March madness for me is all the good that came out the legislatures in states newly controlled by democrats or democrat leaning like New Mexico, Maryland, and New York. The New York budget negotiations wrapped up this weekend and it will take me a few days to sum up all the good in the first budget under a state fully controlled by democrats, so expect it to be in the next roundup, but it does so far appear to include criminal justice reform, a plastic bag ban, and congestion pricing. My highlights for this week are;
- #StandWithImmigrants Liberians get a reprieve from deportation and two California counties get out of the immigration detention business.
- #HealthCareForAll Judges blocked Medicaid work rules and some junk insurance plans.
- #FightFor15 Maryland is the next state to have a $15 minimum wage and McDonalds will stop wasting their time fighting it.
- #GreenNewDeal Courts blocked drilling in the Arctic and makers of Roundup are paying the price for selling a product that causes cancer.
- #NeverAgain The ban on bump stocks take effect.
- #WeWillNotGoBack A judge rules girls can’t be forced to wear skirts to school, North Carolina can’t restrict abortions, and Utah says get you can get your birth control without a doctor’s prescription.
- #FairFight One more state to get same day voter registration.
- #NoH8 Facebook will ban white nationalists at the same time that HUD charges them of offering discriminatory ad choices.
AND MORE SO READ ON
🧕 STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS
- The Deferred Enforced Departure program for Liberians who have lived in the United States lawfully since at least 2002 was extended for another 12 months.
- A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against San Francisco for failing to alert immigration authorities of the release of the immigrant who killed a woman.
- The Orange County Sheriff’s dept. is ending its contract to house immigrant detainees. Adelanto (CA) is also ending the city’s contract with the I.C.E. and The GEO Group, Inc, that owns and runs the Adelanto ICE Processing Center, California’s largest immigrant detention center.
- Making its way around the news circuit is a video of the Executive Director of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement refusing to open his car door to what an I.C.E. officer was misrepresenting as an arrest warrant for the undocumented occupants.
- Make the Road PA helped lead the Allentown School Board to pass a Welcoming Schools resolution to keep all students safe regardless of immigration status and prohibiting schools from sharing student info with I.C.E.
- The administration is allocating an additional 30,000 visas for foreign seasonal workers for this fiscal year to fill low-wage jobs during the summer season.
⚖️ THE INTERSECTION OF CIVIL RIGHTS, RACIAL EQUALITY, ECONOMIC FAIRNESS, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
- OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and members of the Sackler family that own the company reached a $270 million settlement with Oklahoma for helping to fuel the opioid abuse epidemic. The first of the many hundreds of cases pending.
- A federal judge blocked the Medicaid work requirements in Kentucky and Arkansas.
- A federal judge blocked another administration effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act by rejecting a Labor Department rule that allowed small businesses to band together and buy health insurance in “association health plans” that did not meet the ACA requirements.
- West Virginia reached a $3.2 million settlement with two drug manufacturers over the deceptive marketing of the prescription blood thinner Plavix.
- McDonald’s announced that they will no longer use their resources, including lobbyists, to oppose minimum wage increases at the federal, state or local levels.”
- Maryland legislature voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill that increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
- Maryland enacted a law that creates a fund to give loans to federal employees who are forced to work without pay during government shutdowns.
- New Mexico passed legislation prohibiting local governments from enacting right-to-work (otherwise known as anti-union) ordinances that prevent employees from being required to join a union or pay union fees.
- The adjunct faculty at Miami Dade College have officially won the right to form a union.
- A new law signed by New Mexico Gov. increases the amount of college scholarship money students can receive from the state.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services issued an emergency removal order of all students at the Glen Mills Schools, a state “reform school” citing “gross incompetence, negligence, misconduct and the school posed an immediate and serious danger to the life or health of the children in care.”
- Walmart expanded a variety of educational benefits to 1.4 million employees.
- Utah passed legislation protecting private electronic data stored with third parties like Google or Facebook from free-range government access, requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before accessing “certain electronic information or data.”
- The Supreme Court affirmed the more extensive reach of the SEC fraud protections.
POLICE REFORM AND ACCOUNTABILITY
- N.J. cop who violently slapped hospital patient gets 5 years in prison.
- Pocomoke City settled a federal lawsuit alleging rampant racial discrimination and retaliation in the police dept. and agreed to enter a consent decree mandating reform of policy and procedures and training for police officers.
