News (USA)

Nevada GOP senator to support ENDA, giving bill 60 votes in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON — Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller is backing a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)

Heller announced his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on Monday morning, just hours before a critical vote in the Senate.

“After listening to Nevadans’ concerns about this issue from a variety of viewpoints and after numerous conversations with my colleagues, I feel that supporting this legislation is the right thing to do,” said Heller, in a statement.

“This legislation raises the federal standards to match what we have come to expect in Nevada, which is that discrimination must not be tolerated under any circumstance,” he said.

ENDA would bar employers with 15 or more workers from using a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for making employment decisions, including hiring, firing, compensation or promotion.

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Heller said in a statement on his website that supporting the bill is the right thing to do and discrimination must not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Heller’s support gives proponents the 60 votes necessary to move ahead on the legislation.

All 55 members of the Democratic majority back the bill, as do Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Senate leaders hope to complete work on the bill by week’s end.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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