Leadership Conference Priorities for the 116th Congress

Categories: Advocacy Letter

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On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we write to share with you our legislative and oversight priorities for the 116th Congress.

Since our founding in 1950, The Leadership Conference has played a vital role in debates over legislation affecting civil and human rights. We continue that legacy today. Our 11 task forces identified and developed a comprehensive list of priority legislative initiatives that represent a path forward for our country in advancing social and economic justice. The Congress also plays a critical oversight role on a wide variety of administrative actions that affect our civil and human rights, and that much-needed oversight is set forth in the attached priorities as well.

Our task forces are comprised of coalition members who have expertise in each issue area featured in the attached document, including the 2020 Census, education, employment, fair courts, fair housing and lending, hate crimes, health care, immigration, justice reform, media/telecommunications, and voting rights. Our priorities are organized by subject matter task force and are presented alphabetically, not in order of urgency or importance. Similarly, the initiatives within each subject matter area are not ranked in order of importance, but are equally of concern to the relevant task force.

While the attached priorities do not reflect the full agenda of all of our member organizations, they do highlight the issues that are at the top of the coalition’s agenda. We believe that these goals can and should be met during the first session of the 116th Congress, and we are eager to engage with you in advancing our coalition’s priorities. In your efforts, we urge you to resist any action that will politicize civil and human rights. We suggest that your actions include passing legislation identified below that protects and promotes civil and human rights; conducting robust, frequent oversight on civil rights enforcement and legislative and regulatory rollbacks; defending against dilution or weakening of federal civil rights statutes, including unnecessary funding and staffing cuts; and ensuring that the federal courts recognize and uphold individuals’ civil rights, including workers’ rights, immigrant rights, voting rights, disability rights, health care access, and more. Moreover, with the number of extreme anti-civil rights nominees to the judicial branch, both chambers of Congress must be vigilant in performing their respective duties: Senators must reject nominees who jeopardize the integrity of our judicial system, and representatives must be vocal and active advocates for fair and independent courts.

For nearly 70 years, The Leadership Conference has led efforts to actualize the coalition’s shared vision of an America as good in practice as it is in promise. We believe our nation must honor equal protection for all people, view our diversity as a strength, and strive to be a place where all people can safely and freely live, work, and contribute to their communities. We are prepared to stand with and for all people in America in support of the rights guaranteed in our Constitution and laws, and to resist any attempt to discriminate against, oppress, or marginalize any members of our communities. We call on you as elected officials to provide positive leadership in support of these priorities. The Leadership Conference looks forward to continuing to work with you to advance these civil and human rights priorities in the 116th Congress.

Sincerely,

Vanita Gupta                                                   Kristine Lucius
President & CEO                                            Executive VP, Policy & Governmental Affairs

 

CENSUS

Legislation

  • Ensure sufficient FY 2019 and FY 2020 funding for the 2020 Census, especially for activities that are designed to improve the accuracy of the enumeration in historically hard-to-count communities.
  • Use the legislative process to remove the last-minute, untested citizenship question from the 2020 Census.

Oversight

  • Conduct robust, frequent oversight of all aspects of the final 2020 Census plan, 2020 Census preparations, and 2020 Census implementation, and investigate the process that led to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  • Investigate the failure to move forward with recommended revisions/improvements to the race/ethnicity census and American Community Survey questions.

EDUCATION

Legislation

  • Pass a comprehensive bill to support positive school climates and student safety, including the issues of school discipline, restraint and seclusion, bullying and harassment, policing of children in school, corporal punishment, and resources to support children’s emotional, mental, and behavioral health.
  • In the event a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act is considered, it must include civil rights priorities that remove barriers to success for historically marginalized prospective, current, and former postsecondary students.
  • Pass legislation to correct the Supreme Court’s action in Alexander v. Sandoval and restore a private right of action in Title VI discrimination cases relying on disparate impact, and pass the Equality Act to ensure federal nondiscrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight over the following programs and activities:

  • OCR enforcement activities addressing topics such as: discrimination against transgender students, sexual violence, disparate impact, school discipline, discrimination premised on religious refusals or exemptions, and diversity at the K12 and higher education levels.
  • ESSA implementation including: accountability for disaggregated student performance, use of the alternate assessment, support for English learner students, and school climate.
  • Higher education deregulation.
  • Racial disproportionality in special education.
  • Enforcement of existing consent decrees and resolution agreements issued by DOJ or ED OCR.

