News you actually want to know, and what you can do to make a difference.
Welcome to your weekly roundup of good news about good people, how you can help make a difference — and a picture of President Obama to remind you what real leadership looks like.
The flawed system through which sexual harassment and misconduct complaints are handled in Congress is finally about to be revamped, thanks to renewed efforts from a bipartisan group of senators.
Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Patty Murray, along with Republican Sens. Roy Blunt and Mitch McConnell, are involved in negotiations to reform the Congressional Accountability Act after previous attempts had stalled.
The efforts are aimed at ensuring that lawmakers who commit acts of sexual misconduct, abuse, or harassment would be held personally liable, and that complaints are handled in a faster and more appropriate manner.
Klobuchar expressed optimism about the effort. “We mean business and so we’re continuing to push to get this done and I believe we will get it done,” she said.
Republicans in Iowa just rammed through the strictest anti-abortion law in the country. And Planned Parenthood is already gearing up to fight similar efforts anywhere they may occur.
The organization is launching its largest volunteer training event ever this July. 3,000 activists and leaders will head to Detroit for the event, and then use the skills and knowledge they garner there to go back to their communities and fight for reproductive freedom.
Planned Parenthood also plans to sue the state of Iowa over its “heartbeat bill,” which bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
“We’re seeing more and more state politicians emboldened to advance extreme policies, regardless of how many people it hurts,” Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “We’re also seeing a groundswell of organizing and action that only continues to grow. People will not stand for it. Now is the time for us to unite and fight for every person’s right to access the care they need.”
And people are ready for that fight.
“I’m just really pumped,” said volunteer Liliana Trejo Vanegas.
No matter where you are, you can help protect immigrants and their communities, and United We Dream makes it easy to get the information you need.
Pledge to help Build the Dream and be a part of local campaigns happening across the country.
In a major victory for equality in representation, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled that candidates for public office may use campaign funds to cover childcare expenses incurred as a result of their candidacy.
The ruling came in response to a petition from Liuba Grechen Shirley, a mother of two running in New York’s 2nd Congressional District.
Because the expenses would not exist were Grechen Shirley not running for office, the FEC noted that they were not of “personal use” and thus are eligible for coverage by campaign funds.
Grechen Shirley hopes this win will encourage other parents who want to run for office but worry about the increasingly steep costs of childcare.
“This is a game changer for women and parents considering a run for office,” she tweeted.
California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris took a bold stance on behalf of striking workers in the University of California system by pulling out of her planned commencement speech at UC Berkeley this weekend.
The 25,000-member American Federation of County, State, and Municipal Employees Local 3299 launched the strike last Monday over wages and health benefits.
The union asked for a multiyear contract with a six percent annual pay increase, but the university offered only three percent annual increases over four years.
Harris made it clear which side she was on. “Due to the ongoing labor dispute, Sen. Harris regretfully cannot attend and speak at this year’s commencement ceremony at UC Berkeley,” her office said in a statement. And she offered encouragement, as well.
The graduates “are bright young leaders and our country is counting on them,” the statement continued.
The NRA has its financial talons around far too many members of Congress — part of why so many of those elected to serve the people instead continue to serve the radical anti-gun-safety agenda.
Find out if your members of Congress have taken money from the NRA, and demand that they reject such funding and put safety and country over profit and party.
A bipartisan effort to reform redistricting and outlaw gerrymandering in Colorado is rapidly making its way through the halls of state government. And its last stop would be the ballot box this November.
The package would “ask voters to overhaul how the state decides legislative and congressional boundaries.” It would also totally ban gerrymandering.
The plan won unanimous approval in the state Senate and two state House committees. It’s expected to pass the full House easily, and would then be put to the people. And polls show that it has a strong chance to pass.
If it does, Colorado Public Radio notes that Kent Thiry, a wealthy CEO who helped bring together a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to broker the deal, “thinks Colorado could become a national model for how to prevent gerrymandering.”
The refugee caravan from Central America has made it to the U.S. But Trump’s border agents are refusing to process any asylum claims.
