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Legislative Updates

 

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 1755/S.815)

  • 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 is sponsored by Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and has 196 Representatives signed on in support. While House Leadership is against the bill's advancement in that chamber, pro-ENDA groups continue their aggressive push to sway votes.  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)

  • 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 re-introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) in December 2013, in advance of Congressional consideration of satellite legislation and a general review of the Communications Act.   NRB opposes this bill and is taking it very seriously as supporters have been working to establish a drumbeat around it. 

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Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 301/S.653)

  • NRB Position: Support
  • Summary: This legislation would direct the President to appoint a "Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia" within the State Department.
  • Status: This bipartisan legislation, spearheaded by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in the Senate, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in December 2013 and awaits action on the Senate Floor.  The House in September 2013 overwhelmingly passed a companion bill authored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a longtime religious freedom hero who is retiring from Congress at the end of this session. NRB has supported this bill for several years. The NRB Board of Directors in 2011 approved a Resolution calling on the President "to make a bold public statement against the international persecution of Christians, and to further enforce that position through his choice of Executive Branch appointments and through his foreign policy decisions." 

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Supporting the Local Radio Freedom Act (H.Con.Res.16/S.Con.Res.6)

  • 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 193 Representatives and 12 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 and is vocal in its concern with the Free Market Royalty Act (H.R.3219) and similar legislation.  It is possible performance royalties may be up for debate again in the 113th Congress.

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