Boxer Spells Out Legislative Agenda : Capitol: Senator highlights a ban on offshore oil drilling along state’s coast and a measure to make stalking by jilted lovers a federal crime.

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In her first speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Thursday spelled out a legislative agenda that includes a proposed permanent ban on offshore oil drilling along the state’s coast and a measure that would make it a federal crime for jilted lovers to engage in stalking.

Boxer also seized the opportunity to endorse President Clinton’s efforts to ban discrimination against homosexuals in the military.

“I recognize the high level of emotion surrounding this issue,” Boxer said. “It is not always easy to understand that other people are different. But if America stands for anything, it is that we are a tolerant nation.”


Boxer joined with four other Democratic women senators, including Dianne Feinstein of California, in sending a letter to Clinton on Thursday conveying their strong support to end bias within the military based on sexual orientation.

In an interview, Boxer said she was “very excited” about the speech, which marked the unofficial kickoff of her Senate career. She spoke from a special podium so that she would not have to hold a small microphone that her male colleagues clip to the upper pocket of their suit coats.

Boxer, one of the most liberal members of the Senate, echoed many of her campaign themes in the speech, from generating jobs in California to protecting the environment. She vowed to work on behalf of the nation’s veterans and combat the “despicable” practice of redlining by financial institutions that discriminate against inner-city borrowers.

“In my campaign for the Senate, I traveled up and down the state and everywhere I heard the same message,” Boxer said. “The people of California, like so many Americans in every state, want change.”

Boxer predicted that within days Congress will take the first steps toward addressing some of the country’s pressing needs by passing three bills that she has long supported--the Family and Medical Leave Act, the National Institutes of Health authorization bill that would fund medical research for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and AIDS, and the Motor Voter bill that would make it easier for Americans to register to vote.

Boxer said within the next few weeks she plans to introduce several bills. The first will be the California Ocean Protection Act, which would provide permanent protection to the California coastline by prohibiting offshore oil drilling within 200 miles of the beach. The coastal waters are now protected against oil drilling under a moratorium that must be renewed each year.


Her anti-stalker legislation would seek to make it a federal crime for anyone to threaten a former lover or estranged spouse while on federal land, crossing state lines or using the telephone.