The fight for civil rights is far from over. The most critical protections of the Civil Rights Movement, including protections against race, sex, religious, and national origin discrimination, are under attack. Private employers are increasingly using so-called mandatory arbitration clauses to block their employees' ability to defend their rights in court. In some cases, even victims of sexual assault have seen their suits diverted from the public courts into private, secret, binding arbitrations — paid for by their employers. I authored a bill, now law, to bar the federal government from doing business with defense contractors that force workers into mandatory arbitration in the case of sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination.
I also believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people deserve the same rights as everyone else. In this respect, our civil rights laws are just plain out of date. It should be always and everywhere illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, just like it is already in Minnesota. Unfortunately, most federal employment and education laws lack these protections. As a member of the Senate Judiciary and Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committees I am working hard to bring federal law up to Minnesota standards.