So far reports are that voter registration has soared, early voting has started in some states with large voter turnout, and while I don’t usually rely to much on polls, they do say that voters are motivated to vote in the midterm elections. While the list is again shorter than usual it is not because less inspiring things are happening but because I don’t have as much time to write in between canvassing, texting, phone-banking, and postcard writing (all of which I accomplished this week). I hope this little list gives you motivation to keep going until November 6th and onward.
🚶🚶🏿🚶🏼ELECTION PARTICIPATION Georgia Gov. re-opened voter registration in four Georgia counties where Hurricane Michael forced their election offices to close. Georgia is setting records for early voting. Requests for mail-in ballots in Chicago and some suburbs have surpassed 2014 totals already, with time still left to apply to vote by mail. Hours before the voter registration deadline Maryland hit a record high for active registered voters at 3,992,451, surpassing the previous record of 3,977,637, with 2,189,543 Democrats and 1,018,851 Republicans. More than 4.3 million Americans have already voted early in the midterm elections and signs point to a huge increase in turnout from the last midterm elections; more than 800,000 people in Florida, nearly half a million Californians, more than 200,000 people in Tennessee and Arizona, and more than 100,000 in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, have voted. With 481,111 state residents now on Vermont’s voter rolls about 92.5 percent of the state’s voters are registered. #VOTE
AND #GOTV Let America Vote has now knocked on 40,000 doors in Georgia. Gov. Bill Walker of Alaska (I) suspended his campaign and announced he was throwing his support behind his Democratic challenger. La Crosse Municipal Transit (WI) will offer free bus service on Election Day. OpenProgress.com sent out hundreds of thousands of texts and emails to get voters enthusiastic about democratic candidates and excited to vote. Just a few examples of those working to bring a #BlueWave2018 in New York, Maryland, Washington, California, Tennessee, Texas, Nebraska, Alabama, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
💵 ELECTION FUNDRAISING Democrats raised a total of $46 million from small donors during the 2018 election, compared with just $15 million for their Republican opponents with Democrats in the 69 most competitive House races out-raising their Republican rivals by more than $78 million thanks to online small donor donations.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Denver finally received their criminal justice funds from the Dept. Of Justice as ordered by the courts after they challenged the denial of funds over sanctuary city policies. #NoOneIsIllegalOnStolenLand
⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE Starting with WAGES AND BENEFITS The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage will remain on the November ballot. HEALTH CARE Vermont is taking steps to require short-term health insurance plans to cover the 10 “essential” benefits mandated by the ACA, which include coverage for maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and hospitalization. Wisconsin governor has stalled effort to put Medicaid recipients to work, while it may be for political reasons, everyday someone does not lose their insurance, no matter the reason, is a good day. Virginia announced that starting on November 1, 2018, the state will accept applications for expanded Medicaid coverage. CONSUMER PROTECTION The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a California state court ruling holding three paint companies responsible for lead paint contamination in homes built before 1951. A federal court allowed student loan borrower protections to take effect that make it easier for defrauded students to get their federal loans forgiven and prohibit colleges from forcing students to resolve complaints through arbitration, in an blow to for-profit colleges and Ed. Secretary Betsy DeVos who tried to stop it. #HealthCareForAll
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING SOCIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE The Washington Supreme Court ruled that life sentences for juveniles convicted of aggravated murder is unconstitutional. Tennessee can no longer revoke people’s driver licenses because they cannot afford to pay traffic tickets, Rhode Island approved medical marijuana use for people who suffer from severe autism. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that Florida’s Republican governor cannot make “midnight appointments” to name three new justices to the Florida Supreme Court after his term has ends at midnight and before the swearing in of whomever is elected Governor. #BailReform
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT An Idaho fish and game commissioner resigned over a mass email he sent in which he described killing an array of African animals on a hunting trip complete with pictures of himself. A federal court ruled that a group of young Americans suing the federal government over lack of action to fight climate change can proceed with their lawsuit. Solar and wind energy now generate more than 20 percent of electricity in 10 states, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. SodaStream announced the launch of the ‘Holy Turtle, a massive ocean contraption designed to clean plastic waste from open waters. #ThereIsNoPlanetB
