Public Policy News

Florida Supreme Court to Consider Abortion Restriction, Won’t Block Law for Now
1/24/2023

 

The Florida Supreme Court agreed to take up a lawsuit challenging the state’s 15-week abortion ban but denied a motion to temporarily block the law while litigation continues. The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Planned Parenthood, multiple abortion providers and a physician, argues the  2022 law violates the state Constitution’s right to privacy clause. Last summer, Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper issued a temporary injunction blocking the new 15-week abortion ban law from taking effect but the state quickly appealed and under an appellate rule, an automatic stay on the injunction was put in place. Plaintiffs then sought to vacate the stay but the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled the new law could be enforced in the meantime due to the plaintiffs failing to prove “irreparable harm.” The challengers then asked the state’s highest court to block the law but in a 4-1 decision on Monday, justices denied the motion. Although Justice Jorge Labarga dissented, the one-paragraph decision did not provide an explanation for the ruling. The court, however, did agree to hear arguments in the case but a timeline is unclear and oral arguments will be scheduled in a separate order. The 15-week abortion ban (HB 5) was passed by the Legislature during last year’s regular session and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in April of 2022. Before the recent law was approved, Florida prohibited abortions at 24 weeks. The new law provides no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking. Case Docket / Politico / Law360 / WFLA / WPTV / Florida Supreme Court Twitter

 

Legislation to Follow

 

HB 0219 – Marriage Between Persons of the Same Sex (Rayner-Goolsby) was filed on 1/17/2023. It removes prohibition on recognition of same-sex marriages; removes prohibition on state & its agencies & subdivisions giving effect to public act, record, or judicial proceeding that respects same-sex marriage or relationship or claim arising from such marriage or relationship. Effective Date: July 1, 2023

 

SB 0270 Equal Rights for Men and Women (Berman)
Equal Rights for Men and Women; Ratifying the proposed amendment to the United States Constitution relating to equal rights for men and women, etc.
Original Filed Version

 

Florida Agency Warns Pharmacists Not to Dispense Abortion Pills
1/16/2023

 

Item 4 of the BPW/FL Public Policy Platform, Health Care, states that BPW/FL supports legislation that ensures reproductive choice and full access to all reproductive health education and services, including prescriptions. With pharmacies in some states preparing to dispense abortion pills, Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration sent a letter Thursday to all state health care providers warning them that to do so in Florida is illegal.  Read the full article here: https://enewspaper.tampabay.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=ed8dcc1c-67ff-4a8c-8f42-4284e7239b09

 

Equal Pay Day 2023 will be March 14
1/13/2023

 

For 2023, the primary recognition date for Equal Pay Day will be Tuesday, March 14.  Each year’s date is selected to be a representation of how far into the current calendar year women must work to be paid what men were paid during the previous year.  The date is based on the latest U.S. Census figures showing that the average woman who works full time is paid on average just 83% of the typical man’s pay.

 

Started by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996, the goal of Equal Pay Day is to raise awareness about the gender wage gap here in the U.S.  But because the pay gap varies significantly among different communities, other Equal Pay Days have been added to the calendar to reflect the fact that many women, particularly women of color or those who work part time or seasonally, must work far longer into the year to catch up to men.  In accordance with our public policy platform, BPW/Florida supports efforts to help close the wage gap, and we encourage all of our local organizations to participate in marking this year’s Equal Pay Day.

 

League of Women Voters of Florida Announces Legislative Webinar
1/10/2023

 

LWV of Florida announced the next first edition of its “Lunch & Learn” series for 2023! This week’s webinar will feature a program centered around the League of Women Voters of Florida’s 2023 legislative priorities. In 2023, the League’s efforts will have a strategic focus in the following areas (while there is not 100% alignment of the LWV/FL’s and BPW/FL’s goals, there is significant overlap):

  • Voting Rights & Election Reform
  • Reproductive Health & Justice
  • Education
  • Natural Resources

 

The 2023 Florida legislative session begins on Tuesday, March 7 and is scheduled to end on Friday, May 5. Each year, thousands of bills are filed in advance of the 60-day session and it can be difficult to makes sense of which laws could be impactful to everyday Floridians. Join the League on January 13 at 1:00 p.m. (ET) to learn more from various members of LWVFL’s state action teams that have been selected as legislative priorities on legislation they expect to be filled in respect to their areas of expertise and how best to prepare.

 

Agenda:

  • Discussion: What potential bills/policy ideas are being floated around that may interest the League and its positions?
  • Open Q&A Session
  • LWVFL Updates & News

 

To join, Click here to register.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Registrants should save the meeting link provided at registration. This link is unique to you. It will not work for anyone else, so please do not share it.