 

EMPLOYMENT

Pass legislation that strengthens and expands protections against non-discrimination in the workplace, including addressing harassment based on sex, race, national origin, religion, age, and disability; prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; protecting older workers and pregnant workers against discrimination; and protecting women and people of color against pay discrimination.

Legislation

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight over the following programs and activities:

  • Any and all regulations, directives, guidance, and other policies to give religious exemptions to federal grantees and contractors that would authorize discrimination in employment or service provision, including OFCCP guidance permitting employers to claim religious exemptions in federal contracts.
  • EEOC and DOL civil rights enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and regulations, including but not limited to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act relating to people with disabilities.
  • OMB and EEOC on stalled EEO-1 collection of compensation data based on race, ethnicity, and gender and stalled guidance on workplace harassment.
  • EEOC’s regulatory and enforcement activity on workplace wellness programs to safeguard key civil rights protections (on voluntary provision of health information) recently vindicated in the courts.
  • EEOC, DOL and other agencies to ensure that digital platforms – including Facebook, Twitter, and Google – and new technologies – including algorithmic decision making, artificial intelligence, and machine learning – do not discriminate or undermine civil rights in employment and instead protect civil rights, prevent unlawful discrimination, and advance equal opportunity.

Pass legislation that reflects the needs of the current and future workforce, including raising the minimum wage and expanding access to overtime pay, guaranteeing workers’ right to organize, and addressing work and family obligations, including providing paid family and medical leave for workers, access to paid sick days, and fair and predictable schedules.

Legislation

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight over the following programs and activities:

  • DOL and DOE regarding any proposed changes in definitions of “competitive integrated employment” in the 2016 WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) regulations which are critical in helping young people with disabilities to transition from school to work and not get caught up in the dead-end system of segregated shelter workshops.
  • DOL economic analyses of appropriate updated salary level for employees eligible for overtime pay.
  • DOL enforcement on wage issues, including for tipped workers, to protect working people from wage theft, and on OSHA/OSH to ensure workplace safety.

 

FAIR COURTS

Senators must protect civil and human rights and oppose any judicial nominee who will favor corporations or the wealthy and powerful over the rights of all who live in America. Representatives must use their voices and influence to educate and advocate for fair courts and to implore their Senate colleagues to reject any judicial nominee who will not protect and defend our civil and human rights.

Legislation

  • Pass legislation to extend the application of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges to Supreme Court Justices.
  • Oppose legislation that would split the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  • Oppose legislation to restrict access to courts and access to justice, such as efforts to impose mandatory arbitration and restrict class actions – discussed in a recent Earthjustice report.

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight over the following programs and activities:

  • The harmful effects of judges nominated by President Trump who have an anti-civil rights agenda. This should include witnesses who can testify about the impact of harmful rulings, such as those highlighted in a recent PFAW report.
  • The ways in which President Trump has rolled back the progress made in previous administrations to ensure that our federal bench reflects and represents the diverse communities they serve.
  • Corporate capture of the federal courts, which was recently highlighted in an op-ed by Senators Whitehouse, Hirono, and Blumenthal.
  • Aspects of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, including whether adequate access was provided to all relevant records and witnesses into the sexual assault allegations.
  • Creation and contents of Trump’s Supreme Court short list to highlight the extreme ideologies that led the vetting and the results of that vetting. In addition, educate the public on the need for fair and independent judges who will serve impartially rather than those who earned a spot on this short list created by outside extreme interest groups.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee’s abuse of the confirmation process and how it has politicized the Third Branch and threatened the public’s confidence in its impartiality. For example, overriding the century-old blue slip tradition, scheduling hearings during recess and before nominees’ American Bar Association ratings are completed, stacking hearings with two circuit court nominees, and more. Investigate the Trump White House decision to disregard the in-state pre-nomination process in several states and the opinions of home-state senators in the selection of judicial nominees, especially those nominated to serve on circuit courts.
  • Inadequacy of sexual harassment reporting mechanisms within the federal judiciary regarding hostile workplaces and sexual harassment, and whether or not the Judicial Conference of the United States is conducting a meaningful review process of the problem.
  • Lack of accountability for Supreme Court Justices on ethics and recusal issues.
  • Whether the Justice Department is abusing judicial process by its aggressive filing of briefs with the Supreme Court to bypass the lower court review process in cases in which lower courts have ruled against the Trump administration. Investigate DOJ’s decision to challenge critical portions of the ACA, including the ACA’s pre-existing condition provision in federal court.
  • The White House’s politicization of the selection process for administrative law judges at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

