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.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Estée Lauder agreed to a settlement including $90,000 in back wages and penalties and to provide legally required earned sick time to their part-time Massachusetts employees. Philando Feeds the Children, a charity started in honor of the black nutrition supervisor killed during a traffic stop, raised enough money to pay the school lunch debt for all 56 public schools in St. Paul (MN). State employees in Oklahoma voted to join a planned teachers’ walkout on April 2nd if the state doesn’t meet their demands for pay raises. Canadian doctors protested their pay increases, saying that money should go to nurses, other staff and to improve care.The two leaders of the far right group Britain First were convicted of hate crimes.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE The ACLU sued a Glynn County (GA) judge, sheriff and public defender for failing to consider a defendant’s ability to post bond when setting bail. Maryland’s highest court ordered the restoration of the names of police officers involved in criminal cases to a statewide database of court records. A defendant who was barbarically tortured by a Texas judge with electric shocks during his testimony for not answering questions right (yes you read that right) had his conviction overturned.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Interior Dept. over its decision not to institute federal protections for the Pacific walrus. New Haven (CT) started the process of divesting from Wells Fargo due to the banks investment in the DAPL and low grade for community investment. Peru got its first electric bus for public transportation. Portland opened its first natural gas fueling station at its wastewater treatment plant, as part of its “Poop to Power Project.” Goodyear debuted a new type of tire intended to reduce carbon dioxide in the air by embedding living moss within the tires’ sidewalls that can pull carbon dioxide out of the air to fuel the moss’ photosynthesis. A small Quebec town won a lawsuit brought against it by a big oil and gas company for trying to protect their water supply. General Mills announced it is creating South Dakota’s largest organic crop farm in order to secure enough organic ingredients to meet growing consumer demand for it Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese line. That’s some Mac and Cheese goodness.
👩#MeToo AND PROTECTING WOMEN The Florida legislature passed a bill that prohibits marriage under 17 unless there is parental consent, a premarital preparation course, and the intended spouse in not more than two years older. Hoping the Governor signs this. Baltimore (MD) joined a lawsuit against the administration for cutting federal funding for a teen-pregnancy prevention program two years earlier than the grant provided for. A federal jury awarded $13.4 million to a woman who suffered sexual harassment at a sugar refinery plant in New York, an amount her lawyer claims is unusually large and sends a “loud and clear” message in the #MeToo era. A man in Belgium was the first to be convicted of “sexism in a public place” for verbally abusing a female police officer and fined $3,700. The New York Times began a series to provide obituaries for women who left indelible marks but were nonetheless overlooked at the time of their passing,
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER San Francisco arts commissioners voted to remove a statue that depicts a Native American man at the feet of a conquering Spanish cowboy and Catholic missionary. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said she would veto funding for a bronze bust recognizing the accomplishments of a Hispanic soldier in the U.S. Civil War who also led armed campaigns against Native Americans. Administrators in Crossville (TN) ordered a school’s mural depicting a massive Confederate flag and a man hanging from a tree painted over. A portion of a Baltimore park, where a statue of two Confederate generals stood for decades, was renamed The Harriet Tubman Grove. The first openly gay elected official in the South, and Chapel Hill Town Council (NC) member, will be honored with a decorative bench in his memory.
.GUN REFORM AND ACTIVISM CONTINUES IN FULL SWING. Washington State banned bump stocks and other mechanism that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire more rapidly. An Illinois gun show banned the sale of AR15’s. Hundreds of students at Southlake Carroll (TX) high schools staged walkouts in protest of gun violence. A number of students were arrested at a sit in at McConnell’s office in the capital to demand gun reform.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS Starkville Pride parade will go forward now that the city reversed its rejection of their permit application after facing multiple lawsuits. William Paterson University appointed its first openly gay president. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII prohibits discrimination against transgender workers. The Erie County Executive (NY) signed a bill making gay conversion therapy for minors illegal. The Washington state legislature also banned gay conversion therapy on minors and it is awaiting the governor’s signature. “A Fantastic Woman,” won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film which was the first winner to feature a transgender story with an openly trans actor in the lead role and the film’s star was the first openly trans person to present on stage at the Academy Awards.
🗳️VOTING RIGHTS AND ACTIVISM Maine’s secretary of state certified the required signatures to force a ‘People’s Veto’ referendum that could override the state legislature’s decision to delay implementation of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). The certification means that on June 12 Maine voters will use RCV that in all primaries for state and federal offices, and they will vote to restore key sections of the 2016 law that instituted RCV to elect Maine officials. Washington state passed automatic voter registration, Election Day registration, pre-registration for 16 & 17 year olds & a state Voting Rights Act, awaiting Governor’s signature.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Viola Desmond, the black woman who refused to leave the whites-only section of a Canadian movie theater, years before Rosa Parks’s act of defiance, will be honored on the country’s new $10 bill. Canada appointed the first woman permanent head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Mar del Plata International Film Festival appointed its first woman artistic director. The first woman pastor will be installed at the First Baptist Church of Hampton one of the oldest black churches in the country. The University of Miami selected its first Muslim Chaplain to its Chaplain’s Association. Erika Strassburger was elected the first woman to represent Pittsburgh’s City Council District 8. The first woman was inducted into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction. Jordan Peele became the first black writer to win best original screenplay. Swing Left, Flippable, and Latino Victory US are partnering together to get more Latinx elected.
📜FREE SPEECH Washington State is the first state to pass net neutrality law that requires internet service providers to treat all online content the same, regardless or whether they got paid to favor certain traffic. The ACLU a lawsuit against Winchester (IN) county after a resident was ordered to remove a sign from her yard expressing opposition to an elected official saying “Not My Mayor”.
🙂FOR YOUR INFORMATION the Office of Special Counsel determined that Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act multiple times when she endorsed and advocated against political candidates. Adult film star Stormy Daniels filed a civil suit against 45 to void a nondisclosure agreement between them. The resigning U.S. Ambassador to Panama released a scathing resignation video. The hotel owners at Trump Panama won their legal challenge to oust Trump management and the video of the name crow-barred off is priceless. The Office Special Counsel told federal employees that they may not wear MAGA hats while on the job.
🧟ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST I never tire of reporting on the unethical, incompetent, morally bankrupt, right-wing, hypocrites that continue to drop like flies off the shit pile of an administration. This week turns it out Gary Cohn, the Jewish economic advisor’s line in the sand wasn’t 45 calling neo-Nazi’s fine people but disagreeing with him on imposing tariffs on imports. Sen.Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi resigned effective April 1. Tony Tooke, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, resigned following reports of sexual harassment and retaliation at the agency, after being appointed barely seven months ago. Multiple White House staffers have either been fired or reassigned over issues with their security clearances according to ABC News.
🗳NOVEMBER 2018 ELECTION UPDATE As of March 6th a total of 9 U.S. House races do not have a Democratic candidate and 47 do not have a Republican. You have to be in it to win it.