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The coronavirus relief package passed by the U.S. Senate includes some strange provisions that have nothing to do with relief efforts from the ravages of the pandemic.
An analysis published by Fox News condensed a number of unexpected elements that are not directly related to government funding due to the coronavirus; the package includes with such topics as “horse racing, museums, Dalai Lama and Smokey Bear.”
The aid package, presented Monday afternoon, passed quickly through the House and Senate in a matter of hours. It is a bill that combined $900 billion in COVID-19 relief with an overall government spending measure of $1.4 trillion.
The mammoth 5,593-page bill groups 12 spending measures into one, and among other things includes legislation to begin the process of creating a Latino museum and a women’s history museum near the National Mall.
It also extends a patchwork of tax breaks for NASCAR racetracks, craft distilleries and other interests that otherwise would have expired at the end of the year.
The bill to be signed by President Trump also includes rules for the horse racing industry.
About the Dalai Lama
Among the pandemic recovery provisions is an affirmation of the Senate’s proposed position on the election of the next Dalai Lama. According to the Senate, the Chinese Communist government should have no role in the election of the next Dalai Lama.
The text of the coronavirus aid bill warns that “interference by the Government of the People’s Republic of China or any other government in the process of recognizing a successor or reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama and any future Dalai Lamas would represent a clear abuse of the right to religious freedom of Tibetan Buddhists and the Tibetan people.
“It is the policy of the United States that decisions regarding the selection, education, and veneration of Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders are exclusively spiritual matters to be made by the appropriate religious authorities within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and in the context of the will of practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism,” the passage states.
Crimes that will no longer be crimes
The bill repeals nine criminal laws that are rarely, if ever, enforced.
For example, people who transport water hyacinth, alligator grass, or water chestnut plants across state lines would no longer face six months in prison.
Likewise, motorists who put fake theft prevention stickers on their cars would no longer face fines of up to $1,000.
Similarly, those who use certain emblems such as the U.S. Forest Service’s Smokey Bear and “Wood Owl” characters, the Department of the Interior’s Golden Eagle logo, the 4-H Club emblem and the Swiss Confederation’s crest would no longer face jail time.
The bill would also allow the Department of Justice to charge companies for copyright infringement if they intentionally transmit protected material online.
The document approved by the Senate also includes the creation of national safety and drug standards for the horse racing industry, as well as an anti-doping safety program for racetracks.