There was a lot of good to come out of big elections this week in Chicago and Pennsylvania. But there were also smaller wins in local elections for candidates supported by Run for Something and Postcards to Voters. We may not succeed every fight but we can’t stop trying, because you have to be in it to win it. The Democratic house is picking up steam in living up to their obligation to investigate and hold the administration responsible for their actions. And of course the field of qualified and intelligent democratic candidates for presidents just keeps growing to bring us great choices. I have yet again scoured the news for you so you can have this one place to read about all the positive happenings this week. My highlights are;
- #StandWithImmigrants Motel 6 will pay for call I.C.E. on customers and some asylum seekers get more due process.
- #RedForEd Union backed candidates won seats on the Milwaukee School Board and LA is making sure every high school student gets to take the SATs.
- #CareNotPrisons Judge says city can’t criminalize homelessness.
- #GreenNewDeal Wetlands and forests on the west coast get more protections and Maryland band styrofoam takeout.
- #BlackLivesMatter New York and Mississippi pass criminal justice reform.
- #NeverAgain Colorado passes red flag law and Pittsburg says no to automatic weapons.
- #FairFight New York gets early voting and online voter registration.
- #NoH8 Utah expands hate crime laws.
- #BlueWaveDemocrats flipped an important seat in the PA legislature, and Chicago elected its first black lesbian Mayor, among other wins.
AND MORE GREAT STUFF SO READ ON
- In PENNSYLVANIA, Democratic Pam Iovino won a special election to fill a state Senate seat, flipping the seat blue.
- In ILLINOIS, Chicago elected a black gay woman to be the city’s next mayor, rejecting the democratic machine candidate. Run for Something endorsed candidates Nathaniel Booker was elected Trustee for the Village of Maywood, Jonathan Reinoso was elected to the Grayslake School Board, Erich Schwenk elected Trustee for the Village of Mundelein, activist and community organizer Jenn Carrillo defeated a five-term incumbent to join Bloomington City Council . Postcards to Voters supported candidate for Village of Lisle Trustee, Sara Sadat also won.
- In WISCONSIN, Madison elected its first lesbian mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway. Green Bay also elected a democrat. Danielle Shelton, defeated the Scott Walker hand picked incumbent for a seat on the Circuit Court in Milwaukee County. Union-backed candidates won at least four of the five open Milwaukee School Board seats. Run for Something young progressive Avra_Reddy was elected to Madison City Council, District 8.
- In Missouri Run For Something candidate Tracee Miller was elected to the St. Louis Public School Board.
- In Maine, Sean Paulhus (D) won for state House District 52 seat, keeping the seat blue.
🧕 STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS
- A third federal judge rules against the inclusion of a citizenship question in the census.
- To settle a case brought by Washington State, the Motel 6 chain agreed to pay $12 million and enforce policies prohibiting sharing of guest information unless there is a judicial subpoena, to settle claims they shared information on guests with Spanish sounding last names with I.C.E. without a warrant.
- A federal judge ruled that some asylum seekers must be given a bond hearing before an immigration judge within seven days of requesting the hearing or be released.
- Twenty states sued the administration to stop the emergency declaration and diverting federal funds to build more border wall.
⚖️ THE INTERSECTION OF CIVIL RIGHTS, RACIAL EQUALITY, ECONOMIC FAIRNESS, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
HEALTH * WAGES * EDUCATION * CONSUMER PROTECTION
- Health insurance company Cigna announced it will cap the price of a 30-day insulin supply at $25 for some of its members.
- The administration approved Maine’s request to expand Medicaid under The Affordable Care Act.
- A federal court allowed Wisconsin’s attorney general to withdraw the state from lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act.
- A federal judge let stand a California Supreme Court’s labor-friendly ruling, which held workers must be considered employees rather than independent contractors unless they run their own business in a different field than the company that hired them.
- The Los Angeles school district for the first time will have all juniors take the SAT, a standardized college admissions test, on a school day, for free.
- A federal judge ruled that former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder can be sued by residents in the Flint water scandal.
- New Mexico Gov. signed legislation decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.
- Prosecutors in L.A. and San Joaquin counties announced plans to automatically dismiss or reduce some 54,000 marijuana-related convictions eliminating the need for people to undertake the difficulty process individually.
- A new law permitting the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes passed the Georgia legislature and it is awaiting the governor’s signature, which would make it possible for those allowed under the previously passed medical marijuana to actually obtain it legally.
- Guam legalized recreational marijuana in the territory.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
- New York passed major criminal justice reform including reduction in the use of cash bail, improving the state’s speedy-trial provisions, reducing low-level criminal sentences, requires more reporting by law enforcement agencies on the use of force, and requires prosecutors to turn over earlier quickly.
- Young adults sentenced to lengthy prison terms in Illinois for most crimes will be eligible for a parole review after serving 10 years, under a new law.
- The New Jersey Judiciary released a report analyzing bail reform outcomes and determined that defendants are getting re-arrested and showing up for their hearing dates at similar rates then before, jail populations dropped, fewer defendants who could not afford bail, remained behind bars, and overall it has been successful.
