DAGA Download – April 2

April 2, 2021

ON THE TRAIL

VA ENDORSEMENT CENTER
Virginia AG Mark Herring
 has been endorsed by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV). CSGV highlighted AG Herring’s legacy of prioritizing gun violence prevention. Virginia State Director and Senior Director of Advocacy Lori Haas said, “He has been in the fight for years and Virginia has finally passed stronger gun laws that will make the Commonwealth a safer place. Mark has been a leader in addressing this public health epidemic that disproportionately affects far too many across the Commonwealth, most notably communities of color, as evidenced by his support of programs like Project Safe Neighborhood and Respect Richmond.” This endorsement comes after AG Herring’s continued commitment to stronger gun violence prevention laws following the mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, Boulder, Colorado and most recently in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

BATTLEGROUND TEXAS
In case you missed it, indicted Texas AG Ken Paxton is in the (notorious) spotlight (again). First, a joint reporting effort by six different Texas news outlets reported that AG Paxton’s office is attempting to withhold all messages that AG Paxton sent or received while in Washington D.C. when he spoke at the rally that turned into a deadly insurrection on January 6th. Second, new reporting shows that AG Paxton may have been targeting people of color at disproportionate rates. The American Civil Liberties Union found that “at least 72% of election fraud cases brought by the attorney general’s office have targeted Black and Latino defendants, most of them women.” Lastly, the Austin American-Statesman reported that a state judge rejected an attempt to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit filed by former executives in AG Paxton’s office who stated that they were fired in retaliation for accusing AG Paxton of misconduct. Read more about these new reports here.

BONUS: This new reporting is in addition to AG Paxton’s indictment for multiple felonies and separate FBI investigation. As he prepares for re-election, it is clear there is a bumpy road ahead for AG Paxton – making Texas’ Attorney General race a top battleground in 2022.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN RACE
As 2022 approaches, Colorado AG Phil Weiser’s re-election team released a new video highlighting AG Weiser’s commitment to justice for all Coloradans.

 

MULTISTATE MOMENTS

SPEAKING OUT AGAINST HATE
In case you missed it, all 25 Democratic AGs have spoken out and continue to speak out against the rise in hate crimes towards the API community. Many Democratic AGs have taken on leadership roles nationally and in their respective states to join in solidarity with the API community. Connecticut AG William Tong spoke to CNN’s Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto about the rise in hate crimes and participated in a community event with the Mayor of New Haven. AG Tong also joined New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal to discuss ways to combat bias and hate towards the API Community. Virginia AG Mark Herring, Connecticut AG William Tong, and District of Columbia AG Karl Racine held a panel to discuss actions and steps they are taking to combat hate against the API community. New York AG Tish James held a discussion with Congresswoman Grace Meng on actions that can be taken to fight the rise of hate crimes. And DAGA Co-Chair Nevada AG Aaron Ford hosted a “Stop The Hate” town hall with Connecticut AG William Tong and California AG-nominee Rob Bonta. Read more about the statements and actions taken by Democratic AGs here.

STANDING UP FOR STUDENTS
Colorado AG Phil Weiser and Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro co-led a coalition of 23 Democratic AGs in calling on Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona to further address student loan debt. Democratic AGs are calling on Secretary Cardona and the Biden-Harris Administration to take multiple actions, including continuing suspending federal student loan payments, interest and involuntary collections, reforming income-driven repayment plans, and canceling federal student loan debt. In support of the coalition letter, AG James said, “With more than $1.7 trillion in student debt owed by students across the country, now is the time for us to take bold action to end this crisis and provide our students with the tools they need to move forward. We need to make attaining a higher education more accessible and that begins with affordability. Imagine what could be achieved without the heavy burden of student loan debt. I encourage the Biden-Harris Administration to keep all options on the table, including loan cancellation.” Watch DAGA Co-Chair Massachusetts AG Maura Healey’s event on student loans with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley here.

BONUS: This letter is one of many efforts that Democratic AGs have taken to fight for student borrowers. Last year, Democratic AGs urged Congress to expand COVID-19 economic relief in order to protect an almost 8 million additional student loan borrowers. Further, a bipartisan coalition of 26 AGs urged the U.S. Senate to provide relief for all federal student loan borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

AG SPOTLIGHT

Michigan AG Dana Nessel has taken on three major issues in one week: (1) COVID-19 disinformation; (2) domestic terrorism; and (3) victim’s privacy.

  • AG Nessel spoke to CNN about her role in combatting COVID disinformation, highlighting how only 12 accounts are responsible for 65% of the public anti-vaccination content that has already reached more than 59 million people.
  • AG Nessel then spoke to MSNBC about the growing threat of domestic terrorism saying, “What we know to be the case is that domestic terrorism actually poses a much greater threat to our nation now than international or foreign terrorism. We just simply don’t have the law in the book to address it though.”
  • AG Nessel filed an amicus brief in support of the People’s emergency application before the Michigan Supreme Court to protect the personal information of victims and witnesses in prosecutions saying, “Protecting the victims of crimes is part of our duty as law enforcement. Victims and witnesses deserve the assurance that the system will protect their privacy to ensure they do not become targets of retribution.”​

 

TWEETS OF THE WEEK

On #TransDayofVisibility, our Democratic AGs made it clear that they will continue fighting for transgender and nonbinary communities.

 

VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

As Women’s History Month comes to an end, we continue to appreciate our amazing women Democratic AGs – highlighting New York AG Tish James, Hawaii AG Clare Connors, Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum, and U.S. Virgin Islands AG Denis George.