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“Gig” Or “On-Demand” Workers Should Be Considers Employees Under The Law

AFL-CIO Asserts that Gig Economy Workers Are Employees

Read Gig Economy Council Statement Here

uber-logo

One example of the “gig” economy workers are those who drive for UBER

(Washington, DC) –The AFL-CIO Executive Council affirmed that working people in the gig economy share a single common designation: employees.

The Council further affirmed that working people deserve the full benefits that come with that status. On-demand economy companies are increasingly leaving workers without the full rights and protections of regular employees. 

Innovation and technological progress have bolstered productivity, yet too many working people have not reaped the benefits of their labor. In a statement passed by the council labor leaders noted that:

“Making the right policy choices begins with ensuring people who work for on-demand companies enjoy the rights and protections of employees.  Under current law, only workers who are defined as ‘employees’ are protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and enjoy minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and family and medical leave.”

“Unions have long been fighting back against employers who misclassify working people and create precarious, vulnerable work. This is what we do.  The AFL-CIO is committed to ensuring new technology – and new forms of employer manipulation – do not erode the rights of working people. Rest assured that if employers get away with pretending their workers aren’t employees, your job could be next.”

For decades, precarious and vulnerable work – such as part-time and temporary work with few benefits – have been the reality for a significant part of the workforce, especially for people of color, women and immigrants. The council is calling on companies to accept their responsibilities as employers and provide jobs that pay enough for working people to sustain themselves and their families.

“The AFL-CIO is committed to working with our allies, businesses and community partners to enact policies that will prevent gig economy workers from falling through the cracks,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. “If we act now, we can build a future of work that promises working people a better life.”

To read the complete statement, click here.

New Book About The Corrupting Influence Of Money In Politics

NATION ON THE TAKE
How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It

By Wendell Potter & Nick Penniman

Early praise for Nation on the Take:

nation-on-the-take-issue-one“Potter and Penniman offer practical answers and point out that reform beginning at the local level is most effective and that ‘sunlight is the baseline for all reform’…A well-written must-read for those ready to give up hope about politics and government in the United States.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Potter and Penniman, veteran public-policy analysts and critics, weigh in with a trove of supporting evidence to expose and explain current big-money corruption, and offer

concrete ways citizens can indeed unite to overturn such abuses.” – Booklist

More information and an excerpt of the book available here: http://www.issueone.org/nation-on-the-take/ 

The link between ordinary American people and their government is broken, and special interest groups increasingly control every level of government. The necessity of raising huge sums has completely changed the character of politics, determining what elected representatives stand for and how they spend their time. Wealthy individuals have seized control of the levels of power, and money, in form of PACs, SuperPACs, and their ilk, influences every policy initiative and piece of legislation.

According to a just-released Pew study, Americans of different political persuasions may not agree on much, but one thing they do agree on is that money has a greater—and mostly negative—influence on politics than ever before. The money raised and spent in the 2016 presidential election will shatter all records: the amount the biggest donors on both the right and the left have spent in the last two election cycles and what they are pledging to spend in 2016 it will outstrip the total cost of the entire 1998 election.  

This marriage of great wealth and political influence has strangled the political process, leaving us unable to address our most pressing problems as a nation, from climate change to the wealth gap. It defines the terms of our daily concerns: from the cars we drive to the air we breathe, even to the bodies we occupy.

The biggest challenge surrounding the issue of politics and money is that so many recognize it as a problem but so few can articulate why and what we can do about it. In NATION ON THE TAKE: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It (Bloomsbury / March 1, 2016 / $28, hardcover) New York Times bestselling author Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman, executive director of Issue One, together two of Washington’s most vigilant watchdogs, expose legalized corruption and link it to the kitchen-sink issues citizens face every day. Inciting our outrage, the authors then introduce us to the army of reformers laying the groundwork for change, ready to be called into action. They touch on the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, but explain why it is not the insurmountable road block many imagine. The battle plan for reform presented is practical, realistic, and concrete in terms of dates, people, and legislation. No one except the lobbyists likes business as usual.

Publishing on Super Tuesday, Nation on the Take is an impassioned, infuriating, yet ultimately hopeful call to arms, a book that lays bare the reach of moneyed interests and charts a way forward, toward the recovery of America’s original promise. 


