Last year, after the U.S. Supreme Court ended the federal right to abortion, voters in Kansas, California, Michigan, Vermont, Kentucky, and Montana used the ballot initiative process to show their support for reproductive freedom, both by defeating GOP-backed anti-abortion measures and approving constitutional amendments aimed at preserving abortion access.
Stop Abortion Bans rally in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 21, 2019. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC
Kansas voters left little room for interpretation when a sizable majority voted in August to reject a ballot measure that would have paved the way for a statewide abortion ban—but that isn’t stopping Republicans from attempting to force residents to continue unwanted pregnancies by imposing city-by-city bans.
State Sen. Chase Blasi on Thursday introduced Senate Bill 65, which would authorize cities and counties “to enact local laws more stringent than state law regarding regulation of abortion” and would repeal the state law which prohibits “political subdivisions” from enacting bans. Continue reading →
The Supreme Court is about to hear arguments about the constitutionality of a 1978 law enacted to protect Native American children in the U.S. and strengthen their families.
That law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, was originally passed by Congress in response to requests from tribal leaders and other advocates for Native Americans to stop states from removing Indian children from their families. Continue reading →
Democracy defenders expressed concern Tuesday in response to new reporting on a Federal Election Commission ruling that affirmed foreign entities—including overseas corporations—can fund U.S. state-level ballot campaigns.
“This is egregious,” tweeted former Ohio congressional candidate Nina Turner. “A complete attack on our democracy.”
Axiosreported on the FEC’s 4-2 July ruling that concerned a Montana ballot initiative on hardrock mining regulations and accusations that a Canadian subsidiary of Australian company Sandfire Resources violated federal campaign law by funding a campaign opposed to the measure. Continue reading →
George Floyd protests in Miami, Florida on June 6, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/Wikimedia/CC
Civil liberties and racial justice advocates are celebrating after a federal judge ruled Thursday that Florida’s anti-protest law is unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.
In his 90-page decision (pdf) granting civil rights groups’ request for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said the law—passed by Florida’s GOP-controlled House and Senate and signed in April by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in response to demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice—violates rights to free speech and peaceful assembly as well as due process protections. Continue reading →
George Floyd protest in Philadelphia 6-1-2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC
As Black Lives Matter protests grew across the U.S. following the police murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, so did the federal government’s persecution of activists who marched in support of racial justice.
That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) clinic at the City University of New York School of Law. Continue reading →
The Bootleg Fire – July 10,2021. Photo: Zach Urness/Twitter
Bolstering the case for meaningful action to address the climate emergency, the out-of-control Bootleg Fire that began on July 6 in southern Oregon has scorched more than 280,000 acres and is only 22% contained. It is the nation’s largest wildfire so far this year, and one of 70 large blazes currently torching the U.S. West, which is bracing for yet another heatwave.
To put Bootleg’s destructiveness into perspective, the fire—one of 10 burning in Oregon alone—has spread over 25,000 acres per day on average, or more than 1,000 acres every hour. According toCNN meteorologist Brandon Miller, “That’s an area larger than the area of Central Park each hour, or a rate of a football field burned every five seconds” for 11 days. Continue reading →
As what the National Weather Service described as “dangerous and record-breaking heat” affects 50 million people across the Western United States even before the first day of summer, climate experts and activists are using the hot conditions to reiterate warnings and calls for policy change as scientists are seeing their dire predictions come true.
“The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis,” activist and former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer tweeted Friday. “Action is urgently needed.” Continue reading →
In most communities in the United States, the local government has the authority to investigate and prosecute both misdemeanor and felony crimes. And local police can detain and search individuals suspected of state and federal crimes, at least until handing them off to the appropriate authorities. Continue reading →
On a day that saw Minnesota break a record high of 8,703 COVID cases, far-right conspiracy theorists Qanon and “Stop The Steal” followers stood maskless shoulder to shoulder outside the Minnesota State Capitol. Photo: Chad Davis/flickr/CC
More than 100 scholars of democracy on Tuesday released a joint “statement of concern” calling on Congress to combat ongoing GOP attacks on voting rights and ensure fair and free future U.S. elections with federal legislation.
Published online by the think tank New America, the scholars’ statement comes as Republican lawmakers nationwide continue to propose and enact state-level voter suppression bills. This past weekend, Texas House Democrats staged a walkout to block state Senate-approved legislation widely denounced by voting rights advocates and other critics across the country, including President Joe Biden. Continue reading →