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Democrats’ bill to fight sexual harassment, explained

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The #MeToo movement may have toppled producer Harvey Weinstein and other men accused of sexual misconduct from their positions of power, but according to caterer Venorica Tucker, it hasn’t put a stop to the harassment many servers and bartenders deal with every day.

“Sometimes there’s a little pinch; sometimes there’s just little comments or brushing up against you,” said Tucker, who works in catering at the US House of Representatives and is an advocate with the group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. “Sometimes they will indicate that they might tip you better if you’re a little friendlier.”

“You would think that people wouldn’t be bold enough to still play that card, but they do,” Tucker told Vox.

Since the #MeToo movement gained public attention in 2017, sexual misconduct allegations against high-profile men have made headlines around the world. But for food servers and other workers harassed or assaulted by people who aren’t famous and under circumstances that make it difficult or impossible to report, it’s not clear whether much has changed.

On Tuesday, Democrats in Congress will introduce legislation aimed at helping those workers. Called the Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination (BE HEARD) in the Workplace Act, it would close loopholes in federal discrimination law that leave many domestic workers without legal protections from sexual harassment. It would authorize grants for low-income workers to help them seek legal recourse if they are harassed. And, crucially for food service workers like Tucker, it would eliminate the lower minimum wage for tipped workers, which many say makes servers vulnerable to harassment by customers.

“Some women did and do still think that in order to make the extra tip, they have to ignore unwanted touches and unwanted comments,” Tucker said, “and we shouldn’t have to.”

The legislation could face an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Senate. But it’s an example of a larger move toward systemic changes that would go beyond deposing a few big-name men, and help the many workers in America whose harassment never makes the news.

The BE HEARD Act would end the tipped minimum wage, and more

The BE HEARD Act, introduced in the House and Senate on Tuesday by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), and co-sponsors, follows a report compiled by staff of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions last December. The authors of the report interviewed a number of workers like Gilda, a domestic worker who was raped by a male client, and June, a home care worker whose client groped and propositioned her. The reports’ authors argued that current law fails such workers and offered a number of recommendations that would help protect them, many of which are reflected in the legislation.

“When we started work on the Be HEARD Act, we’d heard a lot about abuses of power in Hollywood and in Congress,” Murray said in prepared remarks provided to Vox. “What we wanted to do was shine a spotlight on workers who weren’t in those headlines.”

The provisions of the BE HEARD Act include:

  • Eliminating the tipped minimum wage. The federal minimum wage for many servers and other tipped workers is just $2.13 an hour, and they rely on gratuities from customers to make up the difference. (If a worker does not earn the equivalent of the minimum wage in tips, federal law requires employers to make up the difference, a system that advocates argue makes tipped workers vulnerable to wage theft.)

For some, that can mean enduring harassment in order to pay their bills. That’s why restaurant workers and their advocates have long called for eliminating the tipped minimum wage, making the full federal minimum wage apply to all workers, regardless of whether they make money in tips.

  • Extends harassment protections to workers at small businesses, independent contractors, and more. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of gender — and sexual harassment is considered a form of gender discrimination. But as Vox’s Alexia Fernández Campbell has reported, employers with fewer than 15 workers are exempt, which means more than 12 million workers — many of them nannies, home health care aides, or workers on family farms — don’t have access to the same protections as other workers.

The BE HEARD Act would close that loophole. It would also extend federal discrimination protections to apply to independent contractors, a change that could help workers in the entertainment industry, many of whom work on a contract basis. The report tells the story of Angela, who provides beauty services to actors and models on a freelance basis. Angela says her former agent repeatedly called her racist and misogynist slurs and, when she complained, punished her by canceling bookings. If Angela, a contract worker, had been protected by federal law, she could have brought a harassment claim against her agent, the report notes.

The legislation also includes language clarifying that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal under the Civil Rights Act, a move that could help protect LGBTQ workers.

