Jan 152015
 

Affirmative action programs were created in 1965 to redress the effects of past discrimination. Under these programs minorities, particularly African Americans and women, were given preferential treatment in securing school placement, jobs, promotions and business contracts. The intent of affirmative action programs was also to increase representation of minorities and women in occupations that traditionally had been unavailable to them. However, the racial quotas which were used to insure that minorities were getting good jobs and into good schools were found unconstitutional after complaints of reverse discrimination. Critics claim affirmative action is unconstitutional and has already attained its goals. Supporters claim that without a means to compensate for racial, cultural and economic prejudices, minorities will loose hard-fought representations in our schools, work place and society. Recent public opinion polls show that 75% of Americans oppose affirmative action in college admissions but 68% of Americans favor the principles behind affirmative action. It also found that 82% of African Americans want to retain affirmative action programs compared to 68% of Hispanics and 34% of Whites. Recent Supreme Court rulings on the legality of school quotas did not overturn affirmative action. Rather, it said universities must first consider non-race based plans to include minorities at their schools and added that affirmative action plans could only be used as a last resort to diversify a student body.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current affirmative action policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to prohibit affirmative action programs

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to promote affirmative action programs

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

More than 11 million Americans need long-term care to assist them with performing essential every-day tasks. About 60% of this growing group of Americans is over the age of 65. Childhood disabilities, adult injuries, chronic illness and the aging process all contribute to the increasing need for adequate long term care. Medicaid helps states provide nursing home care for many of these people. Nursing homes and community-based settings such as assisted-living facilities provide registered nurses, licensed rehabilitation therapists, and home health aides employed by certified agencies. Home healthcare services may also be delivered to the homes of elderly, disabled or ill persons in need of medical, nursing, social or therapeutic treatment. Long term care services are usually paid by Medicare and private insurance companies. As our baby boom generation ages, perhaps 30 million more Americans will either choose or be forced to seek long term care. As insurance companies scramble to capture as much of this market as possible, there have been inevitable disputes with policyholders. Advocates say our elderly can be vulnerable to the unscrupulous tactics used by the representatives of these companies.

Pending Legislation:

S.998 – Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act

I oppose reforming current long term care policy and wish to defeat S.998

I support allowing third-party reviews of disputes from long term care policyholders by: requiring such an insurance issuer to develop and implement claims dispute resolution procedures that shall be designed to expeditiously resolve claim disputes; providing for the application of one or more alternative means of dispute resolution involving independent third-party review under appropriate circumstances by entities that are mutually acceptable to the issuer and the enrollee involved, with the decision of such reviewer being binding on the issuer, and wish to pass S.998

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The 1968 Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion or national origin. Later, laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender, those with disabilities and families with children were added. The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is charged with enforcing fair housing laws. It is estimated there are about 4 million cases of housing discrimination each year. Despite legal measures to protect all Americans from housing discrimination, the most commonly targeted victims are still African Americans. Redlining is still prevalent in many areas even though it has been outlawed. Studies have found that minorities who apply for mortgages are three times more likely to be rejected than similarly-qualified Caucasians.

Pending legislation:

H.R.285 – Housing Fairness Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current housing discrimination policy and wish to defeat H.R.285

I support directing the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to conduct a nationwide testing program to: detect and document differences in the treatment of persons seeking to rent or purchase housing or obtain or refinance a home mortgage loan; measure patterns of adverse treatment because of the race, color, religion, sex, familial status, disability status, or national origin of a renter, home buyer, or borrower; and measure the prevalence of such discriminatory practices across housing and mortgage lending markets; directing the Secretary to implement a competitive matching grant program to assist public and private nonprofit organizations in: conducting comprehensive studies of the causes and effects of housing discrimination and segregation on education, poverty, and economic development or on veterans and military personnel; and implementing pilot projects that test solutions to help prevent or alleviate housing discrimination and segregation, and wish to pass H.R.285

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Record numbers of women have entered the workforce in recent decades. However, they often earn less money than men who are working at similar or identical jobs. The male–female income differential, also called the gender pay gap, refers to the ratio of female to male yearly median earnings among full-time workers. In 2010, the median income of full-time workers was about $43,000 for men and $35,000 for women. The female-to-male earnings ratio was 0.81, meaning that, on average, female workers earned 19% less than their male peers. Studies show much wider gaps exist for women of color and working mothers, and these disparities exist in both the private and government sectors. Women make up about half our workforce and more than 70% are mothers of young children. Some say the pay gap is a myth, arguing that women’s choices, not discrimination, account for the wage gap. Others disagree saying that in most cases, mothers do chose to have children, but they don’t choose the discrimination that often accompanies that decision. They claim women earn less than men even when they work the same number of hours, a gap that exists across every educational level. They say hundreds of studies which have confirmed gender pay differences can only be explained by continued intentional discrimination, or the lingering effects of past discrimination. Advocates say pay disparity greatly undermines the stability of many American households and the quality of life of many American families.

