Louise McIntosh Slaughter Congressional Papers

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Louise McIntosh Slaughter congressional papers
Creator: Slaughter, Louise M.
Call Number: D.557
Dates: 1974-2018
Physical Description: 484 Cubic feet, 4 Terabytes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Collection Overview
Title: Louise McIntosh Slaughter congressional papers
Creator: Slaughter, Louise M.
Call Number: D.557
Dates: 1974-2018
Physical Description: 484 Cubic feet, 4 Terabytes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Louise McIntosh Slaughter entered the United States House of Representatives in 1987 to represent the districts of western New York and served until her death in 2018. Prior to her service in Congress, she served in the Monroe County Legislature of New York (1976-1979), in the office of the New York Department of State (1976-1979), for the Lieutenant Governor's Regional Office (1979-1982), and the New York State Legislature (1982-1986). The decision to enter public service culminated among the coalitions established in local activism in the Rochester, New York area, organized around environmental and land conservation issues. Slaughter's legislative interests were extensive, but largely concerned the economic, social, and political issues impacting her home region.

Slaughter was principally known for advocacy and leadership for women and health related issues including the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (H.R. 3355), the legislation to establish the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the legislation to make permanent the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Violence Against Women Office, and the passage of the DES Education bill (H.R. 4178) amended the Public Health Service Act that allowed for the development of program that would support research and training, dissemination of health information, and related measures to redress the diagnosis and treatment of conditions associated with exposure to diethylstilbestrol.

Slaughter also took on several other causes to increase funding for research and development in science and technology, and policy interests including the armed forces and national security, civil rights, crime prevention and law enforcement, education, energy, environmental protection, foreign trade and international finance, housing and community development, immigration, and labor and employment. She either sponsored or co-sponsored several measures in each of these areas bringing much needed debate and attention to the issues. Eight of the 442 legislative measures she sponsored became law, three of which are noted here, including the H.R. 4178 discussed above.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (H.R. 493) was first introduced in 1995, 13 years prior to its passage in 2008. The bill "prohibit[s] discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment," and safeguards against unethical practices of forced or required genetic testing in the workplace. Slaughter recounted the history of its passage in a speech to the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences' Science Policy Group, stating, "It was in April 2007, and twelve years after I initially introduced a genetics antidiscrimination bill, that the House of Representatives took its first vote on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. And the vote was overwhelming – 420 to 3. But then the bill was sent to the Senate where it was held up by a Senator, who is a doctor by training if you can believe it. For a while, I did not think GINA would ever become law. It took us exactly a year and several negotiations to get agreement from the Senate and the Bush Administration. When the Senate did vote in April 2008, it passed GINA unanimously by a vote of 95-0."

The other piece of legislation that Slaughter saw signed into law responded to the events on December 24, 2012, when a house fire was set in Webster, New York and the firefighters who responded were ambushed by a William H. Spengler. The incident resulted in the deaths of two firefighters and the injuries of two others. In the aftermath and redress, a coalition of community agencies and organizations in the Rochester area responded to the needs of the families of the firefighters. Slaughter recognized a requirement for additional assistance and sponsored the bill now known as the Fallen Firefighters Assistance Tax Clarification Act of 2013 (H.R. 3458). It was introduced to the House on November 12, 2013. After it passed the House and went to the Senate, it was subsequently signed into law almost a year to the date of the incident. The bill offered a tax exemption to charitable organizations supporting the families of any first fighter who was either killed or injured on duty. This bill, like many other causes championed by Slaughter, went directly toward solving the issues and problems that had a direct impact on the lives of her constituents.

One of the highlights of her long career in Congress was the assignment of the Rules Committee in 1989, where she then became its chair in 2006, and served in that capacity until 2011. It was a powerful seat in congress, and it is stated that she used it to the full extent to work tirelessly on the behalf of her constituency. One of her Republican colleagues noted, "She brings a quick-wit and liveliness to the Rules Committee and Capitol Hill, and members on both sides of the aisle respect her for her commitment to her work and her enthusiastic advocacy." She also cared about how government operated and the ethical ramifications of how decisions were made and sought to improve upon the quality of the work they did as representative of the people. Slaughter either lobbied for or was assigned to several other committees and caucuses, including the Budget Committee, the Government Operations Committee, the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, the Public Works and Transportation Committee, the Select Committee on Aging, and the Select Committee on Homeland Security, among others. As is consistent among other members of congress, it is through committee work that the majority of the work of congress is done—issues that do not pass the criteria as set by specific committees do not come to the floor for a vote. Her service on these committees allowed her to extend her reach and solidify and mobilize her agenda.