  • Bans mandatory arbitration clauses. When they’re hired, many Americans are now forced to sign clauses promising that if they have a dispute with the company, they’ll take it up in private arbitration — a process that has no judge or jury, and under which workers are less likely to win. About half of non-unionized workers in America are subject to such clauses, as Fernández Campbell and Alvin Chang reported at Vox last year, and they make it harder for workers to hold employers accountable for sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination. The BE HEARD Act would ban mandatory arbitration clauses, as well as barring certain kinds of nondisclosure agreements, which some employers have used to keep employees from speaking out about sexual harassment.
  • Creates a grant program to provide legal assistance to low-income workers. The legal right to bring a harassment claim doesn’t help much if a worker can’t afford to hire a lawyer. According to the report, low-income families seek legal help for only about 19 percent of employment-related legal issues. The BE HEARD Act would set up a program to help low-income workers pay for lawyers and other resources they may need when dealing with sexual harassment cases.

The legislation includes a number of other provisions, including setting aside money for a nationwide survey on the prevalence of harassment. As the report notes, though there are a number of federal efforts to track sexual violence around the country, “no similar data collection about the prevalence of workplace harassment or workers’ experiences facing this type of discrimination exists.”

The legislation faces an uncertain future — but some parts have attracted Republican support

Some of the ideas in the BE HEARD Act have attracted bipartisan support recently. Republicans held a committee hearing last week on the issue of mandatory arbitration, with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and others expressing concern about the use of arbitration clauses. Meanwhile, Republicans in the House and Senate have joined with Democrats to introduce legislation barring employers from forcing employees to sign nondisclosure agreements.

That legislation has yet to pass, however. And the BE HEARD Act may face a difficult road in the Republican-controlled Senate. In particular, Republicans in Congress have generally opposed efforts to raise the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, some worker advocates point out that with any anti-harassment legislation, enforcement is critical. The BE HEARD Act “represents a critical step in the right direction for the country, redressing loopholes in existing legislation regarding who has access to justice in the workplace,” the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a group that has worked to fight harassment of farmworkers, told Vox in a statement. But “it is critical that this new legislation be coupled with a clear enforcement strategy for the agencies responsible for ensuring that the new laws on the books are translated into new practices on the ground.”

Still, supporters of the legislation are hopeful it will remind Americans that sexual harassment remains a part of many workers’ everyday lives, even in the era of #MeToo.

“If we can get people to recognize that this is a very serious thing,” Tucker said, “hopefully they’ll understand that these are things that are not impossible to correct.”

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony is set for July 17

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After weeks of speculation about whether special counsel Robert Mueller would testify before Congress, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff have announced Mueller will appear in front of their committees in July.

On Tuesday night, Nadler announced Mueller had agreed to testify, after his committee and the House Permanent Select Committee issued subpoenas. Mueller will testify in open session on July 17, according to the chairs.

“We look forward to hearing his testimony, as do all Americans,” Schiff and Nadler’s statement reads. “Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaigns acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack.”

But don’t expect too many bombshells from the special counsel’s testimony. Mueller has been very clear about what he will and will not talk about publicly in front of Congress: He will talk about what is already in his report on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s alleged obstruction. He won’t talk about what he thinks about how Attorney General William Barr handled the report’s rollout, or anything else not in the report’s 448 pages.

“The report is my testimony,” Mueller said in a rare public statement last month. “I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

House Democrats want Mueller to give more information. They are deeply suspicious of the way Barr and the Trump administration handled the Mueller report rollout this spring and want to hear Mueller’s side of the story. But Mueller, seemingly afraid of politicizing the report and his role in it, has clearly said he has no desire to speak on it.

Democrats had hoped Mueller would willingly agree to testify in front of Congress, but House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler also floated the option of subpoenaing the special counsel last month if Trump tried to claim executive privilege to block it. “We will subpoena him if we have to,” Nadler reiterated in a CNN interview earlier this month.

Given the fact Mueller said his decision not to testify was his and his alone, committee chairs were hesitant to take the step of subpoenaing him, but eventually chose to. Mueller was easier to persuade than Trump administration officials, many of whom have chosen to ignore Democratic subpoenas.

