State Chamber of Commerce, Dozens of Businesses Come Out Against HB 1523
Meanwhile, the state’s chamber of commerce, along with dozens of businesses and other organizations, have come out against HB 1523, known as theÂ “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.”
The Mississippi House voted 68-44 on Friday to send HB 1523 to the desk of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, but the bill was held on a motion to reconsider that’s expected to be dealt with Monday afternoon. Bryant has said he doesn’t believe the bill is discriminatory, but hasn’t indicated whether he’ll sign it.Â
â€” Ann Telnaes (@AnnTelnaes) April 4, 2016
Earlier Monday, representatives from the Human Rights Campaign,Â the ACLU of Mississippi, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood and staged a joint press conference in Jackson, where they called on House Speaker Phil Gunn, the author of the bill, not to take it up for a final vote, and for Bryant to veto it should it reach his desk.Â
Last week, the Mississippi Economic Council, the state’s chamber of commerce, said it “opposes efforts that would intentionally or unintentionally prevent Mississippi businesses from implementing and enforcing non-discrimination policies or that would limit diversity and inclusion impacting their customers and employees.”Â
“HB 1523 conflicts with this policy,” the Economic Council said.Â
We believe that treating all people equally and fairly is good for business, and discrimination has no place anywhere. #NoOnHB1523
â€” Levi Strauss & Co. (@LeviStraussCo) April 1, 2016
Numerous individual businesses have also come out against HB 1523, including the state’sÂ largest private employer, Nissan Group of North America, as well as Tyson Foods Inc., MGM Resorts International, Toyota , AT&T, IBM, Levi StraussÂ and MassMutual, according to HRC. (The Jackson Free Press hasÂ list of businesses and other organizations opposed to the bill.)
â€” MassMutual (@massmutual) April 1, 2016
“They know it’s not good for their employees,” HRC President Chad Griffin said at Monday’s press conference, according to The Clarion Ledger.Â Griffin said called HB 1523 “a draconian measure that would allow businesses to discriminate by denying services to the LGBT community, legalize Kim Davis-style discrimination on the job, and give taxpayer-funded organizations the right to deny critical services like counseling and mental health care to LGBT people in need.” Â Â
In an editorial published Friday, The Sun HeraldÂ of Biloxi wrote that Gunn has led the state into a “legal, moral and ethical swamp.”Â
“Condemnation of Gunn’s handiwork has been swift and widespread on social media, which for better or worse, is a major molder of public opinion,” the Sun Herald Editorial Board writes. “But Mississippi officialdom’s attitude has been to shrug off criticism, be it for its flag, its Wild West gun laws or the Confederate emblem on its flag. And it continues to dwell near the bottom on most quality of life measures, be it health care, education, or jobs. This law will only make it harder to row against that tide.”
Rt. Rev. Brian R. Seage, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, is also calling on Bryant to veto the bill.Â
“I am aware that some Christian bodies say this legislation is needed,” Seage wrote. “I disagree. It addresses a conflict which does not exist. The Episcopal Church embraces all persons who seek to follow our Lord, and we honor all persons who yearn for equality in this society. Our doors remain open to all Godâ€™s children.”Â
The House is scheduled to convene at 4 p.m. Central time today. Watch the proceedings live here.Â
Image by Blake Feldman viaÂ TwitterÂ
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed
Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.
“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.
Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.
Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.
Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.
A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.
Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticketed via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
‘Absolutely Repulsive’: Some House Republicans Are Now Wearing an Assault Weapon Lapel Pin
- News2 days ago
Kyle Rittenhouse to Face Wrongful Death Lawsuit After 100-Hour Hunt to Find Him
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM1 day ago
GOP’s New ‘Bizarre Obsession’ Shows It Has ‘Gone Crazy’: Morning Joe
- COMMENTARY1 day ago
Trump Spent 2020 Attacking Ballot Drop Boxes – but Now He’s Demanding They Be Deployed in Churches
- News2 days ago
‘When Was Your Most Recent Period?’: Student Athletes in Florida May Be Required to Share Menstrual History
- News2 days ago
George Santos Says Man Interviewed for Staff Position ‘Violated’ His Trust After Secretly Recording Conversation
- News2 days ago
‘They’re Not Taking My Gas Stove’: Joe Manchin Teams Up With Hard Core Republicans to Promote False Claims
- News2 days ago
‘Firehose of Disinformation’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders Picked to Deliver State of the Union Response in Nod to Trump (Video)