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ENDA Discharge Petition Stalls at 190 Signatures; 28 More Necessary

A discharge petition filed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the U.S. House of Representatives appears to have stalled after 190 Democrats signed their names to it, the Washington Blade reports:

PolisDespite the immediate growth in signatures for the discharge petition within the week it was filed, no one has penned their name this week as of Tuesday, and even the names of some ENDA co-sponsors aren’t on the document.

Four Democrats who co-sponsor ENDA and are able to vote on the floor — Reps. Linda Sanchez (Calif.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Peter Visclosky (Ind.), Jim Matheson (Utah) — haven’t signed the discharge petition. None of their offices responded to the Blade’s request for a comment on why their names were absent.

For at least of two of these Democrats, the issue may be the narrowed religious exemption in this version of ENDA. Matheson represents a portion of Utah in the U.S. House that has Mormon-affiliated businesses; Visclosky is a Catholic.

The petition requires at least 218 signatures to force a House vote on the measure.

There are also reports that work may be underway to attach the ENDA language to a larger piece of legislation.

More at the Blade...


ENDA Discharge Petition So Far Has Support from 75 Dems, No Republicans

A discharge petition for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) being pushed by Rep. Jared Polis has the support of 75 of 218 lawmakers it needs to succeed, the Washington Blade reports.

PolisThe petition has no Republican support so far, even from GOP lawmakers who went so far as to co-sponsor the original bill:

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), an original co-sponsor of ENDA, has already vowed not to sign a discharge petition, saying through a spokesperson it’s a “partisan political tool.”

But Polis took Republican supporters of ENDA to task, saying it’s time “to throw down the gauntlet” because co-sponsoring the legislation isn’t enough.

Still, the bill, which has a narrowed religious exemption, faces challenges even if passed by the House, the Blade adds:

Even if the House were to succeed in passing ENDA with a narrower discharge petition, the chances of passing a version of the bill in the Senate with that language would be complicated. Still, Polis expressed confidence the upper chamber of Congress would pass the bill if the discharge petition were successful.

“The previous incarnation of ENDA was in the pre-Hobby Lobby era,” Polis said. “I’m confident that if this is brought to the House floor and passes, the Senate will be able to expeditiously act on this bill and sent it to the president’s desk.”

The Blade reports that Dems are "bullish" on its prospects. At least one pundit is skeptical:


Rep. Jared Polis Files Discharge Petition for ENDA with Narrowed Religious Exemption

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511e857e6970c-320wiOut Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) announced today that he has filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Polis is the chief sponsor of ENDA and is also the co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. From Rep. Polis' statement:

A discharge petition is a procedure to force a vote on legislation if it receives signatures from the majority of the House of Representatives. This move comes after the House Republican leadership has continued to refuse to hold a vote on this bipartisan bill.
 
“This is common sense legislation that is supported by a majority of Americans and was passed overwhelmingly by the United States Senate,” said Rep. Polis. “The Republicans have been dragging their feet on this bill for too long, allowing workplace discrimination against hardworking LGBT Americans to continue. In our nation that was founded on the notion that with hard work and dedication anyone can get ahead, it is unthinkable that employees can still be fired for who they love or what gender they are. I hope Members from both sides of the aisle will sign this petition and protect all Americans from discrimination in the work place.”

In July, some speculated that a discharge petition was a likely move that Polis would make. Meanwhile, many activist groups, including the ACLU, Lambda Legal, NCLR and Transgender Law Center pulled their support from ENDA because of a religious exemption in the legislation. The HRC held on though, insisting that a narrower religious exemption was needed as a way forward. Polis soon took action in hopes of keeping ENDA alive. The Washington Blade reports:

Following the outcry of these groups, Polis introduced a resolution before the House Rules Committee, H.Res. 678, that would narrow ENDA’s religious exemption in the event the committee approved the bill for a vote on the House floor.

It’s that version of ENDA that would come up for a vote if the discharge petition is successful. But it remains to be seen how that version of ENDA would fare in the Senate, where a more expanded religious exemption was deemed necessary for passage.

If passed, ENDA would "bar employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, if a majority of House members, or 218, sign the petition."

You can read the discharge petition HERE.