Pending Legislation:

S.84 & H.R.377 – Paycheck Fairness Act

H.R.951 – Women and Workforce Investment for Nontraditional Jobs

I oppose reforming current pay gap policy and wish to defeat S.84 & H.R.377 and H.R.951

I support requiring employers to show pay disparity is related to job-performance rather than gender; prohibiting employers from firing employees who disclose and discuss their salaries publicly; increasing compensation women can seek for pay discrimination and allowing women to not only seek back pay, but also punitive damages; approving grants to strengthen salary negotiation and other workplace skills and requiring the Department of Labor to enhance outreach and training efforts to eliminate pay disparities, and wish to pass S.84 & H.R.377

I support increasing low-income women’s participation in high-wage, high-demand occupations in which women make up less than 25% of the current workforce by authoring grants to provide technical assistance to eligible entities and to state registered apprenticeship programs and sponsors and joint apprenticeship training councils in meeting their enrollment goal for low-income women in nontraditional occupations; develop policies and protocols that set goals for hiring specific percentages of women into registered apprenticeships and permanent employment openings in publicly assisted projects; and engage in outreach activities and provide training to overcome stereotypes about women in nontraditional occupations as well as gender inequity among employers, and wish to pass H.R.951

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The 1990 Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is a broad civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on one’s disability. It provides protections against discrimination for Americans with disabilities in much the same way as the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination against race, religion, natural origin and gender. A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity. These activities include seeing, walking, sitting, lifting, breathing, learning, working and many more. It is estimated that 20% of all Americans have at least one diagnosed physical or psychological disability. There are more than 40 million Americans who are disabled today. One of the main reasons for the ADA is to insure access and accommodations for Americans with disabilities in our places of work. Advocates say removing the barriers to employment, transportation, public accommodations and services enable people who are disabled to better contribute to society, benefiting us all. Most of the opposition to the ADA comes from businesses, churches and other public places that require physical modification of their facilities. ADA critics say we’ve gone overboard on these regulations. They claim unscrupulous attorneys often file lawsuits against property owners before giving them an opportunity to respond or correct problems related to limited access to their facilities.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.994 – ACCESS (ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services) Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Americans with Disabilities Act policy and wish to defeat H.R.994

I support prohibiting an aggrieved person from commencing a civil action for discrimination based on the failure to remove a structural barrier to entry into an existing public accommodation unless the owner or operator of such accommodation: is provided a written notice specific enough to identify such barrier; and has, within specified time periods, either failed to provide the aggrieved person with a written description outlining improvements that will be made to remove such barrier or provided such description and failed to remove such barrier, and wish to pass H.R.994

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

People have long proposed paying reparations to the descendants of American slaves. This plan is similar to agreements that have paid settlements to Holocaust survivors, American Indians and Japanese Americans imprisoned during the war. It has been suggested the amount of reparations for a two-adult African American family should be about $35,000. Some people have suggested reparations should be used to promote African American businesses or establish scholarship funds for descendants of slaves rather than paid as individual cash benefits. Reparation supporters claim our government owes a debt to African Americas because slavery was protected by our Constitution and slave labor was used in the construction of our nation. Several American cities have passed resolutions supporting slavery reparations. Opponents say any reparations that were due these decedents have already been paid by our Civil War and 30 years of affirmative action programs. They also claim there is no way to know who is eligible to receive benefits from possible reparations since not all African Americans are decedents of former slaves.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.40 – Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act

I oppose reforming current slavery reparations policy and wish to defeat H.R.40

I support establishing the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans to examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies, and wish to pass H.R.40

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Statistics show that most Americans between the ages of 25 and 75 will spend at least one year living below the poverty line of $23,000/year. There are now at least 47 million people, or nearly 1 of every 6 Americans, living in poverty. Our poverty rate is the highest it has been since 1965 and we lead all other wealthy industrialized nations, by far, with this dubious distinction. The swollen ranks of our poor are on track to erase the gains from our War on Poverty in the 1960s. Many blame the weak economy and a fraying government safety net. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF), sometimes referred to as welfare, is a federal assistance program for the needy. TANF provides temporary cash assistance to indigent American families with dependent children. There is a 60 month lifetime limit on these modest benefits. TANF benefits have been steadily decreasing since the landmark social service reforms of the Clinton Administration. The share of poor families with children that are drawing cash benefits plummeted from 68% to 27% between 1996 and 2010. During the same period, the number of poor families with children grew from 6.2 million to 7.3 million.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.814 – Rewriting to Improve and Secure an Exit Out of Poverty Act

I oppose reforming current Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program policy and wish to defeat H.R.814

I support requiring states to provide assistance sufficient to meet the survival needs of families; providing benefits and services to families at risk of having a child removed from the home because of poverty; suspending the 5-year time limit during a recession; allowing mothers to keep child support on top of welfare; entitling family members to benefits who are caring fulltime for disabled children, parents or other relatives; expediting benefits for domestic violence survivors; excluding student aid from welfare calculations and ending the 12-month educational limits so that mothers can once again pursue a 2-4 year college education; entitling mothers to refuse jobs below minimum wage or at work sites on strike or lockout, and wish to pass H.R.814