 

Proposal Would Prevent Release of Most Helium-Filled Balloons
1/6/2023

 

Releasing balloons filled with helium or other lighter than air gas outdoors would be banned under most circumstances under legislation (HB 91) filed Tuesday in the House. Current law allows people to release up to 10 helium balloons into the air. It also allows for the release of any number of balloons that are biodegradable or light degradable as long as they don’t have strings or ribbons attached. The measure filed Tuesday by Rep. Linda Chaney would eliminate those exceptions. The proposal would still allow certain exceptions, such as for weather balloons or others used in government scientific data collection or experiments. When lawmakers put limits on the release of balloons into law back in 2008, they included language in the statute that said “the release into the atmosphere of large numbers of balloons inflated with lighter-than-air gasses poses a danger and nuisance to the environment, particularly to wildlife and marine animals.”

 

Justice Dept.: Despite bans, abortion pills may be mailed to any state
1/5/2023

Legal opinion says existing federal law allows mail delivery because the sender cannot know if the recipient will use the medications illegally.  Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/01/04/abortion-pills-mailed-legal/

 

Feds OK Retail Sales, Delivery of Abortion-Inducing Drugs
1/4/2023

 

Abortion-inducing pills can now be sold at retail pharmacies and delivered via the U.S. Postal Service, according to a new rule finalized by the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday. President Biden moved to expand access to the drugs last year following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that had prevented abortion bans for decades. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel gave clearance to the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the drugs, saying that the mailing of such drugs does not violate a 150-year-old federal law known as the Comstock Act. States with strict abortion laws are expected to challenge the new rule. Associated Press / Axios / New York Times

 

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) Update
12/23/2022

 

The Senate voted 73 to 24 on 12/22 to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA).  With this overwhelming bipartisan support, PWFA passed as an amendment to the omnibus bill and will soon become law!

 

 How to Talk to Friends & Family about Election Disinformation
12/15/2022

 

We want to share this training that is being offered by Common Cause and other leading anti-disinformation groups on how to talk to your friends and family this holiday season about election disinformation.  It is being offered on Friday December 16 and Monday December 19.  You can sign up here:  https://www.mobilize.us/commoncause/event/545324/

 

In this event participants will:

  • Learn the hidden motives behind election disinformation
  • Hear from experts about how they fight online disinformation in their communities
  • Learn how to talk to your loved ones about online election disinformation without ruining the holiday dinner!

 

Participants on the 16th are:

  • Rebeka Islam Executive Director Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote – Michigan
  • John Schmidt Engagement Coordinator, Algorithmic Transparency Institute

 

Participants on the 19th are:

  • Hannah Waltz U.S. Free Expression Programs manager at PEN America
  • Jenny Liu Disinformation and Misinformation Policy Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice| AAJC
  • Josue Romualdo Program Manager For Information Integrity at National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

 

 

Congress Acts to Protect Rights
12/9/2022

 

Item 1 of our Public Policy Platform is Equality for All.  Congress acted to ensure that, unfortunately without the support of either of our Senators.  See this editorial: Congress protects all marriages, without Rubio and Scott | Editorial – Sun Sentinel (sun-sentinel.com)

 

 

What the results of the midterms mean for women’s representation, by the numbers
11/30/2022

 

On the heels of two record election cycles for women candidates, 2022 cements a new normal for levels of representation. The number of women in Congress has stabilized, and next year a record-breaking number of women will serve as governor — including the first out lesbian governors in the country’s history.

 

Multiple representation records will be set in next year’s Congress — 149 women total will serve, with 124 women in the House, one more than the current record. Senate representation will slightly increase, with 25 women senators serving compared with this year’s 24. The number of women senators is still lower than the record of 26, set in 2020. The records were cemented last week when Alaska announced the winners in its House and Senate races. Mary Peltola, the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress, won a full two-year term in the House, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski won reelection.

 

“While we celebrate these new records, the story of women and Congress in 2022 is stasis,” Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), said in a statement. “After breakthrough years in 2018 and 2020, the 2022 midterms remind us that we are still far from parity and our work continues.” The past two election cycles showed that women are good candidates to back, said Kelly Dittmar, CAWP’s director of research. “Women are in these crucial races and crucial positions to determine the balance of power,” she said. “I think at least thus far in the results we’re seeing on the Democratic side, women are key to keeping power.”

 

Part of the reason representation has stabilized is an increase in woman versus woman races — as was the case for Democratic incumbent Elaine Luria, who lost her race for Virginia’s 2nd District to Republican Jen Kiggans. Twenty-five women senators are slated to serve next year. Nineteen of those women senators were not up for election in 2022. Notable is that two races featured all-women candidates: in Arizona and Oregon. Dittmar and Walsh both agree these types of contests are a sign of progress.