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS Sherwood Food Distributors will pay $3.6 million and enact a series of nondiscrimination measures as part of a settlement it reached with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over claims that the company rarely hired women at one of its facility. Rosebud Restaurants Inc.agreed to pay $160,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of female employees.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER A judge declined to punish a University of North Carolina graduate student who admitted to splashing red ink on a Confederate statue.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS Lakewood City Council (OH) and Eau Claire (WI) banned gay conversion therapy on minors. Two women in Austria became the first to wed after winning a lawsuit to legalize same sex marriage. #LoveIsLove
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE Queensland’s parliament voted to decriminalize abortion. #MyBodyMyChoice
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING The Justice Department charged a Russian woman with conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, the first criminal case accusing a foreign national of interfering in the upcoming midterms. Federal judges appointed a special expert to help redraw Virginia’s state legislative districts. A North Carolina court ruled the government board that oversees the state elections is unconstitutional, striking down a law put in place by the Republican led General Assembly to limit the authority of the Democratic Gov. Four Directions, a Native American voting rights group is working to ensure that all Native Americans in North Dakota can vote despite the recent Supreme Court decision, and will help place an official at every reservation polling place to get necessary documents regarding addresses to every voter. #StopGerrymandering
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE A white Missouri woman who tried to prevent a black man from entering his apartment complex was fired by her employer on Sunday after a video of the incident went viral. #NoHateInMyState
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Judge Gloria Clark Reno was elected to lead the St. Louis County Circuit Court, making her the first African- American presiding judge of the 21st judicial circuit.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST A republican member of a North Carolina county elections board resigned after posting on social media that Democrats plan to legalize pedophilia. A top official at the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development who had been announced as a candidate for the Interior Department’s top watchdog position has resigned from the administration over the backlash due to her complete lack of experience.
Since I spent a lot of this week phone-banking, texting, a writing postcards this good news list is brief, but not without plenty of good things. Everywhere I turn on facebook and twitter I see pictures of people canvassing, working to get out the vote, and raise the enthusiasm for democratic candidates. I run into random people on the street registering voters and large numbers of energized people showing up when I go to phone-bank. I even brought postcards to work with me and found new willing colleagues, who were not normally political, to help write them on their lunch hour. Who new all I had to do was ask? I may have even convinced a friend over lunch to not vote for her favorite republican. I have to remain hopeful that if we all pitch in as much as we can we can help democrats win up and down the ballot.
🚶🚶🏿🚶🏼ELECTION PARTICIPATION After Taylor Swift’s Instagram post coming out in support of two Tennessee democrats and encouraging people to register to vote, Vote.org has seen a surge in voter registration with more than 65,000 people registered to vote in the 24-hour period following Swift’s post and a large increase in her home state of Tennessee as well. At least 77,000 displaced Puerto Ricans in have registered to vote in the Florida.
💵 ELECTION FUNDRAISING Democratic candidate for Governor in Florida, Andrew Gillum, raised more than $3.3 million through his political committee last week.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Minneapolis police cars will start carrying “Know-Your-ICE-Rights” placards detailing immigrants’ rights in both English and Spanish. Baltimore police agreed to recognize identification cards issued by the city’s Catholic churches issue to undocumented immigrants and other vulnerable residents. Southwest Key’s Hacienda del Sol shelter was shut down after an investigation determined that staff physically abused three children. HELPING ONE PERSON AT A TIME Pablo Villavicencio, the immigrant detained while delivering pizza in Brooklyn had his deportation case against him has been dropped.
⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE Starting with WAGES AND BENEFITS Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed the Earned Sick Leave Bill that passed the Legislature last week which requires any company with five or more employees to provide one-hour paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. FOOD SECURITY The Shawnee Mission School District in Missouri will no longer serve students who owe lunch money an alternate meal,ending the practice of “lunch shaming.”