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Our Social Security Administration considers people to be disabled if medical conditions prevent them from doing their regular jobs and if they are unable to adapt to a new occupation. There is a record 11 million American workers currently receiving federal disability benefits, many of them temporarily. Permanently disabled workers will receive modest support for the rest of their lives. Many American workers with disabilities are also employed. However, the Fair labor Standards Act of 1938 legally allows workers that are disabled to be paid wages that are less than minimum wage. Workers with various sensory, physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities often work in segregated workplaces called “sheltered workshops.” The federal government purchases some of products made in these workshops to help provide employment to these Americans. There are at least 300,000 workers with disabilities who are paid les than minimum wage. Advocates claim this allows some employers to exploit these workers. They say that those with disabilities, given proper training and support, have the ability and right to work in most jobs earning the same wages as their peers.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.831 – Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current workers with disabilities policy and wish to defeat H.R.831

I support directing the Secretary of Labor to discontinue issuing to any new profit or non-profit or governmental entity special wage certificates (which permit individuals with disabilities, including individuals employed in agriculture, to be paid at lower than minimum wages); amending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to repeal authority and requirements for the issuance of such certificates three years after enactment of this Act; requiring revocation of any certificates remaining at that time, and wish to pass H.R.831

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

There are currently about 30,000 gay and lesbian binational couples living here now, many of them recently married. Since our Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, same sex couples can legally marry. This ruling also enables same sex couples to apply for their foreign-born partners to become citizens. In most cases this will be no more difficult for LGBT binational couples than it is for other couples with foreign-born partners. However, some of these foreign born husbands, wives or fiancées are in this country illegally, many because they have overstayed their visas. Without a waiver, applications for permanent residency are usually denied for foreigners who have overstayed their visit. A waiver requires proof of the couple’s relationship among other requirements. Some binational partners have been refused entrance when attempting to return stateside after visiting their home countries. Other partners could face deportation if they cannot attain an immigration waiver. Advocates say we should not break up these, or any other family, over a technicality.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current LBGT binational spouse policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to grant immigration waivers to foreign-born LBGT spouses

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

A working parent is one who is both employed in the workforce and performs duties as a childcare provider. Women now make up about half our workforce and more than 70% of these workers are mothers of children under the age of 18. In addition to earning substantially less than women who are childless, working mothers face additional challenges. Some must find secret locations to pump breast milk. Others must explain to employers their reasons for being absent, late or working from home when their child is sick or has a snow-day. Some say that although mothers have flourished in work environments, women still feel pressure from stereotypical gender assumptions of being the prime care-takers of children. If true, this pressure is manifested in the time schedules of most working moms, for whom personal time and space are rare luxuries. Most would agree it is very difficult balancing the demands of a job with those of a family. Job requirements and work-related events and travel often conflict with the demands of maintaining a household, helping with homework, nursing an ill child, or attending school, sports and family activities. Advocates say flexibility in working hours makes a big difference to working moms.

Pending legislation:

S.1248 & H.R.2559 – Flexibility for Working Families Act

S.934 & H.R.1941 – Supporting Working Moms Act of 2013

H.R.1406 – Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current working mothers policy and wish to defeat S.1248 & H.R.2559, S.934 & H.R.1941, and H.R.1406

I support authorizing an employee to request from an employer a temporary or permanent change in the terms or conditions of the employee’s employment if the request relates to: the number of hours the employee is required to work, the times when the employee is required to work or be on call for work, where the employee is required to work, or the amount of notification the employee receives of work schedule assignments; making it unlawful for an employer to interfere with any rights provided to an employee under this Act; authorizing an employee to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor for any violations of such rights; providing for the investigation and assessment of civil penalties or the award of relief for alleged violations, and wish to pass S.1248 & H.R.2559

I support requiring that certain employers provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child, and wish to pass S.934 & H.R.1941

I support authoring private employers to provide compensatory time off to private employees at a rate of 1½ hours per hour of employment for which overtime compensation is required; authorizing an employer to provide compensatory time only if it is in accordance with an applicable collective bargaining agreement or, in the absence of such an agreement, an agreement between the employer and employee; prohibiting an employee from accruing more than 160 hours of compensatory time; requiring an employee’s employer to provide monetary compensation, after the end of a calendar year, for any unused compensatory time off accrued during the preceding year; requiring an employer to give employees 30-day notice before discontinuing compensatory time off; prohibiting an employer from intimidating, threatening, or coercing an employee in order to: interfere with the employee’s right to request or not to request compensatory time off in lieu of payment of monetary overtime compensation, or requiring an employee to use such compensatory time; making an employer who violates such requirements liable to the affected employee in the amount of the compensation rate for each hour of compensatory time accrued, plus an additional equal amount as liquidated damages, reduced for each hour of compensatory time used, and wish to pass H.R.1406

 Posted by at 12:00 am