Science Committee Advances Stevens-backed Bills to Expand STEM Opportunities, Combat Sexual Harassment in Science, and Fight the Opioid Epidemic

June 20, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-11) voted to pass several bills out of the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology, during a full committee markup. Three bills that passed during today’s markup aim to address major issues in the scientific community, including a lack of transparency and accountability when it comes to sexual harassment in the sciences, and a lack of opportunity for women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

The first bill, STEM Opportunities Act, would require the development and implementation of strategies that promote the progress of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The second bill, the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act, would expand research efforts to better understand the causes and consequences of sexual harassment affecting individuals in STEM workplaces, including students and trainees. This bill also promotes finding evidence-based policies aimed at reducing the prevalence and negative impacts of sexual harassment.

“As a passionate advocate for women and girls in STEM, I am so glad to support legislation like the STEM Opportunities Act and the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act alongside my colleagues on the Science Committee,” said Congresswoman Stevens. “For too long, a career in STEM has felt unattainable for women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups. A lack of transparency and accountability in the scientific community has also led to disturbing industry-wide culture of permissiveness toward sexual harassment. We must address these challenges and work to develop a diverse, inclusive STEM workforce that will help us compete in the global economy by cultivating talent from a wide range of backgrounds.”

Congresswoman Stevens also cosponsored and supported the passage of the Expanding Findings for Federal Opioid Research and Treatment Act. This important bill directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research on opioid addiction, to better understand and advance more effective treatments for opioid addiction.

Background on Congresswoman Stevens’ Advocacy for Women in STEM:

  • Congresswoman Stevens’ first bill, the Building Blocks of STEM Act, directs the NSF to support research on the factors that discourage or encourage girls to engage in STEM activities, including computer science.
  • Congresswoman Stevens’ sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to express her concern with gender disparities in research grant awards and request a response detailing the actions that the NIH is taking to address this gap.
  • Before serving in Congress, Congresswoman Stevens launched a STEM education program that introduced 200 middle school and high school students to digital manufacturing concepts.
  • In April, Congresswoman Stevens delivered a passionate floor speech in support of the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act, a bill that would awards the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’s highest civilian honor, to Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Christine Darden, and all the women computers, mathematicians, and engineers at NASA.
  • In May, Congresswoman Stevens was named to Putman Media’s 2019 Class of Influential Women in Manufacturing along with 27 other manufacturing leaders from around the country.
  • Congresswoman Stevens invited recently retired science teacher Jean Bueller to be her guest at the 2019 State of the Union address.