☮️ SOCIAL JUSTICE AND CIVIL RIGHTS A Pittsburgh-area school accused of creating a culture of verbal abuse and excessive force against black student has agreed to pay a $500,000 settlement to five students, and accused administrators have been replaced. An Alaska Superior Court judge ruled unconstitutional the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly invocation policy that required that invocations at its meetings be delivered by individuals and religious organizations on a pre-approved list. The EEOC sued JBS Carriers, alleging it violated federal law by using pre-employment screening to reject job applicants on the basis of disability. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated a lower court ruling that allowed Missouri to required African-style hair-braiders to obtain a cosmetology license, which takes 1,500 hours and can cost thousands of dollars but doesn’t include any hair-braiding training.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE The Washington state Supreme Court ruled the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional. The former Cleveland police officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice backed out of taking a part-time job with the Bellaire police department that recently agreed to hire him after public outrage and pressure. Los Angeles County supervisors voted to stop collecting fees once charged to parents and guardians of juvenile delinquents for their incarceration, erasing nearly $90 million of families’ debt. New York City completed moving of 16- and 17-year-olds out of the adult Rikers Island jail to juvenile facilities. CREATIVE SELF-HELP A newly created a shortcut uses Siri to record encounters with police similar to one developed for android by the ACLU.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the creation of an underwater monument in the Atlantic Ocean. The Army Corps of Engineers suspended a permit that the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline must have in order to build through waterways in Virginia. The Food and Drug Administration announced that 8 synthetic food additives will no longer be allowed to be used in food. California Governor signed a law restricting the sale of flame retardant-containing children products and furniture. Small Greek island is on its way to be being powered by only renewable energy.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS The GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the security and protection costs faced by Dr. Blasey Ford has reached over $600,000. https://www.brettkavanaugh.com/ has been turned into a page with resources for sexual assault survivors.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER The Staunton School Board (VA) voted to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School
🕬 GUN REFORM PA Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill which limits the ability of abusers to possess firearms.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS A Wisconsin jury awarded two state employees $780,000 in damages after they were denied health care coverage under the state health insurance plan because they are transgender. Romania voids gay marriage ban referendum because not enough citizens came out to vote on it. A lesbian couple won the right to register the birth of their child in Poland, in a first the country.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING Port Chester (NY) voted to continue cumulative voting for county trustees, which the courts found is less discriminatory to latinx and black voters. A federal judge sentenced a man to six months in prison and six months of home confinement after he pled guilty to felony identity fraud charge tied to Russian troll activity that in the presidential campaign. Montgomery County (MD) Executive, Independent candidate, Nancy Floreen, returned $18,000 in campaign contributions after a county resident filed a complaint alleging that the donations were improper because they were made by five entities owned by one person. VOTER REGISTRATION AND ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX Civil rights groups sued Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor alleging the method his office uses to verify new voter registrations is discriminatory. A Missouri judge ruled that state election officials can no longer tell voters they must show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot, blocking part of Missouri’s voter identification law. Uber and Lyft are offering free rides to the polls on election day. This one young man stopped what he was doing to help get out the vote.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE A local Kansas GOP official resigned after making disparaging remarks about a gay Native American congressional candidate. A Republican candidate for Connecticut’s General Assembly withdrew from the race after criticism over offensive comments he made online about victims of the school shooting in Parkland. Charges were dropped against protesters who were alleged to have splashed ketchup and colored powder on Confederate statues at the Alabama Capitol. Over 200,000 people marched through Berlin to protest racism after a recent demonstration by the far right in Germany led to violence. At least a dozen US cities, including San Francisco and Cincinnati, celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day instead of observing Columbus Day. Members of the hate-filled Westboro Baptist Church met waves of opposition as they made their way through Spokane (WA).
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS IN TIME AND SPACE The first female to play the Doctor on Dr Who debuted to critical acclaim.
Now remember to share and like this page to help spread the inspiring news to keep the spirits up of all those working hard between now and November 6th!
As you have probably already been told after this week’s Supreme Court vote, don’t despair, channel your anger into making change happen in November. What more can I say? With that attitude in mind, between now and the November election this weekly list may get shorter. Not because there are fewer actions and accomplishments by those seeking to save our democracy, but because I am using more of my time to help bring on a 2018 Blue Wave this November. Some of my new favorite ways of helping from home in spare minutes, when I am not out working with groups like Sister District is text-banking with OpenProgress.com, phone-banking with Indivisible and post card writing with PostcardsToVoters.org. So if I miss anything you think worthy of a mention, please share in the comments for others to know about. To remind you that all was not bad this week, here is the inspirational list of actions and accomplishments.
