While this may be another week where good news may be have been drowned out again, there are thousands of activists, elected officials, and everyday people, doing inspiring and positive things. Another round of primaries and elections brought some more good results. The recent wedding may have warmed your heart and so may the good news highlighted below;
- #BipartisanCanWork In the Senate, Democrats and some Republicans worked together to vote to reinstate the FCC net neutrality rules #SaveNetNeutrality and to block a new farm bill that that included provisions requiring stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients #NoChildHungry.
- #MeToo Uber and Lyft have ended their use of mandatory arbitration to settle sexual harassment or assault claims, allowing victims to pursue public lawsuits.
- #RedForEd More than 20,000 people showed up at the capitol to protest teaching conditions in North Carolina, forcing more than 40 school districts in the state to cancel classes, making it the sixth state to see recent teacher protest for education en masse, following Arizona, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Colorado.
- #BathroomsForAll Vermont Governor signed a law requiring single-occupancy restrooms be marked gender neutral.
- #FairDistricts The Better Boundaries initiative in Utah collected enough signature to be on the November ballot to create a nonpartisan commission of experts to draw legislative and congressional maps with standards for drawing maps and rules to ensure the commission is independent.
PRIMARIES AND ELECTIONS LOTS OF WOMEN WINNING #BlueWave2018
- In Nebraska’s congressional Democratic primaries, Jane Raybould won for U.S. Senate, and Jessica McClure and Kara Eastman for U.S. House Districts. Kara Eastman, a progressive abortion rights supporter was an upset that defied the wishes of the national party.
- In Pennsylvania, 5 of the state’s 18 districts were won by women: Madeleine Dean, Mary Gay Scanlon, Susan Wild, Bibiana Boerio, and Susan Boser and two women ran uncontested districts. Susan Wild’s pro-choice victory won over the anti-choice candidate John Morganelli. Also in PA, four female candidates for State House races, Summer Lee, Sara Innamorato, Elizabeth Fiedler, and Kristin Seale who were also Democratic Socialists of America candidates won their primaries.
- In Idaho, progressive candidate Native American Paulette Jordan won the Democratic nomination for governor of Idaho over A.J. Balukoff.
- In Oregon’s Democratic gubernatorial primary race, incumbent Kate Brown won.
- Democrats flipped a Pennsylvania House seat with Helen Tai winning the 178th District special election.
- Alford (MA) elected Peggy Rae Hendon-Wilson, the first female to be elected to Alford’s Select Board.
PRIMARY AND ELECTION RESULTS – LOTS OF PROGRESSIVES WINNING
- Bill Blackburn ousted the pro-Trump incumbent Mayor in the rural Texas town of Kerrville by 24 percentage points, and two progressive city council members were also elected by similar margins.
- Six of Seven LGBTQ Victory fund and Human Rights Campaign candidates won their primary races.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS The Gov. of Ohio signed an order creating the Office of Opportunities for New Americans to help legal immigrants find work, learn, and transition into life in Ohio. Hundreds rallied for immigration rights at the California Capitol as part of the 22nd annual Immigrant Day. Thousands of families were able to reunite for a few minutes at a “Hugs not Walls” event on the U.S.-Mexico border, where immigrants from the U.S. side meet with family members from Mexico on the riverbed of the Rio Grande, with approval and oversight by the U.S. A group of immigrant advocates are walking the 90 miles from Detroit to Lansing to raise awareness of immigrant rights and deportations that are separating families.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE #PoorPeoplesCampaign Hoboken New Jersey Mayor signed an executive order to provide the full salary of city employees on parental leave by paying the difference between their full salary and the two-thirds wages provided by the state insurance program during the leave. Rules requiring payday lenders to determine before giving a loan whether a borrower can afford to repay it in full, with interest, within 30 days and caps the number of loans a person could take out in a certain period of time under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will remain in place after Congress allowed a deadline to overrule them pass without action. The Virginia’s State Corporation Commission rejected Dominion Energy Virginia’s application for rate increases. Dallas County Promise, an effort to send every graduating senior to college for free from Dallas County high schools, received a $3 million gift from JPMorgan Chase and will add 12 more high schools to its roster of schools. Seattle passed a new “head tax” on the city’s highest grossing businesses to alleviate the city’s homeless and affordable housing problem. Staffing Solutions of WNY Inc., was sued by the U.S. EEOC for multiple race, age, and disability discrimination violations.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE #BailReformNow Code for America partnered with the San Francisco District Attorney’s office and created technology that dramatically streamlines the process to automatically clear eligible marijuana convictions, eliminating the current labor intensive and time consuming process. A federal judge granted a request from 16 state attorneys general seeking to intervene in a lawsuit by other states seeking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. New Hampshire took a big step towards bail reform with the House and Senate negotiators agreeing on a compromise bail reform bill that would reduce the use of money bail for many low-income defendants. Allentown City Council (PA) approved an ordinance decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana within city limits. Prosecutors in Orange and Osceola counties (FL) will no longer ask judges for money bail for low-level offenses as part of a reform the State Attorney said would end a “poverty penalty.” A federal judge ruled that Ohio prisons may not force an inmate who practices Rastafarianism to cut their dreadlocks. At a time where there is increasing news coverage of the prevalence of the police being called on black people doing everyday legal things, in Memphis the police took a different approach and chastised the complainer and defended the person of color from harassment. NYC will pay more than $200,000 to settle a discrimination suit by three black applicants who claimed biased screening kept them from becoming city sheriffs.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT #ThereIsNoPlanetB Prosecutors in Oregon and Washington have filed more than a hundred charges in an alleged wildlife poaching scheme that occurred those states resulting in dozens of animals shot illegally. Environmental groups sued the EPA over its rejection of an Obama-era proposal to require mining companies to prove they have enough money to clean up their pollution and another alleging two companies contaminated the Ammonoosuc River with illegal discharges of pollutants. Takoma Park, Md. will allow Clean Choice Energy, to supply customers with wind and solar power on an opt-in basis. Environmental groups filed a lawsuit National Geographic launched Planet or Plastic?, a multiyear initiative to raise awareness of, and reduce, single-use plastics that enter the oceans. San Francisco is moving toward a zero emissions public transportation fleet by 2035. A federal appeals court invalidated a key U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review of the Dominion Energy-led Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
🌲OTHER COUNTRIES HELPING TO CARE FOR THE PLANET The British supermarket chain, Iceland, installed its first vending machine to accept plastic recycling. The University Grants Commission in India has directed Universities to ban the use of plastic cups, lunch packets straws, bottles, and bags on campuses. Ships berthing in Port Kembla, Australia will be charged lower fees if they can show cleaner environmental performance. Costa Rica announced a plan to ban fossil fuels. Canada will add about 1.6m hectares of land in into new or expanded provincial parks.
