April 27, 2018 Floor Statements
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor an institution that has been at the forefront of education in America for the last 150 years. This April, Hampton University is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding. To mark the occasion, I would like to take a moment and recognize the wonderful legacy of this institution of higher education that lives on today. The seeds from which Hampton University grew were planted in 1861. During the Civil War, Fort Monroe, the Union-controlled coastal fortress, was a beacon to slaves in Hampton, Virginia and the surrounding towns. General Benjamin Butler, Commanding Officer of the fort, had issued a declaration that any slaves that made it to Union lines would not be returned to their masters, but declared ``contraband of war.'' Overrun with slaves desiring their freedom, the Union created a camp for the refugees a few miles northwest of the fort. It was in this camp that Mary Smith Peake, a free black woman held classes for escapees under a large oak tree, in violation of Virginia law prohibiting the education of free or enslaved blacks.
February 15, 2018 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chair, H.R. 620, the so-called ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, is an attack on the civil rights of Americans with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or the ADA, is a civil rights law passed in 1990 to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in all aspects of society. I recognize that the ADA falls within the committee jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee, and I am here as the ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce because, if H.R. 620 were to become law, it would have a profound effect on students and workers with disabilities who are trying to learn, work, or just generally access their community.
January 29, 2018 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, unions empower workers with the freedom to negotiate for a fair return on their work and they provide a collective voice to advocate for policies that benefit working people. Union workers, including those in the public sector, have more access to paid leave, medical and retirement benefits, and higher pay than workers who are not unionized. Children of union members experience more upward mobility than children of workers who are not covered with union contracts, and States with higher union density have stronger workplace protections. There is a long history of unions helping the least powerful secure dignity on the job. This is the 50th anniversary of the Memphis sanitation workers' strike in 1968. After two workers were crushed in garbage compactors, the Memphis sanitation workers peacefully protested for better pay and safer working conditions. They sought representation from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME. They marched with placards that simply stated: ``I am a man.''
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to S. 140. As has been pointed out, buried in section 3 of this otherwise noncontroversial water and lands bill is the text of H.R. 986, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act. This nongermane provision would strip thousands of employees of their rights and protections under the National Labor Relations Act at Tribal enterprises located on Tribal lands. At issue in the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act are two solemn and deeply rooted principles: First, the right that Indian Tribes possess in matters of local self-governance; Second, the rights of workers to organize unions, bargain collectively, and engage in concerted activities for mutual aid and protection. Rather than attempting to balance these two important principles, the bill chooses sovereignty for some over the human rights of others. I would note that the approximately 75 percent of workers employed at Tribal casinos are not members of the Tribes running the casino, but this bill would strip labor rights of hundreds of thousands of these workers as well as those who are actually members of the Tribes.
December 13, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 50th anniversary of New Hope Baptist Church in Hampton, Virginia. New Hope Baptist Church began as New Hope Mission in 1967. Former members of New Emmanuel Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia felt compelled to establish their own place of worship, and they began to meet and cultivate their fellowship. The group originally began meeting in a store on North Avenue and later at Carver High School, both in Newport News. Reverend C.B. Potts served as the mission's spiritual leader during this time. The mission officially became New Hope Baptist Church in October of 1967.
December 11, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding. I also want to thank her for her leadership in organizing this Special Order and for her leadership of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus. HBCUs provide a great value to America, and I am honored to represent a congressional district that is home to two HBCUs: Hampton University, which celebrates its 150th anniversary next year, and Norfolk State University. Since their inception, HBCUs have been the cornerstone of postsecondary education for the African-American community. This was true 150 years ago and remains true today. HBCUs account for no more than 3 percent of all colleges and universities, yet they enroll almost 10 percent of all African-American undergraduate students and produce about 15 percent of all bachelor's degrees earned by African Americans.
November 16, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor An Achievable Dream, which will be commemorating its 25th anniversary this weekend. An Achievable Dream was founded by the late Walter Segaloff, a local community leader, businessman, and humanitarian. His ambitious public-private educational partnership in Newport News, Virginia started small but has grown exponentially in the last 25 years.
November 7, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 3441, the so-called Save Local Business Act. Mr. Speaker, in recent years, employers have increasingly moved away from direct hiring of employees to the use of permatemps and subcontracting to reduce labor costs and liability. For many workers, the name on the door of the building where they work may not be the name of the company that technically signs their paycheck. In situations like these, where more than one entity controls or has the contractual right to control the terms and conditions of employment, the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act hold both entities responsible for violations as joint employers. The joint employment standard under the NLRA ensures that workers can negotiate with all parties that control the terms and conditions of employment. Similarly, the joint employment standard under the FLSA ensures the appropriate companies can be held accountable for wage theft, equal pay, overtime pay, and child labor violations.
November 6, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise to thank and pay tribute to Denise Forte, who is my staff director on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. After a remarkable 20 plus year career in federal service, today is Denise's last day with us. Denise first came to Capitol Hill as a Women's Research and Education Institute fellow in my personal office in 1994. While she received her degree in computer science from Duke University, Denise's fellowship on Capitol Hill made her realize her true professional calling--helping ensure America's children have equality access to a quality education. I recognized her talent and; at the conclusion of her fellowship, hired her as a full-time employee where she excelled at several positions, including as my legislative director.
October 25, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 120th anniversary of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Newport News, Virginia. St. Augustine's Episcopal Church had humble beginnings. Originally known as Warwick Parish, and then as St. Paul's Church, its mission was started in 1897 with the intention of providing a religious community for African-American Episcopalians. The church was started with neither a full-time pastor nor an official building, so the congregation ran their early services out of the upper floor of the Columba Opera House in Newport News. Reverend Joseph F. Mitchell became the first vicar for St. Paul's Mission in the fall of 1897 and spent the next six years of his ministry trying to grow the parish and raise enough funds to afford to build a chapel for the congregation.