Legislative Watch: ‘MAR-A-LAGO Act,’ Labor Reg Resolution and Updates

With the focus of President Trump, legislators and the American public on the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its replacement with the American Health Care Act the week of March 20, 2017, it may have seemed that Congress was doing little else, but a number of legislative activities have taken place.

MAR-A-LAGO Act Draws Public Attention to S. 721 and H.R. 1711

Democratic senators and a representative introduced a measure to their respective bodies seeking public disclosure of visitors to the White House and any other location where President Trump regularly conducts official government business in a less-than-subtly titled bill, “Make Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act” or the “MAR-A-LAGO Act.”

Senators Tom Udall (D-Utah), Tom Carper (D-Delaware), Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) introduced S. 721 on Thursday, March 23, 2017, in the Senate, where it was then assigned to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for further consideration.

In the House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) introduced an identical version of the measure there, H.R. 1711 on Thursday, March 23, 2017, where it was assigned to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Some Democratic members in both legislative bodies have been frustrated in their attempts to receive a response from the White House as to whether President Trump plans to continue the protocol of the Obama administration in which it published White House visitor logs within 90 to 120 days of the visits taking place. Udall, Quigley and the other sponsors of the MAR-A-LAGO Act want to hold the White House to those standards by introducing legislation that would require it.

U.S. Senate Disapproves Volks Rule, OSHA Rule Requiring Employers to Make and Maintain Records of On-The-Job Injuries and Illnesses

On Thursday, March 23, 2017, the Senate voted along party lines with a 50 “ayes” vote by Republicans to 48 “nays” votes by Democrats to disapprove the U.S. Department of Labor’s rule, “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness,” that provided for record-keeping of these issues for five years.

H.J. Res. 83, first introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama) on February 21, 2017, passed a resolution of disapproval vote in that legislative body via the Congressional Review Act before it was passed on to the Senate where that body also passed a resolution of disapproval of the act. The measure was sent to the White House for President Trump’s consideration on March 23, 2017.

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Visitors to WhiteHouse.gov are invited to give their input on legislation under presidential consideration by clicking on the link, “Legislation,” then clicking on “Pending.” As of March 26, 2017, H.J. Res. 83 is not yet posted under this link, but other legislation pending President Trump’s approval or veto can be found there.

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Follow-Up to Previously Reported Legislative Activity

Regarding H.R. 1313, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, introduced on March 2, 2017 in the House of Representatives, this measure that would allow employers to require genetic testing of employees as part of an employer-provided wellness program, with the employer then gaining access to employees’ personally-sensitive genetic data, was sent to three House committees on its introduction date with no further action having yet been taken.

According to this post on social media, H.R. 1313 may not be moving forward at all:

Likewise, H.R. 785, the National Right-to-Work Act introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on February 1, 2017 has not moved forward from its committee assignment to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, previously reported at The Daily Voice News on March 7, 2017.

In regards to a series of regulatory changes introduced in the House of Representatives early in March 2017, that is H.R. 998, H.R. 1004 and H.R. 1009, that were reported on previously by The Daily Voice News on March 5, 2017, there has been no new action taken on any of the three measures since being passed to the Senate and assigned to the appropriate committees for consideration.

In other federal legislative activity the week of March 20, 2017:


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