- Mississippi’s legislature sent a Criminal Justice Reform Act to the governor for signing that takes a small step forward for real reform by creating more intervention courts, waiving some court fines, stopping unnecessary driver licenses suspension, and allowing some non-violent convictions to be expunged.
- The Mississippi city of Meridian entered into a consent decree with the Southern Poverty Law Center and MacArthur Justice Center to settle a lawsuit to end the city’s practice of incarcerating residents unable to pay fines and fees, to stop using money bail in misdemeanor cases, and require public defenders at misdemeanor offense hearings.
- A federal appeals court rejected an appeal of a decision establishing that “Criminally punishing homeless people for sleeping on the street when they have nowhere else to go is inhumane.”
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT
- The Maryland legislature passed a statewide ban on styrofoam food packaging, takeout containers and cups, with enough votes to override a governor veto.
- North Carolina’s environmental agency have ordered Duke Energy, the nation’s largest energy company to excavate its existing coal ash ponds and move the substance to lined pits.
- Outdoor retailer Patagonia will no longer sell its corporate logo vests to companies it views as “ecologically damaging” and are focusing their corporate sales to businesses that have shown a commitment to causes such as community or the environment.
- Shell is leaving the U.S. American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, a leading refining lobby group because it disagrees with the group’s lack of alignment with the Paris Climate agreement.
- Ikea has developed a curtain that reduces indoor air pollution.
- London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone rules took effect, charging additional fees to anyone who enters it driving an older gas-powered car.
- California regulators voted to strengthen state safeguards for thousands of wetlands and streams that are about to lose federal protections in a rollback of the federal Clean Water Act.
- A federal judge rejected a logging company’s challenge to President Obama’s expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in 2017.
- The city of Austin’s most recent energy contract brings in 56% renewable and 80% carbon neutral.
- New York announced that a developer was selected install solar panels on the roof of the Javits center, and is the city’s biggest rooftop solar project to date.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS
- The Supreme Court denied a request by a group of anti-abortion activists to throw out charges brought against them in a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood alleging they committed federal conspiracy and wiretapping violations by fraudulently gaining access to its facilities and publishing edited videos of their actions.
- Both the Arkansas and the Georgia legislatures sent bills to the state Governor raising the minimum age for marrying to 17 years old.
- Massachusetts approve additional state funding to offset the potential loss of federal funding to women’s reproductive health organizations as a result of the gag rule.
🕬 GUN REFORM
- Pittsburgh City Council voted to approve bills aimed at banning assault weapons and keeping guns out of the hands of people deemed public threats.
- The Colorado legislature sent a “red flag” bill to the governor allowing law enforcement to seize firearms from people viewed as threats.
- Texas’s Republican House Speaker moved to drop the state’s “constitutional carry” legislation saying he did so after a gun rights zealot showed up at his home to push for the bill.
- The Supreme Court rejected another bid by gun rights groups to temporarily delay the federal ban on bump stocks.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS, IMAGES, AND NAMES MATTER
- Hollins university has pulled yearbooks featuring blackface from its digital archives.
- New Mexico Gov. signed legislation abolishing Columbus Day and replacing it with Indigenous Peoples Day.
- Colorado became the 16th state to ban gay conversion therapy, with the state’s legislature passing legislation and sending it to the governor and Massachusetts sent a similar bill to the governor hoping he will sign it.
- The Mormon Church is ending their policies that branded gay Mormons “apostates” and banned baptisms for children of same-sex couples.
- The Governor of Utah signed a bill expanding state hate crime statute to add protections for LGBTQ people for the first time.
- The Cayman Islands legalised same-sex marriage following a Grand Court decision that preventing such unions violated the rights to a private and family life guaranteed in the territory’s Constitution.
- The attorney general of California ordered all state-funded or sponsored travel to South Carolina to stop now that South Carolina law allows faith-based foster care agencies discriminate against LGBTQ applicants.
- Long Beach City College adopted a policy allowing students to use preferred, rather than legal, first names.
- Puerto Rico began correcting the birth certificates of transgender individuals.
- The owner of a Wisconsin apartment complex that threatened to evict a couple for flying a gay pride flag outside their home has reversed their decision.
- Bosnia will host its first-ever gay-pride parade in September in Sarajevo.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING
- A California judge ruled the state must expand voter registration at agencies in the state that serve people on public assistance and individuals with disabilities.
- New York will give people three hours of paid leave time to vote on election day and included funding in the budget for early voting, and online voter registration.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE
- New Orleans Mayor announced she will apologize to Italian-Americans for the 1891 lynchings of 11 Italian immigrants in the city.
- Another city, this time Buffalo (NY) has stopped Chick-fil-A from opening in the city’s airport after protests over the company’s anti-LGBTQ record.
- Fifteen players and three coaches of a Los Angeles youth hockey team were suspended after what appeared to be anti-semitic social media posts.
- An Kenyan science teacher won the $1 million Global teacher award.
- After renaming the Board of Selectmen to the Select Board, Winchester (MA) made history by holding their first official meeting the with newly elected majority female board.
🙂A VERY QUICK LOOK AT RUSSIA, ETHICS, ETC… This week the House formally requested the liar-in-chief’s tax returns, financial records, and the Mueller report.