Week after week, we keep fighting, advocating, winning battles, and seeing the results of taking back state legislatures and governorship. This week was no different. Some highlights are;
- #Immigrants Some Haitians in the U.S. get to keep their protections for the moment, many immigrant children from Central America may get to safely reunite with their parents and those with DACA protections in Arkansas get more employment and education opportunities.
- #FightFor$15 Arizona made occupational licensing more equitable and Little Rock is helping the homeless with dignity.
- #UnionStrong Stop and Shop employees are striking to save their wages and benefits and Illinois governor took a strong stand to back unions,
- #GreenNewDeal The city of Cambridge improved bike commuting and New York is reducing plastic.
- #BlackLivesMatter Colorado and Dallas took major leaps forward on bail and criminal justice reforms.
- #NeverAgain Colorado Governor signed “red flag” gun laws
- #WeWillNotGoBack Georgia is giving some low-income women free menstrual supplies and Kentucky is speeding up rape-kit testing.
- #NoH8 Arizona repealed anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
AND MORE SO READ ON
🧕 STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS
- Thanks to years of hard work by the International Refugee Assistance Project a legal settlement was reached with the administration that will allow almost 2,700 children living in Central America to safely reunite with their parents, who reside in the U.S. under protected status, by allowing them to apply for refugee status without having to travel through dangerous conditions to reach the United States border.
- A second U.S. federal judge is blocking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from forcing tens of thousands of Haitians to return to Haiti by ending their temporary legal protection.
- Life just got a little better for DACA recipients in Arkansas with the governor signing two bills allowing them to access nursing licenses and in-state tuition rates at public universities.
- A group of dedicated activists in Rhode Island took the time to stand up and stand outside for immigrants and pressured the Wyatt Detention Center to end their contract with I.C.E. Volunteer groups like the Angry Tias and Abuelas are continuing to help the flood of asylum seekers released by I.C.E. get to safe and welcoming destinations. In Tennessee, TIRRC, stopped legislation requiring verification of parent’s immigration status on birth certificates.
⚖️ THE INTERSECTION OF CIVIL RIGHTS, RACIAL EQUALITY, ECONOMIC FAIRNESS, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
- Community residents in L.A. beat back efforts by the mega-sized charter school company, Kipps Bay, from opening another school in their neighborhood.
- MiraCosta College (CA) is expanding its free tuition program to include a second year for full-time students as part of the The MiraCosta College Promise Program.
- Arizona Gov. signed legislation making the state the first in the nation to automatically grant occupational licenses to anyone who moves there with an unblemished credential from another state, removing barriers to low to high wage occupations from doctors to manicurists.
- New York saw an increase in the number of students qualifying for free tuition under the new program for middle-class families started two years ago. And with one year under its belt, the NY Times did a report on how Lebron James’s support of a new public school has led to significant improvement in achievements for the young children left behind by other schools.
- Not only have thousands of Stop and Shop workers in the northeast gone on strike to demand better compensation from a company that made $2 billion in profits last year and got a $225 million tax cut, but teamsters, firefighters, store customers, and local communities are respecting the picket lines. The Cleveland Symphony also remains on strike.
- Backing union efforts, the Illinois governor signed into law a bill that bars local governments from establishing anti-union “right-to-work” zones.
- Another union effort succeeded, this time it was employees at the Vermont state attorney’s office.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
- Little Rock started a Bridge to Work program that pays homeless people in the city minimum wage to pick up trash as part of a trial program to help them transition out of homelessness.
- Rite Aid, one of the biggest U.S. pharmacy chains, is putting children over profits and will stop selling e-cigarettes and vaping products because of the evidence that they are causing an increase in tobacco use among teens.
- Net neutrality is not dead, the Colorado Gov. is expected to sign net neutrality a bill the legislature passed banning internet service providers from receiving taxpayer money if they slow down internet access or unfairly speed up certain websites.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
- The Colorado legislature unanimously passed a bill that would ban judges from setting monetary bail for traffic offenses and petty crimes unless a defendant chooses to pay instead of waiting for a bond hearing and now it awaits the governor’s signature.
- Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot laid out sweeping reform policies he is implementing including reduction in cash bail, no longer prosecuting most misdemeanor marijuana possession or trace amount of drug possession, diversion for mentally ill/homeless facing criminal trespass, and so much more.
- The New Hampshire legislature voted to end the state’s death penalty, but this time they did so with the two-thirds majority necessary to override the Governor’s threatened veto.
- It is amnesty week in Gardendale Alabama, where anyone who is facing warrants for their failure to appear or pay for fines, costs, fees, or other charges in response to a subpoena, summons, or order issued by the Municipal Court, will be allowed to settle their cases without being incarcerated all because of a class action lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- One well-informed judge in Lakewood, Ohio has stopped using a fixed schedule to set bail because he believes it can be unfairly applied and result in the needless jailing of poor defendants.
- Bail reform and other criminal justice initiatives were so effective in Manchester New Hampshire that the superintendent of the Valley Street jail requested a budget reduction for 2020 because staffing and prison expenses went down due to less people waiting for trial, shorter sentences, and more diversion to mental health and substance abuse programs.
- Inmates in Washington state prisons will still get to receive and read used books from non-profits after officials were shamed into reversing their initial ban by public uproar.
- As a result of good investigative journalism and advocacy, a report by City Lab on the use of electronic ankle monitors with microphone and speaker capabilities in Chicago led to Cook County officials ending their use by juvenile probation officers pending further review.
- New York City agreed to pay $700,000 to three black NYPD Detectives who alleged race based discrimination in promotions in the department’s Intelligence Bureau in a class-action lawsuit.
- The black lives matter flag with fly at a Vermont High School.
- JBS trucking company has agreed to pay $250,000 and to stop discriminating against the disabled in their hiring practices as part of an EEOC lawsuit.
- The New York City Council passed legislation that would bar many New York City employers from testing prospective job candidates for marijuana as a condition of employment.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT
- A federal judge ruled that the administration failed again to justify its reversal of a regulation, this time for gas leases on federal land.
- The newest bike friendly city is now right here in the U.S., with Cambridge (MA) passing the The Cycling Safety Ordinance, the first city to mandate construction of permanent, protected bike lanes.
- New York City’s mayor issued an executive order prohibiting city agencies from buying any unnecessary single-use plastics, including straws, cutlery, cups and plates.
- Netherlands made train travel free for one day for anyone that traveled carrying a copy of the novel Jas van Velofte (“Jacket of Promise”) which was a also a free book written especially for the occasion to serves as a token for travel anywhere in the country. Norway’s oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has decided to invest billions of dollars in wind and solar power.
- Whales, fish and coral will have a better chance at survival. Belize and Indonesia expanded marine protection areas and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service committed to proposing a rule acting on the Center for Biodiversity petition for orca habitat protection off Washington, Oregon and California.
- When you mess it up, you clean it up in Vermont, so the state reached an agreement with a plastics manufacturer to provide clean water to homes whose wells they contaminated with PFOA.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS
- Of all the places you would least expect it, Georgia has included money in the state budget to provide women and girls with free menstrual pads and tampons at schools and community centers located in low-income areas.
- With the help of the ACLU, one woman in Illinois won $190,000 for pregnancy discrimination on the Frankfort Police Department and new policies governing how they treat pregnant employees.
- Kentucky announced they will begin using a new technology that allows law enforcement to get test results on sexual assault kits within hours instead of the months long wait with the current process.
- The New York Times gave due respect to one woman fighting to close a loophole in the Minnesota marital rape laws with a moving article on her story and accomplishments.
- The New Orleans City Council established the Equal Pay Advisory Committee.
- Women in Korea are celebrating a big win with the Constitutional Court striking down the country’s laws prohibiting abortion. Women in Australia can access abortions with dignity, respect, and safety with the countries High Court upholding safe access zone laws, which prohibit harassment outside abortion clinics. Over in Italy, the country’s highest court overturned a decision where the judge said a woman was too “masculine” to be raped,
- Allison Mack pled guilty to federal sex trafficking charges for NXIVM.