 

“It’s also a really good reminder that women get to be as diverse in their viewpoints and perspectives, priorities, etcetera, as their male counterparts,” said Dittmar. In these all-women contests, gender isn’t neutralized but rather deployed in different ways, she explained. “We get to see that being a woman candidate, being a woman doesn’t mean the same thing for everybody.”

 

Read the full story HERE.

 

Virtual Event on Voting Rights on November 28
11/24/22

Item 6 of our Public Policy Platform is Voting Rights, so this event may be of interest.

Virtual Event – Protection of Our Power: Voting Rights are Our Civil Rights
LWVFL President Cecile M. Scoon, Esq. will join the University of Tampa’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice on Monday, November 28 at 6:00 p.m. (ET) to discuss voting and civil rights alongside a representative from the Sentencing Project and Dr. Rhissa Briones Robinson of the University of Tampa.

 

Three Reasons Why Congress Must Pass The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Now
11/15/2022

 

Workers still are routinely denied the temporary job changes they need to have healthy pregnancies — but a bipartisan bill is poised to provide millions of workers with these protections. Although Congress outlawed pregnancy discrimination in 1978, far too many employers still routinely deny pregnant workers the temporary job modifications they need to keep working and have a healthy pregnancy. These requests for “accommodations” — such as more frequent breaks, schedule changes, and reassignment of hazardous tasks — often are denied to pregnant workers, and can result in severe consequences for their health and financial security. Nobody should have to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a job.

 

The bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) would outlaw such discrimination and require employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant workers. The PWFA has never been so close to becoming law. The House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this year, and we’re waiting for the full Senate to take it up for a vote.

 

1: The PWFA is vital for workers’ health.

2: The PWFA protects families from serious financial hardship.

3: The PWFA will help assure equal opportunity for pregnant workers

 

Bottom line: No one should be forced to choose between their job and a healthy pregnancy.

 

The PWFA assures that pregnant workers can keep working, and earning, while also maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Forty years after Congress acted to outlaw pregnancy discrimination, it is long past time for it to assure that workers get the accommodations they need to stay on the job.

 

Click here for the full article: https://www.aclu-in.org/en/news/three-reasons-why-congress-must-pass-pregnant-workers-fairness-act-now

 

Getting to Net Zero
11/4/2022

 

Item 5 of the BPW/FL Public Policy Platform is Environment.  Sometimes it is helpful to talk a global view of this issue.  Climate change and climate action must be embedded into the purpose of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions that were created decades ago, Alok Sharma, COP26 president, told a seminar on reaching net zero. Meeting the climate goals set under the Paris agreement requires an investment of $3 trillion-$6 trillion per year. But current investment stands at $630 billion—five to ten times less than what is necessary.

 

“If we do not shift our trajectory this decade, we are cooked,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told the seminar, moderated by Spain’s economy minister, Nadia Calviño. Cooperation between global, regional, and national actors is essential to fight climate crises, but nothing is possible without climate financing. As the OECD’s Mathias Cormann said, “Governments alone will not be able to generate necessary investment to secure the transition to net zero. We need substantial private sector investment.”

 

Click HERE to watch the video.

 

How Florida has become less voter-friendly.
10/27/2022

Illustration of a falling voting booth against a background with abstract ballot elements.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

 

Florida ranks 33rd in the nation for voting access, according to the nonpartisan 2022 Cost of Voting Index published in the Election Law Journal.

 

What’s happening: Some states made voting easier during the COVID-19 pandemic. Others, like Florida, which dropped five slots from 2020, made it more difficult.

 

Context: The index ranks states by comparing categories like ease of registration, early voting availability, and the hours that polls are open.

 

State of play: Gov. Ron DeSantis has tightened election rules since 2020. This spring, he created a new statewide law enforcement agency to investigate claims of voter fraud, which announced 20 arrests in August.

  • A law he signed last year put new limits on who can collect and drop off ballots, restricted the use of ballot drop boxes, and tightened requirements for non-government groups that hold voter registration drives, among other changes.

 

Of note: DeSantis signed an order this month extending early voting and mail ballot access through Nov. 8 for voters in three counties hardest hit by Hurricane Ian, NPR reports.

 

Zoom out: Florida wasn’t the worst state for voting access. New Hampshire ranked last, followed by Mississippi, Arkansas and Wisconsin.

  • Oregon, which has automatic voter registration and all-mail voting, is considered the easiest state to vote in.

