Political State – Milwaukee County First http://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/ Tue, 10 May 2022 10:12:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-7-1.png Political State – Milwaukee County First http://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/ 32 32 Don’t let political revenge dictate budget vetoes https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/dont-let-political-revenge-dictate-budget-vetoes/ Tue, 10 May 2022 09:39:43 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/dont-let-political-revenge-dictate-budget-vetoes/ Dissent is essential to democracy. Punishing dissent is essential for the Ron DeSantis brand. Just ask Disney, who is dealing with the loss of the special district that allowed him to stand out for municipal services. Ask faculty members at state universities who are facing tenure issues. Or ask school board members in 12 counties, […]]]>

Dissent is essential to democracy.

Punishing dissent is essential for the Ron DeSantis brand.

Just ask Disney, who is dealing with the loss of the special district that allowed him to stand out for municipal services. Ask faculty members at state universities who are facing tenure issues. Or ask school board members in 12 counties, including Orange and Brevard and elsewhere, who faced threats and retaliation for insisting on protecting students with COVID-19 mask mandates.

When challenged, DeSantis goes on a rampage. That’s what bullies do.

This is what makes the governor’s use of the per-item veto power in the new budget worth watching.

The Florida Legislature will soon send DeSantis a $112.1 billion budget. It is by far the largest in state history and represents an increase in spending of about 20% in the past two years alone. The budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year was $92.2 billion. So much for fiscal conservatism among ruling Republicans in Tallahassee.

With an irresistible federal windfall of billions from President Joe Biden’s US bailout, state lawmakers have gone on a spending spree with our money like never before. They still had enough to hand out lavish tax breaks to the state’s largest and wealthiest corporations and pocket $8 billion in reserves.

On a positive note, state employees will get 5.4% wage increases, every state employee will earn at least $15 an hour, and teachers and first responders will get pay raises. special salary. But lawmakers couldn’t find enough money for more than a month of gas tax relief for cash-strapped motorists, and they stubbornly refused again to expand Medicaid for help the uninsured.

The budget headed to DeSantis’ office is stuffed with a record number of district-tailored projects from individual lawmakers — more than 1,200 projects in total worth $2.8 billion, according to the annual report on ” Florida TaxWatch’s budget turkeys. That’s about twice as many member projects as in the current budget, and as many as all of the total projects in the last five budgets combined, TaxWatch found.

The new budget includes a $106 million research park in Pasco County, the home of Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson, and a $35 million sports complex in Pasco that would be a future spring training home for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Other projects are brick-and-mortar, like a new $3.5 million police station in South Miami, or for a range of worthy human services such as $1 million for access to health care. for veterans at clinics operated by Nova Southeastern University in Broward.

Project Nova appears to be politically safe because its sponsor was Senator Manny Diaz Jr., a Republican from Hialeah who was just picked by DeSantis as Florida’s new commissioner of education.

Each bill is named after a lawmaker, and dozens of other bills vetoed by the article are championed by Democratic lawmakers who also voted against its priorities, such as a 15-week abortion ban, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” a new election police force, a path to censorship of textbooks and library books, and a racist congressional redistricting map that eliminates two black access districts.

The line veto is DeSantis’ weapon to exact revenge on these Democratic dissidents by punishing them and their constituents in their wallets.

But DeSantis won’t have many opportunities to vent his anger at Orange County, which is almost entirely represented by Democrats. This was evident in the handful of member projects his delegation managed to win.

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Do you think that’s right? Consider this: Orange County is second only to Miami-Dade County in the amount of sales tax revenue it collects. He sent nearly $307 million to Tallahassee in March alone. For simple reasons of economic justice, the county deserved far more than it was allocated.

Yet there are fears that local projects are being targeted. Several Democratic lawmakers, outraged by the Congressional map, staged a House sit-in on April 21 that briefly delayed floor votes. Among the protesters: Representatives Tray McCurdy, Anna Eskamani, Carlos Guillermo-Smith and Daisy Morales, who each represent a portion of Orange County. Of the four, only one – Morales – managed to get member projects on budget. If any of his credits are vetoed, will anyone wonder why?

According to a detailed House staff spreadsheet provided to the Sun Sentinel, the vast majority of member projects have been sponsored by Republicans, with $457 million out of $483 million, an incredible 95% of the total. Room.

That level of imbalance is wrong in a chamber of the House where more than a third of Florida’s population lives in districts represented by Democrats — and each district has roughly the same number of Floridians. But that’s no surprise in this era of hyper-partisan, top-down governance in Tallahassee.

Certainly, there is waste in this budget. DeSantis has a duty to remove it, especially drafts that have escaped scrutiny or been inserted by a single powerful legislator.

But every one of his article rejections should be justified by sound politics, not politics. Dissent is essential in a democracy, especially with this governor.

The Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board includes Managing Editor Julie Anderson, Opinion Editor Krys Fluker, Viewpoints Managing Editor Jay Reddick, and El Sentinel Managing Editor Jennifer Marcial Ocasio. The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board is comprised of Editorial Page Editor Steve Bousquet, Editorial Page Associate Editor Dan Sweeney, and Anderson. To contact us, email insight@orlandosentinel.com.

