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Senate Update: Judge Gorsuch Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings – March 20, 11 am

Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings begin on March 20, 2017 at 11 am in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The selection of a Supreme Court Justice is an important event for our democracy and a judge’s record on key issues gives an indication as to the type of justice they will be.

Prior to contacting the committee or its members, here are some resources to learn about the judge’s record so that you are able to articulate your concerns or provide questions you’d like the committee to ask the judge during his confirmation hearing. Below are a few items about Judge Gorsuch’s record:

  1. NPR – Here’s what we know about Neil Gorsuch
  2. SCOTUS Blog – Judge Gorsuch on civil rights
  3. New York Times – Democrats’ Line of Attack on Gorsuch: No Friend of the Little Guy
  4. The Denver Post – What you need to know about Colorado judge Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court

If you’d like to contact members of the Judiciary Committee, Dinner at the Grange has created PDF contact lists for each committee.  Download the Senate Judiciary Committee contact list (PDF)


Call to Action – HR 1313 in Committee- Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act

On 03/02/2017, HR 1313 – Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act  was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

full_Legislation alertBill Summary: H.R. 1313 would allow employers to offer substantial health insurance premium rebates to workers who take part in company wellness programs that may include submitting to health risk assessments. Once enrolled an employee is enrolled in a wellness program, businesses are allowed to collect “information about the manifested disease or disorder of a family member” of participating employees. The bill, which was sponsored by Committee Chair Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), does not require employees to enroll in such programs. But the bill notes that according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers could reduce annual health insurance premiums by up to 50 percent for employees who did take part and not does not allow employers to require all their workers to submit to genetic testing.

Nancy J. Cox, PhD, ASHG president, in a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, provides a frightening overview: “If enacted, this legislation would undermine fundamentally the privacy provisions of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It would allow employers to ask employees invasive questions about their and their families’ health, as well as genetic tests they and their families have undergone. It would further allow employers to impose stiff financial penalties on employees who choose to keep such information private, thus empowering employers to coerce their employees into providing their health and genetic information.” from DNA Science Blog .

To Take Action:

  1. Read the bill & sign up for alerts on this bill here or  use GovTrack.us to get up-to-date information.
  2. Contact the House Ways and Means Committee. This is your opportunity to give citizen testimony and lobby for/against a bill. Adding personal stories as to why or how a bill will affect average Americans is powerful and may sway committee members.
  3. Follow the bill’s progress in the committee: Ways and Means Committee Hearing Schedule
  4. Once the bill is out of committee and before the House vote, contact your Representative and tell them why you would like them to vote a certain way (for or against).

Call to Action (2.2.17) – Bannon

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security is taking calls about Bannon’s appointment to the NSC. ALL Senators, not just your own; call their District & DC offices. Link to committee members here. A note from the Southern Poverty Law Center: Be sure to tell the committee that you believe no individual whose primary responsibility is political in nature should be allowed on the NSC or authorized to attend its meetings. Partisan politics have no place in our national security. A number to call the committee (in addition to individual members) is: 202-224-4751.



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