FAIR HOUSING AND LENDING

Legislation

Ensure that the Fair Housing Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and other key civil rights and consumer protection laws are fully and fairly enforced, by:

Advance affordable, accessible, and safe housing for all individuals, by:

Promote inclusive and sustainable financial products in a rapidly changing industry, by:

  • Passing the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 2017 and legislation to restrict the use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer lending.
  • Blocking the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act; the Mortgage Choice Act, and any bill that would weaken the structure of the CFPB.

 

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight over the following programs and activities:

  • HUD’s enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
  • HUD delays in administration of the Fair Housing Initiatives Program.
  • Review of Fair Housing Assistance Program agency participants’ investigation and adjudication standards for Fair Housing Act complaints.
  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act enforcement within the CFPB, including a review of changes to fair lending enforcement procedures concerning payday and auto-lending.
  • Community Reinvestment Act and the OCC proposal to change assessment standards of OCC-chartered entities.
  • Local land use rules that may impede the development of affordable housing and that reinforce segregation. Local land use rules should redress the lack of affordable housing supply in low-poverty, high-opportunity areas as well as enabling a range of investments where needed to create opportunity and prevent displacement.
  • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting, including impact of S. 2155.
  • FHFA policies affecting access to credit scoring and mortgage credit for protected classes, LMI, LEP consumers.
  • Opportunities to modernize the FHA program to ensure access to affordable homeownership for low-income and low-wealth borrowers and to strengthen home retention opportunities for older homeowners through safe reverse mortgages.
  • HUD’s fair lending oversight of the FHA and GSEs.
  • FHA staffing needs, and the modernization of agency technology that serves all borrowers and in a manner that continues to address discriminatory practices that arise as lending markets adopt more automated processes.
  • Access to credit issues including the FHFA’s and GSE’s continued opposition to using alternative credit scoring mechanisms and alternative credit data to responsibly expand credit access.
  • Continued lending discrimination in mortgage, auto, small dollar, and small business lending.
  • The role of digital platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google) and new technologies – including algorithmic decision making, artificial intelligence, and machine learning – and their impact on discrimination.
  • Fair housing implications of Opportunity Zones.
  • Abusive debt collection practices.
  • Limitations on the use of consent decrees.
  • Enforcement of the disparate impact doctrine under the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
  • Performance of FEMA and DHS in disaster housing recovery and mitigation affecting minority communities and people with disabilities.

 

HATE CRIMES

Legislation

  • Pass the National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act of 2017 (NO HATE) Act (S. 662/HR 1566), legislation designed to provide incentives for hate crime reporting, grants for state-run hate crime hotlines, a federal private right of action for victims of hate crimes, and additional sentencing options for individuals convicted under the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
  • Recognizing the limits of legal responses to hate violence, Congress and the Department of Education should increase programs and funding for inclusive school climate, anti-bias education, and hate crime prevention. Schools should be directed to implement properly crafted anti-bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment education and training initiatives.
  • Pass legislation to clarify that enforcement of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act does not require a “but-for” causation standard.
  • Provide funding incentives to encourage state and local law enforcement agencies to more comprehensively collect and report hate crimes data to the FBI, with special attention devoted to the 91 large underreporting law enforcement agencies that either did not participate in the 2017 HCSA program at all or have incorrectly reported zero hate crimes. A commitment to more effective hate data collection will spark improvements in training for officials in how to identify, report, and respond to hate violence.
  • Provide appropriate funding levels to ensure that the FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division have the training and outreach resources they need to enforce federal law and vigorously investigate and prosecute hate crimes – and build community trust in law enforcement officials.  To the extent that marginalized or targeted communities are more reluctant to report that they’ve been the victim of a crime – or do not feel safe reporting – law enforcement cannot effectively address these crimes, thereby jeopardizing the safety of all.
  • Provide funding for the Department of Justice to expand and deepen its webpage, https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes, in consultation with law enforcement organizations, civil rights organizations, and religious groups with interest and expertise in combatting hate violence. The webpage should aggregate resources from other federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that address bias and discrimination. In addition, DOJ should develop a public awareness campaign that helps to promote the webpage to ensure that it is accessible to all.
  • Provide funding for academic research on the extent to which divisive, polarizing rhetoric and executive actions have helped create a climate in which individual perpetrators could feel emboldened to act.
  • Oppose any efforts to reduce funding or jurisdiction of the Community Relations Service of the Justice Department.
  • Oppose any effort to eliminate training, education, and outreach to address hate crimes based on gender identity.