🚶🚶🏿🚶🏼ELECTION PARTICIPATION Ballotpedia compiled a ,state by state comparison of voter turnout in primary elections that is worth a peruse. It shows Democratic voters increased by 77 percent between 2014 and 2018, Republican voters increased by 25 percent between 2014 and 2018, and the total number of primary voters increased by 48 percent between 2014 and 2018. Over 800,000 people, a record number, registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day, surpassing the previous record set during the 2016 presidential campaign. Polls show that voter enthusiasm is slightly higher among voters who favor Democratic candidates and overall 61% of all registered voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting than in past congressional elections, higher than at any point during midterms in the past two decades.
💵 ELECTION FUNDRAISING The Crowdpac campaign to find the unnamed Democratic challenger to Senator Collins is now at 3.4 million dollars. Eleven Democratic House candidates have reported raising more than 2 million in the last three months, ahead of the October 15th federal reporting deadline.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking the administration from ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that allowed immigrants from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador to live and work legally in the United States. Another federal judge ruled San Francisco’s sanctuary laws comply with federal law, and attempts to deny federal funding based on them are unconstitutional. The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium launched “The Borderlands Get Free Bond Fund” to help immigration detainees who can’t pay bond and there was an Interfaith Immigrant Prayer Vigil in Manchester.
⚖️ECONOMIC JUSTICE Starting with WAGES AND INCOME Amazon announced it is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all US employees effective November 1, and it applies to full-time, part-time and temporary workers. Emory University agreed to raise wages for graduate workers to the equivalent of $15 an hour for year-round, full-time work, a 29% wage increase for many. A Chicago city worker union and the Mayor agreed to a deal to give thousands of unionized city workers raises totaling 10.5 percent over the next few years. The Westchester County Board of Legislators (NY) passed a bill requiring private employers with 5 or more employees to provide up to 5 paid sick days. Atlanta Mayor announced the city will increase police pay by 30 percent over the next three years. A new guaranteed-income initiative was announced, the Magnolia Mothers Trust, which will provide African-American mothers with an average annual income of $11,300 living in public housing in Jackson (MS) with $1,000 per month for a year, no strings attached starting in December. The Fight for 15 is spreading and workers in Detroit are striking for better wages.
Along with EDUCATION The University of Montana was fined $966,614 for reporting “inaccurate and misleading” crime statistics in violation of The Jeanne Clery Act which requires colleges and universities that receive federal funds to report crime statistics so the public can assess campus safety. CONSUMER PROTECTION A national teachers union sued Navient, a student loan servicer, for allegedly misleading borrowers in public service professions in ways that prevented them from accessing a federal loan forgiveness program. The Kentucky Supreme Court’s banned the practice of requiring prospective workers to sign agreements that would require binding arbitration instead of lawsuits should they try to leave under duress. UNIONS Marriott hotel workers went on strike for better wages and benefits. A federal appeals court ruled an Illinois suburb does not have the right to establish a right-to-work-ordinance (FYI right-to-work laws are union busting efforts if the reference is confusing to you) and that only the state can enact those laws
☮️ SOCIAL JUSTICE Including NET NEUTRALITY California Gov. signed a bill restoring net neutrality protections that the FCC struck down last year, and which prohibits internet service providers from blocking or slowing access to legal online content, demanding special fees from websites to prioritize their traffic or charging customers for special exemptions to caps on their data use. AND BEACHES The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by California billionaire’s to keep a local beach to himself challenging a state law that says beach access is a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone.
👨🏿⚖️CRIMINAL JUSTICE Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. California Gov signed two new laws give the public access to internal police investigations and video footage of shootings by police officers and other serious incidents.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT The Illinois Pollution Control Board refused to adopt a proposal by the governor to relax limits on pollution from the state’s coal-fired power plants. The EPA announced J.G. MacLellan Concrete Co. will pay almost $150,000 to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in MA and NH. Nine nations and the EU agreed to halt commercial fishing in much of the arctic for the next 16 years. Denmark is banning the sale of new fossil-fueled cars starting in 2030.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S MOVEMENT The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a Congolese doctor and an Iraqi woman who once was a captive of the Islamic State group for their work to highlight and eliminate the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. California passed a law that makes the state the first to require corporate boards of directors to include women. In an unusual news release, the EEOC announced preliminary sexual harassment data for its 2018 fiscal year, sharing that it had filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 with allegations of sexual harassment, a more than 50% increase over 2017. New charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment jumped by more than 12 percent over 2017, the first increase in at least 8 years. And the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million through litigation and other enforcement of sexual harassment issues in 2018, up from $47.5 million the year before.
