The March 17th walkout is coming up, while the students continue advocating, and democrats have a chance to flip a seat in a special election in PA. This upcoming week has so many opportunities for engagement, so consider phone banking, postcard writing with Postcards to Voters, and calling, texting, and writing your elected official on any issue that matters to you. Let’s make more good things happen next week just like we did this week. The highlights are;
- #WVTeachers West Virginia striking school teachers and staff won their demand for a 5% pay increase ending their 9 day strike and the state also included legislation that will give all state employees a 5% raise during upcoming budget negotiations;
- #BlueWave2018 Democrats turned out in the highest numbers in Texas primaries in 16 years, with over one million dems voting;
- #GunReform Florida passed a range of gun limit laws, including raising the minimum age to purchase rifles from 18 to 21, a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases, restricting bump stocks, and creating new mental health programs for schools and aims to restrict guns to those with signs of mental illness;
- #NoHate A federal court ruled that Idaho must allow transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificate in a constitutionally-sound approval process and the reissued birth certificate must not include any record of amendment to the listed sex or name change;
- #VotingRights A San Francisco Superior Court Judge ruled that before rejecting ballots voters must be given a chance to explain and correct any discrepancies, such as signatures, so their ballot may be still be counted.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Hudson County (NJ) terminated a memorandum of agreement with ICE which helped the Homeland Security to “flag” any arrested foreign-born individuals brought to the jail for potential deportation. The ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the administration of indiscriminately separating immigrant families seeking asylum. Continue reading
With the students protesting, Moms Demanding Action at the state houses, teachers on the picket lines, Dreamers sitting in at the Capital, men hiding from women standing up against harassment or out cutting their AR 15’s into pieces, who will even be home to answer the calls and door knocks of the hundreds of thousand of people on the ground mobilized by groups such as Indivisible, Planned Parenthood, People Power by the ACLU, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Let America vote? And let’s not forget that the social media war against guns is still going strong thanks to the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who now have more followers than the NRA after just two weeks. It has been an inspiring week and some of the HIGHLIGHTS are;
- Democrats flipped seats in New Hampshire and Connecticut. Philip Spagnuolo won a state house seat in a district 45 carried by a 13-points and in Connecticut, Philip Young won s state house seat in a district that has been Republican for decades. Democratic have now flipped seats in Wisconsin, Florida, Kentucky and Missouri. #Democrats
- The teachers in West Virginia are holding firm on their 7th day of striking for better wages and healthcare benefits. #TeachersRock
- The Supreme Court issued a ruling that means the administration is temporarily blocked from ending the DACA program leaving in place the injunction against eliminating it for those already in the program. #DreamActNow
- A U.S. District Judge issued an injunction that prevents the administration from revoking DACA grants and work permits without notice, explanation, or the opportunity to respond, and certified the case as a class action, making the injunction apply nationwide. #ImmigrationReform
- The National Labor Relations Board vacated a decision that made it harder for workers and unions to hold corporations responsible for the actions of their franchises after an Inspector General’s report that a 45 appointee to the board should have recused himself from the case because of a conflict. #EthicsMatter
- Democrats in North Carolina announced that for the first time they will have a candidate running for every one of the 170 State House and Senate seats. You have to be in it to win it. #BlueWave2018
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Continue reading
There was so much inspirational news going on this week, brought about by those affected by the horrific shooting in Parkland, in addition to great things in so many other areas needing change. So this week’s post covers both all the amazing things happening because of the Parkland Activists along in its own section along with everything else and packed with more good stuff than usual. I encourage you to share this weekly blog with others it might help inspire. I hope this week is worth the extra-long read. The highlights in general are;
- ANOTHER ELECTION WIN IN A DEEP RED STATE with Democrat Linda Belcher winning the special election for Kentucky’s 49th District with 68.45 percent of the vote in a district that voted for 45 by a margin of 72-23. #BlueWave2018
- DEFEATING GERRYMANDERING is possible with the new, much fairer Pennsylvania Congressional maps created and approved by the PA Supreme Court. #FairElections
- STOPPING THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT happened when a federal judge blocked a second effort by the Interior Department to roll back rules designed to limit methane releases by the oil and gas industry. #ClimateChangeIsReal
- ACTUAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM in Philadelphia (PA) with the District Attorney announcing that his office will no longer seek cash bail for most defendants accused of low-level and misdemeanor crimes. #NoMoneyBail
Some of the courageous activism on #GunReform led by, and inspired by, the students, parents, and staff survivors of the Florida school shooting includes the;
- Multiple school protests, walk-outs, and a die-in outside the White House and they were joined by Moms Demand Action rallies in Missouri and other states;
- The organization of upcoming nationwide school walkout on March 14th, #MarchForOurLives March on Washington March 24th, and Columbine Anniversary Walk-out April 20th; along with raising millions of dollars to support the March on Washington and for gun reform group Everytown for Gun Safety.
