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This Pride Month, There Is Hope In Fighting Back

This Pride Month comes amid a rising wave of anti-trans policies across the country. Over 500 anti-trans bills have been proposed in the past year, state after state is banning gender affirming care for trans minors, and many are beginning to also severely limit it for trans adults. With the recent presidential announcement of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, it’s clear that these anti-trans politics aren’t going anywhere soon. Right-wingers are harassing and attacking queer people, corporations are abandoning even the most self-serving attempts at inclusion, and the response from the Biden Administration has been limited to paying the most insultingly insufficient lip service.

Chicago Passes Union-Backed Bill For Civilian Oversight Of Violent Cops

In July, Chicago’s city council passed a modified version of police accountability legislation that activists have spent years fighting for, backed by major public sector unions and Black labor leaders. Though stripped of some of its stronger measures, the new law is one of the most prominent pieces of police reform legislation to pass since last year’s uprisings after George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police. A civilian commission will now be empowered to pick the head of the police investigatory body and change the rules and policies under which the police operate. In Chicago, the law reflects increasing public scrutiny about how the police function. The city has seen a string of high-profile revelations of police killings, brutality, and general misconduct targeting Black and Latino people.

The South Dakota Legislature Has Invented A New Legal Term To Target Pipeline Protesters

The government of South Dakota has made it very clear that it does not like people who protest the Keystone XL pipeline. The state’s governor has dismissed them as “out-of-staters who come in to disrupt.” And other officials have similarly leveraged long-debunked and harmful tropes, mischaracterizing those speaking out as “paid protesters.” In this atmosphere, South Dakota enacted a new law last week, the Riot Boosting Act. The law seeks to suppress protests before they even start and prohibits people from engaging in full-throated advocacy. It does so by creating a new, ambiguous term: “riot boosting.”

City Council Approves Bill That Could Shut Down Massive Trash Incinerator

Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a bill on Monday that would force the city’s Wheelabrator trash incinerator to dramatically reduce its emissions of pollutants or shut down. 14 of 15 council people voted yes; one, Councilman Kris Burnett (D-8), was absent. The bill, co-sponsored by 13 of 15 council people, will now go to Mayor Pugh’s desk for final approval. “Mayor Pugh is 100% for clean air but she will need to review the legislation,” said a representative from her office. The incinerator burns most of the city’s trash, and also burns trash from surrounding localities.

Flurry Of Fake Net Neutrality Bills Are More Smoke And Mirrors From Cable-Backed Republicans

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, Reps. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Cathy Anne McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington)  and Greg Walden (R-Oregon) announced at a Subcommittee on Communications & Technology hearing that they would introduce separate pieces of legislation they falsely claim will protect the open internet. Full text for all of these bills was not immediately available or public when Republican members referenced them at the hearing. If passed in reported form, these bills would legalize numerous harmful and discriminatory practices while preventing the Federal Communications Commission from adopting and enforcing rules to protect internet users going forward.

ADL Thought Anti-BDS Laws Are ‘Unconstitutional,’ Will Create Antisemitism – Backed It Anyways

A leaked internal memo reveals the Anti-Defamation League thought "anti-BDS" laws making it illegal to boycott Israel were "unconstitutional" and would be "harmful to the Jewish community" and give "the appearance that the Jewish community exercises undue influence in government," but they backed them anyways, according to a bombshell new report from the Jewish Daily Forward.

Council Approves Bills For ‘Fair Workweek’ And $15/hr. Wage Hike

The 24-year-old graduate of Olney High School left his job at a Target store two weeks ago because the company couldn’t accommodate his schedule — he’s only able to work daytime hours because in the evenings, he has to take care of a nephew who has cerebral palsy. Now, he works at Ross on City Avenue, where he’s in charge of making sure people don’t steal. But because he’s only getting 25 hours, he makes about $200 each week. His managers said they’re trying to make him full-time. If he could even get 32 hours a week, he said, it would make a big difference to his relatives, including his grandmother, who has cancer.

Importance Of Aligning House And Senate Single-Payer Bills The Right Way

Single-payer reform is in the news — and in the U.S. House and Senate. One hundred twenty-three Congresspeople have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 676, the single-payer legislation in House of Representatives, and 16 Senators have formally endorsed S.1804, the Senate version. (Disclosure: H.R. 676 was closely modeled on the Physicians for a National Health Program reform proposal published in JAMA, for which we served as lead authors). While both bills would cover all Americans under a single, tax-funded insurance program, they prescribe different provider payment strategies. The Senate version largely adopts Medicare’s current payment mechanisms...