BREAKING BARRIERS No matter the outcome of the election in November, the Montgomery County Board of Education (MD) will for the first time in the history be all female, since seven women are vying for four open seats on the board. The International Monetary Fund appointed Gita Gopinath its chief economist, making her the first woman appointed to the prestigious role. Frances Arnold won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, which only four other women in the world have won. Donna Strickland became the first woman in 55 years to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics and finally a Wikipedia page, which had previously been denied for lack of public recognition.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Atlanta Mayor signed a bill renaming three city streets with Confederate in their names. The Madison City Council (WI) supported the removal of a Confederate monument from a cemetery, overturning a decision by the Landmarks Commission.
🕬 GUN REFORM A federal court ruled that New Jersey’s ban on 15-round magazines is constitutional. Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill to require people with a domestic violence ruling against them to more quickly surrender their guns and Governor promised to sign it.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS New Jersey schools must accept a student’s stated gender identity, but don’t have to notify parents about the student’s gender decision under new rules from the state Dept. of Education.
🕫🗳️FAIR AND ETHICAL VOTING starts with ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX A federal district court ruled that Common Cause New York, represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LatinoJustice, and others may proceed with its lawsuit challenging the New York state widespread voter disenfranchisement in the 2016 election. FULL DISCLOSURE OF POLITICAL INFLUENCE California also passed a new law that bans automated accounts, known as “bots”, from pretending to be real people to influence elections, without disclosing they are “bots.” AND THE 2020 CENSUS The Supreme Court declined the administration’s request to block Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from having to give testimony in lawsuits challenging the addition of a question on citizenship to the 2020 U.S. Census, sending the issue back to a lower court.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE Peter Gemma resigned from the Sarasota (FL) GOP Executive committee after revelations he is linked to groups that are alleged to have racist, anti-semitic, and other extreme views. One woman stood up for others being harassed for speaking Spanish. Wikipedia banned Breitbart as a source of news. Four members of a racist and antisemitic group face federal charges of traveling to Charlottesville, Virginia, with the intent of rioting at the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, and three were arrested. A court ruled that an American family that underwent a harrowing detention by U.S. Customs and Border Protection can sue the agency.
🙂 LAWSUIT ROUNDUP The Dept. Of Justice indicted seven Russian intelligence officers on federal charges for allegedly conducting malicious cyber operations against the United States and its allies.
In case you didn’t notice, PEOPLE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY ARE WORKING FOR THE #BlueWave2018. Here are some folks in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Puget Sound, at movie theaters, teacher headquarters, and a democratic golf cart parades in the heart of republican country, doing their part. Over 300 Protests were held all over the country, men stood up to be arrested alongside women, people flew across country to be heard on the Supreme Court nominee.
From Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s stunning strength coming forward and testifying in front of Congress, to Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, publicly airing their painful emotions about their sexual assault in front of a camera to Senator Flake in an elevator, I was moved by the bravery I saw to stand up against sexual predators and stand up for victims. People from all over the country, and in many different ways stood up not just for Dr. Ford, but for all victims of sexual assault by showing up and protesting in D.C., at Congress, by filing the halls and offices of politicians with sit-ins, with a national walk-out moment, getting arrested trying to have their voices heard, by flooding congressional phone lines (how many time were you like me and got the “all circuits are busy” message from congressional switchboard?), writing letters and postcards, and in other ways imaginable. This is a big fight with serious consequences, but it is not the only thing that activists, ordinary people, and organizations fought for or accomplished this week. We have a lot of good to inspire you and lift your spirits after another very difficult week. After your done reading and being inspired, here are just three groups who are working hard to bring a democratic wave in the November elections and how you can join them and help.
- Indivisible is training and coordinating phone-banking in five states. Check out the schedule and information.