Slaughter chaired and co-chaired the Congressional Arts Caucus for twenty-three years. The Arts Caucus is a bipartisan organization of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with the chief responsibility of informing others of the influence of the arts and to support various measures toward improving upon the ways in which arts, culture, and the humanities may impact upon the public. While Slaughter supported the arts for many reasons, chief among them was Rochester is "a community rich in artistic talent" and benefits greatly from such support, most especially the Eastman School of Music. Consequently, the benefits and impact of the arts as she had come to know coalesced with another concern—health and medicine. As researchers were developing various art therapies and other tools to treat persons who faced some form of trauma in their lives, Slaughter fought to ensure that congressional support was guaranteed. Among her many achievements is the amendment to increase the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by $10M and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by $3.5M.

Slaughter rose to leadership in the Democratic Party early in her career in Congress, and over the three decades that she served, she received deep consideration and respect from her colleagues. At the time of her death, she was the oldest and longest service member of the Congress. As a liberal, she stood out among many and left a legislative legacy to be celebrated and defended.

Scope and Content
The Louise McIntosh Slaughter congressional papers, 1974-2018, comprise her entire career, reflecting committee and legislative work, including her interactions with staff members, other politicians, business executives, other stakeholders, and New York constituents. From 1971 to 2018 she participated in several efforts to improve communities through advocacy and leadership; the collection contains the documents produced during those years, including newspapers clippings, campaign materials, correspondence, press releases, state and federal reports, staff briefs, and the reference and research files. As much as this material might be gleaned to reproduce Slaughter's work and politics, this collection also documents the varied resources and research materials compiled by her staff members (chief of staff, legislative aides, etc.) to inform her about the issues and events of the day. The staffers' files are revealed mostly in the briefing books—generally include correspondence between Slaughter and her colleagues, newspaper clippings on closely linked topics and events, printed materials accessed from online sources like LexisNexis, fact sheets, copies and drafts of bills, and handwritten notes and peer reviewed journal articles.

Among Slaughter's early legislative issues was that of homeless youth. For her it was an urgent issue, as the correspondence reflects, that needed to be solved—problems with regard to their access to education. The material dates from 1986 to 2005 and includes a wide range of materials, including correspondence from organizations like the National Coalition for Homeless and the U.S. Department of Education, research articles about the extent and effects of homelessness on families and children, appropriations requests, and testimonies before the House of Appropriations Subcommittee. Additionally, the materials are saturated with reports summarizing the questions and concerns of homelessness and education, and discussions of the measures take across the country to address similar concerns in states like New York, Massachusetts, Alabama, and Texas.

Representative examples include Runaway and Homeless Youth in Monroe County: Their Characteristics, Needs, and Outcomes Two Years, a report by the Center for Governmental Research (1989), andAn Evaluation of State and Local Efforts to Serve the Educational Needs of Homeless Children and Youth, authored by Leslie M. Anderson, Matthew Janger, and Kanton (1995). As much as her staff researched the issue, Slaughter also demonstrated her passions for the issue by writing opinion pieces. Editorials were published in the New York Times and the Democrat and Chronicle. Several drafts of the compositions are included along with press releases. One press release reprints the remarks she made on September 4, 1990 in front of a D.C. hotel before a group of other concerned politicians and citizens to show her support of homeless children and families. (Images of this demonstration are housed with the photographs in the Biographical Files series) It reads, ". . . I have chosen today to gather in front of this hotel for homeless families. Today is the first day of school for millions of youngsters across the nation. But today is just another day of emptiness and frustration for tens of thousands of homeless children unable to attend school." Her research and organizing resulted in several drafts of the bill H.R. 4574 (The Access to Education for Economic Security Act of 1990). The collection includes, corrections and notations of the bill by staff members, accompanied by meeting agendas and policy studies, indicating that the drafts were produced in committees or in coalition with other agencies and members of Congress.

A steadfast supporter of women's rights, Slaughter pursued a wide range of issues on behalf of American women while in Congress, including women's health (1993-1999), women's issues and sexual violence (1993-2004), and human trafficking (1996-2005). Many of those concerns centered on domestic violence, families and welfare, women in business, economic equity, and the equal rights amendment. Much of that work involved the affairs and networks of the Congressional Women's Caucus. A large percentage of the documents of the Congressional Women's Caucus (found the Legislative and Reference Files series, and foldered with the subseries material labeled Civil Rights and Liberties, Minority Issues) reflect the Congresswoman's concerns for women and issues of health. The material regarding the Family Medical Leave Act (H.Res. 71) include talking points, letters seeking support from colleagues, brochures, and summaries of policy and legislation. There is an abundance of information of H.R. 3075 – the Women Health Equity Act, including versions of the arguments offered in 1991, 1993, and 1996 – a bill sponsored to "promote greater equity in the delivery of health care services to American women through expanded research on women's health issues and through improved access to health care services, including preventive health services." Capturing much of the debate and framing of healthcare reform in 1996 are a host of newspaper clippings (all photocopies). There is much discussion and research materials about abortion and health advocacy and her sponsorship of H.R. 270, the Women's Right to Know Act. This bill aimed to end the order that disallowed facilities and organizations from mentioning or talking about the termination of pregnancies. The research material that the staffers engaged discussed and reported on related issues like the partial birth abortion ban, and health risks associated with termination. The reference and legislative files include newspaper clippings, legal briefs, booklets/pamphlets, reading material, drafts of bills and amendments, and relation communications.