Nick Penniman is executive director of the organization Issue One. He was previously publisher of the Washington Monthly and director of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund. Both authors live in the D.C. area.

Wendell Potter is a senior analyst at the Center for Public Integrity, the senior fellow on health care at the Center for Media and Democracy, and a leading critic of the health insurance industry. His book Deadly Spin won the 2011 Ridenhour Book Prize. 

Issue One is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to reducing the influence of money in politics and putting Americans of all stripes back in control of their democracy. Issue One is generating a bigger, bolder movement for reform by recruiting new constituencies to the fight and elevating money in politics as the core civic issue of our time.

For Ayotte And Sununu, Trump Is The Presidential Equivalent To Ankle Weights

Donald Trump (Jamelle Bouie FLIKR)

Donald Trump (Jamelle Bouie FLIKR)

Sununu/Ayotte reaction to new poll showing Dems crushing Trump? “Gulp.”

Concord, N.H. – Super Tuesday isn’t looking so super for Kelly Ayotte and Chris Sununu as Donald Trump continues his climb to the GOP nomination. A new WMUR Granite State poll shows both Democratic candidates for president leading Donald Trump by large margins in New Hampshire, spelling major trouble for Senator Kelly Ayotte and gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu who will be saddled with presidential ankle weights rather than coattails come November. 

Especially concerning for Sununu and Ayotte is that rather than disavow Trump, given his fear-mongering and hateful rhetoric, they’ve aligned themselves with their party’s frontrunner without regard for the damage he’s causing the nation. 

“Trump’s brand of divisive politics, hateful rhetoric, and extreme policies are going over like a lead balloon with the Granite State general electorate, but Chris Sununu and Kelly Ayotte don’t seem to realize just how busted the wagon they’ve hitched themselves to really is,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Voters don’t want anger, fear and extreme ideology. They want their leaders to roll up their sleeves and do their jobs, and they will make that desire perfectly clear this November when Trump, Sununu, and Ayotte will be sent packing.” 

The Trump/Sununu/Ayotte platform:

  • On women’s rights to make their own decisions and have access to health care, Trump believes “Planned Parenthood should absolutely be de-funded,” Ayotte has voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood, and Sununu cast the deciding vote to strip Planned Parenthood’s funding here in New Hampshire.
  • On affordable health care for Granite Staters, Trump – like every other Republican running for President, wants to repeal the Medicaid expansion – just as Kelly Ayotte voted to repeal New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion and Chris Sununu tried unsuccessfully to block its passage.
  • On climate, Trump has long maintained that climate change is a hoax, and Sununu agrees. Just two weeks ago, Chris Sununu publicly questioned climate science and has consistently opposed investment in New Hampshire’s renewable energy industry. Ayotte, for her part has repeatedly voted to protect tax breaks for big oil companies and against clean air and water protections. 

Buckley concluded, “From defunding Planned Parenthood to repealing Medicaid Expansion, the Trump/Sununu/Ayotte ticket is vastly out-of-touch with everyday Granite Staters who want solutions, not far-right ideology.”

Graduate Workers Must Have Collective Bargaining Rights

AAUP Files Amicus Brief in Columbia University NLRB Case

AAUP 100 Years Logo 2Washington, DC— Today, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) filed an amicus brief arguing that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) should overturn its 2004 Brown University decision, because graduate assistants are employees who should have collective bargaining rights and collective bargaining rights, in fact, promote academic freedom. 

The AAUP amicus brief comes in response to the invitation of the NLRB to file amicus briefs and in keeping with its long history of support for the unionization of graduate assistants who make significant contributions to the teaching and research missions of colleges and universities. The brief addresses two main points from the Brown decision. It argues that graduate assistants in private universities, including those working on federal grant funded research, are employees with the right to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and it refutes the Brown decision’s speculative claims that collective bargaining would compromise academic freedom and cooperative relationships between faculty mentors and their graduate student mentees.

The brief explains that since graduate assistants perform work in exchange for compensation, they are employees. In fact, when graduate students work as teaching and research assistants, their work is indistinguishable from that performed by university faculty. Graduate students at public universities like the University of Rhode Island and Rutgers are considered employees with collective bargaining rights under state law. The AAUP maintains that all graduate workers should be afforded those rights. The work of graduate assistants is just that, work, and should be subject to the protections of the National Labor Relations Act.

