Primary elections continue to bring some welcome outcomes for progressives and the democratic party. The rally that fizzled was driven out of D.C. and the Lafayette Park protest has past thirty straight days. We are all waiting anxiously for the Manafort jury to make a decision. But you don’t have to sit around wringing your hands while you wait. You can write postcards to voters from home or work with so many groups out there working hard to canvass, register, and energize voters. Now onto this week’s good news roundup.
☑️ ELECTION RESULTS Ilhan Omar, a progressive state legislator, and Somali- American who came to the U.S. as a refugee, won the Democratic primary in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. Christine Hallquist, became the first transgender candidate to be nominated for a governorship by a major party when she won the Vermont’s Democratic primary. Progressive Democrat Jahana Hayes, previously named the 2016 “National Teacher of the Year” by President Obama, won the primary for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District and if elected, she would be the state’s first black Democrat to serve in Congress. George McGill was elected Fort Smith Arkansas’ first black mayor. There are now at least 183 women nominees for U.S. House and 11 women nominees for governor, the highest in history. #BlueWave2018
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS A federal judge extended a freeze on deportations of recently reunified families and ordered them to try to negotiate an agreement on a path to resolving their asylum claims. The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition launched its new advocacy arm, TIRRC Vote, designed to build political support for immigrants through focusing on registering voters, advocating for pro-immigrant policies, canvassing voters and endorsing candidates. The California Supreme Court made it easier for some immigrant children who are abused or abandoned by a parent to seek a U.S. visa to avoid deportation in a ruling where they held it is sufficient to notify the absent parent of the court proceedings and they do not have to make the parent a party to the proceedings. A new German opera is spotlighting refugees. The ACLU sued the Teller County Sheriff in Colorado for holding inmates beyond their sentences, or after they have posted bail upon a request from I.C.E. arguing it violates the state’s constitution. #StandWithImmigrants
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Nevada State Medicaid officials are easing recent restrictions on payments for mental health services in the face of widespread concerns about its effect on vulnerable recipients. After a recent court decision, Pennsylvanian is restoring “General Assistance”, a monthly cash program that aided poor individuals in the state before it was eliminated in 2012. The San Antonio City Council passed a paid sick leave ordinance allowing workers to accrue up to 64 hours of paid sick leave each year. The Connecticut Insurance Department determined state law prohibits the sale of skimpy “short term” health plans that the federal government is now allowing for much longer period. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing an Illinois School District for violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act for capping salary raises for teachers within 10 years of retirement eligibility at six percent and a Kansas school district for paying male principals more than female ones. The National Health Law Program, Legal Aid of Arkansas, and the Southern Poverty Law Center sued to try to stop the implementation of work requirements in Arkansas’ Medicaid program. #FightFor15
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE Marijuana legalization qualified for the ballot in North Dakota. A court found that a Michigan statute denying good-time credit to re-sentenced juvenile lifers to be unconstitutional. Philadelphia Eagles players wore shirts during pre-game practice calling out criminal injustice. Make the Road by Walking filed a complaint against the NYC police department for denying interpreter services. Nashville voters will now get to vote in November to create a new civilian-led police review board. #BlackLivesMatter
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT There were four great recent federal court decisions blocking the administration’s efforts to roll back environmental protections including;
- an injunction blocking the delay of the Waters of the United States rule in a number of state in a case brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center;
- stopping the EPA’s attempt to delay a chemical plant safety regulation written by the Obama administration under the Clean Air Act;
- ordering a full environmental review of a revised route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
- ordering the EPA to regulate harmful runoff pollution from commercial, industrial, and institutional sites in two Southern California watersheds.