- Live in a Blue State, Sister District has teams in 17 states working to flip neighboring state house with postcards, canvassing, fundraising, and phone-banking, and
- Flippable has GOTV calls to recently registered voters, text-banking, and other activities to flip congressional seats blue.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Arizona notified Southwest Key it intends to revoke the licenses of its Arizona shelters holding migrant children, after it failed to prove it is complying with required background checks. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit by the ACLU seeking the right to counsel for children in immigration removal proceedings. U.S. immigration authorities temporarily halted for at the deportation of Francis Anwana, a deaf and disabled Detroit immigrant people have been rallying around.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Starts with WAGES The 40,000 workers at LaGuardia, Kennedy, and Newark airports in NY and NJ were awarded wage increases that put them on a part to earning at least $19 an hour within the next five years by a unanimous vote by the commissioners of the agency that runs the airports. A federal court ruled that employers in Nevada and Arizona must pay their workers for time spent going through security screenings at the end of their shifts. UNIONS A federal judge temporarily blocked a new North Carolina law that severely limited union activity by migrant farm workers. Striking Chicago hotel workers settled with another of the hotels, leaving nine remaining. WORKER’S RIGHTS Uber agreed to pay $148 million and take steps to tighten data security, after they failed for a year to notify drivers that hackers had stolen their personal information after being sued by states. Destination Hotels and Resorts, were sued by the EEOC for discrimination against employees for barring them from speaking Spanish on their properties. A new California law attempts makes big retailers, who pay the freight bill, liable for labor violations by the cargo carriers. The Governor of Maryland expanded state employees paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. HEALTH CARE People who buy Affordable Care Act policies on Maryland’s health insurance exchange will see lower premiums next year after the state created a reinsurance fund to offset the risk to insurers in the individual market. An executive at Memorial Sloan Kettering who received a stake of nearly $1.4 million in a biotech company for representing the hospital on its board has to give it back under questions about conflicts of interest. California governor signed bills that prohibited “short-term” “junk” insurance and other plans that exclude pre-existing conditions and don’t have consumer protections and prohibits work requirements for Medicaid. Congress passed a bill prohibiting “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from telling customers they can save money in some cases by paying cash for their prescriptions, instead of paying the insurance co-pay. RESPECT FOR CULTURE Alaska’s Gov. signed an order saying that the government must support the “revitalization” of native languages and calls for indigenous place names to be shown on public signs and directs the state’s Dept. of Ed. to work to promote indigenous languages in public schools and universities. Continue reading
The weekly list of positivity is back after a short hiatus for a much needed rest to renew the spirit of this one woman’s endeavor to bring some GOOD NEWS to counter the hourly demoralizing attacks on our democracy. The primaries have come to an end and both the large voter turnout and the success of many women and progressive candidates is heart-warming. But so are other things like the greatly increased readership of the phenomenal resource Ballotpedia.org, that reports on candidates, ballot initiatives, elections, etc., with an astonishing 1 billion page views by people looking to learn about elections, as is small donor donations to candidates, and people protesting against the Supreme Court nominee. This week’s post will cover a lot of the good that has happened since the beginning of September. While you were watching all the Kavanaugh and Manafort drama playing out other things were happening, I know it’s hard to believe, because if you are like me, every day feels like a year in a normal news cycle since the 2016 election; I’ve singled out some of my favorites for those who may not have the time to read the whole post. I will return to weekly posts for the coming weeks leading up to the November elections.
- #NoKavanaughConfirmation Somany have turned out to protest the Supreme Court nominee in so many ways, including sit-ins, civil disobedience, and red hand-maid shrouded messaging.
- #StopICE Atlanta’s Mayor issued executive orders to permanently end the city’s relationship with I.C.E. and ordered I.C.E. to transfer all remaining I.C.E. detainees out of city jails.
- #HealthCareForAll A federal judge rejected a request from a group of Republican-led states to suspend the Affordable Care Act.
- #FreeCollege A U.S. District Court judge ruled the U.S. Dept. of Ed unlawfully delayed the implementation of the federal student loan “Borrower Defense Regulations” meant to protect defrauded students in a case brought by 19 states.
- #ThereIsNoPlanetB California passed laws banning full service restaurants from automatically providing customers with plastic single-use straws; mandates a goal of a 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2045, blocks the federal government efforts to allow drilling off the coast of the state; and bans testing of beauty products on animals.
