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Support Senate Bill 6083 and House Bill 2196 to Legalize Cannabis Cultivation

I support medical use of cannabis, patients rights and #HouseBill1024 ~ Nativegrl77

 

Fair Employment Protection Art


AAUW Action Network

The Supreme Court has gotten it wrong again, and it’s up to us to get Congress to fix their mistake. In fact, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has specifically asked us to!

In a 5-4 ruling last year, the court created an artificial distinction between types of workplace “supervisors.” This decision creates an extra hurdle for workers suing their employers for workplace harassment, unequal pay, and other forms of discrimination.

Here’s the problem: The court’s ruling doesn’t mesh with the realities of the modern workplace!
Millions of workers are overseen by other employees who don’t have the authority to hire or fire them, yet still shape their day-to-day work experience through actions such as making their schedule, giving them time off, or assigning them projects and tasks. This wrong-headed decision virtually gives a green light to sexual harassment as long as it doesn’t come from “the boss.”

Under the 2013 ruling, known as Vance v. Ball State University, this “overseeing” type of employee is now classified as a co-worker, meaning that any harassment from them is subject to a lesser standard – despite the obvious fact that they have power over other workers. This problematic decision is of particular concern to women – a national poll found that 25 percent of women have experienced workplace sexual harassment, as have one in 10 men.

Tell Congress: We need laws that reflect what it’s like to work in the real world. We need the Fair Employment Protection Act, which would restore longstanding workplace protections the Vance ruling took away. We must return to a reasonable definition that reflects the modern workplace.

Think about your own experiences at work. You knew who set your schedule and gave you assignments, but did you know who could make the decision to fire you? Was it your direct boss? Was it the HR manager? Was it the company president that you met only once? Under the court’s standard, if your boss doesn’t have the power to fire you, he/she isn’t considered your “supervisor.” And that’s just silly.

The Fair Employment Protection Act was just introduced today, so it’s time to make your voice heard: Tell Congress to support the Fair Employment Protection Act to protect all workers from harassment.

A Threat To Women And Workers


By

What you Need To Know About Today’s Supreme Court Rulings

The Supreme Court issued two important rulings this morning: one that makes it harder for women to exercise their right to choose, and a second that effectively eliminates a President’s ability to make recess appointments and could imperil unions down the road as a consequence. The remaining decisions this session are expected to come next Monday, including Hobby Lobby (can owners of a for-profit, secular corporation impose their religious beliefs on their employees?) and Harris v. Quinn (are public sector unions’ fair share fees that ensure all employees, regardless of whether they are members of the union, receive the collectively bargained-for benefits constitutional?)

The decisions today were both handed down unanimously by the High Court. Here’s more on what the implications are for each:

McCullen v. Coakley

The decision: The Court struck down a Massachusetts’ law establishing a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion providers, ruling in favor of anti-choice protesters who argued that being required to stay that far away from clinic entrances is a violation of their freedom of speech. The decision rolls back a proactive policy intended to safeguard women’s access to reproductive health care in the face of persistent harassment and intimidation from abortion opponents.

The argument: The Justices argue that the 35-foot zone in the Massachusetts law restricts “access to ‘public way[s]‘ and ‘sidewalk[s],’ places that have traditionally been open for speech ac­tivities.” Therefore, the opinion states, the law burdens “substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests.” The justices do not categorically deny the right for states to set up buffer zones protecting abortion clinics, but do effectively remove the Massachusetts law and threaten other similar safety measures around the country.

The implications: The decision is a blow to women. Since 1993, eight clinic workers have been murdered. There have been 6,400 reported acts of violence against abortion providers since 1977. According to the National Abortion Federation (NAF), which closely tracks threats and violence against abortion providers across the country, buffer zones have had a measurable impact improving safety in the areas where they’re in place.

BOTTOM LINE: The Supreme Court itself has a buffer zone around it’s 252-by-98-foot plaza, preventing protesters from demonstrating too close to the entrance. Surely it can see the need for abortion clinics, the subject of frequent and sometimes violent intimidation from their opponents, to have a reasonable buffer zone as well.

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning

The decision: The Court effectively eliminated the president’s power to make recess appointments in all but the most unusual circumstances. It limits the president’s constitutional duty to appoint leaders that keep our country working for all Americans, from making sure our elections are fair to protecting workers’ and consumer rights.

