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Steve Cohen on Civil Rights

Democrat


Covenant with Black America: fight discriminatory practices

Covenant with Black America: The African American community has not received equal access given past and present discriminatory practices in both the public and private sectors. Thus, it is important that he address the ten covenants recently outlined by civil rights leaders and scholars in the African American community. When elected to Congress, he will advocate those covenants by sponsoring and supporting legislative efforts.
  1. Securing The Right To Healthcare and Well-Being
  2. Establishing A System of Public Education In Which All Children Achieve At High Levels And Reach Their Full Potential
  3. Correcting The System of Unequal Justice
  4. Fostering Accountable Community-Centered Policing
  5. Ensuring Broad Access To Affordable Neighborhoods that Connect to Opportunity
  6. Claiming Our Democracy
  7. Strengthening Our Rural Roots
  8. Accessing Good Jobs, Wealth, and Economic Prosperity
  9. Assuring Environmental Justice For All
  10. Closing the Racial Divide
Source: 2006 House campaign website, cohenforcongress.com, “Issues” , Nov 7, 2006

Recognize civil unions; be tolerant & don’t hate

Q: Should Tennessee recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?

A: Yes.

Q: Should Tennessee restrict marriage to a union only between a man and a woman?

A: No. Be tolerant, don’t discriminate, don’t hate, be bipartisan.

Source: 2004 TN Congressional National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 2004

Voted YES on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressional Summary:
    Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
  1. "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
  2. "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  3. "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  4. "youth" to mean a person who is 11 to 24 years old.

Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.

Reference: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Bill H.R.11 ; vote number 13-HV055 on Feb 28, 2013

Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

HR3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Makes it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against an individual on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, including actions based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of a person with whom the individual associates or has associated. Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Inapplicable to associations that are exempt from religious discrimination provisions.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. CASTOR: The march towards equality under the law for all of our citizens has sometimes been slow, but it has been steady. Over time, Congress has outlawed discrimination in the workplace, based upon a person's race, gender, age, national origin, religion and disability, because when it comes to employment, these decisions are rightly based upon a person's qualifications and job performance. This legislation that outlaws job discrimination based upon sexual orientation was first introduced over 30 years ago. A broad coalition of businesses and community organizations strongly support this landmark civil rights legislation, including the Human Rights Campaign; the Anti-Defamation League; and the NAACP.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. HASTINGS: Federal law bans job discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or gender. In addition, 19 States have passed laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. I strongly oppose discrimination in the workplace. However, I do not think it is the place of the Federal Government to legislate how each and every workplace operates. A number of States have enacted State laws in this area. That is their right. Many businesses have chosen to adopt their own policies. That is appropriate as well. This bill as written would expand Federal law into a realm where PERCEPTION would be a measure under discrimination law [which I consider inappropriate].

Reference: Employment Non-Discrimination Act; Bill HR3685 ; vote number 2007-1057 on Nov 13, 2007

Recognize Juneteenth as historical end of slavery.

Cohen co-sponsored recognizing Juneteenth as historical end of slavery

A resolution recognizing the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day and expressing that history should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future.

Recognizes the historical significance to the nation, and supports the continued celebration, of Juneteenth Independence Day (June 19, 1865, the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved African Americans were free). Declares the sense of Congress that:

  1. history should be regarded as a means for understanding the past and solving the challenges of the future; and
  2. the celebration of the end of slavery is an important and enriching part of the history and heritage of the United States.
Legislative Outcome: House versions are H.CON.RES.155 and H.RES.1237; related Senate resolution S.RES.584 counts for sponsorship. Resolution agreed to in Senate, by Unanimous Consent.
Source: S.RES.584 08-SR584 on Jun 4, 2008

ENDA: prohibit employment discrimination for gays.

Cohen signed H.R.3017&S.1584

Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by covered entities (employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees). Prohibits preferential treatment or quotas. Allows only disparate treatment claims. Prohibits related retaliation.

    Makes this Act inapplicable to:
  1. religious organizations; and
  2. the relationship between the United States and members of the Armed Forces.
Source: Employment Non-Discrimination Act 09-HR3017 on Jun 24, 2009

Constitutional Amendment for women's equal rights.