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BACKGROUNDER: US, G7 Partners Impose High Costs for Putin’s War on Ukraine https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/backgrounder-us-g7-partners-impose-high-costs-for-putins-war-on-ukraine/ Sun, 08 May 2022 16:00:00 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/backgrounder-us-g7-partners-impose-high-costs-for-putins-war-on-ukraine/ President Biden and G7 leaders meet with President Zelenskyy to continue our efforts to support Ukraine and take advantage of our unprecedented sanctions and export controls Today, President Biden and G7 leaders met with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine to reinforce our shared commitment to strengthening Ukraine’s position on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. […]]]>

President Biden and G7 leaders meet with President Zelenskyy to continue our efforts to support Ukraine and take advantage of our unprecedented sanctions and export controls

Today, President Biden and G7 leaders met with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine to reinforce our shared commitment to strengthening Ukraine’s position on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.

Our unprecedented sanctions are already weighing heavily on the Russian economy and our export controls have strangled Russia’s access to critical technologies and supply chains it needs to support its military ambitions. Putin’s war is set to wipe out the last 15 years of economic gains in Russia. Due to our export controls, Russia is struggling to replenish its weapons and military equipment. Russia’s two main tank factories – Uralvagonzavod Corporation and Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant – stopped work due to lack of foreign components. Nearly 1,000 private sector companies have left Russia and reports indicate that more than 200,000 Russians, many of them highly skilled, have fled the country. All of these costs will accumulate and intensify over time.

Putin failed in his original military goal of dominating Ukraine – but he succeeded in making Russia a global pariah. Today, the United States, the European Union, and the G7 have committed to increasing these costs by collectively taking additional action, consistent with each partner’s respective authorities and legal processes.

Targeting state-controlled media in Russia that bolsters Putin’s war. The United States will sanction three of the most watched directly or indirectly state-controlled Russian television channels in Russia – Joint Stock Company Channel One Russia, Television Station Russia-1 and Joint Stock Company NTV Broadcasting Company. The three stations have been among the largest recipients of foreign revenue, which trickles down to Russian state revenue.

Ban services that help fund Putin’s war and avoid sanctions. The United States will prohibit U.S. persons from providing accounting, trust, and business formation and management consulting services to anyone in the Russian Federation. These services are essential for Russian corporations and elites who create wealth, thereby generating revenue for Putin’s war machine, and attempt to hide that wealth and evade sanctions. This measure builds on previous bans aimed at restricting the export of goods related to the aerospace, marine, electronics, technology, defense and related materials sectors of the Russian economy. .

Cut Russian oil imports and reduce dependence on Russian energy. The United States has already banned the import of Russian oil, gas and coal. Today, the entire G7 has pledged to phase out or ban the import of Russian oil. This will hit the main artery of Putin’s economy hard and deprive him of the revenue he needs to fund his war. The G7 also pledged to work together to ensure a stable global energy supply, while accelerating our efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Imposing new export controls and sanctions to degrade Russia’s war efforts. The United States will issue a new rule that imposes additional restrictions on Russia’s industrial sector, including a wide range of inputs and products, including wood products, industrial engines, boilers, motors, fans and ventilation equipment, bulldozers and many other items for industrial use. and commercial applications. These new controls will further limit Russia’s access to items and revenue that could support its military capabilities. The United States also sanctioned the limited liability company Promtekhnologiya, which produces rifles and other weapons that have been used in military operations in Ukraine; seven shipping companies, which own or operate 69 vessels; and a marine towing company. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will also suspend general licenses for exports of source materials, special nuclear materials, by-products and deuterium to Russia.

Imposing sanctions on Russian elites and their family members and visa restrictions on Russian and Belarusian officials who undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence. The United States has imposed approximately 2,600 visa restrictions on Russian and Belarusian officials in response to its continued efforts to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence. In addition, the United States has issued a new visa restriction policy that applies to Russian Federation military officials and alleged Russian-backed or Russian-installed authorities who are suspected of involvement in human rights violations, violations of international humanitarian law or public corruption in Ukraine. The United States also sanctioned eight executives of Sberbank – Russia’s largest financial institution and of unique importance to the Russian economy, holding around a third of all banking assets in Russia; twenty-seven executives from Gazprombank – a major Russian bank that facilitates the business of the Russian company Gazprom, one of the largest natural gas exporters in the world; and Moscow Industrial Bank and its ten subsidiaries.

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Bar association threatens judge with ‘Not recommended’ rating for ‘political’ quiz https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/bar-association-threatens-judge-with-not-recommended-rating-for-political-quiz/ Sun, 01 May 2022 13:06:08 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/bar-association-threatens-judge-with-not-recommended-rating-for-political-quiz/ A conservative judge running for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court says the state’s bar association threatened him with a ‘Not recommended’ rating if he didn’t complete his ‘political’ questionnaire on diversity and LGBT issues. Judge John A. Noverini was elected to the 16th Circuit Court of Illinois in 2008. In 2014, the Illinois […]]]>

A conservative judge running for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court says the state’s bar association threatened him with a ‘Not recommended’ rating if he didn’t complete his ‘political’ questionnaire on diversity and LGBT issues.

Judge John A. Noverini was elected to the 16th Circuit Court of Illinois in 2008. In 2014, the Illinois State Bar Association gave him a “Recommended” rating, but now he threatens to publicly announce that he is “Not recommended” if he fails to complete the panel’s questionnaire to assess judicial candidates.