Even if Mueller can’t speak to anything beyond the report, Democrats believe his testimony will be valuable as they slowly and methodically mount their campaign of investigations against Trump. Whether it will ultimately lead to impeachment is another question entirely — one House Democrats don’t appear any closer to tackling.

Mueller believes Congress should hold Trump accountable

Twice — once in his report and once in his public statement — Mueller has said he believes Congress is the body that should decide whether Trump obstructed justice by attempting to stop the investigations into his 2016 campaign.

Even with plenty of evidence, Mueller explained why his team did not charge Trump for obstructing justice, saying long-standing Department of Justice policy prevented him from indicting a sitting president. And as Vox’s Andrew Prokop wrote, Mueller went a step further, concluding he couldn’t even state whether Trump had broken the law because “it would be unfair to the president, because the fact that he can’t be charged means he can’t clear his name with an acquittal at trial.”

Mueller instead punted a fix to Congress. After examining Congress’ role through the lens of separation of powers in the US Constitution and past court cases, Mueller concluded in his report that lawmakers are the ones with the authority to act in cases in which a president may have committed obstruction of justice.

“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” Mueller’s report reads.

He added this critical line: “The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

Mueller wrote that no person — not even the president of the United States — is above the law, and that the US Constitution doesn’t “categorically and permanently immunize a President for obstructing justice.” DOJ precedent effectively prevented Mueller from charging a sitting president but, as Prokop wrote, Mueller’s decision to investigate and lay out the potential for crimes and still not come to a conclusion one way or another sets another precedent for future presidents to act above the law — especially if they have confidence a politically split Congress won’t do anything about it.

Congress’s next steps will be critical because Mueller’s report explicitly states, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Many Democrats viewed this as tantamount to an invitation to the House Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment inquiry — something House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants have been hesitant to wade into. The Democratic leader has instead advocated for her party to continue investigating the president, even as a growing number of her caucus calls for an inquiry to be opened.

The number of calls for an inquiry grew even more after Mueller’s public statement. Even if he is simply talking about the already known conclusions of his report, there’s the potential to cause even more Democrats to back an inquiry.

The drumbeat on an impeachment inquiry is growing steadily, but whatever House Democrats do, it is a decision now out of Mueller’s hands.

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Tik Tok China Daily Trending Videos 20190602 抖音每日热门视频

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#涂磊 Parenting and children’s 52 things Children’s Day, personally light your care! #摇音小助手(#涂磊育儿之和孩子的52件事 六一儿童节,亲手点亮你的小心愿!#抖音小助手) – 涂磊

Blame me… didn’t choose well… Hey! !(怪我了…没选好…唉!!) – A.燁煬(拳师犬阿卢)

This is quite fun(好好玩哦) – 陈乔恩

After 90, the old Timo will have to pass 6.1! I also sang a short paragraph of Deng Ziqi’s “The Devil from Heaven” #魔的天堂鬼# Today is a child(90后老提莫也要过6.1哼!我也唱一小段邓紫棋的《来自天堂的魔鬼》#来自天堂的魔鬼 #今天就做个孩子) – 冯提莫

200w powder thank you for giving you a peach blossom in the June 1st ~ Song pants is good for jumping this! I loved ~#original national wind plan(200w粉感谢❤️在六一给大家来一首桃花笑~宋裤好适合跳这个!我爱了~#原创国风计划) – Fofo酱

Is the June 6 unfair to me? ! ? ! Is my mom fake? !(六一节对我这么不公平吗?!?!我妈是假的吗?!) – 陈赫

Teacher Lang said: If a meal can’t be solved, then… two meals(浪老师说:如果一顿饭解决不了的,那就…….两顿) – 慕容瑞驰