“It is not fair that, currently, only some graduate workers have the basic protections and rights that other American workers have. At a time when higher education is becoming more corporatized, it is critically important that graduate workers have these basic protections and the opportunity for a voice in workplace conditions. We look forward to seeing collective bargaining rights extended to graduate workers at Columbia University and other private universities,” said Dilara Demir, member of Rutgers AAUP-AFT TA/GA steering committee and vice president of the Rutgers Graduate Students’ Association.

Risa Lieberwitz, AAUP General Counsel, said, “Graduate assistants, like other employees, should have rights to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act. Collective bargaining can build positive relationships in universities through negotiations for fair wages and conditions of work, including protections of academic freedom.”

“Graduate workers have organized an important movement across the country, fighting for recognition despite some challenges. Graduate assistants are workers and their contributions to the public good are valuable. We stand with graduate workers nationwide who are organizing for a seat at the table and a voice in the process,” said Howard Bunsis, chair of the American Association of University Professors Collective Bargaining Congress. 

More information is available here: http://bit.ly/1T0TNRC. 


The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, post‐doctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities.

NH Rebellion Honors Campaign Finance Reformers with ‘Granny D’ Awards

Grassroots group met in Manchester to look back, plan ahead

NH Rebellion People Pledge 2

Grassroots activists with the NH Rebellion gathered in Manchester last night to review highlights of its recent We the People Convention and honor recipients of the group’s “Granny D” Awards for their work on campaign finance reform.

People who received the 2016 “Granny D” Awards include:

  • Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes (Democrat);
  • North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones (Republican);
  • NH state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark;
  • NH state Sen. David Pierce;
  • NH Rebellion volunteers Corinne Dodge, Dick Pollock, Mary and Jake Redway, and Kathy Thorndike
  • Founder of Americans for Campaign Reform John Rauh, recipient of the “Lifetime Reformer Award.”

49fef247-1671-4fdd-ab3a-0a567eaba0e8“It is a joy to be able to celebrate a few of those people who are representative of the campaign finance reform movement,” said NH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks.  “We could not possibly do justice to everybody who has made massive contributions to the movement, but we are delighted to honor this year’s recipients of the ‘Granny D’ Awards.”

Congressman John Sarbanes is not just a legislative leader, but also someone who truly believes that we must fix this problem first, if we are going to have the democracy that we deserve,” Weeks said.  “It isn’t just his head – but also his heart – that is in this.”  Rep. Sarbanes joined the inaugural NH Rebellion Walk from Dixville Notch to Nashua, in January 2014. 

Rep. Sarbanes also spoke at the We the People Convention. “I admire Granny D more than just about anybody I’ve ever come to know about,” he said.  “I’m absolutely convinced that someday, when we get this done, we’re going to look back at the footsoldiers of this movement: all of you who have stepped up to make it happen.  This is the most consequential thing we can do.”

Congressman Walter Jones believes fervently in this issue, in large part out of his personal faith as a Catholic,” Weeks said.  “Congressman Jones believes that it is a ‘moral stain’ on our nation that some people are ‘more equal’ than others because they have more money than others.  If you have the chance to look him up on-line, hear his testimony on this issue, I think you’ll be as moved as I have been.”  Rep. Jones is a cosponsor of HR. 20, the Government by the People Act.

State “Sen. Martha Fuller Clark has been a long-time supporter of Granny D, and has been tireless and courageous throughout her long career in fighting for campaign finance reform,” said Open Democracy Co-Chair Gordon Allen. “This includes sponsoring bills to establish small-donor citizen-funded elections, chairing the Citizen-Funded Election Task Force, and most recently, sponsoring Senate Bill 136 to overturn the Citizens United decision that passed the Senate unanimously.  She is a true leader and like Granny D, she is steadfast in her beliefs and there is no ‘quit’ in her.”

