Indivisible, Move On, and many other groups are urging people to attend emergency rallies on President’s Day to protest the fake emergency declaration, so look up an event near you at www.crisisresponse.us/. Make your voices heard so that there is more good news to report on next week. If you spent hours yelling at your TV this week like me, this week’s list is here to remind you that our democracy is not lost and to have hope. Here is the brief summary, followed by the full list, in a new version of the blog I am trying out. Let me know your thoughts. Don’t forget to like the post and share it to help spread the good news with others.
- #StandWithImmigrants Another state withdraws their National Guard from the border, judges ruled cities don’t get punished for not working for I.C.E and asylum seekers rights can’t be restricted, and Las Vegas, the ACLU, Pennsylvania, and a small North Carolina community are helping to protect and support immigrants.
- #RedForEd Teachers in Denver settled their strike while those in Oakland are just about to get started, Charlotte is supporting minority owned businesses, and California is making workers whole again.
- #CareNotPrisons LA County and a Judge in Alabama are standing up for those with mental health issues, Virginia and Chicago gave civil rights and freedom back to felons and some are working on it in Mississippi, Dayton decriminalizes marijuana while Huston is expanding public defenders and Bennington is watching over the police.
- #ACLU A legislator learned you can’t block on constituents on Facebook, UPS can’t discriminate based on religion, and the govt must treat those with HIV fairly.
- #GreenNewDeal Two coal-fired plants will close, another state joins the Climate Alliance, LA is protecting animals and cutting back on natural gas use, a judge is standing up for public beach access, new electric buses are coming and more nuclear power on the way out.
- #MeToo Women are free to be free of their tops, a company learns workers win judgements when you sexually harass them, and predatory priests can’t stay hidden.
- #BlackLivesMatter Dallas and Richmond remove hate and add respect.
- #NeverAgain Exposing NRA money and holding Sheriff’s accountable for enforcing gun laws.
- #WeWillNotGoBack LGBTQ community gets an inclusive emoji, protection and consequences for hate crimes, hate speech, and conversion therapy in NYC, Tennessee, and Florida, better protections in San Bernardino prisons, and the right to transition health care and the bathroom in Iowa.
- #FairFight Virginia. Mississippi, and Ohio move a stop forward towards fairer maps, better voting machines coming to Indiana, voter registration forms going to Ohio voters, campaign money allowed for childcare, and a judge says no to voter suppression in Florida.
- #NoH8 Karma for those who spread hate and middle schools are learning not to allow hate or suppress free speech.
AND MORE …
🧕 STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS
- Las Vegas Metro Police are changing their policies and will no longer turn over undocumented immigrants who are arrested for minor traffic crimes or misdemeanors to I.C.E.
- A federal appeals court ruled the administration could not withhold federal law enforcement grant money from Philadelphia because they are a sanctuary city.
- Last week New Mexico withdrew their national guard troops from the border and this week the California Gov. did the same.
- The U.S. Supreme Court denied the administration’s request to immediately enforce a new policy of denying asylum to migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry.
- The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners ruled that DACA recipients cannot be denied a law license based on their immigration status.
- The ACLU is taking on the administration policy of forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico.
- About 200 community members in North Carolina formed an I.C.E.brigade to help stand up for immigrants in the wake of recent raids in counties that ended their I.C.E contracts.
⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE Denver teachers ended a 3-day walkout after their union and the school system reached a tentative agreement to fund a 7%-11% increase in base salaries next year and step increases in salary and other pay incentives.
- Over the past 15 months, the city of Charlotte has worked to support minority business’ through a new City Accelerator program.
- The California Labor Commission ordered private construction company RDV Construction to pay more than 1,000 workers $11.94 million in back wages and penalties for violations of minimum wage, overtime and rest breaks.
- Oakland school teachers voted to strike over wages, class sizes, and school resources.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
- A federal district court judge ruled that the Alabama Department of Corrections fails to adequately evaluate the mental health of inmates isolated in segregation cells, causing a risk of serious harm, and that they are “deliberately indifferent.”
- Another fourteen people were exonerated from drug convictions linked to a former Chicago police Sgt. who fabricated cases.
- Virginia Governor announced that since he has restored the civil rights of 10,992 Virginians previously convicted of a felony, including the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for public office, and become a notary public.
- Convicted felons in Mississippi won class action status in their lawsuit to have their voting rights restored.
- The city of Dayton’s marijuana decriminalization ordinance began which eliminates city fines for minor misdemeanor marijuana offenses.
- Harris County Commissioners Court (TX) rejected the DA’s request for 102 new prosecutors and voted to nearly double the budget for the county public defender’s office.
- The Bennington Town Manager (VT) agreed to hire an outside consultant to review the practices and policies of the police dept.
- Los Angeles County supervisors approved a plan to tear down the dungeon-like Men’s Central Jail and build at least one mental health treatment facility in its place.
☮️ CIVIL RIGHTS
- An Ohio state senator agreed to pay $20,000 in a lawsuit settlement after a constituent accused him of illegally blocking him on Facebook.
- A federal judge blocked the military from forcing out a pair of HIV-positive airmen.
- In a case brought by the U.S. EEOC, UPS agreed to pay $4.9 million to resolve a lawsuit claiming that the company was biased against employees who wear beards and long hair for religious reasons.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT
- The Tennessee Valley Authority voted to close two coal-fired power plants.