 

What they’re saying: Florida’s “new police force may lead to election interference and voter intimidation,” the voting index authors wrote.

  • They plan to evaluate its effect on the cost of voting after at least one election cycle.

 

Get election-ready: It’s too late to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election, but you can still request a vote-by-mail ballot through Saturday. View your sample ballot here.

Source: Axios

 

 

 

 

Join a virtual discussion on Thursday November 3 12:00-1:15 pm as a panel of experts talk about the critical connection between DEI and health equity, the impact it can have on a company’s bottom line and what employers can do to boost employee satisfaction and move the needle for better health for all employees.

MEET THE EXPERTS

 

Steve Stowe, VP, Executive Director, Miami Heat Charitable Fund

Rachel Thornton, MC, PHd, FAAP, VP, Chief Health Equity Officer, Nemours Childrens’ Health

Karen Pengra, SVP Total Rewards, Travel + Leisure Group

Dr. Kelli Tice, Guidewell & Florida Blue Chief Health Equity Officer, Florida Blue, Moderator

Click HERE to register (it’s free).

 

 

Equity Series | Women with Disabilities: Barriers and Bias in the Workplace


equity webinar women with disabilities

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau is hosting the next webinar in its Equity Series, which will feature a panel discussion about the barriers and biases women with disabilities face in the workplace. Speakers will share practical strategies to create an equitable workplace, educate others on rights for disabled workers, and address challenges that impact disabled women workers. The webinar will focus on how to help employers achieve diverse and inclusive practices for working women with disabilities.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 | 1–2:30 p.m. ET

Click HERE to watch the recording.

 

League of Women Voters “Lunch & Learn”
Friday October 21 at 1:00 pm (ET)
Program Centered around Abortion & Reproductive Rights 

 

The League has supported freedom of choice since 1982 and denounces reproductive coercion in any form. Abortion is currently banned after 15 weeks in Florida due to a new law that has gone into effect. Florida requires a pregnant person to visit their abortion provider for in-person counseling and then wait 24 hours before returning to get an abortion. Florida requires a pregnant person to visit their abortion provider for in-person counseling and then wait 24 hours before returning to get an abortion.

 

You will hear from three esteemed medical experts, Dr. Adriana Cantville, Kelly Flynn and Dr. Nancy Staats, on the facts on abortion in Florida.

 

Kelly Flynn is the founder, President, and CEO of A Woman’s Choice, Inc. A Woman’s Choice offers quality abortion care in three North Carolina clinics and one clinic in Florida. Kelly opened her first clinic 20 years ago at the age of 25. Kelly is a fierce supporter of bodily autonomy and non-judgmental abortion and reproductive healthcare. She has served as a patient supporter, clinic worker, activist, inspirational speaker, and on national boards serving independent abortion care providers. Like many strong professional woman entrepreneurs, she is a devoted mother, caregiver, and dedicated business owner.

 

Nancy Staats, MD is a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist originally from Detroit, MI; she attended college and medical school in MI; medical residency training at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD; worked as a clinician (hospital and surgery centers) and managed multiple surgery center anesthesia departments both in Baltimore and later in Monmouth County NJ from 1993-2017. She was active with her state medical society (NJSSA) and chaired the PAC there for several years. Staats is married to a pain management physician and has 3 grown children, all residing in Washington, DC.

 

Dr. Adriana Cantville is a pediatrician in Jacksonville, Florida and is affiliated with UF Health Jacksonville. Adriana received her medical degree from Nova Southeastern University – College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been in practice for more than a decade.

 

 

 

Agenda:

  • Presentation: Get the Facts on Abortion in Florida
  • Q&A Session with Dr. Adriana Cantville, Kelly Flynn, Dr. Nancy Staats & LWVFL President Cecile Scoon
  • LWVFL Updates & News

Click here to watch a recording of the event (S3-E19).

 

 

Five Year Anniversary of the #MeToo Movement
Provides an Opportunity to Reflect
10/14/2022

 

Item 3 (Safe Workplace) of the BPW/FL Public Policy Platform states: “BPW supports legislation that creates a safe workplace; a workplace free from violence, harassment and assault.  We support legislative funding and education that will ensure workplaces are free from all forms of violence, harassment and assault.”  Anniversaries tend to be a time to reflect, to take stock of the work done and left undone. The #MeToo movement has seen victories and losses in the courtroom, boardrooms, and across institutions from government, to sports, business to media and entertainment.  For more insight from Tarana Burke, who started the movement to raise awareness of how common sexual violence is, click HERE.

