Believe it or not there was plenty of positive things that happened last week. I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend and hope this good news brings you some holiday cheer. Don’t forget to sign up for the weekly summary if you haven’t already, you don’t want to miss the year-end review next week. The highlights for this week include;
- A jury acquitted six people on charges of rioting and destruction of property connected to violent protests during the presidential inauguration.
- 8.8 million people enrolled in an ACA health plan during the open enrollment period in the 39 states that use the healthcare.gov website, close to the number of people who signed up last year.
- Another U.S.Court of Appeals ruled that the third version of the travel ban violates the law (but the decision is on hold until SCOTUS makes a decision).
- When Tennessee refused to grant Memphis permission to take down confederate statues in local parks, the Memphis City Council then voted to sell the public parks containing the monuments to a private entity, Memphis Greenspace, which immediately took down the monuments.
- Seven undocumented immigrant youth risked deportation by staging a sit-in at the Capitol building, and are now staging a hunger strike after their arrest. #DACANow
- A second U.S. judge blocked the administration from enforcing new rules allowing employers to opt out of providing insurance coverage for women’s birth control.
- Under new rules to combat bigotry and hate, Twitter started removing accounts, belonging to white nationalist and far-right extremists, including leaders of Britain First, the American Nazi Party, and so many others.
Read on for more good news
🌍WE ARE SAVING THE PLANET WITHOUT THE EPA France banned the production of all oil and gas by 2040 and will not grant any new permits or renew existing ones that allow fracking or the extraction of fossil fuels in the country and its overseas territories. A U.S. Court of Appeals rejected an industry led challenge to an OSHA rule that protects U.S. workers from exposure to silica. Nine states agreed to enact new stronger air pollution limits as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. ArcelorMittal will pay a $1.8 million settlement over air pollution from its plant to settle a lawsuit brought by the environmental group, PennEnvironment. PepsiCo ordered 100 of Tesla’s electric semi trucks, the largest known order of the automaker’s new vehicle. Investors managing more than $26.3 trillion announced they are insisting the world’s 100 largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters do their part in the transition to a low-carbon economy to meet targets set by the Paris Agreement.
⚖SUING THE ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES ON Conservation and other groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to enforce air-quality standards that limit soot pollution. Researchers and others are suing to stop the EPA’s new policy blocking grant recipients from serving on advisory committees. New Mexico and others filed lawsuits against the Dept. of the Interior to block the delay of regulations aimed at curtailing methane waste from extraction operations.
👋WHEN THE LITTLE GUY WINS– The European Court of Justice declared that Uber and other ride-hail apps should be regulated like a taxi service instead of a technology company a move that will bring better regulations and safety for the public and drivers using the service. Ford Motor, which faced a series of lawsuits related to sexual harassment launched a national campaign against harassment to run on video monitors in all of its domestic factories. One of NYC’s most notorious landlord, Steve Croman, settled a case involving illegal harassment and fraud to force rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments, in an agreement that requires him to pay $8 million in restitution and puts 100 of his properties under the management of an independent company with no ties to him for five years. Anne Arundel County officials voted to pay off all outstanding school meal debt for public school students in the district.
⚖ ACLU TAKES ON MANY CASES The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a U.S. citizen who spent a day in immigration custody despite repeatedly saying that she was an American citizen, against a Louisiana school district for forced prayers in a public school,
👮 ACTION ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM HAPPENING- New York City passed the “Right to Know Act” that requires police to tell people they have a right to refuse to be searched when there’s no legal basis to force a search, to get proof of their consent, and requires officers to identify themselves with a business card when they stop someone. Santa Clara County (CA) launched a “No Cost Release” a multilingual campaign to educate people about free alternatives to bail. The number of inmates at the Cook County Jail (Chicago) has fallen below 6,000, its lowest point in decades, and officials believe a lot of the decline comes from the recent order to judges to set bail in amounts that defendants could afford to pay. NJ Gov enacted a package of bills designed to remove barriers to employment for criminal offenders by shortening waiting times for records to be scrubbed and strengthening the state’s “ban the box” law. A Texas police officer was convicted of murder for shooting two teenagers he chased down in his car who tried to steal his car while he was of duty and they were unarmed.
👥MAKING PROGRESS FOR WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOR – A woman was appointed the 133rd Bishop of London, the third most powerful job in the Church of England, and is the first woman to ever hold the position. Carol Christ was officially sworn in as the first woman Chancellor for UC Berkeley. Dallas County appointed Marian Brown interim sheriff, making her the county’s first black sheriff.
🕬 FREEDOM OF SPEECH A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that prohibitions on immoral or scandalous language in the trademark law is unconstitutional because it is protected speech under the First Amendment. The Kentucky Attorney General issued an opinion agreeing with the ACLU in their lawsuit against the Kentucky Gov’s office alleging the Governor’s office violated state open records law by refusing to release certain “key words” it uses to filter “profane, obscene or clearly off-topic comments” from its Facebook page.
🌈 PROGRESS FOR LGBTQ – Hamblen (TX) county commission rejected a symbolic resolution condemning same-sex marriage. Doylestown (PA), Reading (PA), and Palm Beach (FL) both passed “gay conversion therapy” bans. A U.S.. District Judge ruled that a cosmetic-surgery firm that denied surgery to men with HIV violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to consider their individual medical facts before deciding whether surgery would be safe.
🗳WINNING THE FIGHTING FOR VOTING RIGHTS The League of Women Voters and a group of Democrats filed a federal lawsuit alleging Michigan’s congressional and state electoral districts are unlawfully gerrymandered. A U.S. District Court judge found that the voter fraud commission must give one of its Democratic members access to relevant documents in order to allow him to “fully participate.” The group Voters Not Politicians turned in more than 425,000 signatures to the Michigan Bureau of Elections to put an initiative on the ballot that would move the power to draw political boundaries to an independent commission.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER The Kentucky Capitol announced they are erecting their first life-sized statue of a woman at the courthouse. The Washington Post wrote a great summary of the progress being made to honor people other than white men and confederates, read it here. Charlottesville placed a street sign dedicating the street to Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed during the white nationalist rally
🙋WOMEN LEADING THE FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS A U.S. District Court ruled that ICE must allow two pregnant teenagers who are in the country illegally, access to abortion. Belgium is the first country to appoint a woman its ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a country with the worst record on women’s rights according to the U.N.
💀 ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST – A 45 nominee to a U.S. District Court judgeship who struggled to answer basic questions about courtroom procedure in a video clip that went viral withdrew his name from consideration. The Senate Banking Committee rejected the nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank as he was a vocal supporter of the disbanding the bank when he was a senator. The Senate sent the pick to lead the Council on Environmental Quality back to the White House, delaying her approval. Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter announced he is stepping down, while no reason was given he recently caused controversy for blaming NFL players’ dropping to one knee as the reason for a decline in company sales.
🚪THE REVOLVING DOOR ADMINISTRATION – The WH Deputy Chief of Staff for legislative affairs, public outreach and political operation announce they are stepping down early next year. The Washington Post reported that White House National Economic Council Deputy Director and Domestic Policy Council Deputy Director are also departing soon.
📣AWESOME ACTIVISM – The Human Rights Campaign projected the administration’s banned words on the Trump International Hotel in D.C. An unknown person damaged a Confederate monument in Georgia and it had to be removed for expensive repairs. Whoever you are I”m happy to contribute to a go fund me page for your legal fees. Activist group, Bold Louisiana, bought land along the path of the DAPL to join the effort to stop the pipeline. #NoDAPL Some parents pulled their children from a Connecticut school upon finding out that Ivanka was appearing at the school.