For the Week of 4/28/2017
As President Trump and his GOP accomplices in D.C. try to bring Congress’s extreme conservatives on board with their “repeal and replace” healthcare bill, Democrats in state legislatures across the country are determined to protect the Affordable Care Act’s popular contraceptive mandate. Democrats in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, and New Mexico are fighting to expand access to contraceptives, while Democrats in Illinois, Maryland, Nevada and Virginia won recent legislative victories on the issue. As Americans’ fear of losing coverage under a hastily-passed Trumpcare escalates, Democratic legislators are committed to protecting reproductive health and ensuring constituents retain access to the important services they rely on.
2. Build it and be banned: Lawmakers move to block state contracts for any builders of Trump’s border wall
On Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers in California made serious moves to deter companies from helping President Trump build his “big, beautiful [and divisive] wall.” Senate Bill 30, sponsored by state Senator Ricardo Lara, would “prohibit any company from receiving a new or extended contract with the state of California if it participates in a future effort to build a new wall along the 2,000-mile international border.” DLCC Board member and California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León put it best: “California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity.” The Democrats governing the world’s fifth largest economy will continue to lead the resistance against Trumpism, in both policy and practice.
This week, Democratic lawmakers in Illinois continued their defense of women’s rights. After leading the way for other states with their passage the nation’s most comprehensive birth control law, Illinois House Democrats (cheered on by a crowd outside the state Capitol) passed an abortion rights bill that would protect a woman’s right to choose if Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. Then, the House passed a bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Anna Moeller that bars employers from asking about prior wage or salary history. Rep. Moeller and women’s advocates say the bill would not only help mitigate wage discrimination against women by ensuring a new salary offer isn’t based upon an unequal wage from a previous position, but it would also bolster Illinois’ Equal Pay Act while increasing the penalties for employers guilty of wage discrimination.
Once again, Nevada’s Democratic legislative majorities are at the forefront of the resistance. Before President Trump could even issue his newest controversial executive order directing the review of national monuments on federal lands, Nevada Democrats passed Assembly Joint Resolution 13 late Tuesday, urging Congress and the president to leave the Nevada lands protected. “It’s time to send a clear message to the White House to keep their bureaucratic hands off our public lands,” stated resolution sponsor Assemblywoman Heidi Swank.
It’s official: Arizona Republicans are refusing to approve the federal Equal Rights Amendment. Legislation sponsored by Democratic Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley would put Arizona on record in favor of this important amendment, which states the “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” The ERA needs to be ratified by 38 states to become part of the U.S. Constitution. Since Arizona’s Republican legislative leaders have prevented the measure from getting a hearing, Democratic Rep. Powers Hannley moved this week to bring the measure to the full House for an immediate vote. But rather than allow lawmakers to vote on the ERA, GOP Speaker J.D. Mesnard and his Republican colleagues maneuvered the House into an abrupt recess. This underhanded move not only prevented a vote on this important measure, but it also allowed Republicans to avoid going on the record as to whether or not they support equal rights for men and women.
*DLCC's Quote of the Week*
"“Like any grandma she was very embarrassed at having this kind of convo and very ashamed at the actions of her grandson. The conversation ended with me telling her that I wanted to hear from him.”
If you are an internet troll, know that Democratic Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims is not afraid to tell your grandma about what you do online. After seeing disgusting hate speech posted to his Facebook page, the openly gay state Representative checked the poster’s Facebook page and found the troll’s grandmother’s phone number. She was not pleased to hear about what her grandson was up to online.