September 18, 2023
Re-electing a Democratic governor in Kentucky, ensuring fair immigration courts, fixing dirty mining laws, and more!
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HELP A DEMOCRAT WIN REELECTION IN KENTUCKYhas highlighted Cameron’s pledge to a local forced birther group to treat hormonal birth control as a form of abortion and criminalize it. Still, the race remains competitive. Let’s sign up to volunteer for Governor Beshear’s reelection campaign and consider a donation if we’re able.
This November one of the most popular governors in the country is up for reelection – and as a Democrat in a deep red state, he needs our help. Governor Andy Beshear is being challenged by Republican Attorney General and Mitch McConnell protégé Daniel Cameron in Kentucky. Beshear has a strong record built on expanding access to health care, securing clean drinking water and funding for high-speed Internet, and creating jobs, including making Kentucky a hub for electric vehicle battery manufacturing. Meanwhile, Cameron has been caught up in scandal, accused of soliciting campaign donations from the executives of an organization under investigation by his office, and has been under attack for failing to hold former Governor Matt Bevin accountable for last-minute pardons and failing to charge the police who killed Breonna Taylor. Recently, pro-choice journalist
RESTORE A FAIR AND EQUITABLE IMMIGRATION COURT SYSTEM
A rule by the Trump administration took away immigration judges’ ability to manage their own docket and gave the courts authority to “administratively close” cases, eliminating procedural due process for immigrants and speeding up deportations. Now the Biden Administration is attempting to reverse this rule and make the hearing process more fair. Let’s review the proposal in the Federal Register and submit a public comment. We can get more information from the American Immigration Council.
SEVEN ARRESTED TO SAVE PEPFAR AND THEY NEED OUR HELP
Authorization for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), credited with saving 25 million lives and changing the trajectory of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, is set to expire at the end of the month. But after a long history of bipartisan support and routine reauthorization every five years, PEPFAR is in trouble. Forced birther groups are rallying Republicans to oppose this extension, claiming PEPFAR funds are being used to promote abortion and LGBT advocacy – over the objection of anti-choicers working against HIV/AIDS overseas, who have made clear this is not the case. Congressional Republicans are now using this opportunity to pressure President Biden to reinstate the global gag rule preventing foreign organizations from receiving U.S. health assistance from providing information, referrals or services for abortion. Activists for global health are stepping up the fight for a clean reauthorization, with seven being arrested for occupying Speaker McCarthy’s office last Monday. Let’s tell our members of Congress we’re with the activists and we want to see PEPFAR extended now.
REFORM ENVIRONMENTALLY UNSAFE MINING LAWS
The Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act, introduced by Raul Griljava (D-AZ), would reform mining laws that were set in 1872, a time when mining was considered the best use of public land and there were no environmental considerations or permitting requirements. In these times of increased climate crisis, let’s make sure our MoCs know that we cannot build a clean energy future on dirty mining laws. Let’s ask them to co-sponsor this important legislation and work to get it to the floor for a vote. We can find some talking points here from the Democrat side of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Earthjustice.org has more talking points here, and a template where we can write directly to our reps.
EXPOSE BOOK BANS
As book bans in schools and libraries surge across the U.S., the problem is likely even worse than it looks: “Surveys indicate that 82-97% of book challenges—documented requests to remove materials from schools or libraries—remain unreported and receive no media.” Denials of our First Amendment rights should not be allowed to happen in the dark. The American Library Association fights book bans and other forms of censorship, and provides resources to help us push back, including a form for reporting bans in our communities’ schools and libraries. Let’s check out this resource page and use it if we need it. We can also be sure to read the Association’s top 13 most challenged books of 2022.
NY (NYC) - DRONE SURVEILLANCE TO BE INCREASED
Like 1400 other police departments that, according to the ACLU, already use drones to respond to domestic incidents, wellness checks, and noise complaints, the New York Police Department has increased their use of drone surveillance. Lest we doubt who is the target of this increase, it came, naturally, just in time for the West Indian Day parade and the celebration of Jouvert. Mayor Eric Adams has said he studied the effective use of drones in Israel on his recent visit, a practice much criticized there and abroad. It is likewise being criticized here as a violation of privacy rights and possibly of the 2021 Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act—and as part of a “dystopian” turn in policing. We should tell Mayor Adams that we do not want further intrusive police surveillance.
CA - CLOSE THE GENDER GAP IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE BY 2028
Election cycle by election cycle, the organization Close the Gap has been steadily increasing the number of women serving in the California legislature. Less than a decade ago, 26 of California’s 120 lawmakers were women. Today, 50 women are serving. Twenty of them are Close the Gap recruits, including 14 women of color. Close the Gap recruits women who champion reproductive freedom, funding for public education, and combating poverty. Let’s explore the Close the Gap website to see how we can take action, support their work, and maybe even run for office ourselves! h/t
AND FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS
LAST WEEK’S WINSat , including a huge turnout at the March to End Fossil Fuels, a trans person winning elected office in Tennessee for the first time ever, and the White House reversing a Trump-era decision and re-banning the transportation of liquefied methane gas by rail.
We’re in this battle for the long haul, so it’s important to acknowledge the victories we’re earning along the way. Here’s a summary of some of the best news from the last week from our friend and ally