit sales tax would pass constitutional muster.

The court didn’t rule on the validity of South Dakota’s law in the absence of Quill, but that hasn’t stopped states from passing their own versions of it.

By: Aidan Lonergan of the Irish Post

The E-3 visa is currently available to Australian nationals only and allows them to live and work in the US for up to two years with a spouse – but typically only half are used.

Last night, a bill (HR-7164) proposing that Irish people be able to apply for the remainder of unused visas offered to Australians was unanimously approved by the House.

The legislation now goes through to the Senate, and – if passed – would open up a wealth of opportunities to Irish workers looking to start a new life and explore fresh opportunities across the pond.

Around 10,500 E-3 visas are offered to Australians who wish to work in America every year, and up to 5,000 Irish citizens will be eligible for the scheme annually if the bill passes.


Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the bill alongside Democrat Richard Neal, said the passing of the bill would add to the "great legacy" between Ireland and the US.

"The United States was built on hard work and the determination of immigrants – many of whom hail from Ireland. Through their perseverance, they have enabled this country to grow and prosper," he said.

"I believe in the value and opportunity that comes with legal immigration. I am pleased to have authored this legislation to make the process more efficient for one of our oldest allies, and add to the great legacy of cultural diversity celebrated in our country."

According to Mr Sensenbrenner, applicants based in Ireland would be able to apply directly at a US consulate but should expect lengthy processing times with US citizenship and immigration services.

He added that the visa would benefit both Irish and US citizens, including Americans who wish to "retire in Ireland" – as the Irish Government has promised to ease restrictions on US retirees if the bill passes.

"This significant addition to the U.S. immigration system will not only benefit Irish nationals seeking employment in the United States, but also ease restrictions on Americans wanting to live or retire in Ireland."

Fellow Republican congressman Steve Chabot said extending the E-3 visa to Irish citizens would recognise the special bond between the two countries.

"It's a simple bill that recognises the unique friendship and working relationship between the United States and Ireland," he said.

"HR-7164 allows nationals of Ireland to be eligible to apply for unused E3 non-immigrant visas."


Speaking after last night's House vote, Irish TD John Deasy urged supporters of the legislation to be cautious.

"The bill will now be sent to the US Senate and it needs to be passed thereby unanimous consent meaning that it will require the agreement of all 100 senators for this to be signed into law," he said.

"I am under no illusions as to how difficult that may be."

Unlike many other visas, E-3 permits the spouses of recipients to live and work in the US without restrictions, but not their children.

To qualify, applicants must be employed in a specialty occupation, have necessary qualifications and receive a legitimate offer of employment from the US.

By: Ray O'Hanlon of The Irish Echo

It was a rare example of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill – and with the Irish in the middle of it.

The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would allow Irish applicants gain access to the E-3 visa program that is only open to Australians.

The legislation still requires Senate approval but the joining together of House Republicans and Democrats would appear to auger well for a matching measure in the Senate, though the hurdle in that chamber is larger than what it was in the House.

In the latter it was two thirds support, in the Senate it will have to be unanimous.

As it turned out the House voted unanimously on Wednesday evening for H.R. 7164, crafted by Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin, and co-sponsored by Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Richard Neal, who chairs the Friends of Ireland group in Congress.

The bill had been in the pipeline for several years and has been tweaked several times, part because of Australian objection to the Irish being allowed to directly compete for the visas, 10,500 of which are awarded each fiscal year.

Instead, Irish hopefuls will be able to apply for those visas not taken up by Australians in each fiscal year.

It might be a second place of sorts but it also would be a first in that the Irish have lacked any large scale access to legal residency in the U.S. since passage of the Morrison visas in the early 1990s.

E-3s do no provide green cards but last for two years and are renewable indefinitely. Spouses of E-3 holders can also live and work legally in the U.S.

A release posted on Rep. Sensenbrenner’s website hailed the House approval of H.R. 7164.

