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ENDA: One Of The Greatest Jobs Bills Never Passed

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ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has lived in Congress in one form or another since 1974, was again supposed to be reintroduced in Congress today by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), but Franks’ spokesperson, Harry Gural, reported moments ago that Frank is awaiting more cosponsors before he officially reintroduces it. In the last Congress, ENDA had 203 cosponsors in the House, and 45 in the Senate.

Critics and proponents believe it has little chance of passing, given the current composition of Congress. ENDA itself has been introduced into every Congress but one since 1994.

Michael K. Lavers at Edge reports, “Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-Fla.], gay Congressmen David Cicilline [D-R.I.] and Jared Polis [D-Colo.] and lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin [D-Wis.] are among the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act’s more than two dozen co-sponsors. Frank conceded it is highly unlikely that the GOP-controlled House will pass ENDA during this Congress, but he stressed to activists who attended the Capitol Hill announcement that they need to begin to lay the groundwork for ENDA’s eventual passage–which he predicted would happen sometime over the next four to six years–now.

“The essential part of it is that people do the lobbying now,” said Frank.”

The Need For ENDA

It’s impossible to gather statistics for something as intangible as the number of people fired for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, in part because most people who are fired for being LGBTQ aren’t told that’s the reason, and in part because it’s easy to couch something like that in other reasons. But studies show that anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace is extreme.

Here are just a few statistics:

  • 47% of people who are transgender report workplace harassment.
  • Only 12 states and Washington, D.C. prohibit employment discrimination based on both gender identity and sexual orientation. So, in 38 states you can be fired for gender identity or gender expression, including for being transgender.
  • In 29 states you can be fired for being gay, lesbian or bisexual.
  • Gay men earn 10% to 32% less than similarly qualified heterosexual men. (Williams Institute)
  • Transgender people report high rates of unemployment and very low earnings. (Williams Institute)

HRC, the Human Rights Campaign, in its 2009 “Degrees of Equality” study reports, “significant numbers of LGBT employees continue to experience a negative workplace climate that appears to be unaffected by organizational policies and which varies by location, manager and work team. The majority of LGBT workers (51 percent) hide their LGBT identity to most at work, the simplest indication that more work needs to be done to translate inclusive policies into an inclusive climate. Hiding one’s LGBT identity is even more pronounced among younger workers. Only 5 percent of LGBT employees ages 18 to 24 say they are totally open at work, compared to more than 20 percent in older age cohorts.

“Employees who are not open at work experience more negative outcomes from their workplace environment that affect productivity, retention and professional relationships. For example, 54 percent of LGBT employees who are not open to anyone at work report lying about their personal lives, compared to 21 percent of employees open about their LGBT identity. LGBT workers’ inability to participate honestly in everyday conversations hinders trust and cohesion with their co-workers and superiors.

“An employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity are often unavoidable in casual, non-work-related conversations among co-workers. A total of 89 percent of LGBT employees say conversations about social lives come up at least once a week; 80 percent confront conversations involving spouses, relationships and dating at least once per week; and, 50 percent say the topic of sex arises at least once a week. These frequent conversations are the most likely to make LGBT employees feel uncomfortable: Fewer than half feel very comfortable talking about any of these topics.

“Derogatory comments and jokes still happen at work and are a major indicator that it is unsafe to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity at work. A total of 58 percent of LGBT workers say someone at work makes a joke or derogatory comment about LGBT people at least once in a while. Similarly, jokes and derogatory comments about other minority groups are equally indicative of a negative climate. About two-thirds (62 percent) of LGBT employees say negative comments about minority groups are made at least once in a while at work.”

Then there’s this startling news from The Williams Institute’s 2007 “Bias In The Workplace” study:

“Studies conducted from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s revealed that 16% to 68% of LGB respondents reported experiencing employment discrimination at some point in their lives. Since the mid-1990s, an additional fifteen studies found that 15% to 43% of LGB respondents experienced discrimination in the workplace.

“When asked more specific questions about the type of discrimination experienced, LGB respondents reported the following experiences that were related to their sexual orientation: 8%- 17% were fired or denied employment, 10%-28% were denied a promotion or given negative 10 performance evaluations, 7%-41% were 5 verbally/physically abused or had their workplace 0 vandalized, and 10%-19% reported receiving unequal pay or benefits.

When transgender individuals were surveyed separately, they reported similar or higher levels of employment discrimination. In six studies conducted between 1996 and 2006, 20% to 57% of transgender respondents reported having experienced employment discrimination at some point in their life. More specifically, 13%- 56% were fired, 13%-47% were denied employment, 22%-31% were harassed, and 19% were denied a promotion based on their gender identity.

“When surveyed, many heterosexual co-workers report witnessing sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace.