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight over the following programs and activities:

  • The extent to which divisive, polarizing rhetoric and executive actions have helped create a climate in which individual perpetrators could feel emboldened to act. The best way to address hate crimes is to address hate. The federal government cannot effectively address hate crimes if it is, at the same time, scapegoating Muslims, denigrating Hispanics, demonizing immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers as “invaders,” mocking people with disabilities, marginalizing women and religious minorities through policy and executive action, and promoting regulatory changes and filing briefs that negatively impact LGBTQ communities – especially the transgender community.
  • Ways to improve federal and state response to hate violence, including ways to address FBI Hate Crime Statistics Act underreporting.
  • The threats posed by white supremacy.
  • Just as the internet and social media have created immense positive value by connecting people, facilitating civil rights advocacy and adding new voices to our culture and public debate, it can also enable bigoted and discriminatory conduct, exacerbate existing disparities and give new tools to those who want to bully, threaten, harass, intimidate, defame, or violently attack people different from themselves. New technologies—including algorithmic decision making, artificial intelligence and machine learning—must protect civil rights, prevent discrimination and advance equal opportunity.

 

HEALTH CARE

Legislation

  • Uphold the breadth, depth, and scope of health programs, benefits, and funding that everyone needs to achieve and sustain maximum health, including those enacted in the Affordable Care Act as well as Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare, by:
  • Safeguarding Medicaid funding by not converting it into a per capita cap (or block grant) or otherwise restricting funding as part of budget reconciliation and other legislative processes and ensure no other barriers to enrollment or access are enacted.
  • Maintaining and fortifying ACA provisions prohibiting discrimination and exclusion from coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Ensure marginalized communities are represented in all health legislation that is considered and pass the Health Equity and Accountability Act.
  • Protect women’s access to the full range of high-quality, dignified, and comprehensive reproductive health care, including by:
  • Passing the Women’s Health Protection Act and the EACH Woman Act;
  • Opposing all efforts to bar qualified providers, including Planned Parenthood, from receiving Medicaid funding, Title X funding, and funding from other federal health services or prevention programs;
  • Opposing regulations that undermine the Title X program;
  • Opposing regulations that dictate patient care.

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight over the following programs and activities:

  • Enforcement activities by the newly-formed “Conscience and Religious Freedom” subdivision of HHS’ Office for Civil Rights.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ approval of restrictive Medicaid waivers, including work requirements/community engagement, premiums on lowest/no-income enrollees, drug testing, exclusion of Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers, waiting periods, and lock-outs.
  • ACA sabotage, including its civil rights provisions, cuts in ACA outreach and navigator grants, and raiding ACA funding to pay for other HHS programs and activities and explore ways to rescind new regulations that have limited access.
  • Regulations that allow religious and moral beliefs to dictate patient care and supersede non-discrimination provisions.

