PEG 6th Congressional District Newsletter 311
Judge Janet Protasiewicz wins in Wisconsin Supreme Court seat
The election of Judge Protasiewicz has determined the seven-person Wisconsin court majority. Per Simon Rosenberg of the Hopium Chronicles, “…Judge Protasiewicz got that to magic number, 55%, in what may be the single most important battleground state in the county.”
At stake in Wisconsin are maintaining outlandishly drawn electoral maps, voting rights, abortion access, and marriage equality. Political scientists judge Wisconsin to be the most gerrymandered state in the country.
Dan Kelly, her opponent, supported the heavily gerrymandered district maps and was supported by anti-abortion groups. Protasiewicz has called those maps “rigged” and supports abortion rights. Her election switches the political orientation of the court for the first time in 15 years. This court will likely take up cases relating to the state’s abortion ban, extreme gerrymandering, and voting rules for the 2024 presidential election.
The big takeaway is that we must continue this work and not be complacent. Every election is significant, federal, state, and local.
We must stay in ACTION, ACTION, ACTION
Michigan overturns the Right to Work Law
In a landmark decision, Michigan has overturned the controversial 2012 GOP law that allowed workers to choose not to join unions or pay union dues as a condition of employment, even if the union represents them in negotiations. Passage of this law was a significant victory for labor unions and workers’ right advocates.
Act No. 8 Acts of 2023, approved by the Governor March 24, 2023 goes into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends, as Democrats didn’t have the two-thirds support necessary for the bills to take effect immediately upon signing.
Along with the right-to-work repeal, which applies to private-sector workers, Michigan lawmakers passed legislation MI HB4004 (23R) that would apply to public-sector jobs in the event the U.S. Supreme Court revisited its 2018 Janus decision, which held that requiring non-union public employees to pay agency fees to unions was unconstitutional.
In addition, the legislature restored a construction-industry “prevailing wage” law the GOP repealed in 2018. The prevailing wage bill approved will restore a law that guarantees union-scale wages and benefits on any government-funded construction project, including at schools.
Proponents of the changes argue that it will restore the bargaining power of unions and improve working conditions. Opponents believe that this may deter business investments and stifle job growth. Both sides have studies that support their opinions.
Ron Bieber, President of Michigan AFL-CIO, said in a statement, “After decades of anti-worker attacks, Michigan has restored the balance of power for working people by passing laws to protect their freedom to bargain for the good wages, good benefits, and safe workplaces they deserve.” These laws indeed signify a major shift in the state’s labor landscape.
Wednesday, April 12. VNP National Popular Vote Discussion
Join an expert panel to learn about National Popular Vote, a movement to guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
National Popular Vote ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. This reform is a state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the president is elected. Discussion hosted by Voters Not Politicians. RSVP HERE. 6–7 pm
Thursday, April 13. How to Talk to Your Legislator about Bail Reform
Join this virtual webinar to learn how you can successfully reach your lawmaker and get them to listen and act. RSVP and more info HERE. Throughout Michigan, it is common for judges to require people who have been arrested to pay bail. If they can’t pay, they remain in jail while they await trial, even for very minor charges. Consequently, tens of thousands of Michiganders – presumed innocent – are locked up for days, weeks, and even months before they have been tried or convicted of any crime. With your help, we can make Michigan’s criminal legal system more just. 6–8 pm
Monday, April 17. Correcting Injustice – The Power of Clemency
Former Oregon Governor Kate Brown will sit on an expert panel with Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit and Michael Thompson a man who served 25 years for the sale of marijuana before having his own 60-100 year sentence commuted by Governor Whitmer. The panel will be moderated by criminal justice reform advocate, author, actor, and activist Hill Harper.
Register here: https://fb.me/e/Usel91T2. University of Michigan Law School, Hutchins Hall, 625 State Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109. 5–7:30 pm
Tuesday, April 25. School Funding Advocacy Day in Lansing
Join the Michigan Education Justice Coalition to get commitments from legislators for more funding. RSVP here. Central United Methodist Church, 215 N. Capitol Ave, Lansing, 48933. 9 am – 4 pm
Thursday, April 27. Campaign Finance Reform Lobby Day
A total of $16 Billion was spent in the 2020 presidential election cycle, up from $5.4 Billion spent in the previous 2016 presidential election! Constituents from all across the state will lobby their state legislators to make campaign finance reform a key priority this year. We will urge legislators to prioritize passing legislation to get secret money out of politics, end money laundering in our elections, and ensure that legislators are able to place reasonable limits on campaign spending. Join us in person to Lansing to lobby their legislators together on this day. For further information contact Reclaim Our American Democracy (ROAD) via email at email@example.com
Visit the PEG Events Page for all upcoming events at www.equalityingov.org/events!
Things to do, read, watch, and listen to
Fewer bullets fired means more lives could be saved. So why is this not being legislated into law?
Mandating smaller magazines would force mass shooters to pause to reload, allowing people to flee or fight back.
Anna Lefkowitz of the Washington Post reports that while most states do not limit magazine sizes, within the past year, lawmakers in four states have added restrictions capping magazine sizes. Such efforts, however, face growing legal challenges from gun rights advocates — and the issue could ultimately wind up with the Supreme Court ruling on a pivotal question: whether the right to bear arms extends to these ammunition magazines.
Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, a pro-firearms organization mounting several legal challenges to magazine restrictions. “We think the Second Amendment wins on this every time now.” “The Second Amendment, which I support and I respect, makes no mention of ammunition,” said Rhode Island state Rep. Justine Caldwell (D), who sponsored a ban that passed last summer. “Nobody has a constitutional right to a 100-round magazine.”
A bit of History; When Congress passed the federal assault weapons ban in 1994, it also prohibited magazines with more than 10 rounds. When the weapons ban expired in 2004, that restriction was also lifted. Now, in a country with an estimated 400 million guns, there are also millions of magazines with at least 30 rounds, according to gun rights groups and court filings.
Help Michigan Resistance make calls
They will be calling constituents to ask Michiganders to call their senators and representatives to support common sense gun legislation bills over the next few weeks. If you’re interested in helping, text Terryl Sperlich at 810-516-0923 and tell her A2D2 sent you. Ann Arbor inDivisible for Democracy
Voice Your Opinions and Concerns – It’s Easy to Email your Representative
The Democracy Labs provides information on how to determine and contact your state representative to voice your opinion/concerns. There is even an email for you to copy and send.
American Rescue Plan (ARPA) saves Foreclosure for many in Detroit
The Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF), a new federally funded state program, provided more than $12 million to Detroit homeowners who were behind on their property taxes. Funded by ARPA, this allowed 4,200 Detroit home occupants to avoid foreclosure.
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