Archive for the ‘Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Category

Civil and Human Rights Review of First Session of 112th Congress: “One of the Least Productive on Record”

January 26, 2012 Comments off

Civil and Human Rights Review of First Session of 112th Congress: “One of the Least Productive on Record”
Source: Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights today released vote ratings for every member of the Congress for the First Session of the 112th Congress. TheVoting Record, which has been published for every Congress since 1969, reflects positions taken by every senator and representative on the legislative priorities of The Leadership Conference and its more than 200 coalition members.

Members of Congress were graded on 18 House and 15 Senate votes addressing jobs, health care, worker’s rights, immigration, and more.

The Leadership Conference blamed the lack of progress on these issues during this session on an unprecedented level of obstruction and polarization. There was a sharp drop in the number of House members supporting civil rights priorities on at least 90% of votes – from 217 during the last Congress to 148 during this Congress. The ratings are neither an endorsement nor condemnation of any member of Congress.

“In historical terms, the session was one of the least productive on record – and one of the least popular,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference. “Even routine business – such as raising the debt ceiling and confirming highly qualified judicial and executive branch nominees – fell victim to obstruction, brinkmanship, and political posturing.”

The publication of the Voting Record is accompanied by the 2012 edition of the Civil Rights Monitor, a narrative and journalistic review of the year’s civil and human rights issues. This edition brings substantive commentary on ESEA reauthorization, efforts to slash the federal budget, voter suppression laws, state-level anti-immigrant laws, and much more.

Getting to Work: Transportation Policy and Access to Job Opportunities

September 7, 2011 Comments off

Getting to Work: Transportation Policy and Access to Job Opportunities (PDF)
Source: The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Equal access to employment opportunity is a cornerstone of civil rights law and policy. Federal statutes such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are designed to level the playing field by combating discriminatory practices by employers. However, employers are not the only decision makers who affect equal access to opportunity. For decades, metropolitan areas have been expanding outward, and jobs have been moving farther away from the low-income and minority people who disproportionately remain in urban cores. For many of these people, inadequate or unaffordable transportation is a significant barrier to employment.

As jobs move to auto-dependent suburbs, those without access to cars—including low-income workers and people with disabilities—lose out on employment opportunities. Many workers without access to a car spend hours on multiple buses traveling to remote work places; some are unable to get to these jobs at all. Low-income people who do have access to cars spend a large percentage of their household resources on transportation at the expense of other necessities.

Congress is now considering the surface transportation reauthorization bill, which will allocate funds for highways, rail, bus, and other modes of transportation across this country. The projects that it funds will not only affect Americans’ access to existing jobs, they will generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs. For these reasons, the transportation bill will have a significant impact on employment opportunity.

Congress must address the issue of equal access to job opportunity as it considers the surface transportation reauthorization bill. This authorization process presents civil and human rights advocates with an opportunity to engage members of Congress, educate stakeholders, and elevate the visibility of social justice concerns in transportation policy.


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