“Over the last decade, Sen. David Pierce has earned respect from both sides of the aisle as the Legislature’s foremost authority on election law,” Allen said.  “He has been a tireless leader in sponsoring and passing a series of innovative bills to safeguard voting rights and reform our campaign finance system.  Most recently and against tremendous odds, he shepherded through a major reform bill requiring full disclosure of electioneering spending by political committees – using a remarkable combination of Granny D perseverance and commitment, legislative skill, and commanding expertise.  We are truly blessed to have Sen. Pierce fighting leading the charge for reform in the Legislature.” 

“To make a movement: it takes people who write letters, who send emails, who make phone calls, who meet with legislators; it takes people who talk with their neighbors; people who show up in freezing winter weather and walk.  Corinne Dodge has done all of that, and more,” said NH Rebellion Deputy Director Brian Beihl.  “Corinne exemplifies the can-do attitude that this movement is about. Corinne made hundreds – maybe thousands – of phone calls to legislators to try to get SB 136 passed.”  That bill – which called for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited spending in elections, was passed unanimously by the NH Senate but later floundered and was killed in a controversial re-vote by the NH House.  Dodge is a resident of Derry, NH, where she was very involved in last year’s unanimous Town Council vote to endorse overturning Citizens United.  

“I can’t say enough about Dick Pollock,” Allen said.  “On the first Walk, he shepherded us around, he arranged places for people to stay, he took thousands of photographs.  He created a video memorial of Granny D.  When I was looking for people to join the Board, I was only half-way through my pitch when he said ‘yes.’ He has been a tremendous support for us.” Pollock is a resident of North Conway, NH.

Mary and Jake Redway come as a pair, and they’ve been here since the very beginning,” said NH Rebellion Outreach Manager Xanni Brown.  “They have walked countless miles with the NH Rebellion, they have been active with WolfPAC in their home state, they are working with Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakens.  The two of them are incredibly committed activists, and I am honored to have gotten to know them through their work with the Rebellion.”  The Redways live in Providence, RI.

Kathy Thorndike has walked, and volunteered, and made phone calls, and sent emails,” Beihl said. “She has worked tirelessly, gotten up at the crack of dawn to help us out. She has done so much for this movement, and I thank her for that.”  Thorndike lives in North Sandwich, NH.

John Rauh, running in the 1990s on a platform of campaign finance reform, lost his race for the US Senate by a whisker.  The issue wasn’t very popular then.  He had finished a career in business, and then – at a time when he could have easily retired and perfected his tennis swing – he decided instead to devote the next 20 years of his life to building this movement,” Weeks said. Rauh was the founder and President of Americans for Campaign Reform, which is now part of Issue One.  He lives in New Castle, NH.

NH Rebellion volunteers met for a celebratory dinner last night in the group’s office in the basement of 66 Hanover Street, Manchester.  Members were briefed on the three-day We the People Convention in Veterans Park, which brought together hundreds of activists, experts and some well-known voices to talk about campaign finance reform. Highlights of the Convention are available on the NH Rebellion YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/NHRebellion.  

“During the Convention, best-selling author Marianne Williamson called this ‘the greatest moral issue of our generation.’  Actor Sam Waterston said campaign finance is ‘central to the way democracy works.’  For three days, speaker after speaker – from both political parties – talked about this issue and this election as a turning point in American history,” Weeks said.  “But relatively few of our volunteers were able to join us for all three days of the Convention.  This dinner was a way for our members to catch up on what they missed, and to discuss what comes next.  The New Hampshire primary may be over, but the campaign finance crisis is worse than ever.  We need to fix the problem, and get our country back to having a government ‘of the People’ rather than ‘of the political donors.’” 

Superdelegates Should Support Popular Vote

MoveOn Members Launch Petition Campaigns Targeting Superdelegates, Demanding That Voters, Not Party Insiders, Determine the Democratic Nominee 

MoveOn Members in 48 States Petition Local Superdelegates to Follow the Will of Voters in Determining the Democratic Party Nominee  

From Maine to California, MoveOn members in 48 states have started petition campaigns calling on their state superdelegates to honor the will of Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers in determining the party’s nominee at the Democratic National Convention in July. 

More than 400,000 MoveOn members have already signed state and national petitions calling on their superdelegates to vote for the candidate with the most pledged delegates at the convention, and now they are launching campaigns focusing on specific superdelegates from their state, many of whom are Democratic elected officials.