The material from The Center for Human Radiology reproduces the experimental trials where patients were injected with radioactive substances (plutonium, polonium, uranium) for various biomedical human impact studies. Slaughter requested the files of the individuals who participated and those who survived. The records are redacted medical files, protecting the patients' identities, dated from 1970-1989, and include correspondence between government officials regarding various descriptions of the patients' health and physical condition, documentation of the amount of plutonium administered, and general health reports. There are also recommendations made by the scientists working at Los Alamos to the patients' physicians about their care and treatment. Noted therein are the anxieties and stresses and predictions of the patients' quality of life and possible death based on their symptoms and complaints. As Slaughter was a studied health professional and chiefly concerned with biomedical ethics, these files seemed crucial for reading and examination by her staff for the committees that she served. Some of the files are the result of the congressional investigation that ensued, looking into possible ethical breaches. This material is labeled as the "Investigation RE: Human Use Ethics Plutonium Cases," and is replete with summaries of meetings and discussions, interview transcripts, medical examination summary sheets, patient status updates, correspondence, and supplementary reports. Interspersed throughout the investigation files are academic papers and book chapters concerning the topic, including such representative titles as the "Plutonium: Biomedical Research," "Effects of External Beta Radiation," "Plutonium in Man: A New Look at the Old Date," and "Deposition and Fate of Plutonium, Uranium and their Fission Products Inhaled as Aerosols by Rats and Man." Among several related case files and documents, the series concludes with several letters written to and from a scientist and medical expert, Dr. Patricia Durbin, dated from 1968 to 1973.

The Genetic Nondiscrimination Act of 2013 was a substantial piece of legislation that Slaughter fought for in Congress. The background work over the many years she tried to get the bill passed can be viewed here in the collection. The collection includes several drafts of H.R. 306, H.R. 493, and H.R. 2457, which "prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do pass." Many people and organizations – as found among the correspondence, reports, and briefings and binders from senators and representatives, genetic and health organizations and firms, community activists, human resource experts and practitioners, attorneys, and public health officials – worked and consulted with Slaughter and her team to construct and form various portions of the law. An important item among the documents is a copy of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's study, Genetic Monitoring and Screening in the Workplace, completed in coalition with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and endorsed by the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. Several items of communication between Slaughter's chief of staff at the time, Cindy Pelligrini, and other health and medical professionals, including genetic counselors, attorneys and scholars at the Boston University School of Public Health, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the Communities of Color and Genetic Policy Project, were critical for producing several drafts of the bill. Thought the research publications are many, several prominent academic journals are highlighted, including American Journal of Human Genetics, Science, American Journal of Medical Genetics, and the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. One of the most well researched areas in the entire collection, this series also includes the briefings and reference binders prepared by other staff with related materials regarding professional education, managed care, gene patenting, and genetic testing.

As an active environmentalist, the documents collected here show Slaughter's engagement and support for issues such as land and water conservation. Perhaps more than the materials related to other subjects, they display her voting record and the ratings she received from environmental organizations. The collection materials on energy and environment are plentiful, as the ussie was high on Slaughter's legislative agenda and concerned many of her constituents in upstate New York. Staffers researched and dealt with issues including the "Indian Land Claims," the ice storm, energy assistance programs, lake levels across the region, and costs of natural gas and energy production. In addition to newspaper clippings, the series includes brochures and pamphlets, reports, correspondence, a copy of Revealing the Economic Value of Protecting the Great Lakes, prepared by The Northeast-Midwest institute and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2001), and copies of the Economics Impact Study of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, prepared by the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (2001). Also included are materials dealing with the purchase of Sterling Forest, the Clean Coal Technology program in New York, renewable energy, recycling in Monroe County, power plants, and the North East Midwest Conference, of which she was a vital member for several years.

There are also personal files that feature the congresswoman's family life, including photographs, campaigns and public addresses, memorabilia, and related activities and interests.

New York (State)--Monroe County
New York (State)--Rochester
Homeless children--Education
Records--Law and legislation
Records and briefs
Slaughter, Louise M.
United States. Congress
United States. Congress. House. Committee on Rules
New York (State). Legislature. Assembly
Congressional Arts Caucus (U.S.)
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (United States)
The Louise McIntosh Slaughter congressional papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Louise McIntosh Slaughter congressional papers, D.557, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Weckea Dejura Lilly
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055

Finding aid publication date: March 2020

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