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 are Catholics who held a big rally in D.C. for Dreamers. A U.S. District Judge allowed lawsuits brought by San Francisco and California seeking to block the administration from withholding $28 million funds from sanctuary jurisdictions to proceed. Oakland’s Mayor issued a warning to residents of an upcoming ICE raid.
GUN REFORM Rhode Island Governor issued an Executive Order directing law enforcement to use all available legal steps to remove firearms from those who show warning signs of violence. The Illinois House passed some gun control measures including a bump-stock ban and a minimum age of 21 for buying assault-style weapons and there are more bills passed and pending in the Illinois senate.
🕬 GUN CONTROL ACTIVISM CONTINUES IN FULL SWING Starting the trend of corporate America tacking gun reform on its own was Dick’s Sporting Goods announcing they would no longer sell assault-style rifles and would stop selling guns to those under the age of 21. They were followed with similar announcements by Walmart and L.L.Bean. Taking this a step further, REI (which does not sell guns) said it would no longer buy bike helmets and water bottles from suppliers that also makes assault-style rifles. Students all over the country are staging walkouts and protests like those at a High School in Plano (TX) and those is Florida where students walked 16 miles to Parkland high school. Elected officials from other states reached out to Delta to offer them a “safe haven” after Georgia cut their tax breaks for ending relationship with the NRA. Moms Demand Action in Oklahoma even got State Troopers to wear their shirts to show support. Portland (MA) will allow students to walk out of classes to protest gun violence. The group Run for Something ran an ad in the the Florida papers encouraging young people to run against NRA backed candidates, listing officials who are highly rated by the NRA and offering help to those who run. National School Walkout has reached over 1,300 registered events and you can find one on their website.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE After requiring most private employers to provide paid sick leave to their staff, the Austin City Council voted to do the same for its temporary workers. The Dept of Justice filed a statement of interest in the lawsuits against opioid distributors and makers seeking federal reimbursement for the costs of the crisis and created a task force to coordinate a crackdown on illegal practices by manufacturers, distributors, doctors, and pharmacies. Newport City (KY) voted to approve a needle exchange program. The Virginia and Maryland legislatures approved a bill that requires prisons to provide inmates with free feminine hygiene products and they await the governor’s signing. Norman and Cleveland County in Oklahoma have ended veteran homelessness.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE University of North Florida’s Students for a Democratic Society won several of its core demands from the college including, a new major in African American Studies and a commitment by for the university to hire more teachers of color and to increase enrollment of students of color. Black women organized the “The Power Rising Summit” this weekend in Georgia which brings black women together to “commit ourselves to do as black women to move our communities and our nation forward.” An African American man falsely framed by NYC police officers for a DUI will receive almost $1 million in a settlement from the city. California Supreme Court struck down sentences against two juvenile saying 110 years to life was the functional equivalent of life without parole and therefore unconstitutional. The East Baton Rouge City Council voted to decriminalize marijuana in the parish and are expecting the Mayor will sign it.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT Malibu (CA) has banned restaurants and food vendors from offering or selling plastic straws, stirrers and utensils. NYU School of Law, with the help of Michael Bloomberg, is supporting the Democratic State Attorney Generals challenge the federal government’s efforts to roll back environmental rules with the new initiative, State Energy & Environment Impact Center providing legal resources and staff. Lego announced that their botanical selections of building pieces will now be made from plant-based plastic and did you know that the as of the end of last year they used 100% renewable energy? Dover (NH) city council passed a resolution committing to organic land management practices on public land. Maine enacted a law to remain part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative through 2030. Taking small baby steps in the right direction, 23 chapters of the College Republicans helped form the Students for Carbon Dividends, calling for national legislation to fight climate change albeit with less regulation. A Sacramento County Superior Court judge ordered California agricultural officials to stop spraying pesticides on public and private property to control insects.
🌲OTHER COUNTRIES HELPING TO CARE FOR THE PLANET Rome announced they are banning the environmentally harmful diesel cars from its historical center. A Dutch supermarket chain launched a plastic-free supermarket aisle in Amsterdam. Germany’s top Administrative Judges rules that bans on high polluting vehicles are permissible. Belgium generated 21% of the total energy the country consumed by solar power.