Cohen signed Equal Rights Amendment for men and women

JOINT RESOLUTION: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women. Constitutional Amendment: Prohibits denying or abridging equality of rights under the law by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of 3/4ths of the several States:
  1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
  2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
  3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

[Explanatory note from Wikipedia.com and OnTheIssues.org]:

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress, but failed to gain ratification before its June 30, 1982 deadline. This new proposed amendment is identical in wording to the original 1972 proposed amendment. It was proposed in Congress in every session from 1923 through 1970 prior to passing in 1972; and has been re-introduced in Congress in every session since 1982 after its failure at ratification. The current version removes the Congressionally imposed deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, so that if the bill passes Congress, states have no deadline as they did in 1982.

Source: HJR69&SJR21 11-HJR69 on Jun 22, 2011

Prohibit sexual-identity discrimination at schools.

Cohen signed Student Non-Discrimination Act

Source: HR.998&S.555 11-HR0998 on Mar 10, 2011

Ratify CEDAW (Discrimination Against Women).

Cohen co-sponsored Resolution on CEDAW

RESOLUTION Expressing that the Senate should ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

    Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
  1. the full realization of the rights of women is vital to the development and well-being of people of all nations; and
  2. the Senate should, therefore, give its advice and consent to the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Source: H.RES.20 11-HRes20 on Jan 5, 2011

Endorsed as "preferred" by The Feminist Majority indicating pro-women's rights.

Cohen is endorsed by by the Feminist Majority on women's rights

The Feminist Majority endorses candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. In addition to the stronger "endorsement," the organization also determines "preferred" candidates in races where they do not endorse. Their mission statement:

"Our mission is to empower feminists, who are the majority, and to win equality for women at the decision-making tables of the state, nation, and the world. The Feminist Majority promotes non-discrimination on the basis of sex, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity, age, marital status, nation of origin, size or disability. The purpose of Feminist Majority is to promote equality for women and men, non-violence, reproductive health, peace, social justice and economic development and to enhance feminist participation in public policy. Feminist Majority supports workers’ collective bargaining, pay equity, and end of sweatshops. We encourage programs directed at the preservation of the environment."

Source: FeministMajority.org website 12-FemMaj on Oct 31, 2012

Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.

Cohen co-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act

    Congress finds the following:
  1. Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
  2. Despite the enactment of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, many women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work. These pay disparities exist in both the private and governmental sectors. In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination.
  3. The existence of such pay disparities depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet; and undermines women's retirement security.
  4. Artificial barriers to the elimination of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex continue to exist decades after the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. These barriers have resulted because the Equal Pay Act has not worked as Congress originally intended.
  5. The Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have important and unique responsibilities to help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
  6. The Department of Labor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting equal pay violations, especially systemic violations, and in enforcing all of its mandates.
  7. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the primary enforcement agency for claims made under the Equal Pay Act.
  8. With a stronger commitment [to enforcement], increased information on wage data and more effective remedies, women will be better able to recognize and enforce their rights.
  9. Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.
Source: S.84&H.R.377 13-HR0377 on Jan 23, 2013

Re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment.

Cohen co-sponsored re-introducing the Equal Rights Amendment

Sen. KENNEDY. "It's a privilege to join my colleagues in reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. The ERA is essential to guarantee that the freedoms protected by our Constitution apply equally to men and women. From the beginning of our history as a Nation, women have had to wage a constant, long and difficult battle to win the same basic rights granted to men. That battle goes on today, since discrimination still continues in many ways.

"Despite passage of the Equal Pay Act & the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, discrimination against women continues to permeate the workforce and many areas of the economy. Today, women earn about 77 cents for each dollar earned by men, and the gap is even greater for women of color. More than 60% of working women are still clustered in a narrow range of traditionally female, traditionally low-paying occupations, and female-headed households continue to dominate the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

"A stronger effort is clearly needed to finally live up to our commitment of full equality. The ERA alone cannot remedy all discrimination, but it will clearly strengthen the ongoing efforts of women across the country to obtain equal treatment.

"We know from the failed ratification experiences of the past that amending the Constitution to include the ERA will not be easy to achieve. But the women of America deserve no less."

Source: Equal Rights Amendment (S.J.RES.10/H.J.RES.40) 2007-SJR10 on Mar 29, 2007

Reinforce anti-discrimination and equal-pay requirements.