 

 

Supreme Court’s Top Cases for New Term
By The Associated Press, October 1, 2022

 

 

The Supreme Court opens its new term Monday, hearing arguments for the first time after a summer break and with new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Already the court has said it will decide cases on a range of major issues including affirmative action, voting rights and the rights of LGBTQ people. The justices will add more cases to their docket in coming months.

 

Here’s a look at some of the cases the court has already agreed to hear, some of which are related to the BPW/FL Public Policy Platform. The justices are expected to decide each of the cases before taking a summer break at the end of June:

  • Affirmative Action
  • Voting Rights
  • Elections
  • Clean Water
  • Immigration
  • LGBTQ Rights
  • Native American Adoption
  • Bacon Law Backlash
  • Art World

 

Click HERE for the full article.

 

Event Playback —
Voter Suppression: A Cancer in Our Body Politic
9/28/2022

 

Item 6 of our public policy platform focuses on voting rights. Unfortunately, the elimination of many polling places, the cancellation of early voting and the intimidation at the polls of voters and election workers are just a few of the signs of voter suppression that have sprouted in recent years as some members of the electorate attempt to attain or to hold on to power by preventing those they regard as potential opponents from voting.

 

As the nation gears up for the 2022 midterm elections in November, ClassACT HR73 hosted the forum “Voter Suppression: A Cancer in Our Body Politic” on September 12th, 2022. The forum brought together journalists, activists and experts concerned with election integrity to discuss how repressing voting threatens our democracy.

 

E.J. Dionne, the renowned Washington Post columnist, moderated a panel that included Congressman Joaquin Castro, Cecile Scoon, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida, Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, and Samuel Spital, the Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.

 

Click here to watch a recording of the event.

Today, September 20, is National Voter Registration Day.
9/20/2022

 

U.S. Census data from 2020 shows that as many as 1 in 4 eligible Americans are not registered to vote. But this year for National Voter Registration Day, we must do more than just register voters—we must ensure everyone is able to access this basic right.

 

The freedom to vote is not a political issue—it is a Constitutional right.

 

Americans of all races, backgrounds, genders and zip codes have the same right to vote. Here’s how you can help:

  • Check that you are registered to vote;
  • If people you know need to register or update their registration due to a move, point them toward Vote411.org;
  • Join organizations that are registering members of your community; and
  • Search #NationalVoterRegistrationDay on social media for informative, shareable content.

 

Voter registration is the key to ensuring that all Americans can make their voice heard in the 2022 midterm elections. Now is the time to help voters get ready to cast their ballots. Take a stand to protect all voters from discrimination at the ballot box. Our democracy works when everyone can fully participate.

EEOC to Hold Commission Meeting Sept. 22 on Future Enforcement Priorities
9/16/2022

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today that it will hold a Commission meeting on Sept. 22, “Shaping the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Priorities,” the final listening session in a series to obtain public input on future enforcement priorities. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. Eastern, and the public can attend the meeting virtually or in person. Witnesses will include representatives from civil rights and workers’ rights organizations; employer and human resource representatives; and attorneys representing plaintiffs and defendants in EEO matters. The meeting with consist of three panels of witnesses, concluding at approximately 3 p.m., with an extended lunch break around 12:30 p.m.

 

The meeting will be the third and last in a series of listening sessions inviting public input into the agency’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for fiscal years 2022-2026. After the agency completes the listening session series, it will consider the feedback from these sessions and any written input to develop a proposed SEP that will be approved by a vote of the full Commission. The SEP will set forth long term priorities for the federal civil rights agency. The first listening session was held in Buffalo, New York on Aug. 22 and focused on racial and economic justice. The second session focusing on vulnerable workers was held virtually on Sept. 12.

 

To watch the third session virtually, members of the public are encouraged to register in advance using the following link: https://eeoc.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_BXpvXw0yS6ylpEIDdN2vTw Virtual attendees can also access a livestream of the listening session via the EEOC’s YouTube channel after the meeting begins without registering in advance. The in-person meeting will be held at EEOC headquarters at 131 M Street NE, Washington, DC 20507. Individuals who wish to attend must show a government-issued photo ID and will be subject to security screening.

 

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

 

This Women’s Equality Day, Celebrating Those Advancing Gender Equity
8/26/2022

 

“August 26 is Women’s Equality Day. One hundred and two years ago, millions of American women officially obtained the constitutional right to vote—it would be decades before women of color secured the same right. Attaining that right to vote was no easy feat: It took over 40 years from the first time the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was introduced to become the law of the land. And even before that, women organizers had been demanding their right to vote since at least the 1840s. Many of the women who organized the movement for suffrage, including women of color, whose stories are too often ignored, faced violence, abuse, jail time, racism, and even torture. Women’s Equality Day is therefore a day of commemoration and celebration, recognizing the extraordinary work of those who advocated for change despite the grave risks to themselves and their families. ”

 

Read the full blog from the Department of Labor HERE.