Judge Noverini told the association that he would not participate in its review this year because he has a conflict of interest in having the endorsement of a group that represents lawyers. He also said threatening judges to take the quiz — or get a “Not Recommended” rating — is a form of “bullying.”

“In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the judicial assessment process has become politicized,” he said in a letter to the Illinois State Bar Association last month.

As a result, the group informed Judge Noverini that it would make its memo public on May 6.

“Because you chose not to participate in the judicial evaluation process, the Illinois State Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Committee has rated you ‘not recommended’ for the position of judge of the Supreme Court,” reads an April 29 email from an association official to the judge.

According to the questionnaire shared with The Washington Times, the Illinois State Bar Association reviews candidates for the Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Court of Appeals. He will publish the notes to the public before the elections.

This year’s primary election is scheduled for June 28, and Republicans have a chance of winning a majority on the state’s highest court – four of seven seats.

Judge Noverini objected to filling out the form, saying several issues appear to have a political agenda.

Issues at issue include:

• “Do you belong to any business or social clubs, organizations, unions, or associations that use race, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin as a basis for determining membership or membership privileges?”

• “How important is it to you to have the inclusion of people of one race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, of a different age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status or sexual orientation than you as a lawyer and/or judge in the legal profession?

• “What efforts, if any, have you made in your community to include people of one race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry , of a different age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status or sexual orientation than you as a lawyer and/or judge in the legal profession?”

Judge Noverini told The Washington Times that the Illinois State Bar Association has turned the judicial review process into a “political exercise.”

“The ISBA, on the left, has every interest in knowing who sits on the Supreme Court. Accepting endorsements or ratings from organizations that represent lawyers crosses the line and calls into question the fairness and impartiality of our justice system. Labeling a candidate as “not recommended” for choosing not to participate in the assessment process is a veiled threat and a subtle way of intimidating. Participating in the forensic evaluation is inappropriate and that is why I respectfully declined to participate in the evaluation and requested that my name not be associated with this process,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Illinois State Bar Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Gerrymandering fight moves to New York’s highest court | New Policies https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/gerrymandering-fight-moves-to-new-yorks-highest-court-new-policies/ Tue, 26 Apr 2022 05:04:00 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/gerrymandering-fight-moves-to-new-yorks-highest-court-new-policies/ By MARINA VILLENEUVE, Associated Press ALBANY, NY (AP) — The fight for control of the U.S. House moves to New York’s highest court on Tuesday, where judges will determine whether Democrats illegally gerrymander the boundaries of newly redrawn congressional districts in the state. The New York Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments from […]]]>

By MARINA VILLENEUVE, Associated Press

ALBANY, NY (AP) — The fight for control of the U.S. House moves to New York’s highest court on Tuesday, where judges will determine whether Democrats illegally gerrymander the boundaries of newly redrawn congressional districts in the state.

The New York Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments from a lawsuit filed by a group of Republican voters challenging the legality of the new district maps.

The lawsuit says the Democratic-controlled legislature violated provisions of the state constitution that prohibited the reshuffling of districts for partisan purposes.

New York’s governor and legislative leaders deny breaking the rules, but two lower courts have already ruled that district maps were drafted specifically to give Democrats an advantage.

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A mid-level appeals court last week gave the Legislative Assembly a deadline of April 30 to propose revised maps, or else leave the redesign in the hands of a court-appointed expert.

A third move against the cards could potentially upend the state’s planned congressional primary, now scheduled for late June.

The Court of Appeal is expected to render a decision this week.

The legal battle in New York could play a big role in the battle for control of the US House of Representatives, where Democrats now enjoy a slim majority.

Maps of political districts across the country have been redrawn in recent months following population changes documented in the 2020 census.

Democrats were counting on New York lawmakers to produce a heavily pro-party card to help offset expected Republican gains in other states.

New York’s new maps would give Democrats a strong majority of registered voters in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional districts. Republicans, who make up about 22% of New York’s registered voters, currently hold eight of the state’s 27 seats in Congress. New York will lose one seat in 2021.

Partisan gerrymandering of political district maps is a centuries-old tradition in the United States, but New York voters tried to limit the practice through a constitutional amendment in 2014.

The new maps were originally supposed to have been drawn by an independent commission, but that body, made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, could not reach a consensus, allowing the Legislature to intervene.

So far this election cycle, the courts have stepped in to block cards they have found to be Republican gerrymanders in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and Democratic gerrymanders in Maryland. Such decisions resulted in delayed primaries in North Carolina, Ohio and Maryland.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Mississippi set to become end state with equal pay law | Alabama News https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/mississippi-set-to-become-end-state-with-equal-pay-law-alabama-news/ Sun, 24 Apr 2022 13:04:00 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/mississippi-set-to-become-end-state-with-equal-pay-law-alabama-news/ By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi will become the final state with a law requiring equal pay for equal work by women and men. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed House Bill 770 into law on Wednesday, and it will become law on July 1. A 1963 federal law requires equal […]]]>

By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi will become the final state with a law requiring equal pay for equal work by women and men.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed House Bill 770 into law on Wednesday, and it will become law on July 1.

