Causes - powered by Countable - provide millions of advocates an intuitive understanding of pending legislation and streamlines the communication process with lawmakers, enabling advocates to influence voting decisions effectively. Advocates can also sound off on issues of national, local, or personal importance: policy, news, campaigns, and more.
As the only advocacy software to also run a community that consistently engages, Causes gives Countable a unique perspective. We get first-hand insights into what advocates think about and discuss, and we're passing these insights on to you.
In this weeks policy pulse, we’ve gathered the latest bills advocates are talking about as well as highlighting comments from the advocates themselves.
BILL: Should Ukrainian Refugees Be Eligible for PR? - Ukrainian Adjustment Act of 2023 - H.R.3911
- Introduced by Rep. William R. Keating (D-Mass.) on June 7, 2023
- Bipartisan support from Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio).
- Committees: House - Judiciary
- House: Not yet voted
- Senate: Not yet voted
- President: Not yet signed
- The bill would provide for the adjustment of the status of nationals of Ukraine, many of whom are wrestling with their legal status in the U.S.
- The bill would grant permanent residency rights to thousands of Ukrainians who have entered the U.S. since 2014. This would allow them to work, contribute to society, and maintain a stable life in the U.S. until they can return home.
- Over 7 million Ukrainians have fled the country since the Russian invasion, many coming to the U.S.
What's in the bill?
Will support refugees
- Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, over 113,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered the U.S. under the Uniting for Ukraine private refugee sponsorship program. The program allows eligible Ukrainians to live and work in the U.S. for up to two years.
- Before the Uniting for Ukraine program, thousands of Ukrainians traveled to Mexico, where it was easier to obtain a visa, and then tried crossing the border.
- The program has been successful but has led to questions about what happens after the two-year visa expires in 2024. Currently, participants could be subject to deportation or unable to work legally. Ukrainian workers' impending loss of work authorization could make employers reluctant to hire them.
Will extend permanent residence status to qualifying Ukrainian refugees
- The Secretary of Homeland Security will adjust the status of eligible Ukrainians if they apply.
- Their application must be in accordance with procedures established by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
- The Secretary of Homeland Security also needs to determine that the adjustment of the status of the eligible Ukrainian national is not contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the U.S.
What advocates are saying:
I DO think they should get full citizenship.
As they fled from a country being attacked by a foreign despot who ordered a building bombed that he knew contained orphans and killed them all, I think it's safe to say that they fled for a good reason.
However, the same considerations should be provided to others who are fleeing war-torn countries.
I'm not opposed.
I'm not opposed to this, as Ukraine has been under constant attack from Russia for nearly 10 years and these residents should be allowed to flourish here safely.
However, I would have been ok with a special protected temporary status so that they could return to Ukraine when war is over if they so choose.
Either way, we should allow these refugees to stay and work and prosper safely here in our country until they so choose to leave.
I can't say "yes," and I can't say "no."
Our major cities are already far beyond overcrowded and resources for emergency immigrant support are severely limited or already gone.
For better or worse, we don't have a policy that directs immigrants based on degrees or skill sets needed by cities.
Yet, Ukrainian need help.
We could task urban planners to come up with ideas if they haven't already. Seeing what family and friends were assigned at the graduate level, I am confident that reasonable solutions are possible. However, the funding would have to come from local, state, and federal governments, as well as private enterprises. I think that even some legislators will see the potential of long-term investment for certain classes of donors as well as their constituents.
Recall: Certain cities are in need of renewal as they once thrived but conditions changed.
As to the immediate needs of Ukrainian Immigrants, given our current political climate, it is going to be very difficult at best.
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Goes Into Effect
What's the story?
- The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was signed into law by President Biden on Dec. 29, 2022. The act went into effect on June 27, 2023, after a decade of efforts by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers.
- The act expands protections for working mothers and requires employers with over 15 employees to make fair and reasonable accommodations for workers who require them due to pregnancy and childbirth. The accommodation must not cause the employer "undue hardship."