“A small number of researchers have also asked heterosexuals whether they have witnessed discrimination against their LGB peers. These studies revealed that 12% to 30% of respondents in certain occupations, such as the legal profession, have witnessed antigay discrimination in employment.

“In states that currently prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, LGB people file complaints of employment discrimination at similar rates to women and racial minorities.”

So why has this bill, introduced now nine times, not to mention in another form, to be added into the civil rights act of 1964, never passed?

Here’s the ENDA introduced in 2009. The one Frank was to introduce today is the exact same one, transgender-inclusive.

 

(map and key image: HRC. graph: Williams Institute)


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‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

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The co-author of the likely unconstitutional Louisiana bill mandating the Ten Commandments be posted in every public classroom from kindergarten through college “can’t fathom” why Americans across the country are so upset.

Republican Governor Jeff Landry signed the bill into law Thursday, after bragging he welcomed civil rights groups that threatened to sue, a promise fulfilled on Thursday by the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

“The first amendment promises that we all get to decide for ourselves what religious beliefs, if any, to hold and practice, without pressure from the government. Politicians have no business imposing their preferred religious doctrine on students and families in public schools,” the group of civil rights organizations said in a statement, The Guardian reported.

Louisiana Republican state Rep. Lauren Ventrella, an attorney who co-authored the bill, told CNN Thursday afternoon she couldn’t even “fathom” why anyone would be upset over the government mandating a religious text be posted on the walls of every classroom.

RELATED: ‘Smug’: Governor Scorched for Signing Ten Commandments Bill as Child Faints

“Look, this nation has gotten out of hand,” Rep. Ventrella said, “with crime, with the bad negative things that are going on.”

Nationwide, crime has plummeted under President Joe Biden, but for decades Louisiana has had the highest murder rate per capita in the country – three times the national average – according to FBI statistics. For overall crime, Louisiana ranks second worst in the country.

“Why is it so preposterous that we would want our students to have the option to have some good principles instilled in them if they don’t hear it at home, let them read it in the classroom,” Ventrella told CNN’s Boris Sanchez. “It’s no different than the Mayflower Compact which is mentioned in the document as well. I don’t understand why this is so preposterous in that litigation is being is being threatened. It doesn’t scare us in the state of Louisiana, we say bring it on.”

Sanchez explained, “if someone has a home in which they choose to believe something different, which is welcome in this country – it’s literally why people fled to come here to found this country to begin with – then they should be allowed to, and it’s not really an option if you’re requiring it to be put up in the wall of the classroom. What do you say to the parents of students or even teachers who don’t share your religious views?”

“Don’t look at it,” Ventrella angrily replied.

“What would you say if your child had to go to a classroom in which the Five Pillars of Islam were required to be on the wall? How would you feel?” Sanchez replied.

“Again, this is not about the Five Pillars of Islam. This bill specifically states, the Ten Commandments, it is a historical document,” she claimed.

READ MORE: How SCOTUS ‘Let Trump Off the Hook’ and ‘Interfered in the 2024 Elections’: Expert

Adding he was trying to help the Louisiana GOP lawmaker “put yourself in the shows of someone you may not understand and their point of view,” Sanchez asked, “How would you feel if you were at the classroom and something you didn’t believe in was required to be on the wall? You can answer that question.”

“I cannot sit here and gather and fathom what – you could give me 1000 hypotheticals, but again, this specific bill applies to this specific text, the Qur’an or Islam that is a very broad statement. We’re specifically talking about a limited text on mind you a piece of paper that’s not much bigger than a legal sheet of paper. Some kids might even need a magnifying glass to read all of this. This is not so preposterous that we’re we’re somehow sanctioning and forcing religion down people’s throat. I’ve heard the comments and it’s just ridiculous.”

Critics are furious.

Former Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh replied, “Yes, what Louisiana just signed into law is unconstitutional & will be struck down by the courts. But this is just the latest evidence that my former political party would abandon the Constitution to make America a Christian theocracy.”

“Interesting State Rep. Ventrella says if students aren’t hearing about the Ten Commandments in the home they should hear it in school — which contradicts numerous bills they passed against schools teaching things parents don’t want taught,” observed Nexstar’s capitol bureau chief Shannon Heckt remarked.

Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison issued a statement in response.

“Watch this… folks this has very little to do with actual religion (because I guarantee you the majority of the MAGA Republicans who voted for this in the legislature don’t live up to these commandments),” he began. “As a Christian, I don’t feel compelled to force my religion and beliefs on others. I believe my path to salvation is paved by my actions and not impacted by the actions & beliefs of others.”

“My friends.. this is about control… these right-wing MAGA extremists want to control every aspect of our lives: control our bodies; who we love; who we pray to; how we express ourselves; what we read; who we vote for; and so much more,” he continued. “They are extreme, dangerous and unhinged. This is no time… this is no election to FAFO, because our freedoms and all we hold dear are on the ballot this November. Don’t be silent… let your voice be heard!”