A 1963 federal law requires equal pay for equal work, but Mississippi is the only state without its own law since Alabama enacted one in 2019.

Mississippi law says a lawsuit must be filed within two years of when a worker “knew or should have known” of the pay discrepancies.

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If the pay discrimination lawsuit is successful, the employer should raise the wages of the lowest-paid worker rather than cut the highest-paid worker, said Angela Cockerham, chair of the House A Judiciary Committee, a Magnolia independent who has lobbied for legislation. .

The law states that companies with five or more employees must pay equal wages to women and men who hold full-time jobs that require “equal skill, education, effort and responsibility” and that are performed “in similar working conditions”.

Several exceptions are allowed, including seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, and “any factor other than gender,” including salary history and whether there has been competition to hire an employee.

Cassandra Welchlin, leader of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, advocates for equal pay but said the new law is ‘harmful’ because it would allow an employer to pay a woman less than a man in office the earnings history that workers bring into new jobs.

A 2017 report from the Mississippi University Research Center showed that women earned 27% less than men for full-time work in Mississippi, compared to a 19% pay gap nationally. The study indicated that some of the gap could be explained by the types of jobs that women and men held, but the unexplained wage gap remained at about 18% in Mississippi and about 15% nationwide.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Takeaways from the Friday, January 6 hearing on Marjorie Taylor Greene’s bid to disqualify https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/takeaways-from-the-friday-january-6-hearing-on-marjorie-taylor-greenes-bid-to-disqualify/ Fri, 22 Apr 2022 21:39:00 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/takeaways-from-the-friday-january-6-hearing-on-marjorie-taylor-greenes-bid-to-disqualify/ Activists challenging her candidacy for Congress argued that her statements made her a participant in an insurrection, and therefore, disqualified her from future government service. They tried to link Greene to the plans to violently disrupt the congressional vote count and to those who orchestrated the attack. But Greene denied knowledge of any scheme to […]]]>

Activists challenging her candidacy for Congress argued that her statements made her a participant in an insurrection, and therefore, disqualified her from future government service. They tried to link Greene to the plans to violently disrupt the congressional vote count and to those who orchestrated the attack. But Greene denied knowledge of any scheme to disrupt proceedings and said she did not know the key players who organized the rally that preceded the breakup of Congress.

But the hearing also subjected Greene to a detailed discussion of her views on the riot and whether she was aware of plans to disrupt Congress’ electoral vote count. She fiercely chastised any suggestion that violence was what she had in mind as she called for protests and objections to Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Greene has repeatedly denied knowledge of or involvement in the Jan. 6 violence.

Greene said under oath that she had “no knowledge” of plans to disrupt Congress’ counting of the 2020 electoral votes.

She made the claim after challengers’ attorney Andrew Celli asked her if – because of the oath of office she took as a congresswoman – she would have been required to quit or quit. arrest someone who planned to interfere with the certification process. .

She repeated it later, telling the lawyer that she had “absolutely” no prior knowledge of the plans to disrupt the certification.

“I don’t know anything about it,” she said.

Asked about a Tweet on her now-suspended account promoting protest plans by former President Donald Trump’s supporters in Washington on the day of the Congressional accreditation vote, she said: “I was asking people to come for a peaceful march, which is what everyone has the right to do under their First Amendment, but I was not asking them to actively engage in violence or any other type of action.”

“All my words never mean anything for violence,” she added.

She later said she could not remember if she had spoken to anyone in government about the protests planned for January 6. She also did not remember anyone she had told about her participation in the January 6 protests, according to her testimony.

Greene clung to conspiracy theories surrounding the election and Capitol breach

Claiming there had been “an enormous amount” of voter fraud, Greene confirmed that she believed President Joe Biden had lost the election to former President Donald Trump. Federal and state authorities have refuted allegations of mass fraud, but Greene said Friday there were “numerous cases” of fraud.

Greene said she believes Biden lost the election after repeatedly dodging questions about social media posts she made before Jan. 6, pushing allegations of fraud and claiming Trump was the real one. winner of the 2020 elections.

Earlier in the hearing, her attorney, James Bopp Jr., defended that statements she made after the election constituted legitimate political speech.

“The issue of voter fraud in the 2020 election was a, is a quintessential example of political talk, of legitimate political disagreements about what happened,” Bopp said.

She clung to conspiracy theories about the Capitol storming and actively came up with some of the most sensational claims of that day.

When questioned by Celli, she said she didn’t know if her FBI was behind the attack. She then verified the name of a figure at the center of fringe theories that the assault was an FBI false flag plot and said “there are a lot of investigations that need to take place”.

She recalled during the breach thinking the attackers were “Antifa disguised as Trump supporters” because “that was the first thing we were told.”

When asked if anyone from Antifa or Black Lives Matter had been arrested or charged for the Capitol storming, Greene said she didn’t know, while alluding to the false prisoner narrative. policy that the January 6 defendants were unjustly imprisoned.

“I know they’ve been arrested across the country through 2020 and over 95% of them have had their charges dropped, unlike the January 6 rioters who are still in jail,” she said. declared.