 

IMMIGRATION

Legislation

  • Pass a clean Dream Act paired with a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) legalization bill.
  • Pass legislation that would repeal the Muslim ban by fixing the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the president’s authority to issue orders discriminating based on religion or national origin.
  • Reform the enforcement system to promote family unity, fairness, and humanity in our immigration laws. Necessary reforms include detention reforms, such as the elimination of mandatory detention and the detention of families, children, and vulnerable populations; increased due process protections and judicial discretion so that judges can choose the preservation of family unity over separations; curbing migrant prosecutions; and the promotion of humane practices that promote a safe and healthy living and working environment.
  • Reject all harmful changes to our immigration enforcement system, including increased criminalization of immigrants, attacks on sanctuary cities, and restrictive changes to our asylum system.
  • Oppose any reductions to overall immigration levels, cuts to family-based immigration categories, or the diversity visa program.
  • Reject any legislation to create new guestworker programs with limited worker protections or to otherwise limit, remove, or lessen worker protections in guestworker programs.
  • Reduce funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, border patrol agents, and detention beds. No additional funds should be provided to fund a harmful and wasteful border wall on our Southern border.
  • Oppose punitive cuts to vital family safety nets on the basis of immigration status.

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight of all immigration policy changes and where applicable how they are being funded, especially those that strip status, reduce due process protections, or reduce workplace protections. Such changes include, but are not limited to, efforts to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, termination of TPS protections, the Muslim Ban and extreme vetting programs, refugee admissions, the public charge rule, naturalization delays and the denaturalization task force, expansion of detention, including of children and families, changes to asylum rules, changes to processing applications for immigration benefits at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, reduced worker protections in guestworker programs, the stripping of independence from immigration judges at the Department of Justice, and civil rights violations and other conduct by ICE officers and border patrol agents.

 

JUSTICE REFORM

Legislation

  • Pass legislation mandating demographic data collection and reporting of all police-community interactions, use of force incidents, and prosecutorial decision making. Pass legislation requiring mandatory training on implicit bias, de-escalation, crisis intervention, procedural justice, adolescent development, and proper interactions with persons with disabilities and mental illness.
  • Pass legislation de-scheduling marijuana with racial equity and justice reform components. End federal prohibition in a way that acknowledges decades of harm faced by communities of color and low-income communities. Include reparative justice/reinvestment language for communities most impacted re: revenue.
  • Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and include key items essential to LGBTQ youth such as: deinstitutionalizing status offenses, including removal of the valid court order (VCO) and Interstate Compact exceptions; updating Disproportionate Minority Contact mandate to require states to take concrete steps to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, which will also benefit LGBTQ youth in the system who are predominately youth of color and Native; expanding training, technical assistance, and research and evaluation to include LGBTQ and Two Spirit youth; mandating that juvenile justice facilities ensure that all policies, practices, and programs recognize the unique needs of LGBTQ and Two Spirit youth.
  • Pass legislation to end racial profiling and bias-based policing, like the End Racial Profiling Act, with provisions inclusive of prohibitions on profiling based on gender, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation.
  • Pass legislation that amends section 242 of Title 18 to provide a standard that ensures criminal liability for civil rights violations that are a result of police misconduct.
  • Pass legislation to end the equitable sharing program that incentivizes federal-state/local policing for financial gain through property seizures and forfeitures.
  • Pass legislation to address excessive fines and fees, end cash bail, and reform pretrial justice systems at the federal, state, and local level.
  • Pass legislation that addresses front-end drivers of mass-incarceration, racial disparities in incarceration, overcrowding in the federal Bureau of Prisons, and over-criminalization by eliminating mandatory minimums, expanding the federal safety valve, providing judicial second look, alternatives to incarceration, and ending drug conspiracy laws and preventing draconian sentencing practices for fentanyl-related offenses.
  • Support legislation to end solitary confinement, increase good conduct credit, reform compassionate and elderly release programs, and improve/increase rehabilitative programming in prisons without the use of risk assessment instruments.
  • Pass legislation to repeal the Omnibus Safe Streets and Crime Control Act of 1994 (1994 Crime Bill) and develop a modern 21st century public safety ‘Freedom to Thrive’ bill that acknowledges the harms and ineffectiveness of mass criminalization and mass incarceration and begins to repair the damage wrought by the 94 Crime Bill and broader punitive, expensive, violent, and racist systems of criminalization.
  • Pass the Democracy Restoration Act, legislation that addresses the restoration of voting rights to formerly incarcerated persons at the federal level. (See Voting Rights section below)
  • Pass legislation to reauthorize and increase funding for the Second Chance Act.
  • Pass legislation to remove barriers to occupational licenses for individuals with arrest and conviction histories.
  • Pass legislation to adopt Fair Chance Hiring Practices (ban the box), remove questions regarding conviction histories from applications, and delay inquiry into arrest and conviction history until after the initial offer.
  • Condition federal funding on the mandatory collection and reporting of demographic data on use of force and other police-community encounters and mandatory training on implicit bias, de-escalation, crisis intervention, procedural justice, adolescent development, and proper interactions with persons with disabilities and mental illness.
  • Restore juvenile justice funding to at least its FY 2002 levels, adjusted for inflation, and increase these investments over the next five years, including increasing funding and support for Native Youth and Tribal Juvenile Justice systems.
  • Oppose any policy riders that prohibit people with certain records from being ineligible for federal housing assistance and other public benefits.

