Recently Issued Resources from National Right to Life on Embryonic Stem Cell Bills, Equal Rights Amendment, ‘Grassroots Lobbying,’ and Anti-Petition Bills in Congress

April 17, 2007

http://www.nrlc.org/Federal/era/ERAlettertoHouse03282007.pdf
http://www.nrlc.org/Federal/era/NRLNthreestateArkansasMarch2007.pdf
http://www.nrlc.org/FreeSpeech/WaxmanDavisArticle.pdf

WASHINGTON, April 9 /Christian Newswire/ — This is to advise you of the availability, on the NRLC website, of the below-listed documents recently issued by NRLC on several issues that are currently active in Congress. To arrange interviews with NRLC staff on any of these issues, call 202-626-8820 or send an e-mail to Legfederal@aol.com.

STEM CELL RESEARCH

On April 10-11, the U.S. Senate will debate and vote on two bills dealing with stem cell research and human embryos: S. 5 (Reid-Harkin), which NRLC opposes and which will be vetoed; and S. 30 (Coleman-Isakson), to which NRLC has no objection. A letter to the Senate explaining NRLC’s position on these bills (with internal links to further documentation) is here. (The PDF version is here.)

Extensive further documentation regarding the issues surrounding embryonic stem cell research is available here and here.

EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
(or “Women’s Equality Amendment”)

The ERA was reintroduced in both the House and the Senate on March 27. According to the Washington Post (March 28), “House and Senate Democrats . . . vowed to bring it to a vote in both chambers by the end of the session.” In a letter sent to members of the House on March 28, posted here, NRLC urges opposition to this proposed constitutional amendment unless an “abortion-neutral amendment” is added, and explains why. (The PDF version of the letter is here.)

The proposed abortion-neutral amendment would read, “Nothing in this Article [the ERA] shall be construed to grant, secure, or deny any right relating to abortion or the funding thereof.”

[Oddly, while urging Congress to again approve the ERA, prime sponsor Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and many other ERA supporters simultaneously are claiming that the original 1972 ERA would become part of the Constitution if just three more states ratified it. To see an article about recent developments relating to this “three-state strategy” (PDF file), click here.]

REGULATION OF “GRASSROOTS LOBBYING”

Special-interest groups enamored with the regulation of free speech about legislative and political matters are pushing for new legislation to regulate so- called “grassroots lobbying,” referring to efforts to stimulate citizens to communicate with their elected representatives regarding pending legislative matters. NRLC, along with many other groups, believes that such legislation would infringe on the constitutional rights of grassroots-based citizen groups, including NRLC and NRLC affiliates.

Later this month, the House Democratic leadership is expected to unveil a new version of “lobbying reform” legislation that will include a provision to regulate so- called “grassroots lobbying,” even though the Senate rejected such a proposal on January 18. To read more about this issue, click here.

“BIG BROTHER ANTI-PETITION ACT” (H.R. 984)
(formal title: “Executive Branch Reform Act”)

The Waxman-Davis “Executive Branch Reform Act” (H.R. 984) has been approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and awaits floor action. According to the Washington Post (March 6), “A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that she backs the measure . . . and that she expects it to get a vote in the House.”

This bill would require that whenever a private citizen or a representative of a citizen group contacts (including e-mails, faxes, letters, etc.) any one of over 9,000 government officials to express an opinion on a policy matter, the identifying information on the citizen and the topic of the contact must be reported into a publicly accessible, searchable government database.

For further discussion of the implications of this radical proposal on the exercise of the right to petition guaranteed by the First Amendment, click here (PDF file).

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