👩#MeToo After a year of deep searching and looking under every rock the U.S. Justice Dept has finally found its first case during this administration of sex-based discrimination in the workplace and is suing Houston (TX) under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for discriminating against female firefighters. The Justice Department has also announced a new project, the Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Initiative, to focus on sexual harassment in the public sector. Washington Gov. vetoed a bill that sought to exempt Washington lawmakers from the state’s Public Records Act (mostly to prevent sex harassment claims from being made public) and legislators agreed to not take another vote to override his action.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER A group of 17 senior faculty members at the University of North Carolina sent a letter to the school’s chancellor to take down the “Silent Sam” Confederate statue on campus by March 1st or promising them they would do it for them. The Virginia Department of General Services announced they received the permits to start work on the privately funded Virginia Women’s Monument on the Capitol Square. The Florida legislature sent a bill to the Governor for signing that authorizes the construction of a memorial on the Capitol grounds that recognizes the cruelty and inhumanity of slavery.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS The U.S.2nd Circuit Court of Appeals became the second appeals court to rule the Civil Rights Act covers sexual orientation. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal of a ruling that held that both parents in a same-sex marriage have custody rights of a child born during marriage upon divorce. Starkville (MS) was sued for refusing to grant a permit for an LGBT pride event. A University of Kansas alumnus pledged a million dollars to them to provide scholarship funds for LGBTQ students. A Fox News executive who wrote an inflammatory column about diversity on the U.S. Olympic team resigned and the column was taken down.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE The Hillsboro School Board (OR) approved a plan to allow nurses at the district’s school-based health center to prescribe contraceptives.
🕫🗳️VOTING MOBILIZATION IS OFF TO A RUNNING START and already showing results. Early voting in the Texas primaries shows an increase of 98% in democratic voters and a 16% increase in Republican voters. Let America Vote is opening field offices in Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, Tennessee and New Hampshire. The University of Michigan challenged its Big Ten football rivals to a competition to see which school can get more students to vote in the midterms and can use new data from Tufts research of college student participation to help. The ACLU sent teams of volunteers into some California prison to register eligible incarcerated individuals in California as part of their “Unlock the Vote” campaign. Putting 20 million of their donation dollars to good use, Planned Parenthood’s political arm is targeting races in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in its largest-ever midterm election campaign, called “March. Vote. Win.”
🗳️VOTING RIGHTS A federal court judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Poway’s election system designed to increase minority representation and challenge the constitutionality of the California Voting Rights Act which allowed for the change. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee sued Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker over his refusal to call special elections to fill two open legislative seats. Kentucky will require that new voting machines have a paper trail. A U.S. District Court Judge struck down South Dakota ballot access laws for newly-qualifying parties. Federal judiciary employees are now subject to new rules that prohibits them from partisan political activity, including campaign contributions. Indiana announced that residents will be able to text to start their voter registration.
🙂FOR YOUR INFORMATION Lehigh faculty voted to rescind Trump honorary degree and are hoping the Board of Trustees honors that vote. Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA says that he’ll only fly coach in the future, after criticism over his flying first class to avoid being yelled at by people disgusted with how he is destroying the environment. NBA champs the Golden State Warriors visited the Museum of African-American History and Culture with local kids in lieu of the traditional White House visit. Police were sent to the Trump Hotel in Panama for a 4th time as the conflict between a group of the hotels owners who are trying to oust Trump’s management company got violent.
🧟ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST It wouldn’t be another week in Trumpworld if there wasn’t another resignation.This week the administration lost two more hateful souls. Hope Hicks, the 3rd (or was she the 4th or 5th I’ve lost count) communications director resigned after lasting 19.6 Scaramuccis. Possibly because of her scandal involving her support for her wife beating boyfriend or because she admitted to lying for the president while answering questions in the Russia probe. C. Bauserman, a political appointee at the Dept of Interior resigned after making public racist and inflammatory statements. Four Commerce Dept. political appointees were terminated after not passing security clearance. While an additional 30 presidential aides weren’t fired, they along with Jared Kushner, had their top secret intelligence clearance downgraded to “secret” security clearances, which apparently is lower than the White House calligrapher.