The state-level grassroots mobilizations come after MoveOn.org Political Action announced earlier this month that it is tracking and targeting the Democratic Party’s 712 superdelegates and launching accountability campaigns focused on any superdelegates who argue that insiders rather than voters should choose the nominee.  So far, two superdelegates – Christine Pelosi from California and Erin Bilbray from Nevada – have publicly announced that they will vote for the candidate who wins the most pledged delegates from Democratic Party primary voters and caucus-goers around the country.

View all 48 state petitions here: front.moveon.org/state-superdelegate-campaigns/

Here are some examples of the state-level petition campaigns that MoveOn members have recently launched:

In Kansas, MoveOn member Zac Goodall is urging his state’s superdelegates to honor the will of Democratic primary voters in selecting a nominee at the Democratic National Convention. He worries that if superdelegates and party insiders determine the nominee, voters will become more disengaged. In his petition, Zac explains: 

“While serving with the 172nd Stryker Brigade in Mosul, Iraq, my unit and I helped make Iraq’s first national elections safe and fair. I saw thousands of Iraqis brave threats from criminals and terrorists because they knew their vote was a crucial step to securing a peaceful future for their country. As an English composition instructor at a community college in Kansas, I’ve witnessed almost the exact opposite attitude from my students. Of my 40+ students this year, two plan on voting. They don’t believe their vote counts, especially when they’re informed about the billions spent financing campaigns and the realities of the electoral college and Democratic Party superdelegates.”

View Zac’s petition here: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/kansas-superdelegates

In Massachusetts, MoveOn member Hannah Kimberley is also petitioning her State’s superdelegates to honor the will of Democratic primary voters in selecting a nominee at the Democratic National Convention. Hannah worries that: 

“If supporters of either candidate walk away from this process believing that their votes do not count, then the democratic process is lost, and so is the hope for a win in November. Let the voters decide!” 

View Hannah’s petition here: http://pac.petitions.moveon.org/sign/massachusetts-superdelegates-8

In New Hampshire, MoveOn member Chris Liquori is calling on the state’s superdelegates—including Governor Maggie Hassan, Rep. Ann Kuster, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and DNC members Bill Shaheen, Kathy Sullivan and Joanne Dowdell—to honor the will of Democratic primary voters at the Democratic National Convention. 

View Chris’s petition here: http://pac.petitions.moveon.org/sign/there-are-6-new-hampshire

In Nevada, MoveOn member Karen Wathen is petitioning her state’s superdelegates to vote for the candidate who wins the most pledged delegates from Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers at the Democratic National Convention. Karen explains her reasoning for starting the petition, saying:

“As an educator, I taught my students about the election process. I emphasized the power of voting: that elections are the process that allows citizens of the United States to choose the officials who will best represent their needs and desires. I taught my students that every vote counts. I want them to continue to believe in the power of elections and to continue to participate as citizens of the U.S. I don’t want them to become disenfranchised and stop voting like so many.” 

View Karen’s petition here: pac.petitions.moveon.org/sign/nevada-superdelegates-3 

“MoveOn members across the country have made it clear that they will not allow Democratic Party insiders to determine the outcome of this election. Democratic voters will decide the party’s nominee,” explained Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Poltiical Action. “There is, of course, no problem with superdelegates choosing to endorse whichever candidate they prefer, but when it comes time to select the party’s nominee at the Democratic Convention, superdelegates must stand with voters and honor the outcomes of primaries and caucuses held across the country. The party’s base simply will not tolerate any anti-democratic efforts by superdelegates to thwart the will of the people.”

ICYMI: Kelly Ayotte’s Position On Supreme Court Vacancy “Hurting Her Re-Election Chances”

Concord, N.H. – Kelly Ayotte continues to double-down on her obstructionist stance on the Supreme Court vacancy, even going so far as to say she would refuse to meet with any nominee, a position that does not endear her to New Hampshire Voters.

PPPpollgraphicAyotte

WMUR reported that “on the Senate floor Wednesday, Shaheen had strong words for her colleagues across the aisle, including fellow U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, of New Hampshire, who insists that the next elected president should nominate the next justice.” 

