This is PEG’s 300th newsletter issue…
and we are just beginning!
Three significant bills for equality and fairness pass in 2022
Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022
On July 20, 2022, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the bill, which revises the process of casting and counting electoral votes for presidential elections as well as provisions related to the presidential transition process. The bill was signed by the President on December 23, 2022.
The experience of January 6, 2021 demonstrated that the Electoral Count Act of 1887 left much room for interpretation. The changes with the new law are significant. The new law:
- clarifies that the role of the Vice – President in presiding over the session opening the electoral ballots as simply a “ministerial” role.
- raises the threshold for Congress to object and debate whether to accept a slate of electors from a state from one member of congress to a one-fifth vote from both houses.
- streamlines the submission of electors to Congress from each state by recognizing the state’s governor as the only one who can submit the certificate of ascertainment of a state’s electors and no other state official unless that official is otherwise identified in the state’s law or constitution
- provides for quicker judicial review by prioritizing suits from candidates who may want to challenge a certification of electors with a direct and quicker appeal to the Supreme Court.
- strikes from the statutes a law that allowed states to declare a “failed election.”
This article explains the Electoral College as well as the changes to the Act..
The vote: Senate (12/22/22) 68 – 29: House (12/23/22) 225-201. Ballotpedia provides the voter specifics.
Pregnancy Persons Fairness Act
After more than a decade’s worth of attempts, Congress finally passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) in December 2022 as part of the $1.7 trillion government funding bill which takes effect on June 27, 2023.
PWFA expressly requires employers with at least 15 employees to treat qualified employees with pregnancy-related restrictions precisely as they treat qualified employees with disabilities, providing reasonable accommodations unless doing so would pose an undue hardship on the operation of the business.
Whether the PWFA represents a change from the status quo will vary by state. Since 2000, when Congress declined to pass additional protections for pregnant employees, more than thirty states have passed protections that exceed the federal requirements under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) passed in 1978.
The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act
The “PUMP Act”, passed in December 2022, closes some loopholes in the original 2010 law and goes into effect on April 28, 2023. The law applies to employers of ALL sizes and requires a reasonable amount of break time and a clean, private space for lactating workers to express milk for up to one year following the birth of the employee’s child. The pumping space cannot be a bathroom.
The law expands the legal right to receive pumping breaks and private space to nearly nine million more workers, including teachers, registered nurses, farmworkers, and many others and clarifies that pumping time counts as time worked when calculating minimum wage and overtime if an employee is not completely relieved from their work duties during the pumping break.
Saturday, January 21. Senator Jeff Irwin Coffee Hour
Plug into what’s happening in the legislature and in our communities and talk about the issues that most affect you! To receive zoom details please fill out this form by 5:00 PM on 1/20/22: https://senatedems.com/irwin/coffee-hour-sign-up/. 11 am
A weekly MUST – Zoom Wednesdays – America At A Crossroads
Zoom the virtual conversation series with the country’s most renowned names in political analysis, journalism, and politics – America At A Crossroads. Guests include Minxin Pei, Larry Diamond, Russian Amb. Michael McFaul, Rep Adam Schiff, and David Brooks, among others. 8-9 pm ET
Sunday, January 29. Conversations with Deepak Piru
Whether you are interested in winning elections, supporting people who are or wanting to get elected officials to do your bidding, you will want to hear Chuck interview Deepak Piru. Learn how artificial intelligence is being used to influence you for good or for evil. Also, you will meet a fascinating man who resigned from his executive positions in Silicon Valley to work pro bono helping progressive causes and candidates win with leading edge technologies. 7:30 pm
ign the Petition TODAY! Stop Appointment of an Anti-Masker as Ottawa County Health Officer! ACTION ITEM: Sign the petition to Elizabeth Hertel, Director of MDHHS, to state your opposition to the appointment of Nate Kelly as Administrative Health Officer of the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. He advocates against widely accepted and scientifically sound COVID-19 mitigations and medical practices. Action Network is looking for 500 more signatures. For more info and to sign the petition, click here.
Call Your Senators (find yours here)
Hi, I’m a constituent calling from [zip]. My name is ______.
I understand Republicans in the House just passed a bill that would defund the IRS. I want the Senator to vehemently oppose it when it comes to the floor there. The IRS has been starved of funding because rich tax cheats like Donald Trump and Elon Musk have avoided paying their fair share. It’s unacceptable. Also, this bill would add 114 billion to the deficit. No way. Please make sure this bill dies on the Senate floor. Thanks.
Being truthful about the state of our nation and world does not equal losing hope. Hope sees truth and still believes in better. That which dismisses or does not seek truth, but grins, saying “It will be okay,” is naïveté, not hope. — Bernice King
National Debt FAQ’s
What is the national debt?
The national debt (31.38T) is the total amount of outstanding borrowing by the US Government accumulated over the nation’s history. The US has carried debt since its inception. Debts incurred during the American Revolution amounted to $75, primarily borrowed for domestic investors and the French Government for war materials. For a full explanation of the national debt, click US Treasury.
What is the “debt ceiling?”
In a statute passed in 1917 the U.S. Treasury was authorized to borrow money to pay the government’s bills that have become due and pay for future investments. Once the debt ceiling is reached, the federal government cannot increase the amount of outstanding debt, losing the ability to pay bills and fund programs and services.
What are the “extraordinary measures” that Treasury Secretary Yellen can employ to avoid reaching the debt ceiling is reached?
The Treasury Department can prioritize payments in ways that offer it more wiggle room for a limited amount of time, thus extending the time before it breaches the debt ceiling. Sec’y Yellen has indicated that by early June the extraordinary measures will likely run out. (-Washington Post)
What happens if the debt ceiling is reached and the US doesn’t pay interest on its debts?
Last year, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi predicted that a default “would wipe out as many as 6 million jobs and erase $15 trillion in household wealth.” (–
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