Public Policy News

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.

Today, September 28, is National Voter Registration Day.

 

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 2021 elections and 2022 midterms. 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.

In accordance with its member-approved public policy platform, BPW/FL issued the following statement on September 23, 2021.

For Immediate Release:  September 23, 2021

For more information:
Sheri McCandless, BPW/FL President, sheri.m@comcast.net
Debbe Ryan, BPW/FL PR Chair, deborahryan52fl@gmail.com
Kristin Smith, BPW/FL Public Policy Chair, kristin.smith@raymondjames.com

 

BPW/FL ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING
ANTI-CHOICE LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN FLORIDA

 

The Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (BPW/FL), a non-partisan organization dedicated to being the leading advocate for working women, wishes to state their strong opposition to HB167, which was just introduced in the Florida legislature.  BPW/FL has a long history of supporting working women’s rights, particularly in areas that affect women’s economic equity and health care.  The 4th item of our Public Policy Platform states, in part: “BPW/FL supports legislation that ensures reproductive choice, and full access to all health education and services.”

 

Women have been guaranteed the right to reproductive choice since 1973, and the upholding of this right by the Supreme Court in Roe vs Wade continues to be the law of the land today.  BPW/FL feels that the bill just introduced in our state, designed to mirror the disastrous law that Texas recently enacted, will cause irreparable harm to the working women of Florida if allowed to become law in our state.  HB167 would introduce the same dangerous system of vigilante lawsuits that the Texas anti-choice law has inspired and would remove the ability of working women to make their own private decisions regarding their bodies and their health care needs.  The proposed bill effectively bans all abortions once a pregnancy has reached its 6th week, which is long before the majority of women are even certain that they are pregnant.

 

Lack of choice is particularly hard on poorer working women, so this law is also an attack on women’s economic self-sufficiency, which is Item 2 of our Public Policy Platform.  The lack of the right to reproductive choice and accessible, affordable health care affects all women, including working women who in Florida do not typically have paid maternity leave.

 

America was founded on the principal of equality for all and derives its strength from individuals working together for a common good.  BPW/FL believes in working toward this common good and strongly encourages corporations and businesses in Florida to advocate against this anti-choice legislation.

 

 

About BPW:

Founded in 1919, BPW has a long track record of promoting equity for women in the workplace. BPW provides leadership through advocacy, education, and information within our communities, states, and the nation on issues important to women, including the elimination of gender discrimination, the right to equal pay, and ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.  Our mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education, and information.