Idea of the Day: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act Is Invaluable to Our Democracy


centerforAmericanProgresslogo repost …

Posted On February 19, 2013

On February 27 the U.S. Supreme Court  heard arguments in the case Shelby County v. Holder, a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This landmark law outlawed discriminatory voting practices by ending the disfranchisement of minority voters and preventing vote dilution through racial gerrymandering and other techniques that negate the minority vote when the white majority votes as a block.

Section 5 furthers these goals by requiring nine full states and parts of seven other states with a history of racial discrimination in voting to ask either the Department of Justice or a three-judge court in Washington, D.C., for approval before making any changes to voting laws—a process known as preclearance. Congress determined the jurisdictions originally covered under Section 5 by using a plan laid out in the Voting Rights Act and also created a scheme for states to “bail out” of coverage if they have complied with the Voting Rights Act for 10 years.

 

WethePeople For more on this topic, please see:

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Top 10 Reasons We Need to Defeat Chris Christie :::::: repost


 chrischristie
   By Staff writer on
Emily’slist.org
Speculation is already running rampant around the 2016 presidential race and we’ve barely had a chance to think about the upcoming 2014 midterm elections. But before those come to pass, there are a few big races in 2013 that you need to know about — including the race for governor in New Jersey. Chris Christie is running for reelection, and we don’t need to tell you that what happens in this race could have major implications for the 2016 Republican primary, not to mention the general election. This could be the year we stop Chris Christie in his tracks. He’s been a disaster as governor, especially for New Jersey women and their families.

Here are the top 10 reasons we need to defeat Chris Christie this November.

10. Chris Christie Vetoed Same-Sex Marriage:  With the tide in America turning against bigotry and discrimination, and in one of the most solidly blue states in the country, Christie vetoed a bill sent to him by both houses of the New Jersey legislature that would enshrine marriage equality into law.

9. Chris Christie Is No Friend to Workers:  Christie has built himself a reputation as one of the most anti-union governors in the country, referring to public school teachers as “thugs” and supporting a bill that would “destroy collective bargaining.”

8. Chris Christie Doesn’t Believe in Universal Pre-K:  Not only does Christie oppose government-funded preschool for every child in his state, he attacked his predecessor’s plan as “simply wrong” and called it “government babysit[ting].”

7. Chris Christie Misuses State Funds:  At a cost of $2,500 an hour, Christie used a state helicopter for personal travel. Probably not the use taxpayers had in mind.

6. Chris Christie Supports the Ryan Budget:  Paul Ryan’s proposed federal budget would end Medicare as we know it, but Christie joined ultraconservative governors like Texas’s Rick Perry, Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, and Virginia’s Bob McDonnell to tell Ryan that his budget was what “voters clearly asked for.”

5. Chris Christie Vetoed a Hike in the Minimum Wage: Just last month, Christie vetoed a bill passed by the legislature that would raise the minimum wage in New Jersey — a state with the third-highest cost of living in the nation — from $7.25 an hour to $8.50, and index it to the consumer price index so it grows with inflation. Christie proposed a smaller increase, phased in over more time, which would not be indexed.

4. Chris Christie Vetoed Equal Pay Legislation : Christie isn’t shy about much, and that includes the use of his veto pen. He vetoed three of four bills passed by the legislature designed to outlaw pay discrimination against women in the workplace and called them “senseless bureaucracy.”

3. Chris Christie Targeted Poor Families in His Budget:  It’s no surprise that Christie is a fan of Paul Ryan’s budget once you look at his own. His budget cut aid for tuition, for a center for abused children, for legal services, and for transitional aid to some of New Jersey’s neediest communities. When asked about the cuts, he said “I don’t care.”

2. Chris Christie Cut Funding to Family Planning Organizations:  Christie got out his veto pen again for a budget that would have given $7.5 million to family planning organizations in the state, including Planned Parenthood. He blocked attempts to restore the funding, even using a line-item veto specifically to target women’s health in New Jersey.

1. Chris Christie Is Proudly:  Anti-Choice Christie has declared himself against the side of women’s reproductive rights and on the side of those who would deny them, saying “I am pro-life.” We can’t trust Chris Christie, not in New Jersey, and certainly not in the White House. This November may be our best chance to stop his ambitions.