Greene has shunned examples of inflammatory rhetoric she has used in the past

Greene has been repeatedly questioned about her statements and social media posts using inflammatory rhetoric about Democratic lawmakers and other topics. She said she did not recall a remark she made at a protest before running for Congress, saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had committed treason and that the treason was ” a crime punishable by death”. She said she didn’t know who had liked a Facebook post on her account that referred to Pelosi being “shot in the head”, but she couldn’t say definitively that it wasn’t her.

“I testify: I have no idea who liked this comment.” she said, when asked to clarify that it wasn’t her.

She said she didn’t recall calling on protesters to “flood” the Capitol as part of a 2019 protest in favor of funding a border wall, until the challengers aired the video of her making the 2019 statement.

On several occasions, she pushed back against challengers’ questions about her past statements by arguing that videos of her had been cut or taken out of context.

“This is me speaking but my sentences are cut off. My full message is not there,” she said of a video of her talking about “if they take your guns away from you “, you can never “stop a tyrannical government”.

She also said that in a Jan. 5 interview where she referred to Jan. 6 as “a 1776 moment,” she spoke of the “courage to oppose” the vote count.

The video was posted on her Facebook page, but Greene said she was not the one who posted it.

Challengers could not link Greene to specific violent actors

Facing an “I don’t remember” blockade, the challengers had little luck getting Greene to elaborate on his talks or activity before the Jan. 6 attack. Their lawyer also claimed that due to the rapid delay in disqualification proceedings before the next primaries, they were not allowed to obtain further discovery. Their cases largely depended on previous statements she had made that were reported by CNN and other outlets.

Left-leaning advocacy groups – which work with local voters in Georgia’s Greene District – are seeking to remove Greene from the ballot as part of a broader campaign to use the Constitution’s 14th Amendment to hold accountable the lawmakers who allegedly spurred violent disruption to Congressional certification of the 2020 election. insurrection or rebellion against it, or aided or comforted its enemies”.

Her testimony did not establish that she planned the violence or that she coordinated with anyone who rioted on January 6. This hole in the challengers’ record could significantly reduce their chances of disqualifying Greene, as they must prove that she engaged in an insurrection.

Georgia Administrative Law Judge Charles Beaudrot, who will ultimately give a recommendation to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on the issue of disqualification, did not weigh in on the substance of their arguments. But sometimes he knocked this tactic from the challengers’ lawyers.

Beaudrot supported objections filed Friday by Bopp to questions about Greene’s state of mind when she was sworn in on Jan. 3, 2021. He later said the challengers were “pushing the envelope” by focusing on the remarks made by Greene in 2019.

He was also frustrated with the theatrics employed by both sides as they argued over Bopps’ objections to the challengers’ questions.

“It’s not theatre. It’s not a pleading before the Supreme Court. It’s a testimony hearing,” Beaudrot said.

According to Greene, it is the challengers who threaten democracy

During opening statements, Greene’s attorney said the effort risks ‘irrevocable harm to voters and the candidate’ – particularly if Greene is removed from the ballot for the May primaries only to have the disqualification overturned. on appeal.

It’s a theme that Bopp, his attorney, returned to in his closing remarks, as he decried how the challengers allegedly wanted to “hijack and undo words like 1776, the Declaration of Independence, the Day of Independence and the American Revolution”.

He argued that the entire process trampled on Greene’s constitutional rights, while claiming that state procedures distorted the purpose of the 14th Amendment. Bopp said the challengers abused the nomination challenge process, which typically revolves around residency and age limits, as he called Friday’s hearing a “political trial.”

He warned that if “that line is not toed – so that the political hyperbole of calling people insurgents turns into lawsuits by interest groups with the aim of aborting our democracy, destroying the right of voters to vote for the candidates of their choice and to bar individual members from standing for re-election – our democracy, your honor, cannot survive this.”

This story and headline have been updated to reflect additional developments on Friday.

CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

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Gay Green Blenner seeks to be CA Election Czar https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/gay-green-blenner-seeks-to-be-ca-election-czar/ Wed, 20 Apr 2022 21:22:01 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/gay-green-blenner-seeks-to-be-ca-election-czar/ High school government and history teacher Gary Blenner may be a longtime contender to be elected California secretary of state this year. Nevertheless, he crosses another political pink ceiling in the Golden State. Blenner is the first known gay Green Party candidate to qualify for a California statewide primary race. He is one of five […]]]>

High school government and history teacher Gary Blenner may be a longtime contender to be elected California secretary of state this year. Nevertheless, he crosses another political pink ceiling in the Golden State.

Blenner is the first known gay Green Party candidate to qualify for a California statewide primary race. He is one of five statewide LGBTQ nominees this year.

“I haven’t received any negative feedback about it. I haven’t received any positive feedback either. I’m running on my ideas,” said Blenner, 55, who lives in Antelope, outside Sacramento. . “I’ve always been interested in running for secretary of state. One of my areas of interest is electoral reform.”

Another Green Party member, Veronika Fimbres, a transgender nurse from San Francisco, is running in the primary race for California insurance commissioner. She is one of eight challengers vying against gay insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara (D).

Four years ago, Lara became the first LGBTQ person elected to statewide office from the Golden State. He had a bumpy first term and faces a tough re-election campaign.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, an independent, is running against Attorney General Rob Bonta. And gay Los Angeles City Comptroller Ron Galperin is now seeking election as State Comptroller.