The argument: Prior to Noel Canning, a federal appeals court — the highest legal authority to weigh in on the question — confirmed that a president does indeed have the power to make recess appointments. Specifically, it ruled that sham sessions known as “pro forma” sessions held by the Senate every three days in order to defeat a president’s attempts to make these appointments were in fact not enough to stop him. Every single justice on the Supreme Court, however, disagreed with that ruling and voted against recess appointments today, although the Court split 5-4 on rationale. Five justices, overturning the appeals court, opined that these “pro forma” sessions were in fact enough to block a president from making recess appointments because “the Senate is in session when it says it is.” The four conservative justices went even further, with an opinion that could have retroactively invalidated thousands of recess appointments made by presidents past if it had garnered just one more vote.

The implications: The impact of this ruling goes beyond a legal technicality. President Obama took the risk of making recess appointments in the first place to fill a minimum number of seats on the National Labor Relations Board, a government agency with exclusive authority to enforce much of federal labor law. NLRB members serve five year terms, and unless at least three seats on the board are occupied, it is powerless to act. Therefore, the fullest impact of this decision will likely be felt in 2018, when the five year terms of the NLRB’s current slate of members expire. Even if the president at that time supports allowing federal labor law to function in 2018, he or she will be unable to keep the NLRB functioning if a majority of the Senate is determined to shut down federal labor protections.

More broadly, the decision underscores the importance of the Senate’s action last November to allow executive nominees to receive an up or down confirmation vote. Without last year’s change to the Senate rules, today’s decision would have empowered a small, but vocal minority, to use arcane procedure to block the government from being able to function properly.

BOTTOM LINE: In a technical ruling, the Supreme Court took away the president’s power to make recess appointments. While today’s court decision will have little immediate impact, its long-term effects remain unclear and could threaten the rights of workers across the country if the NLRB is dismantled. The House and Senate must find new ways to ensure that the politics of obstruction and shutdown do not limit the ability of our nation to function properly.

Stay tuned for more Court decisions on Monday. If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, RSVP to join a rally hosted by NARAL in front of the Supreme Court that morning.

This is what segregation looks like ~~ Alabama


Right-wing attacks on voting and equal representation are pushing Black Alabamians out of the picture.

Gov. Bentley bill signing

Now the state’s unaccountable government is taking it to the next level. Help stop extreme legislation that mocks and vilifies our history:

Take Action

Aggressive gerrymandering efforts designed to dilute Black Alabamians’ votes have delivered supermajority control of the state’s legislature — and Alabama’s entire executive branch — to the extreme right wing. With Black voters largely blocked from electing their candidates of choice, Alabama’s unaccountable politicians are hard at work shredding the social safety net and attacking federal laws that protect our health.

Demonstrating just how reckless Alabama’s political leadership has become, the GOP is actually invoking Brown v. Board of Education in its latest campaign to harass and vilify Black women and families. Comparing herself to civil rights champions fighting to end school segregation, Rep. Mary McClurkin (R-Indian Springs) just pushed a package of bills through the House that would force women to carry pregnancies to term even where pregnancy results from rape.1

The GOP is appropriating the civil rights struggle to ram through its extreme, unconstitutional policy agenda,2 while depending on massive civil rights violations to win and hold office. And with November’s election already heating up, we can expect the hypocrisy will only get worse — unless national attention makes Alabama’s government’s predatory behavior toward its own Black constituents too difficult to publicly justify.

It’s time to take a stand: Demand Alabama’s Senate leadership and Gov. Robert Bentley recognize the House is committing a repugnant, costly overreach and reject HB 489, HB 490, HB 493, HB 494, and HB 31 now.

While Alabama’s white political bosses mock both the civil rights movement and Deep South’s continuing legacy of chattel slavery to the faces of their few remaining Black colleagues in Montgomery,3 everyday Alabamians are struggling to survive. Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families dollars are consistently diverted to projects that have nothing to do with fighting Alabama’s staggering poverty rates, and the state has flirted with becoming the first to end TANF entirely.4,5

Alabama insists single adults making just $1,332 a year are too wealthy to qualify for Medicaid,6 blocking access to basic medical care for hundreds of thousands of residents. Gov. Bentley could easily expand Medicaid coverage with funding from President Obama’s Affordable Care Act — creating 30,000 much-needed jobs, growing wages, and generating nearly $1 billion in new revenue — but he’s refused.7,8 Alabama’s already low abortion rate could be further reduced under the ACA’s expanded access to contraception, but Attorney General Luther Strange is suing to keep that from happening.9,10

It’s clear the right wing’s retrograde agenda has nothing to do with standing up for families or protecting the vulnerable — it’s about foreclosing opportunity for Black communities and suppressing Black political power. Despite our growing numbers — over 26% of Alabamians identify as Black — and record levels of voter registration, Black voters and elected officials now have less influence than at any time since the civil rights era.

