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HR Policy Briefing 11/12/20

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On Saturday, Nov. 7, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris, D-Calif., secured 290 electoral votes.

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Many U.S. Senate and House of Representatives races remain uncalled. Pending the outcome of 30 races, Democrats are expected to maintain their majority in the House.

Republicans hold 50 seats in the Senate while Democrats hold 48, with two races in Georgia heading to a runoff in January. Democratic wins in both Georgia races could give Democrats the majority with the vice president serving as the tiebreaker.

More Diversity Among Policymakers

Newly elected policymakers are looking more like America. The 117th Congress is expected to be the most diverse in history, with a record number of women, winners under the age of 45, members of the LGBTQ community and racial minorities in office, according to The Hill. Here’s a snapshot:

Women and Minority Representation

  • New Mexico will become the first state whose delegation to the House of Representatives is all women of color.
  • Rep.-elect Cori Bush, D-Mo., will be the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.
  • Rep.-elect Marilyn Strickland, D-Wash., will become the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress and the first Black member of Congress from Washington state.
  • Rep.-elect Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., is the first Iranian-American elected to Congress.
  • The number of GOP women will nearly double, reaching 32 across chambers.
  • A record number of Black women—at least 24, all Democrats—are slated to take office in the House, up from the previous record of 22 in 2019.

LGBTQ Representation

  • The number of LGBTQ members is expected to grow from nine to 11 across both chambers.
  • New York Democratic Reps.-elect Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres will become the first two gay Black and Afro-Latino members of Congress, respectively.

The ‘Average’ State Legislator Is Changing, Slowly

The demographics of state-elected lawmakers are also changing. According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a SHRM strategic partner:

  • Women hold 29 percent of the 7,383 total state legislative seats.
  • Nevada is the first and only state where women are the majority in the state legislature (33 of 63 legislators).
  • Colorado is second, with 47 percent of women serving in the state legislature.
  • Twenty-five states have seen Black representation in state legislatures increase.
  • Twenty-one states had upticks in representation in the Hispanic/Latino demographic.
  • Washington state Rep.-elect Tarra Simmons, a Democrat, became the first person elected to the state house as a former felon.
  • Democrats Jenifer Rajkumar and Zohran Mamdani, both Indian-American, became the first South Asians elected to the New York State Assembly.
  • In Oklahoma, Mauree Turner became the first nonbinary state legislator, the state’s first Muslim legislator and the first Black person to represent the state’s 88th district.
  • State Sen.-elect Shevrin Jones became Florida’s first openly gay member of the state’s Senate.

To find out more about your state legislature’s demographic makeup, visit NCSL’s resource page.

Timeline to Inauguration Day

There are several important dates to note before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, 2021. First, state electors will meet on Dec. 14 to formalize the election results. The new Congress will be seated on Jan. 3, 2021; the two Georgia runoffs will be held two days later on Jan. 5. On Jan. 6, a joint session of Congress will count the electoral votes.

Gubernatorial Races

There were 11 gubernatorial races this election cycle, with nine incumbents securing re-election. There are 27 Republican governor’s offices (Republicans maintained control in Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) and 23 Democratic offices (Democrats kept seats in Delaware, North Carolina and Washington state).

Additionally, Republican candidates won two open governor races in Montana and Utah. Montana became a new trifecta state, meaning one party controls the executive and legislative branches of the state.

State Legislatures

There were nearly 6,000 state legislative races in 44 states this year. On Election Day, two chambers changed hands: the New Hampshire House and Senate. This is the lowest number of changes in legislative control since 1944.

The Republican Party will remain the majority party in most state legislative chambers throughout the country, holding 61 legislative chambers to 37 held by Democrats. New Hampshire and Montana became new Republican trifectas.

State Ballot Measures

Eighty-five state ballot initiatives were approved by voters this election cycle. The majority of the measures covered marijuana usage, health care, elections, redistricting laws, taxes, and civil and criminal justice.

California voters overturned a law passed last year that would have classified app-based drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. Colorado passed Proposition 118, which establishes a paid family and medical leave program. The program provides up to 12 weeks (in some cases up to 16 weeks) of paid leave and up to $1,100 per week, funded through a payroll tax.

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota passed measures legalizing recreational marijuana use. Voters in South Dakota and Mississippi approved medical marijuana use. Oregon voters approved measures decriminalizing small amounts of controlled substances, including cocaine and heroin.

As the 2020 election results are finalized, SHRM will continue to post updates on the latest workplace policy implications for work, workers and the workplace. Bookmark and check in often.