Jie Ge, I forgive you.(杰哥我原谅你了) – 小沈阳

You are really funny, jump up, wipe your mouth, and go to sleep right away. #看我多玩玩#猫#摇音小助手(你确实很搞笑,跳上去,擦擦嘴,马上就睡觉#看我多会玩 #猫 #抖音小助手) – 可可西里

For the history of urine, this last expression(为啥史尿多最后这个表情) – 哈K

Childhood is – will look at the rain like it grows up but will envy it so rain, 6.1 happy(童年就是——会像它一样看雨 长大却会羡慕它这样看雨,6.1快乐) – 十一

Don’t let her wear high heels when going out with friends, or you will be like me.(以后跟朋友出门千万不要让她穿高跟鞋,不然你就会像我一样) – 赵铁柱

The sneak shot of a man who is about to be a father. Are men all like this?(偷拍即将当爸爸的男人。男人是不是都是这样) – 娜娜有个别人家男友

The video was found out, and the tone was lowered. It was not shouted out. It was recorded once, and I was afraid of disturbing others. The certificate is a civilized dormitory.(视频呢找出来了,降调了,不是喊出来的,就录了一遍儿,怕打扰到别人。奖状是文明宿舍。) – 风浪才子

Eat a daughter-in-law’s mental weight loss and my action to lose weight … @ Zoo Band @音乐盒(吃货媳妇的精神减肥和我的行动减肥 …@动物园乐队 @音乐盒子) – Q朋克

Some of the Magic Fairy dialects that Grandma is learning on the way home, you guess who said it. I wish you all a happy day #六一儿童节#雨女无瓜(奶奶在回家的路上现学的一些魔仙堡方言,你们猜猜是谁说的。 祝大家六一快乐#六一儿童节 #雨女无瓜) – 淘气陈奶奶

What is this position? #邓超#Deng Chao Yinhe Tuition Class @摇音小助手(请问这是什么走位?#邓超 #邓超银河补习班 @抖音小助手) – 邓超工作室

On the Children’s Day, Children’s Day is so against me, should I endure it?(六一儿童节小歪居然这么对我,我该忍着么) – 开挂的猫二歪

Classmates, Happy Children’s Day! #Apple original camera #vlog日常#爱#六一 @摇音小助手(同学,六一快乐!#苹果原相机 #vlog日常 #爱情 #六一 @抖音小助手) – 土木一班姜同学

Happy Children’s Day(六一快樂) – 张庭

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20 Marvelous Behind-the-Scenes Shots That Are Sure to Make History

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When it comes to the magic of moviemaking, it takes a lot of work to make the impossible a reality. While special effects are nearly as old as film itself (it has even appeared in silent films), the industry has come a long way. You’d be surprised to see how some of your favorite action scenes became a reality.

We at Bright Side love sharing the scenes from our favorite movies and revealing how they were made, and we can’t wait for you to see it all!

1. To be fair, Sean Gunn is cuter than a talking raccoon.

2. No, Hollywood movies don’t usually set the actors on fire.

3. Who’s a good boy?

4. A stormy day may start out green and bright.

5. It’s like space is just a room away…

6. That said, I’m sure one day we’ll make it through the looking glass.

7. So, you’re saying you shouldn’t go out and pet tigers?

8. It’s never been this easy to get to the seashore.

9. We can put a man on the moon and have a war in the stars.

10. You’d think they’d use a green screen to get to Emerald City but to each his own.

11. The most impressive part is how the pillow and wall changed color.

12. Now, if we could just find a way to actually travel back in time to the ’20s…

13. It’s time to turn off the lights (and put up the sun)!

14. Being an action hero is much safer when using a harness.

15. Who knew that getting superpowers could be so easy?

16. Finally, after all these years, they tell us how to get some air on a broomstick.

17. Sadly, giant, talking turtles are hard to come by, so you’ve got to get creative.

18. Who knew it was so easy to make a monkey out of you?

19. It’s time to put on the air conditioner!

20. This has got to be the easiest way to lose weight.

Bonus: People can have fun even in-between shots.

Do you know any other tricks filmmakers use to make their movies even more impressive? Let us know!

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