Tuesday, May 31, 2016

LGBT Discrimination, Privacy, Article V of the Constitution, Alzheimer's

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY, 18th) amendment to prevent federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 223-195. The Maloney amendment was introduced to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017, and would specifically prevent contractors paid by funds allocated for energy and water projects from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Maloney is accusing House Republican Leadership of violating their own rules to strong-arm seven republicans into switching their votes to vote against Maloney’s amendment, yet the Maloney amendment passed with 43 Republican votes.


11 states, including Wisconsin, filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s directive for more inclusive bathrooms for transgender students.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI, 4th) calls the lawsuit "yet another frivolous and politically motivated lawsuit against the Obama administration."


Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA) introduced the bipartisan and bicameral International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA). Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chris Coons (D- DE) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced identical legislation in the Senate. Reps. Marino and DelBene introduced similar legislation last year, H.R. 1174, the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (LEADS Act), which also focused on addressing the conflict between cross border data flows and law enforcement requests for electronic communications.

The International Communications Privacy Act provides a common sense solution to the complicated questions surrounding international data storage and lawful government access to that data. ICPA will modernize the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), based on the recognition that today’s technology is global and our laws must reflect that reality. This bill will modernize our laws to establish a rule of law on lawful access to data in the global environment.


On Wednesday evening, Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC, 11th) bill, H.R. 5233, the Clarifying Congressional Intent in Providing for D.C. Home Rule Act of 2016, passed the House of Representatives.

The bill would repeal the District of Columbia’s "Local Budget Autonomy Amendment Act," passed in 2012 by the D.C. city council, and reaffirm Congress’ authority in D.C. budgetary matters as established under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.


Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Article V Records Transparency Act (H.R. 5306), to ensure states are able to exercise their authority under Article V of the Constitution by restructuring the recordkeeping process of Article V applications.

Article V of the Constitution provides two methods to amend our founding document. The first method allows Congress to propose amendments to the states for ratification if two-thirds of both Chambers agree upon a proposed amendment. The second method, known as the convention method, requires Congress to call a convention to consider amendments if two-thirds of the states submit applications requesting such a convention.

Since the founding of our country, states have submitted hundreds of convention applications on a variety of topics. Unfortunately, the federal government has never kept track of these applications. And subsequently, not even the National Archives—the chief record keeping agency of the federal government—knows how many applications actually exist.

H.R. 5306 requires the National Archives to find every state application and rescission within two years and transmit them to Congress. The bill then requires the Chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to post these applications and rescissions on a public website, which would serve as the official database for all Article V records.

The Article V Records Transparency Act is being heralded as a vital piece of legislation by numerous stakeholders, including the Jeffersonian Project, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 501(c)(4) affiliate, the Friends of the Article V Convention, Assembly of State Legislatures (ASL), the Compact for America, the Madison Coalition, the Compact for a Balanced Budget, and constitutional scholars Prof. Rob Natelson (University of Montana) and Prof. Larry Lessig (Harvard).

H.R. 5306 is also being supported by broad coalition of legislators, including democrat Members Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL); the House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA); the Judiciary Subcommittee Chair on the Constitution and Civil Justice Trent Franks (R-AZ); the Rules Subcommittee Chair on the Rules and Organization of the House Steve Stivers (R-OH); Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL); and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX).


U.S. Representative Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18), a member of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease and the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, introduced the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Sunshine Act. The bill promotes the development of a much-needed breakthrough in treatment of Alzheimer's disease by providing a tax exclusion on the sale of new FDA-approved therapies.