Gordon Klingenschmitt Says Rep. Jared Polis Wants To Behead Christians, Nominates Him In Ice Bucket Challenge - VIDEO

Gordon Klingenschmitt

Gordon Klingenschmitt, a Republican nominee for a seat in Colorado’s statehouse, has accused Democrats of lacking a sense of humor after he sent an email which said that Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) will “join ISIS in beheading Christians,” reports The Raw Story.

Klingenschmitt won a primary election in June and hopes to replace Mark Waller (R-Colorado Springs).

In the email, Klingenschmitt wrote:

“The open persecution of Christians is underway. Democrats like Polis want to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy. Next he’ll join ISIS in beheading Christians, but not just in Syria, right here in America.”

In reply, Mark Ferrandino, Speaker of the Colorado House, condemned Klingenschmitt’s remarks and demanded that Colorado Republicans do the same.

Colorado Republican spokesperson Owen Loftus said that Klingenschmitt’s comments “in no way reflect the views of the party.”

By way of apology, Klingenschmitt has since issued an apology of sorts via YouTube in which he blames Democrats for lacking a sense of humor and misunderstanding his use of hyperbole.

“This weekend I sent out an email alert to my constituents in which I used hyperbole. You know what hyperbole is. It’s a literary device where you exaggerate to make a point. Well, apparently some Democrats do not have a sense of humor and they were offended by some of the things I said using hyperbole this weekend.”

Although Klingenschmitt admitted in the video it was wrong to compare Polis to Islamic State extremists, he continued to claim that the Democrat was “persecuting Christian business owners here in America.”

Watch Klingenschmitt's half-hearted apology in which he extends the ice bucket challenge to Polis, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gordon Klingenschmitt Says Rep. Jared Polis Wants To Behead Christians, Nominates Him In Ice Bucket Challenge - VIDEO" »


LGBT Activist Group Queer Nation Targets Jared Polis on ENDA

Queernation

The LGBTQ activist group Queer Nation, founded by one-time ACT UP members, is targeting Democratic House Representative Jared Polis, according to their website.

Polis, who is a gay man, recently introduced two resolutions to the House floor as a first step towards triggering a discharge petition to pass a modified version of ENDA.

“Jared Polis and the Democrats are desperately trying to salvage a worthless bill, but a pig wearing lipstick is still a pig,” said Andrew Miller, a member of Queer Nation in a press release. “No version of ENDA will make LGBT people equal under the law. Only a comprehensive civil rights law will do that."


Rep. Jared Polis Preparing Discharge Petition For ENDA?

Democratic House Representative Jared Polis is preparing to initiate a discharge petition for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, according to the Washington Blade. A discharge petition, in short, is a means of bringing a bill directly to the floor without consideration from committee or direct input from the House leadership. Considering Speaker John Boehner’s steadfast refusal to allow discussion of ENDA, a discharge petition could be one of the few remaining opportunities to introduce the legislation.

Jared_Polis_Official_2012Polis, ENDA’s chief sponsor, has filed two new resolutions that would open ENDA up for House floor consideration. The second of Polis’s resolutions, H.Res.678, comes in light of widespread backlash from LGBT organizations as they dropped support for ENDA’s religious exemption clause.

H.Res.678 would bring a version of ENDA to the floor with an exemption clause modeled after that written into Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Though Polis’s logic is political logic is sound, the process of actually enacting a discharge petition is fraught with logistical difficulties. From the Washington Blade:

To start a discharge petition on a bill, 30 legislative days must have passed since the legislation was referred to committee. In this case, the Senate-passed version of ENDA was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on January 8, 2014.

Additionally, seven legislative days must have passed since a resolution to consider the legislation was referred to the Rules Committee. As such, the process for collecting signatures a discharge petition on the Senate-passed could begin at any time in the House, but the same process for a discharge petition for a bill with an amended religious exemption couldn’t begin until July 31.

Polis’s plans directly mirror allusions made by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last fall after Boehner first blocked ENDA, which at the time was backed by almost 200 members of the House.

“I would think it would be ‘once burned, twice learned,’ and that they would, shall we say, save some time by taking it right to our committee and to the floor,” Pelosi lamented at the time. “Ending discrimination is what we are all about as Americans, and we should not have discrimination in the workplace because of gender identity.”


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