🕬 GUN REFORM
- The Colorado Governor didn’t back down in the face of opposition from many local sheriffs and signed the “red flag” bill to keep guns out of the hands of those deemed a risk to themselves or others.
- The Allegheny County district attorney declined to charge the mayor of Pittsburgh and city council members for passing gun control legislation after AR-15 owners filed charges saying it violated their rights under Pennsylvania law.
- Don’t mess with women in red shirts. Moms Demand Action activists and others stopped the Arizona legislature from allowing guns in school parking lots, a number of other bad legislation in Tennessee, and permitless concealed carry in Alabama.
- Massachusetts “health care providers” can no longer subject minors to “gay conversion therapy” now that the Gov. signed into law a bill banning such torture, making them the 16th state to do so.
- The Medicaid program in Illinois will now cover gender reassignment surgery.
- Arizona also made the state more supportive of the LBGT+ community by repealing a sex education law that banned programs that promoted a homosexual lifestyle and barred HIV instruction that taught safe-sex methods for homesexual sex or portrayed homosexuality as a positive lifestyle.
- Tasmania’s transgender community is celebrating after efforts led to passage of laws that make gender optional on birth certificates, removes the requirement for people to have surgery in order to have their gender recognised, allows those 16 years or older to change their registered gender without parental approval, and clarifies laws that protect the right of an individual to express their gender without discrimination.
- A tire company in Colorado learned the $60,000 reasons why you don’t discriminate against transgender people and put their new understanding in an apology letter as a result of a U.S. E.E.O.C. lawsuit. While a town clerk in New York state was also required to give a public apology to a gay couple she refused a marriage license to as a result of the settlement of their lawsuit, which also included a $25,000 payment for the violation of their rights.
- One celebrity put her riches to good use and donated $113,000 to fight anti-LGBT bills in Tennessee, thank you Taylor Swift.
- The good news coming out of Baltimore is the city’s Public School board of commissioners approved a policy allowing transgender students to use the names, pronouns, and bathrooms aligning with their gender identity.
- The San Jose City Council voted to surround the anti-LGBTQ restaurant at the city’s airport with pride flags.
- Dutch transgender children under the age of 16 can now change their gender on passports in ‘extreme circumstances’.
- In a first of it’s kind ruling a court in Russia ruled that a transgender woman was fired illegally after she transitioned while working in a job that under Russian law can only be performed by men.
- Morehouse College, a historically black all-men’s school, will begin admitting transgender students who identify as men.
- More than 70 employers, including corporate giants, came to a job fair for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in L.A.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING
- Idaho Governor vetoed legislation that would have made it more difficult for citizens to get ballot initiatives onto the ballot by increasing the signature and distribution requirements and reducing the allowed circulation period among other restrictions.
- Federal court upholds FEC donor disclosure requirements in John Doe v. FEC Case.
- To make sure that as many people get to exercise their right to vote in Salt Lake Indivisible is holding a voter registration training session.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE
- The Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin cannot avoid the consequences of his actions after a federal judge ruled that he must appear in person for a deposition in a lawsuit alleging he unleashed a dangerous anti-semitic troll storm on a jewish realtor in Montana.
- Students at Georgetown University voted to add a new fee to their tuition bill, with the proceeds going to support education and health care programs in Louisiana and Maryland, where many of 4,000 known living descendants of slaves live that the university sold nearly two centuries ago to save the school from financial problems.
- Run for Something candidate, Sarah Ullman was elected to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.
- Victor Angry won the special election for Prince William County Supervisor and will be the first black supervisor. .
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: It sucks to be related to the cheater-in-chief, as Maryanne Trump Barry found out. She has retired as a federal appellate judge in order to end an investigation into whether she violated judicial conduct rules by participating in fraudulent tax schemes with her siblings.