- New York Governor signed a bill to create a commission to review prosecutorial misconduct by District Attorney’s.
- Missouri Attorney General launched a new data portal to track Sunshine Law records requests and complaints received by the Attorney General’s Office
- The Virginia Governor signed legislation establishing the Virginia African american advisory board.
- The U.S. Supreme Court halted the scheduled execution of a Buddhist man ruling that Texas violated his religious rights by barring him from having his Buddhist spiritual adviser in the death chamber.
- HUD filed a complaint against Facebook for its targeted housing advertisement tools that allegedly discriminate against certain demographics.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT
- Puerto Rico’s legislature passed a renewable energy bill to fast track generating all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050.
- A federal judge ruled an executive order by the colluder-in-chief allowing offshore oil drilling of tens of millions of acres in the Arctic Ocean is “unlawful and invalid.”
- A recently released report shows that a lot of U.S. renewable energy will be cheaper than coal in the next few years.
- Copenhagen is ahead of schedule for increasing electric bus use.
- Global sales of electric cars increased.
- Cambodia returns lands stolen from indigenous people for a rubber plantation.
- Reports show greenhouse gas emission in the U.K. is down
- Center for Biological Diversity, California, and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Assoc. reached an agreement under which dungeness crab will be caught off the coast with greater care for endangered wildlife.
- After finding that the Roundup weed killer caused a man’s cancer the jury awarded $80 million dollars to the victim.
- A federal court held the Bureau of Land Management failed to consider the reasonably foreseeable impact of certain aspects of the Bull Mountain Master Development Plan.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS
- Major League Baseball ruled that Giants President Larry Baer will serve an unpaid suspension after a league investigation into a public altercation in which he was filmed attacking his wife.
- A federal judge ruled that North Carolina’s abortion law outlawing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is unconstitutional.
- Utah finalized rules that now allow pharmacists to dispense birth-control pills, contraceptive patches and vaginal rings to women 18 and older without z doctor’s prescription.
- A Tennessee lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct has finally stepped down as chairman of an education subcommittee.
- Teen boys rated their female classmates based on looks and the Washington Post reported on how the girls fought back.
- Utah governor signs bill to raise marriage age I reported on in an earlier post.
- A federal judge ruled a public charter school in Leland (NC) dress code requiring that girls wear skirts was unconstitutional.
- Virginia Governor signed legislation reducing the tax on feminine hygiene products.
- A jury awarded $7 million to a former Baldwin Park police chief for gender discrimination, harassment and retaliation, affirming that she was fired because she is a woman.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER
- Utah governor signs bill establishing Navajo Code Talker Day and designates portions of roadways in San Juan County as the Navajo Code Talker Highway.
- The University of Mississippi announced it will relocate a Confederate monument at the entrance of the campus.
🕬 GUN REFORM The Supreme Court declined the request by gun manufacturers to stop the government from enforcing its ban on bump stock devices.
- San Antonio City Council refused to allow Chick-fil-A take part in the airport concession contract after some said they couldn’t support the company because of its anti-LGBT reputation.
- The governor of Puerto Rico signed an executive order banning gay “conversion therapy” for minors.
- Indiana lawmakers shelved a bill that would have made it more difficult for residents to change their gender on driver’s licenses or state identification cards.
- Google Inc. agreed to remove an app from its Playstore that promoted “conversion therapy.”
- Fair Michigan is expanding the Fair Michigan Justice Project into Ingham County.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING
- N.M. Gov. signed legislation allowing same day voter registration.
- The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by the Koch brothers-aligned group Americans for Prosperity Foundation for a second and larger judicial panel to review the decision upholding the California law that requires the reporting of charity donors.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE
- One of Germany’s richest families, and owner of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, will donate $11 million to a charity after learning that their ancestors were supporters of Hitler and used force labor.
- The neo-Nazi who killed a woman and injured others when he plowed his car into a group of protesters in Charlottesville pled guilty to 29 felony charges.
- Facebook announced it would ban white nationalist content from its platforms.
- Slovakia elected its first female president and a candidate that represents a rebuke of the populist party.
- Elizabeth Kronk Warner was named the next dean of the University of Utah law school and the Easthampton Fire Department. City officials have promoted its first woman to fire captain.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST The anti-enviro, anti-ERA, anti-choice, and pro-gun Virginia Del Brenda Pogge announced she will not run for reelection.