Join MoveOn members in demanding that Customs and Border Protection do their jobs and help these refugees settle safely here. Call 888-542-8298 to speak out on their behalf.
We’ve heard a lot about the “blue wave.” But the spectrum goes well beyond that.
Laura Mandanas at Autostraddle wrote about the “rainbow wave” of women that is also on the horizon. She began counting up the lesbian, bisexual, queer, and/or transgender women candidates running in 2018, and initially had a total of 65.
But thanks to feedback from the community, that number was up 149 as of May 10.
“Most are progressive Democrats; but we also have Republican and Libertarian representation, too,” she notes. “All of them are dissatisfied with Trump’s status quo. All have strong convictions. All want to make the world a better place.”
From Alabama to California and everywhere in between, these women are ready to make a difference, and to take a big step forward for representation in government.
Virginia Delegate Danica Roem made history in November 2017 when she became the first openly transgender lawmaker in the state.
Now she’ll make a little more history at the Democratic National Committee’s 19th annual LGBTQ gala in New York this June.
Roem will be the first openly trans elected official to speak at a major party gala in the country.
The LGBTQ gala has grown to be one of the marquee events for the Democratic Party, and Roem’s inclusion shows both how respected and esteemed she is, as well as the growing influence of the community.
“Danica is a trailblazer and hero, giving visibility to the transgender community, inspiring Americans across the country, and showing that great candidates matter in tough races,” DNC Finance Chair Henry Munoz said in a statement. “We are grateful that she’ll join us to raise resources later this year.”
It seems like every day, a new story of corruption and grift wafts out from this White House and across the country. Indeed, it can be hard to keep track of it all, at least while also keeping a grip on your sanity.
CAP Action has got you covered, though. The group put together the Corruptipedia, to document and spread the word about each and every offense by Trump and his cronies.
The list is long — very long — but is a quick and clear way to not let anything slip your memory as new awful stories work their way in. The list is also handily tweetable, so you can help make sure Trump’s favorite online haunt is rife with reminders of his corruption.
We’re approaching the one-year mark of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and Trump’s threats have only gotten worse.
If he actually tries to fire Mueller, you can join the rapid response effort to say “Trump is not above the law!”
CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour will have a new show on PBS stations across the country, taking the place of disgraced former host Charlie Rose.
Rose’s show was cancelled months ago after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment and abuse.
Amanpour’s show, slated to begin airing in July, will be an hour-long panel and interview program. She brings a long career of distinguished reporting and incisive commentary to the table. And there’s another notable aspect to the move, as well.
“I’m delighted to expand my role at PBS from interim to permanent along with this remarkable diversity of voices and views,” she said. “I am also thrilled to be a female filling this role at this time.”
Cecile Richards, who recently stepped down as president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, hinted at a very exciting prospect for her future in an interview with BuzzFeed.
When asked if she had any plans to run for office in her home state of New York, Richards said that it’s “not in my plans right now.”
But: “Never say never,” she added.
Based on her impressive work at Planned Parenthood, as well as her unflappable strength in the face of House Republicans’ nonsense, if Richards does decide to run for office, she’ll be a candidate and lawmaker to be reckoned with.
The AP reports that for the first time in at least 20 years, women are delivering the majority of commencement speeches at top colleges around the nation.
“Overall, women account for nearly 60 percent of the speakers at the 25 schools that have the largest endowments and traditionally carry the clout to draw big names to the lectern,” the report notes. Over the previous 19 years, women accounted for just one quarter of all speakers at those same schools.
Hillary Clinton and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg are two of the most widely known names. But the list also includes a strong effort at racial diversity, with Indian-American actress Mindy Kaling, black American film director Ava DuVernay, and Raquel Bono, a vice admiral in the U.S. Navy and a Filipina American, also taking the lecterns.
And the sudden uptick in women speakers was not merely a happy accident.
“Companies that are hired to find speakers say they’ve seen a surge in requests for women at the same time that the #MeToo movement has shed light on sexual misconduct from Hollywood to Capitol Hill,” the AP notes. “Demand has grown so quickly that some say they’re struggling to keep up.”
It seems that more and more people want to hear what women have to say. It’s about time.