- Taking on the NRA to encourage corporate partners to cut ties with them through public shaming and organizing consumer boycotts of these companies. A running tally of 20 companies dropping the NRA so far, including the First National Bank of Omaha as the “official credit card of the NRA” along with Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo, National, Metlife, CHUBB insurance, Wyndham and the list kept growing; #NRABloodMoney
- Attacking head on in social media the conspiracy theorists and fake news trying to undermine their movement and putting the NRA on the defensive. As many have said, don’t mess with teens on social media, you can’t beat them at the game they invented;
- Summoning the strength to appear in a town hall on CNN to publicly discuss their pain and suffering and their demands for change only days after their ordeal;
- The public shaming of politicians through the widespread publication of the amount of donations politicians received from the NRA in the news, on billboards, and in advertisements and social media;
- To alleviate the intimidation created by high school’s threats of suspensions for students that protest, dozens of colleges are announcing that disciplinary action associated with meaningful, peaceful protest will not negatively impact student admissions decisions This includes Ivy league schools as well as private and public colleges such as MIT, U. Mass, Yale, and Oberlin College. The regularly updated full list of #NeverAgain Colleges can be found here and lawyers in Wisconsin offered free legal help to students facing consequences for protesting.
- The Moms Demand Action, the grassroots arm of Everytown For Gun Safety, saw a surge of 75,000 new volunteers signing up as did other nationwide gun reform groups;
- Dallas Mayor asked the NRA to move convention out of city.
It is sometimes hard to stay positive in the face of unbelievable sadness, but one thing that was clear from the many courageous public statements of those who suffered great loss in Florida was their passionate demand that we as a country do something, that we act, that we work together to stop the madness. The valiant students, families, and teachers who stood up and spoke out at one of the most painful moments in their lives shows us that no matter what we face, we have the strength to fight through adversity to seek reform. That is why I search out our successes, showing where and how we achieve change in the face of an administration and congress that is forever trying to be less caring to the people and the land we live on. Through lawsuits, civic engagement, protesting, fundraising, and more we accomplish a lot even if the headlines doesn’t always appear that way. This week the highlights of what progressives can see as a step in the right direction are;
- #BlueWave2018 Democrat Margaret Good won a special election for a Florida state House seat previously held by a Republican, in a district the twittler-in-chief carried by a 5-point margin. Sister District groups across the country helped with phone banking, canvassing, and fundraising.
- #BailReform A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Harris County (TX), which includes Houston, bail system is unconstitutional because their policy of detaining indigent misdemeanor defendants before trial violated equal protection rights against wealth-based discrimination.
- #MeToo The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act was passed, which requires certain adults who interact with young athletes to report cases of child abuse, including sexual abuse.
- #StandWithImmigrants A second U.S. District Judge issued an injunction barring the administration from ending DACA pending a decision on the merits of the cases challenging its termination and a second U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the third version of the travel ban is unconstitutional.
- #DreamActNow A federal judge ordered the Dept. of Energy to implement four energy efficiency regulations that it delayed for more than a year and to publish the standards within 28 days of the ruling.
- #RussianCollusion In a big leap forward in the Russia investigation, Mueller brought charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups for interfering with the 2016 U.S. elections and more charges against Manafort. He also announced that Richard Pinedo pled guilty to identity fraud in a scheme where he helped his Russian-backed ring of social media customers use dummy bank accounts to bypass the security of companies like PayPal to transfer money and pay for online services.
