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Legislative Updates

 

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 1755/S.815 in 113th Congress)

  • NRB Position: Oppose
  • Summary: This bill (commonly referred to as ENDA) would create new employment rights for individuals based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Status:  The Senate bill, sponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), was approved by the Senate in November 2013. NRB expressed dismay with the Senate's 64-32 vote in favor of ENDA without resolving its First Amendment problems and urged Members of the House of Representatives to stand firm against it.  In the House, ENDA was sponsored by Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and had 196 Representatives signed on in support. NRB has testified numerous times before Congress on this issue, most recently in 2012 before the Senate HELP Committee.  NRB maintains its opposition to ENDA with particular focus on its lack of an effective exemption for religious employers.

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“Next Generation Television Marketplace Act” (H.R.3720 in 113th Congress)

  • NRB Position: Oppose
  • Summary This bill would eliminate a number of provisions from federal communications law, including “Must-Carry” rules for local commercial television broadcast stations to be viewed on pay-TV platforms. While supporters of the bill laud it as broad deregulatory effort, NRB has emphasized for years the great importance of “Must-Carry” rules for Christian television broadcasters. This legislation could be fatal to many Christian TV stations and may harm the ability of millions of Americans to continue accessing the religious programming on which they rely.
  • Status:  This bill was  last introduced in December 2013, in advance of Congressional consideration of satellite legislation and a general review of the Communications Act.   NRB opposes this bill. 

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Protect Women's Health From Corporate Interference Act (H.R. 5051/S.2578 in 113th Congress)

  • NRB Position: Oppose
  • Summary: This legislation would have removed employer health plans from the purview of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It would have been the first such carve-out to the 20-year-old RFRA, which demands deference to religious liberty unless there is a "compelling government interest" achieved by the "least restrictive means."
  • Status: Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) were the sponsors of this bill in their respective chambers shortly after the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. Senate Democrats quickly forced this bill directly to a full Senate vote. It failed on a procedural vote. While then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) threatened to bring it up again, he did not end up doing so.  

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Supporting the Local Radio Freedom Act (H.Con.Res.17/S.Con.Res.4)

  • NRB Position: Support
  • Summary: Sponsored by Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) in the House and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in the Senate, this Concurrent Resolution declares that Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.
  • Status: These Resolutions are pending review in the House Judiciary and the Senate Finance Committees. The bill has attracted the support of 145 Representatives and 10 Senators. The recruitment of additional cosponsors for these resolutions should be encouraged to further discourage attempts to slip performance tax language into any legislation. NRB opposes a radio performance tax in any form.  It is possible performance royalties may be up for debate again in the 114th Congress.

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