According to NHPR, Senator Shaheen said, “Our oath doesn’t say uphold the constitution most of the time, or only when it’s not a presidential election year, or only when it’s convenient for us, or only when we like ideology that’s being presented to us… Our oath says uphold and defend the constitution.” 

But NH1 says that Ayotte was not dissuaded. She “dug in behind her leadership, saying that she as well wouldn’t meet with anyone nominated by the President,” and said “she’s not concerned about criticism from her opponent, other Democratic groups, or even from the editorial boards of some of New Hampshire’s newspapers.” 

The Union Leader reported that, “It’s going to be difficult for President Barack Obama to find Republican senators to meet with his nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she is not going to be one of them. In an interview with Politico on Wednesday, Ayotte said abstaining from a sit-down meeting with a prospective Supreme Court justice would be consistent with her position that the nomination should not be dealt with until after a new President is inaugurated.”

Video from NH Democratic Party

This all comes as Boston.com writes that, “the New Hampshire senator’s decision to align herself with her Republican colleagues in refusing to take action on a potential Supreme Court nominee, according to a poll out Wednesday, is not helping her chances. At a two-to-one rate, Granite Staters say Ayotte’s stance on the issue make them less likely to vote for her, according to a new Public Policy Polling poll.” 

WMUR also covered this new polling, saying “On the Supreme Court nomination controversy, [Ayotte]’s in line with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and most of her fellow Senate Republicans. Ayotte joined most of the GOP senators in saying the Senate should refuse to consider a nominee offered by Obama to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. And now, a new survey…shows that 51 percent of Granite Staters say they would be less likely to vote for her if she “refused to confirm a replacement for Justice Scalia, no matter who it was.””

Trump / Ayotte / Sununu Ticket Would Be A Disaster For Granite Staters

CONCORD, N.H. – Today, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley held a press call to highlight the far-right positions and unelectability of a Trump/Sununu/Ayotte Republican ticket. As Donald Trump continues to win primaries in early states and lead in the polls elsewhere, Chairman Buckley discussed what his ascendency will mean for Chris Sununu, Kelly Ayotte, and Granite Staters come November.  

Below are excerpts from his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President would not only be a disaster for Granite Staters who want to keep their affordable health care or the right to make their own health care decisions, and for those of us who want their politicians to act on climate change or at least simply acknowledge it’s happening – but it would also be a complete disaster for New Hampshire Republicans like Kelly Ayotte and Chris Sununu who want to be elected in November.”   

“Establishment Republicans are lining up to denounce Trump—including Chris Sununu’s own father—but Ayotte and Sununu have remained silent. It’s clear they’re willing to hitch their wagons to a candidate running on fear, anger and hatred.”

“On women’s right to make their own decisions and have access to health care, Trump believes ‘Planned Parenthood should absolutely be de-funded,’ Ayotte has voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood, and Sununu cast the deciding vote to strip Planned Parenthood’s funding here in New Hampshire. Now just today an article came out on NH1 where Chris doubles down on defunding Planned Parenthood and at the same time, calls himself ‘pro-choice.’  Well, I have news for him: you don’t get to strip healthcare from thousands of Granite State women and call yourself pro-choice.”

“On affordable health care for Granite Staters, Trump – like every other Republican running for President, wants to repeal the Medicaid expansion – just as Kelly Ayotte voted to repeal New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion and Chris Sununu bragged about his efforts to kill Medicaid expansion, saying ‘I fought to make sure it didn’t even come to the table.’”

“The Union Leader blasted Republicans’ silence on Trump this week saying, ‘Trump threatens to destroy all before him.’ But it’s not just Democrats and Ed boards saying this. Former NHGOP chair Fergus Cullen said, ‘If Donald Trump is the nominee, Kelly Ayotte might as well resign because it’s all over.’ And Sununu’s father knows he’s in trouble too: ‘Here in New Hampshire, if Donald Trump is the nominee, we will not get a Republican governor. We will lose the New Hampshire state Senate, and we could lose the New Hampshire state House… and we could lose Sen. [Kelly] Ayotte.’”

“Donald Trump would be a disaster for America and for the Granite State, but he’s also a disaster for Kelly Ayotte and Chris Sununu’s electoral chances.  They would rather keep their agreements with Trump’s extreme policies out of public view, but it’s looking more and more every day like they won’t have that chance.”