“Today,” it stated, “the House of Representatives unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to extend E-3 visa eligibility to Irish Nationals. The bill was sponsored by Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI-05) and Richard Neal (D-MA-01).

The release carried Congressman Sensenbrenner’s delivered remarks on the House floor prior to the vote.

He said: “The United States was built on hard work and the determination of immigrants – many of them who hail from Ireland. Through their perseverance, they have enabled this country to grow and prosper.

“I believe in the value and opportunity that comes with legal immigration. I am pleased to have authored this legislation to make the process more efficient for one of our oldest allies, and add to the great legacy of cultural diversity celebrated our country.

“This modest proposal would give Irish Nationals the opportunity to work in the U.S. under the non-immigrant visa category of the E-3 Visa, previously reserved only for Australian nationals. Ireland in the meantime, has proposed a reciprocal work visa specific to U.S. nationals so that those wanting to live and work in Ireland can more easily do so.

“The E-3 visa is one of the most efficient U.S. visa options. Applicants outside the United States may apply directly at a U.S. consulate, thus avoiding lengthy processing times with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The visas are granted for 2 year periods (renewable indefinitely), and the spouses of E-3 visa holders are permitted to apply for employment authorization documents.

“Currently, 10,500 E-3 visas are allocated each year, yet only half of these are used. This legislation would allow Irish nationals to apply for those visas unused by Australian nationals.

“This significant addition to the U.S. immigration system will not only benefit Irish nationals seeking employment in the United States, but also ease restrictions on Americans wanting to live or retire in Ireland.

“In conclusion, I would like to say that this does not increase the number of visas that are authorized in total. It merely allows the Irish nationals to apply for the visas that Australian nationals do not want to use on a year-to-year basis.”

Congressman Neal, who is poised to chair the House Ways and Means Committee in January, invoked the mass passage of the Irish across the Atlantic during the years of the Great Hunger and its aftermath.

“America, to its everlasting credit the land of the great, home of the brave, welcomed them.”

Neal described the U.S. relationship with Ireland as “one of the great relationships in terms of allies that we have in the history of America.”

The E-3 initiative has been supported for some years by Irish immigration reform campaigners in the U.S., Irish American organizations, and the Irish government.

The Irish Times was reporting today that the Irish government’s special envoy to the U.S. Congress, John Deasy, and the Irish embassy in Washington, were advancing talks with senior figures on Capitol Hill and within the Trump administration about expanding access to the coveted visa scheme to include Irish people.

Speaking on Capitol Hill on Wednesday Mr. Deasy said that he welcomed the vote in the House, but noted that it now needed to gain approval in the Senate.

“This is an important step for it to have passed the House, but this now goes to the U.S. Senate where it will need to be considered under unanimous consent which will require all hundred senators to agree for it to be signed into law. I am under no illusions how difficult that may be,” he told the Irish Times.

Added the Times report: Among the key provisions of the E-3 visa is that applicants must have a job in the U.S. to quality and have certain academic or other qualifying credentials. But the E-3 is significantly easier and less costly to obtain that the traditional H1-B visa for professionals.

The report stated that the Irish government’s Department of Justice was looking at options to change the criteria needed for U.S. retirees, including lowering the income threshold needed and allowing retirees to work for up to twenty hours a week.

The web-based daily carried a reaction from Chicago-based Irish Senator Billy Lawless, an Independent representing the Irish diaspora.

“It is my ardent hope that in addition to creating future flow Irish immigration to the USA that many undocumented Irish will also qualify for this scheme,” said Lawless.

“We have seen disappointment in the past on immigration legislation, particularly in 2007 and 2013 when we came close, but I am cautiously optimistic in welcoming this new deal, given that the President, the Homeland Security Chief and the Speaker’s Office are pushing this bill forward during the lame duck session.”

Senator Lawless was here highlighting the fact that any future E-3 availability would not, as currently constituted, bring relief to the undocumented Irish, or indeed open the U.S. to potential Irish immigrants with a full spread of job skills.