- Wisconsin Gov. announces he is adding the state to the U.S. Climate Alliance to combat climate change at the state level.
- Los Angeles is now the largest city in the United States to ban the manufacture and sale of animal fur products.
- Los Angeles Mayor announced the Dept. of Water and Power won’t spend billions of dollars rebuilding three gas-fired power plants along the coast.
- A California judge refused to approve a deal that would have continued to allow limited access to Hollister Ranch’s coastline.
- Florida University and California are moving to all electric bus fleets.
- Spain in planning on closing all its nuclear plants by 2035.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS A federal appeals court ruled that a Fort Collins law that bans women from going topless in public was unconstitutional since it targets a group based on gender.
- Albuquerque Ojos Cantina will pay $700,000 and implement new training requirements and take other steps to settle a U.S. EEOC case alleging they subjected workers to sex-based harassment and retaliation.
- New Jersey’s Roman Catholic dioceses listed more than 180 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors over a span of several decades for a step in the right direction for public accountability.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER
- The Dallas City Council voted 11-4 to remove a Confederate Monument at Pioneer Cemetery.
- Richmond City Council (VA) voted to rename a boulevard for Arthur Ashe.
🕬 GUN REFORM
- The L.A. City Council passed an ordinance requiring companies that have contracts with the city to disclose whether they have ties to the NRA.
- Washington Attorney General warned County Sheriffs who said they won’t enforce the state’s new, stricter gun laws could be held liable if they refuse to do so.
- A transgender nurse who was barred from using the restroom corresponding with his gender identity and denied transition-related healthcare coverage won a discrimination lawsuit against Iowa with Jesse $120,000 in damages.
- A federal judge denied a motion by two psychologists to block enforcement of a Florida county’s ordinance prohibiting “gay conversion therapy” on minors.
- The New York City Council voted to dissolve the committee chaired by a Councilmember in response to his homophobic comments.
- The Tennessee State Attorney General issued a formal opinion that a defendant who targets a person for a crime because that person is transgender falls under the state’s hate crime sentencing statute, even though it is not specified in the rule, making Tennessee the first state in the South to protect transgender individuals this way.
- Gender-inclusive emojis for couples who both don’t define as male or female are coming in October.
- Legislation that would have blocked transgender people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates in Utah was pulled.
- The ACLU and San Bernardino reached a settlement over its discriminatory treatment of incarcerated gay, bisexual and transgender people and will include expanded housing options, improved access to programs, and comprehensive staff training.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING
- A federal court approved new district boundaries for the Virginia House of Delegates which are likely to benefit democrats and ordered them implemented for the 2019 elections.
- A federal panel rejected a request from Ohio to delay a gerrymandering lawsuit that aims to put a new Ohio congressional district map in place in time for the 2020 election.
- The Louisiana Ethics Board adopted a new opinion to allow campaign funds to be used for childcare expenses.
- A federal appeals court uphold a decision that a Florida law requiring voters’ signatures on mail-in ballots be matched with the signatures on file with elections officials by untrained workers with no standards imposes “a serious burden on the right to vote.”
- A federal court judge ruled that t the Mississippi State Senate district 22 boundaries violate the Voting Rights Act.
- The Ohio Secretary of State is sending voter registration forms to hundreds of thousands of former voters who were removed from the voting rolls for not voting or updating their addresses with county boards of elections.
- The Johnson County Commissioners in Indiana voted to terminate its contract with the prior voting system vendor because they caused hours long delays in the last election.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE
- A middle school in North Carolina apologized to a student after telling the student to cover up a T-shirt that condemns prejudicial behavior.
- A middle school teacher resigned after allegedly telling a black middle school student that his athletic clothes marked him for “prison.”
- Karma for those who spread hate is a woman who was fired from a county job after making a racist Facebook post about former First Lady Michelle Obama now found guilty of defrauding FEMA and a sports store owner who decided to no longer sell Nike products because they used Colin Kapernick in their ads going out of business because apparently no one shops at a sports store that doesn’t sell Nike.
- North Carolina Governor announced that he is appointing Cheri Beasley the next chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, she will be the first black woman to be the state’s top judge.
- Hobart and William Smith Colleges announced it has selected Joyce P. Jacobsen as the first woman to serve as President of the college.
- Female artists took home many of the biggest prizes at the Grammy Awards, including album of the year by Kacey Musgraves, best new artist for Dua Lipa, Cardi B became the first solo female rapper to win the award for rap album, H.E.R., for R&B album, and Ariana Grande for best pop vocal album.
🙂 A VERY QUICK LOOK AT RUSSIA ETC… judge voided Manafort’s plea deal because she found that he lied and therefore violated the agreement.. A federal judge placed a gag order on Roger Stone and attorneys involved in his criminal case. The House of Representatives amended the rules to allow staff of House committees to conduct depositions without any lawmakers present, freeing up the panels to move through witnesses in their investigations quickly.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Heather Nauert withdrew her name from consideration for the nomination of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
ELECTION RESULTS Democrat Dan Daley was the only candidate to qualify for the House District 97 special election in Florida so he automatically wins the seat.
And here you can find inspiring actions from groups like SwingLeft, Indivisible Somerville, Rise and Resist, Moms Demand Answers, United We Dream, Invest In Ed, CID NY, NJ Immigrant Justice, Sister District, and so many more.