Congressman Johnson ushers House bills to amend FFA charter, repeal penalties for minor wrongdoing

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Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) managed two bills that passed the House of Representatives by voice vote on Tuesday.

The first bill, H.R. 439, the “National FFA Organization’s Federal Charter Amendment’s Act,” is a bipartisan effort to update and modernize the Federal Charter for the National FFA Organization (formerly known as the Future Farmers of America). The bill updates the FFA’s charter to make it more consistent with the modern organization, and to provide additional flexibility as it looks toward the future.

As lead co-sponsor, Johnson also managed time on H.R. 498, the “Clean up the Code Act.” It repeals several criminal penalties for violations that do not involve serious wrongdoing, at least not serious enough to warrant criminal prosecution and the consequences of a criminal record.

Specifically, the bill decriminalizes the transportation of water hyacinths, the unauthorized application of theft prevention decals or devices, and the unauthorized use of the 4-H Club emblem, the Swiss Confederation coat of arms, the “Smokey Bear” character or name, the “Woodsy Owl” character, name, or slogan, or “The Golden Eagle Insignia.”

“Criminal penalties should be reserved to deter offenses that jeopardize public safety or as punishment for serious moral transgressions,” said Johnson. “Such penalties should not be used to punish minor transgressions or to discourage behavior deemed unwanted, but ultimately harmless to the greater public good.”

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