More Americans Than Ever Want Marijuana Legalized. Lawmakers Should Listen.

Over 60 percent of Americans — including majorities of Republicans, independents, and Democrats — believe that the adult use of marijuana ought to be legal. And an estimated 20 percent of Americans now live in a state where cannabis use by those over the age of 21 is permitted. Nonetheless, newly released FBI data reports that, nationwide, marijuana arrests rose for the second consecutive year — and significantly outpace the total number of annual arrests for all violent offenses. Of the nearly 660,000 marijuana-related arrests made by law enforcement in 2017, the last year for which data is available, 91 percent (599,000) of them were for possession violations—– not trafficking, cultivation, or sales.

To The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister Of New Zealand: Please Call A National referendum On The CPTPP Treaty

Now it’s your decision on whether or not to forward the Bill to the Governor-General with a recommendation to sign it into law. In practice, that decides whether or not NZ commits to join the CPTPP treaty. Before that happens, it’s certainly within your powers to ask for a national referendum so New Zealanders can finally get to vote on the controversial treaty. In 2015 and 2016, when the treaty was still called the TPPA, town hall meetings were held up and down the country to express concerns around the treaty.

Internet Provider Groups Sue Vermont Over Net Neutrality Law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five industry groups representing major internet providers and cable companies filed suit on Thursday seeking to block a Vermont law barring companies that do not abide by net neutrality rules from receiving state contracts. An AT&T logo is pictured in Pasadena, California, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Vermont by groups representing major providers like AT&T Inc (T.N), Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N). It followed a lawsuit by four of the groups earlier this month challenging a much broader California law mandating providers abide by net neutrality rules.

All Laws That Make It A Crime To Be Homeless Should Be Repealed

When San Diego resident Gerald Stark’s rent increased and he couldn’t afford another apartment, the retired union pipefitter moved into his RV. But because he lacked an address, San Diego law made it almost impossible for him to park his RV legally. Soon the city confiscated it, leaving him out on the streets. There, he was ticketed for violating another law prohibiting sleeping in public. Faced with thousands of dollars in fines and fees he was unable to pay, Stark lived every day in fear of being arrested — for simply trying to survive. He’s not alone. There isn’t a single county in the United States where you can rent a two-bedroom, market-rate apartment working a full-time, minimum-wage job.

Anti-Terrorism Laws Increasingly Used to Target Indigenous Activists

The images flew around the world. The teepees. The tear gas. The Indigenous water protectors’ camps. The boots advancing in unison as security forces cracked down on protests at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline. The defiance. The hundreds of arrests. “While Sioux leaders advocated for protests to remain peaceful, State law enforcement officials, private security companies and the North Dakota National Guard employed a militarized response to protests,” Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples, wrote in a recent report. A mercenary firm had been surveilling the pipeline opposition movement and engaged in military-style counterterrorism measures, according to an investigative report published by The Intercept.

California Governor Signs Nations Toughest Net Neutrality Law

“This victory in California is a testament to the power of the free and open Internet to defend itself. And it’s a beacon of hope for Internet users everywhere who are fighting for the basic right to express themselves and access information without cable and phone companies controlling what they can see and do online.” said Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her), deputy director of Fight for the Future, the digital rights group that played a leading role in passing SB 822 and bringing national attention to the bill. “Despite their army of lobbyists and millions spent lining the pockets of legislators, these companies continue to lose ground in the face of overwhelming cross-partisan opposition to their greedy attacks on our Internet freedom.

Historic Federal Legislation Embeds Support For Employee-Ownership Within The SBA

Please join us in celebrating the first legislation in support of employee ownership in over two decades, and the first to explicitly name worker cooperatives as a priority for the SBA. This is a huge step forward for worker cooperatives, and we are proud to have played a role in making it. Along with many allies in the field, our organizations worked in depth with the bill's author and sponsor, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, with DAWI doing research and education, and USFWC doing advising and advocacy. We will also play a key role in supporting implementation. This is the power of an organized sector, and we're just getting started! Please see below for the official press release, and spread the word far and wide.
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