 

EEOC to Hold Commission Meeting in Buffalo Aug. 22 to Focus on Racial and Economic Justice
8/18/2022

 

Federal Agency Will Examine How to Combat Systemic Racism in First Listening Session to Develop Its Future Strategic Enforcement Plan

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced details about a listening session to take place in Buffalo, NY on Aug. 22, 2022. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. EDT and run until about 3 p.m. EDT. It will be held at the City of Buffalo Common Council Chambers, Buffalo City Hall (65 Niagara Square, 13th Floor, Buffalo, NY 14202). The public may attend in person, and do not need to register in advance, although room capacity is limited. To watch virtually, members of the public are encouraged to register in advance using the following link: https://eeoc.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_YQhvsv0QT-qPlfx3y7S6Ig.

 

The listening session will focus on racial and economic justice and is the first in the agency’s three-part listening series to receive public input regarding priorities and activities that should be included in its Strategic Enforcement Plan for the next five years.

 

Titled “Advancing Racial and Economic Justice in the Workplace,” the EEOC’s Buffalo listening session will be the first Commission meeting held outside of Washington, D.C. since 2015. The Commission will hear from witnesses on suggestions for addressing racial and economic justice in the agency’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for fiscal years 2022-2026. The Strategic Enforcement Plan outlines the EEOC’s priorities and activities to advance equal opportunity in the workplace.

 

Witnesses will include:

  • Thomas Beauford, Jr., President and CEO, Buffalo Urban League
  • Mark Blue, President, NAACP-Buffalo
  • Trina Burruss, Chief Operating Officer, United Way of Buffalo and Erie County
  • Kelly Hernandez, Member of the Board of Directors, Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York
  • Maureen Kielt, Director, EEOC Buffalo Local Office
  • Cindi McEachon, CEO, Peaceprints of WNY
  • Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
  • Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., Director, Center for Urban Studies, University at Buffalo
  • Rolanda Ward, Associate Professor and Endowed Faculty Director of the Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission, Niagara University

 

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

 

EEOC Announces Independent Study Confirming Pay Data Collection is a Key Tool to Fight Discrimination
8/15 2022

 

“The study confirmed what we at the EEOC have long known – collecting and analyzing pay data can be a useful tool in preventing and combating pay discrimination in American workplaces,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “The National Academies’ rigorous examination of the Commission’s historic first pay data collection validates our efforts to collect and use compensation data to achieve pay equity in our nation.”  Click HERE for the full press release.

 

Seeking Information Online Can Be Fraught with Issues
8/1/2022

 

It is critical that we be fully informed on the items on the BPW/FL Public Policy Platform.  The platform endorses reproductive rights but it can be difficult to find accurate information.  Abortion rights supporters are trying to reduce barriers to access through search keywords.  Anti-abortion activists have long dominated the online search strategy game, driving traffic to crisis pregnancy centers.  Post-Roe, that’s starting to change.  Click HERE to find out more.

 

A New Bill Aims To Protect Same-sex Marriage
7/22/2022

 

BPW/FL supports legislation that calls for equality for all (Item 1 of the Public Policy Platform).  This week all Democrats and 47 Republicans in the House joined forces to protect marriage equality at the federal level as legal experts and LGBTQ+ advocates grow increasingly worried those protections are in danger following the overturn of Roe v. Wade.  The bill, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, has support from some Senate Republicans, but is not guaranteed to pass the chamber. Read the full article from The 19th HERE.

 

Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act
7/15/2022

 

Item 3, Safe Workplace, of the BPW/FL Public Policy Platform statesBPW supports legislation that creates a safe workplace; a workplace free from violence, harassment and assault.  We support legislative funding and education that will ensure workplaces are free from all forms of violence, harassment and assault.”  On July 14,  a group of organizations representing millions of women across the country urged the U.S. Senate to pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, a bill introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) that would protect health care and social service workers from violence on the job.  Read the press release HERE and then contact your two US Senators and urge them to support this bill.

 

Title IX 50 Years Later
7/1/2022

 

BPW/FL’s Public Policy Platform begins with “Equality for All.”  50 years ago, it took just 37 words to change the course of education for millions of women and girls in the United States.  “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

 

Read this very informative article that looks at Title IX, the Equal Rights Amendment and Roe v Wade (all passed/issued within a 12 month period) and why only one of the three is still standing today.