A federal appeals court also ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s denial of endangered species protection for Montana Arctic grayling was unlawful and ordered the agency to reconsider protection for the rare fish. Illinois sued the Trump Tower in Chicago for violating clean water laws. In Virginia, activists held a People’s Caravan for Clean Air and Water. #ThereIsNoPlanB
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS Illinois governor signed a law that requires hospitals to train enough medical providers in how to treat sexual assault patients so that victims are seen by a trained provider within 90 minutes or arrival. A judge in New York ruled that a confidentiality agreement between the Trump campaign and a former staffer is limited in scope, and the staffer’s lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination and harassment while working for the campaign is not subject to out-of-court arbitration.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Berkeley school no longer named after the Georgia eugenecist and is now named in honor of the girl who won California’s Brown Vs. Board of Ed case integrating schools. #NoHate
🕬 GUN REFORM EFFORTS CONTINUE Shopify Inc., the Canadian provider of online stores for more than 600,000 businesses, banned the sale of some semi- automatic firearms and 3D-printed guns. Moms Demand Action gunsense candidates won 79 percent of their democratic primaries. Road to Change ended their successful cross-country trip in Newtown CT. #NeverAgain
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS The PA Human Relations Commission expanded the definition of “sex” as it applies to the state’s discrimination laws to include sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, gender transition, and transgender identity. A lawsuit against an Oregon school district that allows transgender students to use bathroom of choice was dropped. #Lovetrumpshate
🕫🗳️VOTING RIGHTS AND GERRYMANDERING Federal Courts issued some important rulings for voting and gerrymandering including;
- overturning a New Hampshire law giving local moderators the authority to reject absentee ballots due to concerns about signatures in a suit filed by the ACLU;
- requiring the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to sit for a deposition in a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census;
- a Federal judge in California goes a step further than one in New York and holds that the way the administration sought to add a citizenship question to the census may have violated the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution in denying a motion to dismiss the suit;
- rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s congressional district map because it’s gerrymandered finding that it still has merit despite the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue and;
- denied a motion to dismiss a voter intimidation and defamation lawsuit against J. Christian Adams and the right-wing Public Interest Legal Foundation by the League of United Latin American Citizens.
New RestoreYourVote.Org Project from Campaign Legal Center helps ex-felons determine if they are legally allowed to vote. A judge ordered a candidate restored to the ballot after a county clerk in Utah admitted that he and a republican candidate conspired together to fabricate a case against the democratic candidate to kick him off the ballot. Voter turnout in the Vermont primary was 22 percent, the highest since 2010 and in Minnesota the turnout was 22.7, the highest since 1994. Recent research by Sister District shows that a follow up handwritten postcard to a person sent a voter registration form increased the chances that they registered to vote. #Vote
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE Twitter has banned Alex Jones and InfoWars for all of a week. GrabYourWallet has a tool you can use to block all the Fortune 500 companies that advertise on Twitter until Alex Jones is banned permanently and tells Twitter about it, check it out, takes less than 30 seconds to do. The FCC shut down Alex Jones’s illegal pirate radio station. Yet another racist was fired for their actions, this time an aquarium in New Jersey says it has fired an employee who kicked out a group of black schoolchildren from a gift shop in a now-viral video. Thousands of counter-protestors turned up to face down the pitiful, barely 30 people that showed up for the Unite the Right rally in D.C. Activists are marching from NY to D.C. to stand up to white supremacy.
🙂 LAWSUIT ROUNDUP A federal judge upheld the constitutionality of special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment in a challenge to an indictment brought by a Russian firm accused of funding an internet trolling operation targeting U.S. voters. The Manafort jury has been deliberating for two day and counting.
📰 DEFENDING THE FREE PRESS 300 newspapers published editorials on the same day defending the free press from attacks calling them the opposition and “Fake News.” Even the Senate passed a resolution affirming the press is not “the enemy of the people.” One Utica business owner did their part to help the free media. #NotOurEnemy
🤸🏿ALL OVER THE COUNTRY GROUPS WERE HARD AT WORK TRYING TO SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY Indivisible Austin, Indivisible Mad River Valley, Indivisible MDI, Indivisible Cypress, and Justice Alliance were out protesting. Moms Demand Action was out in Omaha registering and talking to voters. Grannies Respond are trying to help a man who is ying to feed people being dropped at a bus station in Mexico by I.C.E. Thousands of Building and Trade Union workers in Philadelphia marched in support of immigrant rights. Indivisible Berkeley is on a road trip to Nevada to register voters and hosting 40 person phone bank. Indivisible East Tennessee and Suit Up Maine and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth are training, canvassing, and working to GOTV. Be A Hero campaign is hoping to encourage Senator Collins to vote no on Kavanagh by publically raising money to be donated to her democratic opponent should she vote yes. Great thinking! Organizing Communities Against Deportation held marches and educational events. This young woman sat on a corner in NYC registering voters. Many groups participated in the Hands Along the Water event to call attention to the red tide problem in Florida. #GOTV