He is one of four Democrats seeking an open seat as Comptroller Betty Yee is removed from office this year. Among the quartet are former San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen, currently a member of the state Equalization Board, and State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), while Republican Lanhee Chen is also fighting to survive. in the primary and qualify for the November ballot.

California’s first known candidate for a statewide position was Tony Miller, a gay man nominated to fill the vacancy created when March Fong Eu resigned as secretary of state. He lost his 1994 run for a full term. Two decades later, fellow gay Democrat John A. Perez, then Speaker of the Assembly, failed to become the comptroller of the state.

Blenner faces an uphill battle this year as he runs against Secretary of State Shirley Weber, the first African American to hold the statewide position. Governor Gavin Newsom has tapped the 2020 former Democratic Assemblyman from San Diego to fill the vacancy created when he nominated Alex Padilla as California’s first Latino senator to the U.S. Congress. Padilla and Weber are now seeking full terms this year in their elected positions.

With four Republicans and one independent also in the June 7 primary ballot for secretary of state, Blenner hopes his GOP opponents will eventually split the vote of their party members enough to allow him to be one of the top two voters to advance to the November ballot. He is part of the Left Unity Slate which the statewide Green Party formed this year along with the Peace and Freedom Party.

To do so, he plans to run cable TV ads aimed at voters in select cities across the state, such as San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, who could support his platform.

“What I’m fighting for in my candidacy is to try to open up the process and not stop people from voting,” Blenner said. “I want to give people realistic choices about how to vote in the future.”

He is a big proponent of preferential voting, noting that its use not only benefits candidates from all political parties, but also reduces the cost of holding elections. And he wants to change the way campaigns are funded.

“It’s important to get PAC and corporate money out of campaign finances,” Blenner said, referring to political action committees. “I would like something in our state constitution that puts an end to corporate personality.”

He also supports a proposed ballot measure that would change the way members of the State Assembly are elected. Rather than having 80 separate seats in the Assembly, the idea would be to create eight large regional constituencies where 30 candidates would be elected to serve, bringing the number of Assembly members to 240.

“It would result in coalitions to govern, not just coalitions to get elected,” Blenner explained.

He pointed to a Democratic lawmaker’s failed attempt this month to try to ban cities from using ranked ballots, like San Francisco and Oakland, as an example of how some Democrats want to restrict the right to vote. vote.

“What I would say to Democrats is if you vote for the Democratic Party because you think it is pure idealist and progressive, they are not. You should consider the Green Party as the real progressive alternative in the state of California,” Blenner said.

Born in the Queens borough of New York, Blenner moved at age 13 with his parents to Fremont in the Bay Area. He graduated from UC Davis in 1988 with a double major in political science and history.

After two years at Lincoln Law School, a private college in Sacramento, Blenner dropped out to become a teacher and earned a master’s degree in education from National University. He has taught in the San Juan Unified School District since 1994.

He first came out as gay to a friend when he was 26, having led a closed life until then. He joined the Green Party after the 1988 midterm elections, though registered as a Democrat from 2012 to 2016 in order to vote for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) as he sought the presidential nomination of left.

He is currently the co-coordinator of the Sacramento County Green Party, having helped revive the local chapter of the party.

This isn’t Blenner’s first time running for public office, but it is as an openly gay candidate. Blenner twice ran unsuccessfully for county supervisor in 2012 and 2016.

In 2006, he was elected to the Sacramento County Central Unified School District school board, but lost his bid for re-election four years later.

“I think I was defeated in part because I took the position that students needed to be exposed to LGBTQ+ ideas in the Grade 10 health and safety curriculum. Evangelical groups didn’t like that” , recalled Blenner, who also tried to get his board of directors to pass a resolution in favor of same-sex marriage amid the 2008 election fight over Proposition 8, which banned such marriages in California until then be overturned by the courts. “My neighborhood was more conservative than it is now.”

To learn more about Blenner, visit his Facebook page.

Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check http://www.ebar.com on Monday mornings for Political Notes, the blog’s online companion. This week’s column previewed the second round of Tuesday’s Assembly Special Race in San Francisco.

Keep up to date with the latest LGBTQ political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/politicalnotes

Do you have any advice on LGBTQ politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or email m.bajko@ebar.com

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going during these difficult times. To support local, independent, and LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.

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State moves to block release of some driver records, then reverses https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/state-moves-to-block-release-of-some-driver-records-then-reverses/ Sat, 16 Apr 2022 02:03:45 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/state-moves-to-block-release-of-some-driver-records-then-reverses/ Grand Rapids police release video of officer fatally shooting Patrick Lyoya DISCLAIMER: This video contains graphic content. Video from the Grand Rapids Police Department was released during a press conference and shows one of their officers fatally shooting Patrick Lyoya. Provided by the Grand Rapids Police Department LANSING — The Michigan Department of State said […]]]>

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LANSING — The Michigan Department of State said Friday it would no longer release driving records for victims of violence, but Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson reversed the policy change hours later.

There is no policy change at this time,” Benson said in a press release later Friday.

The department is currently reviewing how it provides any Michigan resident’s driver abstract to third parties to ensure that we balance the critical importance of government transparency and access to information with the need to protect the Michiganders privacy.

But while the review is ongoing, “there will be no change to our current policy, or to media or public access to this data.”