- #MyBodyMyChoice A U.S. District Judge struck down a Texas law that required hospitals and clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains.
- #NoHate Twitter permanently banned Alex Jones and InfoWars for violating the company’s abusive behavior policies and PayPal has stopped doing business with them.
- #TakeAKneeWithColin Nike selected Colin Kaepernick as the face of its “Just Do It” campaign for this year.
- Read on for more inspiring news.
This week brought us some exciting developments originating from the Russia probe and talk of a lot more to come, proving that stepping up and demanding justice is working. If your like me you did your happy dance at the Two for Tuesday, but settled right back in to working tp elect progressive leaders in the primaries and the November elections at city, state, and federal level. We may have lost the Queen of Soul this week but her music and memory continue to inspire us in our struggle now and will for generations to come. So believe it or not other good things happened while you were busy soaking up the Manafort/Cohen good news.
🧕🏻STANDING UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Los Angeles is suing the administration for the second time to try and stop the federal government from imposing immigration enforcement conditions on $1 million in annual funding for anti-gang programs. The ACLU continues to work for the reunification of the remaining families through the federal courts.
⚖️ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL A Michigan District Judge ruled that the State director of the Health and Human Services Department can be tried for involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty for the deaths of two people from Legionnaires Disease. ON EDUCATION A Circuit Court Judge in Florida struck amendment from the ballot for being misleading that would have allowed for the expansion of charter schools. ON HEALTH CARE Illinois passed legislation that strengthens insurance coverage for mental health conditions and addiction treatment. Maine’s highest court rules that the Gov. must move forward with Medicaid expansion and denied his request to delay implementation. Maryland was granted a federal waiver regarding their Affordable Health Care implementation that they expect will result in lower premiums with the same coverage. Nebraska officials certified a ballot measure to allow voters to decide whether to expand Medicaid. A federal judge in Frankfort dismissed the Kentucky Gov’s. lawsuit against 16 Medicaid recipients in an effort to defend his new Medicaid work requirement, because the state is already a party to another case in D.C. on the same matter. FOR WORKERS federal judge struck down executive orders aimed at weakening federal workers rights by restricting the amount of on-duty time union officials can spend representing their members in grievances, limited the issues that could be bargained over, and rolled back the rights of workers to appeal disciplinary action against them for poor performance.
👨🏿⚖️SEEKING RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE A federal judge ordered experts to re-examine a privately run Mississippi prison after a trial where inmates claimed unconstitutionally harsh conditions. A planned 19 day nationwide prison strike continues and solidarity rallies have occurred across the U.S. in an attempt to bring reform to the criminal justice system.
🌎SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT Maryland environmental regulators have proposed regulations requiring a Baltimore trash incinerator cut its emissions of a pollutant by about one-fifth. Ocean City to break ground on a solar farm that will generate enough power to run the town’s convention center and municipal buildings. The Gov. of New Jersey stopped the annual bear hunt on all state land for this year. New York Gov. signed legislation prohibiting individuals from smoking in facilities that provide child care. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will protect 11,640 acres of critical habitat for three Hawaiian plants on the island of Hawaii. The Interior Department is no longer going to try to sell off 1,600 acres of federal land from the reduced boundaries of Utah’s Grand Staircase Escalante off the table.
👩#MeToo And WOMEN’S RIGHTS California’s legislature passed two bills that would ban ban secret settlements that require victims to stay quiet about crimes as well as mandatory arbitration clauses and nondisclosure agreements in employment contracts, hoping the governor signs them. CNN suspended Paris Dennard pending an examination of the sexual misconduct allegations against him. Hooters is closing restaurants due to reduced interest.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER Atlanta unveiled new street signs that will rename a street in honor of Rep John Lewis (D-Ga.). Activists toppled “Silent Sam,” a towering Confederate monument, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Confederate statue in Richmond (VA) was defaced with what appeared to be red paint.