SHRM’s Global Mobility and Immigration Symposium Starts Nov. 11

Has your talent team been impacted by the new restrictions on global talent procured by H-1B and J-1 visas? Do you work for a global company that has been impacted by the inability to move staff members to where they are critically needed? You and your talent team are not alone.

Join us for a two-day, forward-focused discussion around the latest developments in global mobility and workplace immigration at the SHRM Global Mobility and Immigration Symposium. Attendees will hear from policy experts, government officials and industry leaders focused on navigating the future of global HR and immigration policy. Register today.

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SHRM Announces Workplace Policy Conference 2021

Like many organizations, SHRM consistently reviews its conference offerings and updates them to meet the needs of its membership. Our members have been grappling with the impact of workplace policies that affect their organizations and employees. To that end, we are pleased to announce Workplace Policy Conference 2021.

Formerly known as Advocacy@Work and the Employment Law & Legislative Conference, this event has been expanded to include a robust focus on federal and state policies that directly affect workplaces. Attendees will receive valuable, in-depth professional development training and get an insider’s view of what’s on the policy horizon from experts in the know.

Participants will also have the opportunity to put their advocacy skills into immediate action by engaging with members of Congress and their staffs. Stay tuned for more on this important event coming soon.

Update: DOL OFCCP Issues RFI on Diversity and Inclusion Trainings Executive Order 13950

On Oct. 27, SHRM hosted a webcast titled “Navigating the White House Executive Order ‘Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.’ ” The program featured legal experts from Seyfarth Shaw LLP who explained the provisions and impacts of the executive order, as well as what it means for impacted federal contractors, subcontractors and grantees. The webcast is available for on-demand viewing through January 2021.

SHRM continues to seek clarity on the order and is working with the administration and the U.S. Department of Labor toward an approach that ensures employers can implement effective diversity, equity and inclusion training programs without fear of unfair penalties.

If you are interested in elevating your voice on this issue, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a request for information (RFI) specifically seeking copies of trainings, workshops or similar programing having to do with diversity and inclusion, as well as information about the duration, frequency and expense of such activities.

To submit information in response to the RFI, visit the Federal Register website.

If you would like additional information on the executive order, visit the Executive Order 13950 landing page.

SHRM and NFWL Host Workplace Equity Roundtable

HR professionals and elected officials play an instrumental role in creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces. On Nov. 9, Emily M. Dickens, SHRM chief of staff, head of government affairs and corporate secretary, facilitated a Workplace Equity Roundtable in partnership with the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL). Dickens led the discussion with Tennessee state Rep. Karen Camper, New Jersey Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, Wisconsin state Rep. Lisa Subeck and Jackie Taylor, partner in markets and business development with Ernst & Young.

The roundtable focused on grassroots solutions and the critical partnership between HR professionals and policymakers to drive racial inequity from the workplace. These important conversations elevate HR as a key resource for elected officials and business leaders to create workplace policies that empower employers and employees.

SHRM will be hosting a second roundtable with NFWL in December with a different contingent of state lawmakers from across the country. Keep your eyes on SHRM’s Advocacy and Together Forward @Work webpages for more information in the coming weeks.

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SHRM’s VP of Public Policy Named Top 2020 Association Lobbyist

Congratulations are in order. On Nov. 10, Chatrane Birbal, SHRM vice president of public policy, was named a 2020 Top Lobbyist by the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics (NILE). The nomination process ran seven weeks and was open to government affairs professionals at the state and federal levels. In total, 75 lobbyists from four categories—associations, corporate, large firm and small firm—were acknowledged for their hard work and dedication to the profession, as well as making a difference. Thank you for all you do, Chatrane—SHRM is proud to have you on our team!

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Honest HR Podcast

On Oct. 20, Birbal and Lisa Horn, vice president of government affairs, joined the Honest HR podcast to discuss the impact of this year’s election results, policy not politics and how HR professionals can ensure that public policy doesn’t have unintended consequences. Listen to this important conversation on how policy issues intersect with what’s going on in the workplace today.


SHRM Highlights HR Resiliency

HR professionals have played a critical role in leading their organizations through some of the toughest workplace challenges they’ve ever faced. Public officials now need to hear from HR professionals about how they are adapting to new challenges, adjusting business practices and providing innovative solutions for the world of work.

We want to hear from you. Tell us how your organization has been resilient.

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Advancing Workplace Issues in 2020

SHRM is proud to be working with several organizations to highlight workplace issues in 2020. They include AARP, Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP, Fakhoury Global Immigration USA PC, Fratelli Group, Mylan, NAICU, Palladian Hill Strategies, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Tulane University Law School.