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    Stefanik seeks public, private partnership for workforce training

    U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, wants to expand public/private collaboration in workforce training.

    Only 125,000 unemployed adults and laid-off workers per year are now completing federal employment training programs, and only one-third of those are employed in a related field six months after completion, Stefanik said in a news release about two bills she recently introduced.

    “Accessibility to workforce development can equip more workers for in-demand jobs and provide job creators with the skilled workforce they need,” Stefanik said.

    The first of the bills, introduced June 14, would allow employees to develop workforce training programs tailored to employer needs and pay for the training through “employer-directed skills accounts,” which the federal government and employer would contribute.

    Training could be provided by the employer or a third-party education contractor.

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    The second bill would allow employers who use pre-employment screenings to submit their methodology to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Council to determine if it complies with federal law.

    Those that do comply would be certified as “job ready.”

    The EEOC would not be allowed to use information submitted to launch an investigation of the employer.

    Neither bill had any co-sponsors as of July 1.

    In other political news of the region:

    LGBTQI protections

    U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, recently co-sponsored several bills to address discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

    Tonko was an original co-sponsor of legislation which Rep. Bradley Scott Schneider, D-Ill., introduced Friday to expand protection under the Fair Housing Act to include individuals experiencing discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation.

    The legislation, HR 4439, had 14 original cosponsors — 13 Democrats and one Republican — from 11 states.

    Tonko was an original cosponsor of legislation U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., introduced Friday to impose sanctions on foreign persons responsible for violations of international human rights protections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex individuals.

    Details of the proposed sanctions were not yet available, as of Sunday.

    The legislation, HR 4422, had 51 original co-sponsors — 50 Democrats and one Republican.

    On Friday, Tonko co-sponsored legislation which Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., reintroduced June 27 to prohibit discrimination at business such a retail stores, hotels, and restaurants based on sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

    The proposed legislation also would add sex, gender identity and sexual orientation to prohibitions under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    The legislation — HR 4393 — had 21 cosponsors, as of Sunday — all Democrats.

    Watson Coleman first introduced the legislation in 2015, according to a news release.

    Education endowment tax

    U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, has made an exception to her usual opposition to new taxes — with a goal of protecting national security rather than raising revenue.

    Stefanik is an original co-sponsor of legislation Rep. Gregory Murphy, R-North Carolina, introduced to establish a federal excise tax on contributions from Chinese donors to large collegiate endowment funds.

    The tax, applicable to private college and university endowment funds of $1 billion or more, would amount to 50% of the initial contribution and 100% of any future gains from the contribution.

    “The measure aims at pressuring large university endowments to purge their investment portfolios of Chinese entities deemed a threat to U.S. national security,” Murphy said in a news release.

    The legislation — HR 4380 — had seven cosponsors, all Republicans, as of July 2.

    Suicide prevention

    State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, announced that she held a two-hour “listening session” June 22 to discuss ways to prevent suicide.

    Representatives of health care agencies, education, non-profit organizations, veterans’ groups and government officials participated in the forum.

    “In order to gain a better understanding of any situation, I think it’s best to listen to a variety of perspectives. Suicide prevention is very complicated and multi-faceted. One big take away from this meeting — we need to meet again,” Woerner said, in a news release. “We just hit the tops of the waves this time. At our next meeting, we’ll take the conversation to the next level.”

    Economic development

    U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, on June 15, introduced bipartisan legislation to continue the Northern Border Commission for another 10 years, and to amend its guidelines to be more flexible in supporting health care and housing projects.

    The commission is a federal/state partnership that assists with economic and community development in regions along the U.S./Canadian border in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

    The proposed legislation would authorize $40 million in funding to the commission annually for the first five years and $45 million annually for the remaining five years.

    Maury Thompson covered local government and politics for The Post-Star for 21 years before he retired in 2017. He continues to follow regional politics as a freelance writer.



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