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Houston May Have A New HERO Before Mayor Annise Parker Leaves Office In January

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But She Vows Not To Support Any Transgender Exemptions

Houston could have a new Equal Rights Ordinance before the end of the year. 

Mayor Annise Parker, who’s term-limited after six years in office, said Wednesday it’s possible the City Council will approve an amended HERO before she steps down in January. 

The original version of HERO, approved by the council 11-6 in May 2014, was resoundingly repealed by voters on Tuesday following an 18-month legal battle. 

“Several council members have talked to me about bringing it back up, perhaps bringing it back up in segments, such as the nondiscrimination in employment and housing and public accommodations separately, so that we could directly deal with those aspects of the ordinance,” Parker said at her weekly press conference. “There may be other ideas.

“It’s possible for us to do something,” Parker added. “You may have noticed that I’m trying to clear as many things off my desk as possible. I don’t really want to leave a lot of contentious items for the next administration, and I’m going to try not to leave this one as well.” 

HERO would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and 13 other characteristics in employment, housing, public accommodations and city contracting. However, opponents built their entire campaign around one aspect of the ordinance — transgender protections in public accommodations — seizing on the debunked myth that it would lead to sexual predators preying on victims in women’s restrooms. 

Other Texas cities have passed nondiscrimination ordinances with exemptions for restroom use by transgender people, but Parker doesn’t intend to let that happen on her watch in Houston. 

NEW: Tweet Of The Day: Houston Mayor Annise Parker Responds To A Tea Party ‘Texan 4 Liberty’

“I cannot support anything that would remove any of the 15 protected categories,” she said. “They were in there because they need the protections that HERO has to offer. 

“What is more fundamental than trying to provide access to a public restroom that is appropriate to the gender of an individual, when all they want to do is use the facilities and go on about their business?” she added. “All of this about pedophiles going into women’s restrooms was an out and out and falsehood, they knew it was a falsehood, and they sold a bill of goods. That’s all I can say. Masterfully played.” 

Any consideration of a new HERO would include discussion of the negative economic impacts brought by voters’ decision to repeal the ordinance, Parker said. Although the NCAA and NFL announced Wednesday they have no plans to move the 2016 Men’s Final Four or the 2017 Super Bowl out of Houston, respectively, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin has requested an emergency meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the issue. 

Meanwhile, Houston business and tourism officials are already raising concerns about the impact of the vote on the city’s reputation and their ability to recruit young talent. 

“It’s the business community that has spoken loudly in Indiana and Arizona, and it’s the business community that’s going to speak here,” Parker said. “We will also of course evaluate what the national and international response from the business community is, because that certainly will make a difference.” 

Although HERO opponents seized upon the transgender bathroom myth, it’s clear this was merely a smokescreen for general opposition to LGBT rights, and they likely would oppose an amended ordinance even if it deals only with employment or housing. 

Jared Woodfill, a spokesman for the anti-HERO Campaign for Houston, told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday night that he doesn’t think gays and lesbians should be protected against discrimination.  

“I think they should be treated as everyone else,” Woodfill said. “I don’t think they should receive special protections. I don’t think homosexuality is an immutable characteristic.”

Game on. 

You can download Mayor Parker’s full November 4 press conference.

 

Image by The Bishop/Twitter

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BREAKING NEWS

Pelosi Officially Notifies US Attorney of Bannon’s Refusal to Comply With Subpoena After Calling for Him to Go to Jail

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Monday evening officially notified the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Channing Phillips, that Trump strategist Steve Bannon has refused to comply with a lawful subpoena.

The rare move comes after a bipartisan vote of the full House, including all Democrats and nine Republicans, to refer Bannon for contempt of Congress.

“The Chair will inform the House that pursuant to H.Res. 730, the Speaker has certified to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia the refusal of Stephen K. Bannon to produce documents in compliance with a subpoena to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol,” is the statement read on the Floor at exactly 6:01:40 p.m.

On Sunday, calling Bannon one of Trump’s “toadies,” Speaker Pelosi called for Bannon to go to jail.

Bannon potentially could be facing a fine and up to 12 months in jail, according to CNN.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Marjorie Taylor Greene Continues Wild AOC Obsession With Crazed Conspiracy Theory: You ‘Participated in Civil War’

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), the most prominent lawmaker named in the bombshell Rolling Stone article, unleashed a wild a conspiracy theory-fueled attack against Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday.

Her tweetstorm, 12 posts long (although she did label one #6 twice) included the demand, usually made by right wing Twitter trolls, to “debate me,” along with false claims AOC is “tear[ing] our country apart because you are a communist,” and “participated in [a] civil war.”

Greene started by retweeting Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet calling for any “member of Congress who helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation’s capitol” to be “expelled.”

Rep. Greene complains “ALL of the thousands of Antifa/BLM foot soldiers of the Democrat Communist Party that attacked innocent Americans, looted & burned private businesses, & more crimes have not been properly charged yet & many were let off.”

She claims AOC and other Democratic lawmakers engaged in a “civil war that was waged in the streets of America during the communist revolution of 2020,” which is a flat-out lie.

Greene also falsely calls U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) a “terrorist sympathizer,” and claims the BLM protests caused over $1 trillion in damage, which is wildly false.

In her provably false screed Greene uses variations of the word “communist” five times, “Socialist” and “Fascist” once each, “civil war” and “vaccine” three times, “Democrat” seven times, “America” or “American” nine times.

 

 

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COMMENTARY

‘Folks Knew Crimes Were About to Be Committed’: Dem Lawmakers Furious Over Republicans’ Involvement in Jan. 6

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Americans are expressing outrage after a bombshell Rolling Stone report that claims several GOP Members of Congress and their staffs were involved in planning and organizing Donald Trump’s January 6 rally that led to the violent and deadly insurrection, along with “Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss.”

Some of those who are among the most outraged are Democratic Members of Congress, who were in the Capitol on January 6 and feared for their lives. Learning that some of their GOP colleagues were involved in the planning of the rally that precipitated the insurrection has been “triggering,” as one House Democrat revealed, adding that it makes her “blood boil.”

The Rolling Stone article cites two “planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C.,” who allege Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) were deeply involved, along with these members of Congress or their aides: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Legal experts have called for those members of Congress and staffers to be expelled if the allegations are true, while one has urged people to “chill,” and let the DOJ do what it needs to.

Related –
‘Just Three Words: Call Your Lawyer’: Legal Experts Weigh in on Bombshell Report Naming Republicans Involved in Jan. 6

But the outrage is palpable.

U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) calls the Rolling Stone article “highly disturbing.”

“No one should be above the law,” he says, “including Members of Congress and former White House Staff. And if pardons were indeed discussed in advance, why would that be? Because folks knew crimes were about to be committed.”

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) says she is “joining the calls for those who helped plan the deadly January 6th insurrection to be immediately expelled.”

“Every Member of Congress that helped to plan the attempted coup of our government shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress.”

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian-American elected to Congress from New York, says she has “angry tears right now,” citing the Rolling Stone report.

“During 1/6, I, like many, texted loved ones goodbye. Countless people have asked if I’ve been ok since & I’ve always answered truthfully that i was fine. But this article was triggering. How could colleagues be traitors? This makes my blood boil.”

She adds:

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) says the Rolling Stone report is “Further reinforcement of why the work of the” House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack “is so important. If any current members of Congress worked with the insurrectionists who threatened the very government they are a part of, they should be removed from office.”

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) says reports like the Rolling Stone article “underscore why the work of the Jan. 6th Committee is so important. We must follow all the facts, no matter where they lead.”

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