Washington​: Stop the approval of GMO apples! a repost


I’m Peter Stocker of the organization Friends of the Earth, and I started a petition to U.S. Department of Agriculture, which says:

The USDA should not approve the genetically engineered Arctic apple. 

If approved by the USDA, genetically engineered apples could end up everywhere from school lunches to grocery stores, posing risks to our health, our environment, and apple farmers across the U.S.

Unlabeled genetically engineered apples could contaminate conventional and organic foods, including fruit slices, juice, baby foods, and applesauce—products predominantly consumed by children and babies, who are at increased risk for any adverse health effects.

GMO apples may contaminate nearby organic and conventional apple orchards and could potentially cause valuable export markets to reject U.S.-grown apples, as happened in the past when wheat and rice crops were found to be contaminated by GMOs. The U.S. Apple Association, Northwest Horticultural Council, British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association, and other apple grower groups have repeatedly stated their disapproval of these GE apples due to the negative impact they could have on farmers growing organic and non-GE apples and the apple industry as a whole.

This product is unnecessary and poses numerous risks to apple growers, the food industry, and consumers. The USDA should not approve this genetically engineered apple.

The USDA is poised to approve the first genetically modified apple. 

If approved, these genetically engineered apples could end up everywhere from school lunches to grocery stores, posing risks to our health, our environment, and apple farmers across the United States.

Like other GMOs, they won’t be labeled and won’t have undergone independent safety testing—regulators will rely on the company’s sole assessment that the apple is safe for human consumption. 

Worse yet, this GMO apple was genetically engineered via a new, virtually untested experimental technique called RNA interference, which many scientists are concerned may have negative, unintended impacts on human health and the environment.

We need your help today, right now, to tell the USDA to say no to GMO apples.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thanks!

–Peter Stocker

FDA Partners With Veterinary Labs to Help Animals


 

03/26/2014 12:05 PM EDT
FDA has formed a web of veterinary labs to assist one another in detecting potentially harmful substances in animal foods and tissues. FDA research biologist Renate Reimschuessel, pictured above, started the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), and has grown the program to 34 state and university veterinary laboratories across the country.

Read the Consumer Update to learn more about what this FDA network is doing to keep pets safe.

Paid Sick Time Ballot Initiative​s Win Big in Tuesday’s Election


A Better Balance the work and family legal center.
Paid Sick Time Ballot Initiatives Win Big in Tuesday’s Election
On Tuesday, paid sick time was on the ballot in 4 elections, and we won all of them! Massachusetts is now the 3rd state to guarantee paid sick time statewide, which is wonderful news for the nearly 1 million workers in the state who currently lack paid sick time. Two cities in NJ, Montclair and Trenton, passed paid sick time laws, bringing the total number of cities in NJ with such laws to 8 (all passed in the last year!). And in California, voters in Oakland passed an expansive paid sick time ballot measure. We’re especially thrilled with the huge margins of support for each ballot initiative: approximately 60% of the vote in Massachusetts, 85% in Montclair, 75% in Trenton, and 81% in Oakland.
A Better Balance has provided legal research, bill drafting, and other technical support to all of these campaigns and can’t wait to build on the incredible momentum from these wins. But we couldn’t do it without such incredible supporters and campaign partners! For background and to learn more about these 4 paid sick time ballot initiatives, check out our recent blog post.
The Pregnancy Penalty: How Motherhood Drives Inequality & Poverty in New York City
In Case You Missed It
October was also an exciting and busy month for ABB’s efforts on behalf of pregnant workers.   The New York Times’ Rachel Swarns featured our client, Angelica Valencia, in “The Working Life Column,” which garnered over 800 reader comments and an offer from Angelica’s employer to reinstate her.  Our latest report—The Pregnancy Penalty: How Motherhood Drives Inequality and Poverty in New York City—was featured, along with ABB Co-President Dina Bakst and ABB Community Advocate Award recipient, Armanda Legros, on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC.  And our new website resource for pregnant and parenting workers was highlighted in the New York Times and Washington Post.  We’re thrilled to see the media focusing on this issue and expect the coverage to continue next month as the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of Peggy Young v. UPS. Stay tuned!