 

 

News Release

STATEMENT BY WOMEN’S BUREAU DIRECTOR WENDY CHUN-HOON
ON THE US SUPREME COURT DECISION TO OVERTURN ROE V. WADE

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau Director Wendy Chun-Hoon issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade:

 

“The right to reproductive freedom – which includes the right to access legal abortion services – is fundamental to women’s autonomy, health outcomes and economic security. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau is the only federal agency authorized by Congress to represent the needs and interests of working women. As such, the Women’s Bureau is uniquely positioned to safeguard the needs of working women and advocate for their equality, which includes access to safe reproductive health options such as abortion, contraception and comprehensive maternity care.

 

“Today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will allow states to ban or significantly restrict access to abortion immediately, often without any exceptions. This means women will lose access to safe, reliable and accessible reproductive medical care. It is an outcome that will have a catastrophic impact on women’s employment and economic security.

 

“Research has shown – repeatedly and consistently – that reproductive autonomy is linked directly to a woman’s ability to get an education, participate in the labor force and increase their earning potential. It has also helped to narrow the gender wage gap.

 

“For more than 100 years, the Women’s Bureau has been committed to advancing the status of working women. Today that means an explicit acknowledgement that access to abortion and all other personal reproductive choices is an issue of health and personal liberty as well as an economic issue that determines the welfare of working women.”

 

Learn more about the Women’s Bureau.

Agency: Women’s Bureau
Date: June 24, 2022
Release Number: 22-1354-NAT
Media Contact: Mandy McClure
Phone Number:; 202-693-4675
Email: McClure.Amanda.C@dol.gov

 

 

Roe v. Wade Overturned

June 24, 2022

 

In a decision that will impact millions of women and child-bearing people, the Supreme Court of the US today ruled 6 – 3 to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. Today’s ruling fails to even say the word “women.” When women and other childbearing people can no longer control their own bodies, they are no longer equal in our democracy. Further, this decision threatens the status of other constitutional rights, such as those protecting marriage equality, intimate conduct, and the right to contraception.

 

This ruling runs counter to Item 4 of the BPW/FL Public Policy Platform, which begins “BPW/FL supports legislation that ensures reproductive choice and full access to all reproductive health education and services, including prescriptions.” BPW/FL will continue to advocate for reproductive choice, education and services in Florida in spite of today’s ruling.

 

Abortion in Florida is legal. However, there are certain restrictions on abortion procedures. As of July 1, 2022, abortions in Florida are banned after 15 weeks. Abortions are completely banned after that time unless two physicians certify in writing that, in reasonable medical judgment, terminating the pregnancy is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life. A provider can also perform an abortion to avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the woman “other than psychological,” or if the fetus has not achieved viability. Before an abortion, if you are a minor living in Florida, it is a state law that parents or guardians are notified first.

 

 

“Tales of Roe”

6/6/2022

 

Item 4, Health Care, on our Public Policy Platform begins: “BPW/FL supports legislation that ensures reproductive choice and full access to all reproductive health education and services, including prescriptions.“ The lead article on the front page of the 6/5/2022 Tampa Bay Times gave a very good analysis on how the issue of reproductive choice affects working women.

https://www.bpwfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Tales-of-Roes-TBT-2022-06-05.pdf

 

 

Legislative Action on Climate Change Needed

4/1/2022

 

The numbers are stark: Based on an analysis from the Center for American Progress (CAP), 109 representatives and 30 senators in the 117th U.S. Congress—more than 25 percent of the entire Congress—refuse to acknowledge the scientific evidence that human-caused climate change is real. And these same 139 climate-denying members have received more than $61 million in lifetime contributions from the coal, oil, and gas industries.

 

Sign CAP’s open letter to climate deniers, demanding they face the facts.

 

Climate change is no longer a distant threat looming in the future. In 2020, 22 extreme weather events caused more than more than $20 billion in damage in the United States alone. That’s a new record. Last year, with the backdrop of a deadly pandemic, Americans had to flee their homes, seeking shelter in the face of out-of-control wildfires, an unprecedented number of hurricanes, and even sweltering heat waves—events that exacerbate already unacceptable racial and economic inequalities.

 

Yet, 25 percent of our elected officials in Congress still deny human-caused climate change. We can’t let this stand, and we urgently need your voice.

 

We know how to solve climate change, and the public does, too. With deep and immediate cuts to U.S. carbon dioxide emissions; investments that create jobs in the clean economies of the future; and meaningful work to right decades of environmental injustices, we can get to the clean future that humans need to survive. Climate change featured prominently in the 2020 presidential election, with younger voters ranking climate action as their top priority.

 

Today is Equal Pay Day!