🕬 GUN REFORM AND ACTIVISM #NeverAgain The $225 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System will use its clout to pressure retailers who they own stock in, to stop selling assault-type weapons and intend to attempt to unseat members of their boards of directors, and consider divesting from the companies that don’t comply with the new policy. Students continue to get arrested holding sit-ins outside Paul Ryan’s office to demand gun reform.
👩#MeToo AND WOMEN’S EQUALITY The University of Denver has agreed to pay $2.66 million, raise the women professor’s salaries and take steps to eliminate the gender pay gap to settle an unequal-pay lawsuit brought by seven female professors. Fox News agreed to pay $10 million to settle discrimination cases with 18 former employees. Goodwill Industries of the East Bay Area will pay $850,000 to settle claims that they failed to stop sexual harassment and retaliated against the managers who reported it in a case brought by the U.S. EEOC. Benedict Cumberbatch declared that he stands with woman and will not accept any role where his female co star doesn’t receive equal pay. The Illinois Legislature passed a bill requiring judges to hold additional hearings before ordering a pregnant woman be held in jail is waiting for the Gov. to decide if he will sign. Maryland Governor signs bill cracking down on sexual harassment in the workplace by prohibiting companies from requiring employees to waive their rights regarding sexual harassment through non-disclosure agreement.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER #TakeThemDown A group of activists organized by “Take Em Down Jax” began a “March for Change” three-day, 40-mile walk from Jacksonville to St. Augustine in Florida to draw attention to its call for the removal of Confederate monuments. A local judge ruled the South Carolina Heritage Act does not prohibit efforts to modify a war memorial to remove the racial distinctions of the soldiers listed on it. A federal judge has again refused to block removal of a Confederate monument from the grounds of a local courthouse in Louisiana.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS #LoveWins Maryland became the 11th state to ban “gay conversion therapy” on minors when the governor signed the recently passed bill. Released this week, Deadpool 2 features the first openly LGBTQ couple in mainstream superhero movies. The Minnesota Vikings will be the first NFL franchise to host a large-scale summit focused on the inclusion of LGBTQ athletes in sports. William and Mary University held its first ever Lavender Ceremony to honor LGBTQ graduates.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE #LoveNotHate New Yorker’s are taking action against a local lawyer caught on video spewing hate and racism at latinx food service workers. He has been kicked out of his business office, is facing complaints with the state bar association, the state court system, the NYC Commission on Human Rights, and faced a very large Latin Dance Party outside his condo. A student at a high school in Missoula, Mont. was suspended for repeatedly wearing a Confederate flag shirt, despite warnings to stop.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE #MyBodyMyChoice Mexico’s top court granted the right to an abortion for rape survivors. The ACLU of Iowa and Planned Parenthood sued to challenge Iowa’s new law restricting abortions after six weeks.
🗳️VOTING RIGHTS #FairDistricts A court ruled that a Michigan gerrymandering lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters to challenge republican drawn congressional and state legislative maps can proceed. A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled the county’s at-large voting system violates the California Voting Rights Act and has impaired the Asian- American population from getting elected. The Florida Governor will monitor the office of the Broward County Election Supervisor after a judge found her office violated the law by destroying ballots while a lawsuit was pending. More than 600 volunteers collected signature on Election Day in PA to get an anti-gerrymandering initiative on the ballot.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS The Army National Guard selected a woman for the first time to lead their warrant officers nationwide. With women winning both parties’ primaries for Idaho lieutenant governor, and no other candidates running, Idaho is now guaranteed to elect its first-ever female lieutenant governor in the November general election. Cosmopolitan has a great article about the women working for the new NYS Attorney General. Alaska Airlines announced their first-ever black female flight crew to pilot a flight. Amazon.com Inc announced it is adopting a new policy to promote diversity, including women and minorities, on its board of directors.
🙂FOR YOUR INFORMATION A New York court ruled that Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant, can proceed with her defamation lawsuit against Drumpf.
RUSSIA INVESTIGATION The Senate Intelligence Committee released a statement that their investigation concluded that the U.S. intelligence community was correct in assessing Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the aim of helping then-candidate Donald Trump, contradicting findings House Republicans reached last month. The Senate Judiciary Committee released the transcripts from a slate of interviews with participants of the Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016. A U.S. District Court for the D.C. refused to dismiss charges against Paul Manafort finding that Mueller’s case against Manafort is not overly broad or improper.