With the Olympics starting and the Philadelphia Eagles winning their first ever Superbowl it feels like sports are both a metaphor and a representation of the resistance this week. We saw an underdog democrat winning a race, the first gay athletes at the winter games, football players refusing to attend a White House celebration, and a handshake representing a public easing of tensions in Korea. It was hard to keep up with all the good news. On another note, please accept my apologies in advance for typos and grammar mistakes The blog is mostly a one woman show done in my spare time between working, being a mom, and fighting for change, and the research alone takes many hours. Now onto the best news items;
- Democrat Mike Revis won a special election to the Missouri House of Representatives, flipping the seat blue in a district 45 won by 28 points. #BlueWave2018
- The Supreme Court refused to grant a stay in the Pennsylvania gerrymandering case so new districts must be redrawn in time for the May 2018 primaries. The republican led legislature then met the deadline for submitting the new maps to the court after threatening not to. #StopGerrymandering
- A NY State Supreme Court judge ruled a defendant’s ability to pay must be considered when imposing bail as a condition of pretrial detention. #NoMoneyBail
- France’s President announced the EU will not make trade agreements with any country that has not signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement (the US is the only non-signer). #ClimateChangeisReal
- A U.S. District Court judge issued a decision with a host of important wins for citizens and immigrants. She found the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. and federal officials violated the rights of suspected immigrants who were detained beyond the time they should have been released from jail on their criminal matters. She also rules that the immigrants were improperly denied no-cash bail due to detainers requests. The judge also found the practice of ICE issuing detainer requests without obtaining an administrative warrant violates its own statutory arrest authority and that federal agents can’t issue a detainer for a person solely because the person was born in another country and lacked an immigration file in the federal databases. #DreamActNow
There was so many good things going on this week that I just didn’t have time to pay attention to meaningless televised speeches or memos so there will be no mention of them anywhere here. Instead, as you know I try each week to show important it is to not just take back Congress, but state houses and city and county governments so that we can achieve change in our communities and win back fair election districts. Please consider helping the good people of Florida and Sister District elect Margaret Good for the Florida House in the Feb 13th special election. With that bit of request for you to take action out of the way, here are some highlights for this week of what the resistance can be proud of are;
- San Francisco and San Diego District Attorneys announced their offices will retroactively apply California’s marijuana-legalization laws to past criminal cases, expunging or reducing convictions going back decades, without those convicted having to pursue the expungement on their own. #SupportLegalMarijuana
- A U.S. District Judge ruled Florida’s process for restoring voting rights to ex-felons, where partisan officials have extraordinary authority to withhold the right to vote from hundreds of thousands of people without any constraints, guidelines, or standards, is unconstitutional. #VotingRightsForAll
- The Arizona House voted to expel Rep. Don Shooter for “dishonorable behavior” as a result of proven sexual harassment and they confiscated his gun. #MeToo
- Senate Democrats blocked a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks and a U.S. District Judge issued a temporary injunction against a Texas law that required medical providers to bury or cremate fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions and banned a common second-trimester abortion procedure widely known as a D&C. #MyBodyMyChoice
- A New York Appeals court held that a same sex couple is entitled to the same presumption as a heterosexual couple, that a child born during a marriage is presumed to be the two spouses’ child, and refused a paternity petition by the sperm donor. #LoveisLove
- A U.S. District Court judge ruled the abrupt detention of an undocumented immigrant at his check-in prior to the date of his stay of removal unconstitutional and cruel, saying he was entitled to the freedom to say goodbye, and that those who have lived without incident in this country for years, have not and should not, be subjected to treatment we associate with regimes we revile as unjust, where people may be taken without notice from streets, home and work and sent away and woe be the day that we become that country under a fiction that laws allow it. #WeAreAllImmigrants
The government has re-opened and we continue to fight for what is right, focusing on the big picture. The marchers inspired us last week, but it was the women gymnasts who came forward to speak poignantly about abuse at the hands of someone who was supposed to help them. That showed us what inner strength and courage looks like. Not only were the athlete’s courage a source of positivity, there were other good things that happened this week and the highlight’s are:
- Vermont become the seventh state to allow recreational marijuana and the first state where it was legalized by a state legislature and not voter referendum. #LegalPot
- The PA Supreme Court found the state’s GOP-drawn congressional districts violate its Constitution and ordered all districts redrawn in time for the congressional primaries. This follows on the heels of good decisions in the lower courts in North Carolina and Wisconsin. #NoVoterSupression
- EPA backs away from allowing gold mining near Bristol Bay in Alaska putting one of the world’s largest fisheries for sockeye salmon at risk. #SaveThePlanet
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EPA cannot shelter its “waters of the United States” rule (WOTUS) from judicial review by limiting the federal courts where suits can be brought for violations. The Clean Water Act, allows those harmed by WOTUS to sue in any federal district court within six years, but the EPA rewrote the rules limiting cases to only the federal courts of appeal and only within 120 days and kept all the challenges to a single appellate court. #StoptheEPA
- Newly elected NJ democratic Governor reverted the state back to the rule that required residents to show a justifiable need to carry a firearm because they had been the target of “specific threats” or attacks. #GunControlNow
- Democrat Austin Davis won a special election to the PA House of Representatives and is the first black man in the county to be elected outside of downtown Pittsburgh. While it is a traditionally democratic district he outperformed prior candidates, winning 74 to 26. Since you can only win if you run, I will mention that Ballotpedia reports that as of January 2018, a total of 21 U.S. House races do not have a Democratic candidate and 65 do not have a Republican candidate. #Bluewave2018 IN MORE GOOD NEWS…