The GOP strategy is to “pack” Black constituents into fewer districts, “crack” up influential communities in non-majority Black districts, and otherwise “bleach” formerly diverse districts prone to cross-racial coalition building. The resulting, unearned Republican wins have stripped formerly influential Black legislators of leadership positions and the ability to move policy or conduct oversight,11 making Alabama’s government increasingly indifferent to Black constituents’ interests. Even before last year’s Shelby County Supreme Court ruling validated Alabama’s “unbroken chain of repetitive discrimination” dating to the early days of the Voting Rights Act,12 this ruthless redistricting push has sought to reinstate the bad old days of political apartheid, when representing Black folks was simply not required of white officials.13

What’s happening in Alabama should be a national scandal. Tell the state Senate and governor to do their jobs representing all Alabamians — and ensuring the state doesn’t fall farther behind — instead of finding new ways to victimize Black families and communities.

Thanks and Peace,

–Arisha, Rashad, Matt, Kim, Johnny, Hannah and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
April 1st, 2014

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.

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References

1. “Alabama House Passes Extreme ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban, Three Other Anti-Choice Bills,” RH Reality Check, 03-05-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3386?t=9&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

2. “Alabama Lawmakers Propose Near-Total Abortion Ban, Other Severe Restrictions,” RH Reality Check, 02-20-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3398?t=11&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

3. “Equating Slavery and Abortion: Where are the Women in this story?” Feministing, 01-24-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3387?t=13&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

4. “Alabama Voters to Decide Whether to Save Poor Kids,” Mother Jones, 09-18-2012
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3389?t=15&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

5. “Alabama: The sixth poorest state in America,” AL.com, 01-16-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3390?t=17&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

6. “As Alabama Cuts Benefits, Desperate Man ‘Robs’ Bank To Get Food, Shelter In Jail,” ThinkProgress, 07-11-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3388?t=19&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

7. “Study: Expanding Medicaid would create 30,700 jobs,” AL.com, 10-09-2013
blog.al.com/wire/2013/10/study_expanding_medicaid_would.html

8. “Senate Democrats Remind Governor Bentley that Alabama Must Expand Medicaid,” Alabama Political Reporter, 10-12-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3391?t=21&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

9. “Alabama joins EWTN in new lawsuit against Obamacare contraception mandate,” AL.com, 10-28-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3392?t=23&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

10. “Study: Abortion rate at lowest point since 1973,” Washington Post, 02-02-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3393?t=25&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

11. “The Decline of Black Power in the South,” New York Times, 07-10-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3394?t=27&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

12. “What Is Alabama’s Problem With the Voting Rights Act?” The Nation, 02-26-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3395?t=29&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

13. “Keeping Black Voters in Their Place,” New York Times, 11-05-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3396?t=31&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

 

Pssst.


Hey —

I’ve got some inside info for you

The NRA’s lobbyists have finally made their move. They’ve emailed their activists a whole pile of lies to spread to their friends and families to scare and confuse them — and try to stop Washington from voting Yes on 594.

It’s some pretty crazy, tinfoil hat, conspiracy theory stuff — and pretty much exactly what we expected from these lobbyist types. But still, I was a little surprised at just how shrill and desperate the tone was.

Every tired, old cliché that the gun lobby has used for years to stop any reasonable reform was in there: from a paranoid registration conspiracy to a bunch of delusional fears not about what 594 actually does — but what it might lead to. Reading their email, it seems like they just hit “copy” and “paste” from whatever playbook they get from their lobbying headquarters in Washington, D.C.

And that’s why I need your help. We have to build up our rapid-reaction fund now to counter these lies, or we’ll never be able to win this fall.

Contribute $3 today, and help us build our rapid-reaction fund before our June 30 fundraising deadline!

Help us fight the lies!

Now, polling shows most gun owners are ready to vote Yes on 594 — but this pile of lies is designed to trick NRA members into thinking that the same easy, commonsense reform that is already saving lives in states like Colorado is some kind of crazy plot.

And nobody knows better what a bunch of hooey that is than the NRA lobbyist that is peddling it to their members — and soon to regular voters in Washington.

They know better, but they still are still trying to trick gun owners into thinking that simply extending our existing background check system to all gun sales is an evil scheme to steal their guns. It would be laughable if we didn’t know that these crazy rantings may be enough to scare someone into voting against 594.

We need to spread the truth — and we need your help to do that.

Contribute $3 today to our rapid-reaction fund by the June 30 deadline, and help us spread the truth about 594!

Now that we know for sure that they’re not going to hold back on the lies, we really need to get in gear.

Thanks for helping us fight these lobbyists’ lies,

Zach Silk
Campaign Manager
Yes on 594