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight of Department of Justice programs and policies regarding local law enforcement (e.g., pattern or practice, consent decrees, collaborative reform, Death in Custody Reporting Act, Byrne JAG, Justice Reinvestment, Project Safe Neighborhoods).


MEDIA/TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Legislation

  • Hold hearings on the practices and rates for inmate communications and pass the bipartisan Inmate Calling Technical Correction Act, S.2520, which will restore to the Federal Communications Commission the authority to end predatory inmate calling rates.
  • Data practices legislation must, at a minimum, protect civil rights, prevent unlawful discrimination, advance equal opportunity, and ensure low-income people and people with limited-English proficiency are fully protected.

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight over the following programs and activities:

  • The administration’s obligation to ensure affordable, modern high-speed communications infrastructure serves all people in the United States, including in American Indian territory, rural areas, and urban centers.
  • Just as the internet has created immense positive value by connecting people, facilitating civil rights advocacy, and adding new voices to our culture and public debate, it can also enable discriminatory conduct, exacerbate existing disparities, and give new tools to those who want to threaten, harass, intimidate, defame, or violently attack people different from themselves. Ensure that new technologies – including algorithmic decision making, artificial intelligence, and machine learning – protect civil rights, prevent unlawful discrimination, and advance equal opportunity.
  • The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) proposed drastic cuts and steps to undermine the federal Lifeline program, the only federal program assisting low-income households with the cost of broadband and telephone service.
  • The lack of post-disaster access to essential communication services, particularly for low-income households, communities of color, and communities with limited-English proficiency.
  • The FCC’s failure to collect and use demographic ownership and employment data, decisions to permit additional media consolidation, and rulings that reduce media ownership diversity in broadcasting.

 

VOTING RIGHTS

Legislation

  • Pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act or comparable legislation to restore the protections of the VRA struck down or rendered inoperable by the Supreme Court’s Shelby County
  • Pass legislation modernizing the voter registration system by creating automatic universal voter registration, online voter registration for all, permanent and portable voter registration election systems within states, and election day registration through the enactment of the Automatic Voter Registration Act or comparable legislation, ensuring that all systems are inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities, and protect against any unwarranted negative consequences for people who are ineligible to register to vote.
  • Pass the Democracy Restoration Act, which would restore voting rights in federal elections to formerly incarcerated individuals. (See also section on Justice Reform)
  • Oppose legislation that would create barriers to the right to vote, including, but not limited to, photo voter identification laws, laws restricting tribal IDs for voting purposes, laws requiring voters or voter registration applicants to provide documentary proof of citizenship, laws limiting early voting opportunities or proposing widespread precinct closures and/or consolidations, and laws purging qualified voters.
  • Pass the SAVE VOTERS Act to prevent states from purging voters on account of a failure to vote.
  • Pass legislation requiring compliance with federal voting rights laws as a requirement for states to receive federal funding.

Oversight

Conduct robust, frequent oversight over the following programs and activities:

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. (See section on Census)
  • The systematic effort of the use of digital platforms to spread misinformation and suppress the vote of communities of color during the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 mid-term election.
  • The lack of DOJ enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, including the general anti-discrimination provisions of Section 2, the bail-in provisions of Section 3(c), and the federal observer and election monitoring provisions of Sections 3(a) and 8, in state and local jurisdictions.
  • The activities of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (“Commission”) including the June 28, 2017 letter sent by Kris Kobach, Vice Chair of the Commission, to Secretaries of State requesting private voter data.
  • State election systems, including attempts to create barriers to voting and state voter registration rolls that were targeted, compromised, or penetrated prior to the 2016 presidential election.