While the circus is dancing around the Middle East let me recap some of the good that happened that you might have missed this week ending 5/20/17.
- The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court decision that struck down North Carolina’s restrictive voter photo ID law, leaving in place a ruling by the Ct of Appeals which found the state legislature enacted the requirement with racially discriminatory intent.
- The Governor of Virginia Governor signed an executive order to combat climate change by formulating rules to reduce carbon emissions, saying the rules are meant to fill the gap left by pull back on federal environmental regulations. The Governor of NY announced the Methane Reduction Plan to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. More than 55,000 people commented to the EPA on the potential rollback of regulations, most against them. That is civic engagement. You can still comment on stopping the revocation of National Monument designations on-line.
- The Austin and El Paso City Councils, along with the town of El Cenizo, are suing Texas over the new state ‘sanctuary cities’ law that allows local law enforcement to ask about someone’s immigration status during arrest or detainment and threatens to remove from office those that don’t comply with the law. Elected officials from Dallas and other cities say they are considering doing the same.
- We have not one, but two resignations to celebrate… NH State Robert Fisher resigned after his years of sexist and misogynistic online forum posts on Reddit was made public. Jason Chaffetz announced he is resigning from Congress at the end of June. Don’t let the door hit your broken foot on the way out. Now help Kathryn Allen get elected to his seat. And yet another nominee has withdrawn, Goldman Sachs exec Jim Donovan pulled out of serving as Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary saying he needs to spend time with family. Amazing how many male politicians are leaving feeling the need to focus on their family these days.
- Lots of great local election results. Richard Jackson, was elected with sixty-three percent of the vote as the first African-American City Council member in Gautier, Florida. Monica Rodriguez was elected as the second woman on the 15 member Los Angeles City Council. Three women were sworn in to the Amarillo City Council, making the five person board now majority female for the first time, and new Councilmember Freda Powell will also be its first African-American councilwoman. Lula Palmer, on her third try, was elected the first African-American woman Mayor of Sardis Mississippi Proof that we should never give up. In primary results Philly DA candidate Larry Krasner won after campaigning on the most progressive agenda of all the candidates, promising to end “mass incarceration”, to never to ask for cash bail for nonviolent offenders or pursue the death penalty. Joshua Cole, is the first African-American to win the Democratic nomination for the Virginia House of Delegates 28th District. Matt Shorraw defeated the democratic, trump-supporting incumbent Mayor in the primary for Mayor of Monessen. There are no Republicans on the ballot in November. Now let’s help make sure they win in the general election.
- The ACLU has been busy with lawsuits at the local level. ACLU Mississippi brought a class-action lawsuit against the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, claiming they routinely use excessive force and a variety of unconstitutional tactics to target black people. The ACLU of Texas and Florida filed lawsuits against Houston and Pensacola’s recent restrictions on panhandling in public, arguing they limit free speech and violate other constitutional protections.
- The S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission won a $70,000 settlement against Carolina Creek Christian Camps in Alabama for demoting a woman when she informed them she was pregnant. Philadelphia has filed a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo alleging discriminatory lending practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act saying the bank had a longstanding practice of intentionally steering minority borrowers into ‘discriminatory’ mortgage loans.
- I am happy to report yet another ban on gay conversion therapy. Nevada became the eighth state to ban the practice on children, joining California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont and New York.
- An artist projected images of “Pay Bribe Here”, the emoluments clause, on The Trump Hotel in DC and then of Jeff Sessions in KKK garb on the DOJ building and other images on the FBI building. As creative, as those who spelled out human enormous “resist” on a California Trump golf course last week. And creative folks from the TV show Mom, creator Chuck Lorre and Allison Janney are donating $250,000 to Planned Parenthood in lieu of launching the typical expensive publicity campaign to win an Emmy.
- In amazing women news, Warte Abubakir, at 26 years old became the first female to pilot a Boeing 737 jet in Iraq, flying for Iraq Airways.
We can do great things at the local and state level, we can stand up and block federal changes, if we stay focused, energized, and committed to the long haul. Don’t give up. Stop and smell the flowers on your way to your next protest.