Bill Owens on Civil Rights
Democratic Representative (NY-23)
Civil unions but no same-sex marriage
On the wedge issue of same-sex marriage, Owens is to the right of his Republican opponent Scozzafava. He does not support full marriage-he opposes any federal action on the "states rights
issue"--telling me, "I fully support equal rights for everybody, and certainly civil unions are in that mix. For religious reasons, I have difficulty with the use of the word marriage in that process."
Source: Jimmy Vielkind in New York Observer
, Aug 11, 2009
Voted YES on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
- "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
- "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
- "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
- "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;
; vote number 13-HV055
on Feb 28, 2013
Ensure disabled access to public pools.
Owens co-sponsored Pool SAFE Act
A BILL to revise certain rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) relating to accessible means of entry to pools.
This Act may be cited as the 'Pool Safety and Accessibility for Everyone Act' or the 'Pool SAFE Act'. Congress finds the following: REVISION OF RULES.
- One of the purposes of the ADA is to 'provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities'.
- The Nation's proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to ensure equality of opportunity and full participation for such individuals.
- The ADA recognizes that public accommodations should provide access to their amenities to individuals with disabilities.
- It is important for public accommodations to provide access to their amenities, including pools, to individuals with disabilities.
- Public accommodations should provide access to their amenities, including pools, in a reasonable, efficient, and expedient manner that accounts
for the interests of individuals with disabilities and also considers other legitimate concerns, such as safety and feasibility.
- The current regulations for the ADA as the regulations relate to the accessibility of pools at public accommodations, do not reasonably or adequately balance the access needs of individuals with disabilities with other legitimate concerns.
Source: H.R.203 13-HR0203 on Jan 4, 2013
- Any suit against a public accommodation or commercial facility for a violation that is brought on or after January 31, 2013, and before the date of enactment of this Act, shall be dismissed, and no new suits filed for one year.
- The Code of Federal Regulations shall provide that a public accommodation or commercial facility that has a pool and uses a portable pool lift on request shall be in compliance.
- The term 'pool' means a swimming pool, wading pool, sauna, steam room, spa, wave pool, lazy river, sand bottom pool, other water amusement, or any other manmade body of water.
Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.
Owens co-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act
Congress finds the following:
Source: S.84&H.R.377 13-HR0377 on Jan 23, 2013
- Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- The Department of Labor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting equal pay violations, especially systemic violations, and in enforcing all of its mandates.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the primary enforcement agency for claims made under the Equal Pay Act.
- 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.
- Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.
Page last updated: Jan 19, 2017