- The act will not replace federal, state, or local laws in place that are currently more protective of workers.
Protects women at "covered employers"
- This includes private and public sector employers with 15 employees.
- All employees working in Congress, federal agencies, employment agencies, and labor organizations will be protected.
Requires companies to make accommodations
- The act requires that companies make accommodations for women experiencing reproductive-medical conditions like postpartum depression and fertility treatments.
- The language concerning "reasonable accommodations" is intentionally vague to allow room for employers and employees to liaise and negotiate terms appropriate for a given workplace or job role.
- These accommodations could include providing seating, receiving closer parking spaces, being excused from strenuous activities, extended bathroom breaks, room to pump breast milk, or access to a flexible, work-from-home schedule.
Fills the gaps between two previous legal protections
- The act fills in the gaps between two previous legal protections for pregnant people — the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 ruled that employers could not discriminate against pregnant workers, but the legislation was open to broad interpretation, and the burden of proof was on the pregnant worker to demonstrate clear incidents of discrimination.
- The second protection, the Americans with Disabilities Act, requires employers to make accommodations, but pregnancy is not classed as a disability. Therefore, pregnant people were not protected by this legislation.
Supports women in the workforce
- A large number of women left the workforce during the pandemic to assume caregiving duties. This legislation will help women maintain a career during pregnancy and parenting.
- The legislation could help address the ongoing labor shortage and could encourage companies to promote parent-friendly policies to retain talent.
Takes a step toward equity
- The act will not solve the pay gap that mothers face in the workplace, nor will it address the systemic lack of federally-mandated paid leave, but it is a step in the right direction.
What advocates are saying:
I don't see how this law helps at all. It mandates " reasonable accommodations", and who decides what's reasonable? The employer?
The authors state that the law "is intentionally vague to allow room for employers and employees to liaise and negotiate terms appropriate for a given workplace or job role." Negotiate? Really. Pregnant women, those undergoing fertility treatment, or experiencing post-partum complications are in no position to negotiate....that's why a legislation was needed.
May not go far enough...
Doesn't go far enough.
If it doesn't mandate equitable and sufficient paid leave for mothers, it doesn't go far enough.
This is a start, but employers still have too much power over their female employees under this law.
No, I do not think this goes far enough. Furthermore, as it stands, we have not gone far enough to protect women's right's at all-including autonomy over their own bodies.
Let the free market be free.
House Passes Anti-Trans 'Save Women's Sports' Bill - Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 - H.R.734
What's the story?
- Last month, a GOP-backed 'Save Women's Sports' bill passed the House 219-203, with Democrat lawmakers calling it an example of "transgender bullying."
- The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act aims to prevent transgender women and girls who were assigned male at birth from competing in women's sports.
- In a recent poll by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland, 55% of Americans opposed trans athletes in women's sports at the high school level, while 58% opposed it at the college level.
- Over two dozen states have banned transgender youth from playing on girls' and women's teams since 2021.
What advocates are saying:
Everyone should have access to sports.
Everyone should have access to sports. It is a difficult playing field to make level and fair. I encourage discussion among groups and people to have healthy competition and representation.
This makes me angry!
Women sports are not being impacted by anything other than the right wing trying to exploit it for their agenda. Stop vilifying trans people!
Tax the crap out of them.
It's time to declare the Catholic and Evangelical churches hate groups. They should not be eligible to receive one cent from federal or state governments. Tax the crap out of them.
This is a matter of human rights.
This is a matter of human rights and should not be up for a vote. It is an attempt to silence and erase one type of person!
This is transphobic.
Removing trans women from women sports IS transphobic. The argument is commonly made my liberals and democrats that follows the structure "I support transgender women, however, having trans women in women sports is unfair" This is rooted in transphobia. By arguing that trans women do not belong in women sports is to say that you do not view them as women. That is the very seed in which transphobia comes from. If we want an inclusive world we must set regulations for trans women not ban them.
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