The previous announcement drew strong reactions and criticism from First Amendment supporters.

Driving records and other motor vehicle records are routinely and promptly obtained by members of the news media and members of certain other industries, such as insurance companies. But Tracy Wimmer, spokeswoman for the department, said the state has discretion and the law says it “may release” such information, not that it must.

In an unsigned press release issued earlier Friday, the State Department, led by Benson, said its sudden change in policy was linked to the police killing in Grand Rapids last week of Patrick Lyoya, a black man. 26-year-old unarmed during a traffic stop. The police shooting is being investigated by the Michigan State Police.

The statement said the state agency provided Lyoya’s driving record to three unidentified media outlets “before acknowledging that it was included as an irrelevant detail that falsely suggests he was guilty of receiving shot in the back of the neck by a Grand Rapids police officer.”

Department officials would not say whether the Free Press, which obtained the information and reported only that Lyoya’s license had been revoked, was one of the outlets that prompted the policy change.

After: Grand Rapids police release video of officer fatally shooting Patrick Lyoya

After: Patrick Lyoya escaped violence and persecution in Congo to die in Michigan

The department “condemns the killing of Patrick Lyoya” and “will no longer provide Mr. Lyoya’s driving record and personal information to the media, nor will it provide the media with such records and information of other victims of violence,” it said. the statement, which was later rescinded.

Detroit Free Press editor Peter Bhatia said obtaining driving records is “standard journalistic practice and a long-standing service provided by the Office of the Secretary of State for the Media.” Bhatia said he understood Free Press reporting was partly the cause of the press release.

“While we recognize that some may view the release of this information as inflammatory and cite news reports after police killings of other black men, we viewed the license revocation as important context given the footage. events in Grand Rapids and that the encounter between Lyoya and the officer quickly deteriorated after the officer requested Lyoya’s license. Our intent was purely journalistic,” Bhatia said.

“In situations like this, we are extremely careful to provide information on everyone involved in the context and at the appropriate time in the development of a case. We are not rushing to publish as we may have some details first.”

Lisa McGraw, public affairs manager for the Michigan Press Association, said she was “seriously concerned” about any state agency withholding or releasing information based on how that agency thinks the information is going to be used.

“It defeats the intent of the law,” she said. “At what point does this allow officials to protect themselves?”

In the specific case of the fatal Lyoya shooting, “it’s in the public interest to have as much transparency as possible,” McGraw said.

Free Press legal counsel Herschel Fink said the policy announced Friday would set a dangerous precedent.

“It’s censorship, pure and simple. It is not the role of a secretary of state to impose his political judgment on the information that the public is entitled to have concerning the investigations into possible crimes. This is the function of law enforcement and prosecutors, and, if necessary, courts interpreting public records laws.”

In the previous statement, the State Department called on state lawmakers to “strengthen the law to demonstrate that they value the privacy of Michiganders.” In the meantime, it said it would continue to review and revise the policies under which it provides “any Michigan resident’s personal information to third parties.”

Wimmer said that because the department has discretion over what information it releases and under what circumstances, there would likely be longer conversations to assess the purpose of the requests before the information is released.

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4. Learn more about Michigan politics and sign up for our election newsletter.

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The lines of Congress and the member of Congress will remain the same https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/the-lines-of-congress-and-the-member-of-congress-will-remain-the-same/ Wed, 13 Apr 2022 12:35:16 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/the-lines-of-congress-and-the-member-of-congress-will-remain-the-same/ For several years before the 2010 census, national projections were that Alabama would lose one of our seven congressional districts and drop to six. When the count was down, we surprised ourselves and the nation and retained our seven seats in the United States Congress. Therefore, the legislature’s task of drawing our seven congressional districts […]]]>

For several years before the 2010 census, national projections were that Alabama would lose one of our seven congressional districts and drop to six. When the count was down, we surprised ourselves and the nation and retained our seven seats in the United States Congress.

Therefore, the legislature’s task of drawing our seven congressional districts was relatively easy. Except for a few adjustments here and there due to growth in Madison, Limestone, Lee, Shelby, and especially Baldwin counties, and population loss in the Black Belt, our congressional district lines have essentially remained the same as they have been in recent years. decades.

We basically have six of our seven districts that are safe Republican seats. We have a dedicated minority-majority African-American Democratic congressional district.

That Democratic seat is held by Congresswoman Terri Sewell. She has held that seat for more than a decade and has become a respected leader of the Democratic House leadership. The Democrats are in the majority, which makes her a powerful member of the House. However, most political pundits and polls indicate that this year’s election will see a swing of 30 or more Republican seat pickups or takeovers, making Republicans the majority party. This will benefit Alabama since six of our seven seats are held by Republicans. It will be especially beneficial for the people of the Fourth District, who have Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, as a Congressman.

Aderholt is the longest serving member of our delegation and is the top Republican on the House Appropriation Committee.

Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Anniston, is also gaining ground in seniority. He is a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee.

Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Jefferson, represents the suburban areas of Metro-Jefferson, Hoover and Shelby. It is considered one of the most Republican neighborhoods in America.

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We have two new Republican congressmen, who are finishing their first two years in the House. Jerry Carl, R-Mobile, represents the first coastal district of Mobile and Baldwin counties. He went to Congress like a duck to water.

Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, represents the second district comprised of Wiregrass and the fast-growing Pike Road area of ​​Montgomery as well as the populated counties of Autauga and Elmore.

The six above-mentioned incumbents will be re-elected without opposition.

The only excitement of Congressional politics in the heart of Dixie will be played out in the Fifth District. That Huntsville-Tennessee Valley seat is currently held by Mo Brooks, who has elected to run for the U.S. Senate, leaving a rarely seen open congressional seat contest. There are six Republicans vying for that open Fifth District seat. The competitors are Dale Strong, Paul Sanford, Casey Wardynski, Harrison Wright, Andy Blalock and John Roberts.

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong appears to be the strongest contender. He far exceeds the field in polls and fundraising. Some say it could eclipse the land without any runoff.

The most ardent challengers will be former state senator Paul Sanford and former Huntsville Municipal School Superintendent Casey Wardynski. Dr. Wardynski has done a good job of fundraising.

There will be a strong turnout in this race for Congress. In fact, this Huntsville-Madison-Limestone Tennessee Valley area of ​​the state will more than likely have the highest turnout percentage in the state. Not only is there an open seat in Congress, but Mo Brooks is the local candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat, and popular and incumbent Republican public school board member Wayne Reynolds will also be on the ballot with symbolic opposition.

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Additionally, the only hotly contested Republican state Senate race between Tom Butler and Bill Holtzclaw is in the Madison-Limestone area. There are also three hotly contested open races at the State House, including to fill the seats of Speaker Mac McCutcheon and veteran House member Howard Sanderford. There is also a hotly contested open sheriff’s race in County Limestone. Additionally, shadow U.S. Senate candidate Mike Durant claims Huntsville as his home. All of these ingredients are a recipe for greater turnout in the Tennessee Valley than in the rest of the state on May 24.

The lines of Congress and six of the seven members of Congress will remain the same for this 2022 election cycle. However, hold the phone. The federal courts could change that for 2024.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in more than 60 Alabama newspapers. Steve served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve can be reached at: www.steveflowers.us.

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Political Issues in Governor Whitmer’s Kidnapping Plot Verdict https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/political-issues-in-governor-whitmers-kidnapping-plot-verdict/ Mon, 11 Apr 2022 05:03:19 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/political-issues-in-governor-whitmers-kidnapping-plot-verdict/ The jury verdict last Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the trial of four men accused of conspiring to kidnap the governor of Michigan in 2020 raises fundamental political questions facing the working class in the United States and around the world. world. Against the backdrop of the growth of far-right and fascist politics within […]]]>

The jury verdict last Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the trial of four men accused of conspiring to kidnap the governor of Michigan in 2020 raises fundamental political questions facing the working class in the United States and around the world. world.

Against the backdrop of the growth of far-right and fascist politics within official ruling circles around the world, the “not guilty” verdict on all charges against two of the defendants, Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris, and the he inability of the jury to reach an agreed verdict on the charges against Barry Croft and Adam Fox shows that the working class cannot rely on the judicial institutions of the state to defend its democratic rights.

On October 7, 2020, six men were arrested on a series of federal charges and seven others were arrested on state charges related to a conspiracy to kidnap Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. A week later, another individual was arrested and charged with state crimes in connection with the kidnapping plot. Half of the suspects were linked to a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen and others had ties to the far-right Boogaloo Boys.

In this Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, file photo provided by the Michigan Governor’s Office, Governor Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File )

The activities of those arrested and charged were linked to then-President Donald Trump’s embrace of far-right and vigilante forces staging armed protests against the shutdowns and other limited measures taken to contain the pandemic, as well as Trump’s stated refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should Biden win the November presidential election.

As the World Socialist Website wrote in a Perspective column published on October 9, 2020, titled “The Michigan Conspiracy, Trump, and the 2020 Election”:

Although the complaint does not mention the name of the president, the initiator of the plot is in the White House. Trump has repeatedly specifically singled out Whitmer for sentencing because she was most visibly identified with implementing measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, which ravaged Michigan in March and April. It is now clear that these attacks were part of a deliberate strategy to lay the groundwork for the current coup attempt.

Trump and a sizable segment of the Republican Party had targeted the Michigan governor’s COVID-19 policies for a right-wing campaign beginning in April 2020 with a series of rallies at the state Capitol in Lansing. On April 30, the paramilitary group Wolverine Watchmen, which included among its members several of those charged in the kidnapping plot, entered the Michigan Capitol armed with assault rifles and paramilitary gear.

In what amounted to a dress rehearsal for the fascist U.S. Capitol siege on January 6, 2021, by a pro-Trump mob seeking to kidnap and/or kill Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Mike Pence and fellow elected, gunmen Wolverine Watchmen went to look for Governor Whitmer in his office in the State Capitol, but she was not there that day.

Of the six men charged by the federal government with conspiracy to kidnap and possibly kill Michigan’s governor, two, Kaleb Franks and Ty Garbin, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the others.

During the twenty-day Grand Rapids trial of the four plotters, prosecutors replayed numerous recorded statements by the defendants documenting their violent response to Whitmer’s pandemic stay-at-home orders and the fact that they intended to do a political statement. For example, the jury heard Adam Fox say, “We’re sending them a f_____g message. Hey, if we can get her, we can get you.

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