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Sens. Smith, Brown, Feinstein Lead Senate Dems in Introducing Resolution Recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) led all 50 Senate Democrats in introducing a Senate resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month. On the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month, the senators’ resolution highlights the contributions LGBTQ individuals have made to American society, notes several major milestones in the fight for equal treatment of LGBTQ Americans, and resolves to continue efforts to achieve full equality for LGBTQ individuals. The resolution also recognizes how the U.S. Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could potentially undermine and erode other constitutional rights grounded in privacy, including the right for same-sex couples to marry or engage in consensual relationships without the risk of criminal prosecution. “This month—and all year round—we celebrate, recognize, and lift up the LGBTQ+ community,” said Senator Smith. “The freedom to live and love openly is fundamental. This Pride Month, we recognize the courage and accomplishments of those who have been on the front lines of the LGBTQ movement and recommit ourselves to the fight for justice and equality. I am proud to help lead this resolution.” “More than 50 years ago, the Stonewall Uprising, led in large part by trans women of color, brought national attention to the ongoing movement for justice that lives on today in Ohio and across the country,” said Senator Brown. “This Pride month – and year-round – we recommit ourselves to gender equality and to social, economic, and racial justice, and to defending marriage equality as the

U.S. Sens. Tina Smith, Jerry Moran Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Access to Behavioral Health Care

WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand access to behavioral health care. The bill would make it easier for patients to receive behavioral health services in their primary care setting, which would make mental health care more affordable and accessible. “When I experienced depression, resources were there for me. But right now, too many people don’t have access to the behavioral health care they need,” said Senator Smith. “We need to start treating mental health with the same urgency we treat physical health, and that starts by making sure everyone who needs help can get it. This bill will help primary care providers treat both physical and mental health so that care is more accessible for everyone.” “Primary care physicians have a relationship with their patients that is built over years through trust and familiarity,” said Sen. Moran. “Integrating mental and behavioral health care into primary care settings will help provide Americans with easier access to mental health services through a familiar health care touchpoint. This legislation would supply primary care physicians with the resources necessary to begin merging mental health care into primary care settings to better serve patients.” “With the increase in people struggling with their mental health and a mental health workforce crisis there is a great need to promote integrated options,” said Sue Abderholden, Executive Director of NAMI Minnesota. “This means having mental health professionals in primary or pediatric care offices to eliminate barriers and provide early intervention.” “Primary care doctors often serve as the first point of

U.S. Senators Klobuchar, Smith Seek Information on How Shutdown is Hurting Ability to Protect Americans From Robocallers and Scammers

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/24/19]—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide more information on how the shutdown is impeding the agency’s ability to protect consumers in Minnesota and across the country from robocallers and scammers. This month, reports indicated that the government shutdown could cause illegal and scamming robocalls to rise dramatically because the FTC is unable to administer key consumer protection programs or take enforcement action against bad actors. On Wednesday, Sens. Klobuchar and Smith joined an effort led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to call for FTC guidance on how to assist constituents hurt by robocalls and scams during

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Helps Introduce Legislation to Protect Tribal Programs In Minnesota, Across Nation From Future Funding Uncertainty

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/25/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) helped introduce legislation to protect federal and tribal programs from budget uncertainty caused by government shutdowns and short-term funding packages. Sen. Smith has heard concerns from tribal leaders in Minnesota as the current shutdown continues and a lack of federal funds puts critical programs at risk. The bill—called the Indian Programs Advance Appropriations Act (IPAAA) led by Senate Indian Affairs Committee Vice Chairman Tom Udall (D-N.M)—would authorize advance resources for programs and services within the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Currently, critical federal programs at the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development,

U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s Statement on Deal to Reopen Government

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/25/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) released the following statement following the announcement that an agreement was reached to end the current shutdown and reopen the federal government: “From the beginning, the government shutdown was a waste focused on a political symbol instead of real solutions. Finally, President Trump is realizing the increasingly harmful toll the shutdown is taking on our country. I’m glad a deal has been reached to reopen the government and focus on meaningful negotiations, but we still need to make sure federal contract employees get back pay—which is an issue I introduced a bill

Sen. Tina Smith Continues to Lead Push to Secure Back Pay For Federal Contract Workers Financially Devastated by Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/29/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), continued to lead the push to secure back pay for the thousands of federal contract workers who went many weeks without a paycheck during the 35-day federal shutdown. Unlike federal government employees who returned to work this week, the thousands of federal contract employees—many of whom serve in modestly-paid jobs—have no assurances that they will receive back pay to make up for the wages they missed during the shutdown. On Tuesday, Sen. Smith was joined at a Capitol Hill press conference by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), and a coalition of several other Congressional Democrats to discuss