🕬 GUN REFORM EFFORTS CONTINUE Massachusetts high school students undertook a three day, 50-mile march from Worcester City Hall to the Smith and Wesson headquarters in Springfield. New Jersey’s attorney general ordered state and local police forces to share information on buyers and sellers of guns used in crimes.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ PROGRESS A Missouri school district has installed multi-user gender-neutral restrooms at two new elementary schools and in some existing locations. The Clark County School District (NV) approved an explicitly inclusive policy to protect transgender and gender diverse students. A federal judge ordered the Florida Dept of Corrections to recognize a trans inmate in accordance with her gender identity.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE A federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling barring Alabama from prohibiting one of the most common forms of abortion after 15 weeks, the “dilation and evacuation” method. The UK will now allow women to take the second of two abortion pills at home, eliminating the current requirement that they take it at a hospital.
🕫🗳️VOTING AND ELECTION INTEGRITY A local elections board in rural Georgia voted down a plan to close seven of nine polling locations in a predominantly black county after widespread public criticism and fired the election management consultant who made the recommendations. Virginia Gov. called a special session for the Virginia General Assembly to redraw House of Delegates districts that a court said were gerrymandered. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and his wife were charged with misuse of election funds for personal expenses for vacations, clothing, private school tuition, and so much more. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by “Anglo-Republicans” that they were being discriminated against in the Dallas election districts. Mi Familia Vota celebrated registering 450,000 since their beginning. LYFT is offering half priced rides to the polls for election day. A coalition of groups including, the League of Women Voters of Arizona, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and Promise Arizona, sued Arizona Secretary of State for violating federal law for not automatically updating voters’ registration when they update their address with the state Transportation Department.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE A White House speechwriter was fired after it was publically revealed that he had spoken on a conference panel with well-known white supremacists. A Bronx (NY) Supreme Court Judge denied Trump’s motion to dismiss allegations of assault and battery and destruction of property against him, the Trump Organization, and individual employees stemming from an incident during his candidacy where his security director, Keith Schiller and five others attacked a Mexican man protesting his racists comments about Mexicans. The last known Nazi camp guard living in the U.S. was deported. Two white-supremacist convicted of beating a black man in the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally were sentenced to 10 and 6 years.
🙂 RUSSIA/CAMPAIGN/RELATED/LAWSUIT ROUNDUP Just in case you have been living on a deserted island without even access to a carrier pigeon you should know that Michael Cohen pled guilty to a total of eight charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance law violations. Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight of the 18 charges he was tried for. There are other news stories about immunity deals with AMI (Owner of National Inquirer and the CFO of the Trump Organization, but you can follow those all you want on the front pages of the newspapers. The Special Counsel’s office recommended a judge sentence George Papadopoulos to up to six months in prison for lying to federal agents. A federal judge dismissed a defamation case against the former MI6 officer Christopher Steele by three Russian oligarchs for allegations he made in his dossier about the Trump campaign and its links with Moscow.
💁 INDIVIDUAL ACTS OF KINDNESS A police officer in Argentina was promoted after a photo of her breast-feeding a neglected baby while in uniform went viral. A donor is matching $100,000 in donations to help families affected by an I.C.E. raid in Nebraska. One happy voter baked cookies for Beto Orourke. Vic Mensa organized a shoe drive in response to police trying to entrap poor kids in Chicago into stealing shoes from an abandoned truck.
🤸🏿 ALL OVER THE COUNTRY GROUPS HARD AT WORK TRYING TO SAVE OUR COUNTRY Poor People’s Campaign is organizing to knock on doors in 26 six states. Justice Alliance in Tucson is trying to stop local police cooperation with I.C.E. Indivisible San Diego rallied at arraignment for Congressman Hunter. An unknown person(s) changed a light-up road sign near New York City to read “F–k Trump.” Garland Dems had a candidate meet and greet. Occupy ICE LA held a rally to support prison strike. Open Progress signed up its 3,000 volunteer to talk to voters. Moms Demand Action were spreading the message of gun control at the Charlotte Pride Parade. Environmental activists were arrested standing up against big oil in California and Water Protectors are camping along a pipeline in Michigan in an effort to stop it. The Nuns on the bus go “No and No” all the way to Mar-A-Lago. Even the nabisco animal crackers have been freed from the cage on their packaging. A group of Wyoming women nature lovers entered a lottery to win the right to shoot bears, but intend to only shoot with a camera in a creative effort to save the bears.
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