03/15/2022


As most of us know, BPW is one of many women’s organizations around the country that recognizes Equal Pay Day each year.  Today represents the day in the current year that all women, on average, must work until to have finally earned the same amount that a man in a similar job would have earned in just the prior calendar year, and the gap is wider than the average for women of color.  We recognize Equal Pay Day to continue to raise awareness of the wage gap, and the need to close it.

 

Today, the White House is unveiling a series of actions that are intended to help narrow the gender and racial wage gaps.  The first action is a proposal by the Office of Personnel Management that will address the usage of prior salary histories when hiring and setting wages for federal employees.

 

Secondly, President Biden will sign an executive order that will limit how federal contractors can solicit and use information about workers’ salary histories when making employment decisions, and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will issue a directive that clarifies contractors’ obligations to analyze their compensation.

 

And the third action will be the issuance of a report by the DOL on the concentration of female employees in many low-wage sectors and the resulting impact on their economic well-being.

 

Also today, Vice-President Kamala Harris will host a White House virtual summit recognizing Equal Pay Day, which will be attended by members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, who recently settled a landmark equal pay lawsuit.

Contact Information for Members of the Florida Legislature

 

Click HERE, to find contact information for all members of the Florida Legislature.

 

Activity in the Florida Legislature as of February 21, 2022

 

In addition to the bills mentioned in previous Public Policy updates, another pair of bills that members of BPW/FL should be aware of are HB7 and SB148.  The legislature is promoting these as bills relating to Individual Freedom, but the reality is that these bills seek to limit the ability of teachers in Florida schools, or employers in the state of Florida, to freely discuss concepts related to discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, or health education.  BPW/FL’s Public Policy Platform items #1 (Equality for All) and #3 (Safe Workplace) cannot be achieved if we cannot even discuss the underlying issues without threat of retaliation.  The portion of these bills that specifically relates to the workplace opens the door to lawsuits against employers based on requiring employees to participate in diversity or sexual harassment training.  You can read the full text of these bills for yourself at www.flsenate.gov and www.myfloridahouse.gov.

 

Activity in the Florida Legislature as of January 12, 2022

 

Florida’s 60-day legislative session opened on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, in Tallahassee.  A number of bills were introduced, but the BPW/FL Public Policy Committee wants to make sure our members are aware of a pair of bills, House Bill 5 and Senate Bill 146, that seek to ban access to abortion in the state of Florida 15 weeks into a pregnancy, with no exceptions for cases of incest or rape.  This would be restricting access from the state’s current standard of allowing abortions to be performed at up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.  The proposed legislation does allow for some limited exceptions, such as, if necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or if two physicians certify that the fetus has a fatal abnormality.  These bills follow the September 2021 filing of HB 167 that seeks to ban abortion in Florida when a fetal heartbeat is able to be detected, which normally occurs 6-8 weeks after conception.

 

BPW/Florida’s Public Policy Platform, approved in June 2021, supports legislation that ensures reproductive choice and full access to all reproductive health education and services.

 

Activity in the Florida Legislature as of October 18, 2021

 

With the change in the Florida legislative schedule, it is time for us to start watching the bills that are being filed in both the Florida Senate and the House. As of October 6 there were 148 bills filed in the Senate and 334 in the House.

 

A few that have been filed that your legislative committee will be watching are:

  • SB 242 and HB 57, Racial and Sexual Discrimination:  While there are some subtle differences in these bills, for the most part they require agency heads to take certain measures to prevent the use of training for agency employees that espouses certain concepts; authorize municipalities to provide certain training, workshops, or programming; prohibit municipalities from providing mandatory employee training that espouses certain concepts; require contracts with an agency that are entered into or renewed on or after a specified date to include the option to terminate if the contractor provides workforce training that espouses certain concepts; require public K-20 educational institutions to ensure certain diversity and inclusion efforts and to prohibit certain discrimination, etc.

 

  • For now there has not been a comparative bill filed in the Senate to HB 167, which while being titled Abortion, requires physicians to conduct test for, and inform woman seeking abortion of, the presence of detectable fetal heartbeat; prohibits physicians from performing or inducing abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected or if a physician fails to conduct a test to detect fetal heartbeat; provides exceptions; authorizes private civil cause of action for certain violations; and provides for civil remedies and damages.

 

  • HB 388, Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, will create an office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within the Executive Office of the Governor.

 

  • HB 6003, Legal Rights of the Natural Environment, removes provisions prohibiting local governments from granting certain legal rights to natural environment.

 

Committee Days are already underway in Tallahassee.  There are four remaining committee weeks prior to session and they are:

  • The week of October 18
  • The week of November 1
  • The week of November 15 and
  • The week of November 29.

Session runs from January 11 through March 11, 2022.