Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
No one should face discrimination, including at the voting booth, or violence because of who they are. Congress plays a critical role in prohibiting discrimination, ensuring equal access to the ballot, and ensuring that if discrimination or voter disenfranchisement does occur, people have avenues for recourse and access to resources. In the 116th Congress, the Judiciary Committee passed several pieces of legislation to protect communities that have historically faced discrimination, including the first bill ever to pass the Committee and the House to provide explicit comprehensive non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community; legislation to restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and to bolster its guarantee against voting discrimination by states and localities on the basis of race, color, or language-minority status; legislation to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on natural hair styles and texture; and comprehensive policing reform legislation.
The Committee on the Judiciary and Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties also held hearings on numerous topics relating to civil rights and civil liberties, including on the history and continued impact of slavery and racial discrimination in America, LGBTQ discrimination, barriers to voting and the need to restore the Voting Rights Act, and ensuring the right to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the 117th Congress, the Committee will continue to build on these accomplishments in order to protect the civil rights of communities that have historically faced discrimination, ensure the right to vote, and reform policing.
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