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SENATORS QUICKLY PASS 2 HATCH MEASURES

The Senate wasted no time passing two bills introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, last week.

He introduced a bill Thursday to toughen penalties for child pornography, and the Senate passed it the same day on a voice vote.It took twice as long - a day - to pass another resolution Hatch introduced on Thursday to express the nation's gratitude to law enforcement officers. It passed on a voice vote on Friday.

Hatch's child pornography bill not only raises penalties for distributing the material but also increases penalties for using computers to do so.

"As an ever-increasing percentage of Americans, and especially our young people, enter the information superhighway, it is critical that we act to ensure that this highway is not littered with the debris of child pornography," Hatch said.

He added, "Child pornography is a plague upon the moral fabric of this great nation. It poisons the minds and spirits of our youth and fuels the growth of organized crime."

The House has already passed a similar bill. Hatch's version, passed as a substitute amendment during Senate consideration, now returns for consideration by the House.

Hatch said he pushed the resolution honoring police because "America owes a debt of gratitude to its police officers that it really cannot pay."

He added, "They are expected to act perfectly, with often imperfect information, and must ensure both the safety of the community and the integrity of the criminal justice process."