ON THE TRAIL
HERE FOR HERRING
As the month of January comes to a close, Virginia AG Mark Herring has announced a wide array of support for his re-election. On January 11th, AG Herring announced that the majority of the Virginia State Senate supported his re-election campaign. A week later, AG Herring announced County Attorney Shannon Taylor’s support for his re-election campaign. And today, Congressman Gerry Connolly announced his support for AG Herring’s re-election saying, “Mark Herring has been the most progressive and effective Attorney General in Virginia history…” Read more here.
PROTECTING THE VOTE
District of Columbia AG Karl Racine led a coalition of 18 Attorneys General in urging the Supreme Court to uphold a test for applying Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). AG Racine said “The right to vote is sacred, and Congress passed the Voting Rights Act specifically to protect that right against a long history of racial discrimination that continues today.” Read more about the continued efforts to protect voting rights by Democratic AGs here.
Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro and Illinois AG Kwame Raoul led a coalition of nine Attorneys General in filing a suit to protect tipped workers. The coalition of nine Democratic AGs are attempting to stop a last-ditch effort by the Trump administration that would allow employers to withhold tips from their employees. Michigan AG Dana Nessel joined the suit earlier this week and said “This rule stands to hurt at least 100,000 service workers in Michigan who rely heavily on tips to care for their families. The pandemic has already caused an uphill battle for the service industry, and finalizing a rule that further impedes their ability to earn a living is unconscionable.” Read more about the effort to protect workers – especially as many struggle during the COVID-19 crisis – here.
North Carolina AG Josh Stein and Connecticut AG William Tong joined a bipartisan coalition of 23 Attorneys General to call on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes earlier this week. The coalition, led by Illinois AG Kwame Raoul, sent a letter to the FDA and argued that a ban of menthol cigarettes would save thousands of lives. AG Tong highlighted the effects that menthol cigarettes have on communities of color: “The scientific research shows that menthol is a starting point for youth who begin smoking and become addicted and that these products disproportionately affect communities of color.” Read more about this effort here.
KEEPING UP WITH CALIFORNIA
California AG Xavier Becerra continues to take action to protect Californians. AG Becerra announced a civil rights investigation into the policing of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). This investigation was launched in response to allegations of excessive force and other misconduct by the LASD. In addition to this investigation, AG Becerra announced the establishment of the Bureau of Disability Rights within the Civil Rights Enforcement Section of the California Department of Justice. AG Becerra said “If we are going to make meaningful progress towards protecting the rights of Californians with disabilities, we must devote attorneys and resources to work specifically on these issues.” Read more about this effort here.
CENTERING ON CIVIL RIGHTS
Earlier this month Virginia AG Mark Herring announced the launch of an Office of Civil Rights within the Virginia Attorney General’s Office. This week, the Virginia House of Delegates Courts of Justice committee advanced a bill that would make the office permanent. AG Herring said “I want every Virginian to know that I will always defend their rights, and wherever we find discrimination and oppression, we will put a stop to it. No matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, or who you love, as your attorney general, I will have your back and I will fight for you.”
BONUS: AG Herring also took action to ensure the removal of a confederate statue in the state of Virginia. Read more here.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Emerge America, an organization that empowers women to run for office and a valued partner of DAGA, hosted DAGA Chair Emeritus Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum and former North Dakota AG Heidi Heitkamp on their podcast “Women Belong” to talk with Emerge America’s president, A’shanti Gholar, about why we need more women to run for state Attorney General.