#DoYourJob — Shaheen Addresses SCOTUS Vacancy on the Senate Floor

 “Let’s do the job we were sent here to do by the American people”

Also calls on her colleagues in the Senate to “follow the Constitution” and “respect our oath of office” 

(Washington, DC) – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) took to the Senate floor to respond to the refusal by the Senate Majority to hold a hearing on any Supreme Court nominee put forward by the President. Shaheen noted in her speech, the long bipartisan tradition of considering Supreme Court nominees during election years. She also called on her colleagues Senators to stick to their oath of office:

“Our oath does not say: uphold the Constitution ‘most of the time’ or ‘only when it’s not a Presidential election year.’”

“The American people expect Senators to be faithful to our oath. They also expect us to do our jobs – regardless of whether it is an election year.” 

“Let’s respect our oath of office. Let’s do the job we were sent here to do by the American people. Let’s follow the Constitution.”

 

You can watch Senator Shaheen’s full remarks here.

New England Senators Introduce Sexual Assault Survivors Rights Legislation in the Senate

Woman in Tunnel (Blondinrikard Fröberg FLIKR)

Woman in Tunnel (Blondinrikard Fröberg FLIKR)

The Sexual Assault Survivors Act will improve the care and treatment of sexual assault survivors, and empower them to pursue justice

(Washington, DC)—Today, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), introduced legislation that codifies basic rights for survivors of sexual assault. The Sexual Assault Survivors Act builds on the success of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act to address unique challenges faced by sexual assault survivors, particularly regarding notice, access, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits.  The bill would empower survivors to make more informed decisions throughout the criminal justice process by supporting state efforts to better notify survivors of available resources as well as applicable state rights and policies.  Finally, the bill would establish a joint Department of Justice and Health and Human Services working group to more effectively implement best practices regarding the care and treatment of survivors across the country.

Currently, depending on the jurisdiction, sexual assault survivors often experience a complex and cryptic maze of policies that deter them from pursuing justice. The authors of this legislation worked closely with Rise, a national nonprofit, led by Amanda Nguyen, a sexual assault survivor who has bravely shared her harrowing experience with the criminal justice system.

“Without a clear set of rights articulated in the law, it’s difficult for even the best law enforcement professionals to ensure that survivors receive fair, effective, consistent treatment, particularly across counties and states,” said Shaheen. “We have to do better.  Our goal with this legislation is to change the culture around how sexual assault survivors are treated in our criminal justice system.  We have to create an environment where survivors feel like the system is working for them, not against.  Amanda and other brave survivors like her, have worked hard to put these issues on the nation’s agenda and now it’s time for Congress to take action.” 

“When a survivor of sexual assault engages the criminal justice system, she must be secure in her rights and empowered to make informed decisions,” Blumenthal said. “Reporting sexual assault requires incredible courage — and the system must be worthy of that bravery. Too often, survivors are not told what is happening in their cases, find that vital evidence was destroyed without their consent, or encounter byzantine procedural barriers to justice. This bill represents an important step toward a system that mirrors unsparing prosecution of people who commit these heinous offenses with sensitive, consistent, and fair treatment of survivors.”

“Too often, survivors of sexual assault feel abandoned by our criminal justice system,” said Leahy. “Time and again we have seen how their cases are not taken seriously, how evidence is not preserved or tested in their cases. This is unacceptable. I am proud of the work we have done to ensure their voices are heard through the Debbie Smith Act, the Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and now the Sexual Assault Survivors Rights Act.  Survivors of sexual assault must be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

“Justice for sexual assault survivors should not depend on geography,” said Amanda Nguyen, founder and president of Rise. “This federal Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, which brings together common sense best practices, is the first step to having uniform basic rights for survivors across the country.” 

Some key rights established by the bill include:

  • The right to have a sexual assault evidence collection kit preserved for the entire relevant statute of limitations.
  • The right to be notified in writing 60 days prior to the destruction of a sexual assault evidence collection kit.
  • The right to request further preservation of a sexual assault evidence collection kit.
  • The right to be informed of important results of a sexual assault forensic examination.

The bill has been endorsed by RAINN, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN), Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations (CFSO), NH Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the VT Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. 

The bill text is available here.

 

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