Cohen co-sponsored reinforcing anti-discrimination and equal-pay requirements

A bill to restore, reaffirm, and reconcile legal rights and remedies under civil rights statutes. Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for:

  1. establishing discrimination based on disparate impact; and
  2. rights of action and recovery for unlawful discrimination.
Source: Civil Rights Act of 2008 (S.2554&H.R.5129) 2008-S2554 on Jan 24, 2008

Honor the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.

Cohen signed bill honoring the 100th anniversary of the NAACP

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Congress
  1. Recognizes the 100th anniversary of the historic founding of the NAACP.
  2. Honors and praises the NAACP on the occasion of its anniversary for its work to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all persons.
Source: SCR.3&HCR.35 2009-SCR3 on Jan 28, 2009

2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Civil Rights: Steve Cohen on other issues:
TN Gubernatorial:
Bill Haslam
TN Senatorial:
Bob Corker
Lamar Alexander



Lame-duck session 2012:
KY-4: Thomas Massie(R)
MI-11:Dave Curson(D)
NJ-9: Donald Payne Jr.(D)
WA-1: Suzan DelBene(D)

Re-seated Former Reps:
AZ-1: Ann Kirkpatrick(D)
AZ-5: Matt Salmon(R)
FL-8: Alan Grayson(D)
IL-11:Bill Foster(D)
NH-1: Carol Shea-Porter(D)
NV-3: Dina Titus(D)
NY-24:Dan Maffei(D)
TX-36:Steve Stockman(R)

2013 Resignations and Replacements:
AL-1:Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
IL-2:Jesse Louis Jackson(D,resigned)
IL-2:Robin Kelly(D)
MA-5:Ed Markey(D,to Senate)
MA-8:Stephen Lynch(D)
MO-8:Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
MO-8:Jason Smith(R,elected June 2013)
SC-1:Tim Scott(R,resigned)
SC-1:Mark Sanford(R)
SC-1:Elizabeth Colbert-Busch(D)
Newly-elected Democrats:
AZ-9: Kyrsten Sinema
CA-2: Jared Huffman
CA-7: Ami Bera
CA-15:Eric Swalwell
CA-24:Julia Brownley
CA-29:Tony Cardenas
CA-35:Gloria Negrete McLeod
CA-36:Raul Ruiz
CA-41:Mark Takano
CA-47:Alan Lowenthal
CA-51:Juan Vargas
CA-52:Scott Peters
CT-5: Elizabeth Esty
FL-18:Patrick Murphy
FL-22:Lois Frankel
FL-26:Joe Garcia
HI-2: Tulsi Gabbard
IL-8: Tammy Duckworth
IL-10:Brad Schneider
IL-12:Bill Enyart
IL-17:Cheri Bustos
MD-6: John Delaney
MA-4: Joe Kennedy III
MI-5: Dan Kildee
MN-8: Rick Nolan
NV-4: Steven Horsford
NH-2: Annie Kuster
NM-1: Michelle Lujan-Grisham
NY-5: Grace Meng
NY-10:Hakeem Jeffries
NY-18:Sean Maloney
OH-10:Joyce Beatty
PA-17:Matt Cartwright
TX-16:Beto O`Rourke
TX-20:Joaquin Castro
TX-23:Pete Gallego
TX-33:Marc Veasey
TX-34:Filemon Vela
WA-6: Derek Kilmer
WA-10:Denny Heck
WI-2: Mark Pocan
Newly-elected Republicans:
AR-4: Tom Cotton
CA-1: Doug LaMalfa
CA-21:David Valadao
CA-41:Paul Cook
FL-3: Ted Yoho
FL-6: Ron DeSantis
FL-19:Trey Radel
GA-9: Doug Collins
IL-15:Rodney Davis
IN-2: Jackie Walorski
IN-5: Susan Brooks
IN-6: Luke Messer
KY-6: Andy Barr
MI-11:Kerry Bentivolio
MO-2: Ann Wagner
MT-0: Steve Daines
NY-26:Chris Collins
NC-8: Richard Hudson
NC-9: Robert Pittenger
NC-11:Mark Meadows
NC-13:George Holding
ND-0: Kevin Cramer
OH-2: Brad Wenstrup
OH-14:Dave Joyce
OK-1: Jim Bridenstine
OK-2: Markwayne Mullin
PA-4: Scott Perry
PA-12:Keith Rothfus
SC-7: Tom Rice
TX-14:Randy Weber
TX-25:Roger Williams
UT-2: Chris Stewart
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Page last updated: Jun 28, 2013