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

 

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‘Smug’: Governor Scorched for Signing Ten Commandments Bill as Child Faints

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Louisiana Republican Governor Jeff Landry signed into law on Thursday legislation mandating a version of the Bible’s Ten Commandments must be posted in every public school classroom, after bragging he looked forward to civil rights groups suing him. Gov. Landry, the former state attorney general, has been criticized nationally for what experts say is a violation of the First Amendment, but that criticism widened Thursday as a little girl standing behind the governor appeared to faint as the governor continued his remarks (video below), apparently without noticing.

After the governor described the bill to tremendous applause from guests, the child fell to the floor. Governor Landry, seemingly unaware, continued, declaring, “if you want to protect the rule of law you got to start from the original law giver.”

Highlighting what some experts see as the First Amendment violation in the law he was about to sign, Landry continued, claiming Moses was the original lawgiver.

READ MORE: ‘Morally Bankrupt Loser’: Top Trump VP Contender Wants to Deport 20 Million People

Historians and religious experts might disagree with the governor. In some cultures, for example, Hammurabi, King of Babylon, is credited as the original lawgiver. In Ancient Greece, Athenian statesman Solon is considered to have that role. And in ancient India, that role belonged to Manu.

Responding to Landry’s “original lawgiver” remark, researcher Eric Kleefeld commented, “If that’s your rationale, then you ought to be posting the Code of Ur-Nammu, the oldest known set of written laws that archaeologists have ever found, from ancient Sumeria.”

Critics blasted Landry, both for not realizing the child directly behind him had fallen ill, and for the alleged First Amendment violation.

“Gov. Landry with a self-satisfied smug look while a young child passes out behind him,” remarked MSNBC legal correspondent Katie Phang.

“Christian Nationalism is front and center in the South. Scared of Project 2025? It’s happening in our states,” commented U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL).

READ MORE: How SCOTUS ‘Let Trump Off the Hook’ and ‘Interfered in the 2024 Elections’: Expert

“Remember everyone…this is about the kids. Not the one me whom literally passed out behind him. But, definitely kids,” commented former Lincoln Project executive director Fred Wellman.

Louisiana ranks near the bottom in education, at number 47 according to U.S. News and World Report.

Watch the video below or at this link.

RELATED: ‘I Can’t Wait to Be Sued’ Gov. Brags Over Ten Commandments Bill – Rights Groups Vow To Oblige

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Pence’s $10 Million Spending Spree Will Help Trump Campaign on Tax Cuts for the Rich

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Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is not endorsing Donald Trump, is spending $10 million in an effort to preserve the Trump tax cuts that largely benefitted ultra-wealthy millionaires and billionaires, which will help his ex-boss’s re-election efforts.

Advancing American Freedom, Pence’s political advocacy group, “is launching a $10 million campaign to push for an extension of the Trump-era tax cuts, which are set to expire next year and will likely play a key role in the 2024 election,” according to The Hill.

President Joe Biden has said he wants to eliminate Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for those making over $400,000, NBC News reports The tax cuts have added $1 to $2 trillion dollars to the national debt.

“A CBO report in May estimated that extending the provisions of Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would increase deficits by nearly $5 trillion into 2034,” the Associated Press reports, adding that Pence’s group is “press[ing] conservatives not to stray from the fight before the November election.”

READ MORE: How SCOTUS ‘Let Trump Off the Hook’ and ‘Interfered in the 2024 Elections’: Expert

Pence’s group also “released a 13-page blueprint Thursday with arguments being made to Capitol Hill and to voters in swing states, particularly in those that could decide control of the Senate.”

“As of May 2020, the Tax Policy Center estimated the tax cuts would add between $1 and $2 trillion to the federal debt by 2025. The Center for American Progress estimated the bill will have cost roughly $1.7 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2023 on June 30,” according to a 2023 USA Today fact check on the Trump tax cuts.

“The benefits of the 2017 tax changes were overwhelmingly skewed toward the wealthy,” the Center for American Progress reported in April. It provided “the largest tax cuts to the very wealthy,” which “failed to trickle down to ordinary workers.”

“The most significant piece of legislation former President Donald Trump signed during his first term had a dramatic cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent as its centerpiece,” Center for American Progress Action reported last week in “Trump’s $50 Billion Tax Giveaway to the 100 Largest Corporations.”

“That corporate tax cut did not trickle down to ordinary workers but cost $1.3 trillion and helped fuel a record $1 trillion in stock buybacks the year after it passed.”

READ MORE: ‘I Can’t Wait to Be Sued’ Gov. Brags Over Ten Commandments Bill – Rights Groups Vow To Oblige
 

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