This past Wednesday, I posted about a possible slow-down of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. I have to admit I was very concerned, though others counseled that ENDA was on track.
Yesterday afternoon, thankfully, the House Committee on Education and Labor announced that it would take the next step in moving ENDA forward. It will "mark up" the bill in a hearing to take place next Wednesday, November 18 at 10 a.m., which will be broadcast live on the Committee's website. The Committee is then expected to pass the bill back to the full House for a vote. ENDA moves forward.
The next question, however, is when House leaders will move it forward for a vote of the full House? Will it be before the Thanksgiving recess, or in December, or next year? The answer probably depends, strangely enough, on the other Congressional house, the Senate. As Congressman Frank implied in the Blade on Tuesday, if there aren't enough votes in the Senate yet, then House leaders will delay ENDA, and put another bill forward first. That could put ENDA before the Senate during mid-term election campaigns, which would make it more difficult to pass.
That's why we must work harder on the Senate than ever. The big advocacy organizations are asking people to call their House members, and that is good thing. Here, however, in our little corner of the blogosphere, I want to keep those Senate fires going.
Today's Legislator of the Day is Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Please call and ask her to support S1584, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Contact info and more after the jump.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, is considered a moderate Republican. She is generally pro-choice on abortion and supports stem cell research. She is also a member of the Republican Majority For Choice, Republicans For Choice, and The Wish List (Women in the Senate and House), a group of pro-choice women Republicans.
She may also be one of a few Republicans to join Democrats on climate change legislation. She voted in favor of the hate crimes bill again today, one of 5 Republicans to do so. Meanwhile, she has a 64% approval rating among Alaskans.
Senator Murkowski's cohort in the Senate, Alaska's junior Senator Mark Begich, is a confirmed yes on ENDA (not yet a co-sponsor, but his press secretary confirmed his support to me). Senator Murkowski herself voted for the hate crimes bill, although there was a strong push from the right against it in Alaska. There is also, however, a very strong LGBT movement in Alaska, as one can easily see by looking at "Bent Alaska," E. Ross's blog, which discusses GLBT news and events daily and is chock full of information about actions being taken by GLBT Alaskans. There's also "Alaskans Together for Equality," a political advocacy group that is also a part of United ENDA (donate today!) and QueerWorld Connect Pride Conference, which held its annual conference last week. And don't forget Mad Myrna's, of course, for all your entertainment needs.
Sen. Murkowski is up for re-election in the 2010 midterm elections, which may increase the pressure on her. But whether that pressure will be to move to the right or the left is unclear to me. The Alaska Dispatch said last week that she is not facing any real opposition, and that recent events in Alaska suggest that Alaskans may be ready for a move back from right to center. That could make support of ENDA an attractive move for the Senator.
We should bring ENDA to Senator Murkowski's attention now, as it may be helpful to her in showing centrist credentials. Please call and ask her to support S.1584, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
If you're not sure what to say when you call, click here for a "Step-by-Step Script For Calling Legislators On ENDA."
You may get a staffer who is unaware of the Senator's position on ENDA. Take a moment to explain what it is, and to ask if he or she can get some information on the Senator's position. Tell us what they said in the comments below.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
DC Phone: 202-224-6665
(Toll free DC Capitol line: 866-220-0044)
Click here for email