DAGA Weekly Update – March 18

March 18, 2019

Here is what happened last week for DAGA and our Democratic Attorneys General:

UPDATE: TRUMP’S NATIONAL EMERGENCY, STILL FAKE: This week, four additional Democratic AGs joined the lawsuit led by California AG Xavier Becerra challenging President Trump’s national emergency declaration for border wall funding. Here are what the additional AGs had to say about Trump’s fake emergency:

  • “Declaring a national emergency to build a wall repeatedly rejected by Congress is an illegal power grab by President Trump and a violation of the constitutional separation of powers.” – Massachusetts AG Maura Healey
  • “After reviewing all the potential impacts to Rhode Island’s federal appropriations, I’ve determined that the President’s actions, which I believe are unlawful, put specific Rhode Island-related federal funding at risk.” – Rhode Island AG Peter Neronha
  • “I think it’s incredibly important that Vermont’s voice is heard, that we believe Trump’s actions are illegal, and that this is a manufactured political crisis to score points to build his wall, which I oppose. To take any money dedicated to our state, to our public safety, to score political points, I object to that.” – Vermont AG TJ Donovan
  • “Diverting federal funds away from Wisconsin to pay for a border wall would do little to enhance our security but have real consequences for communities in Wisconsin…The president issued an unfounded emergency declaration after Congress decided not to fund the border wall. That action is inconsistent with the constitutional mandate of separation of powers.” – Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul

Meanwhile, RAGA chair Texas AG Ken Paxton, vice chair Indiana AG Curtis Hill and Louisiana AG Jeff Landry (who is up for re-election this fall) penned an op-ed this week on how the National Emergency declaration, which President Trump said he “didn’t need to do,” was constitutional… even as the Senate passed a bipartisan rejection of the emergency declaration. For more on why Republican AGs are on the wrong side of the Constitution, their own party, and the American people, check out this DAGA note here.

“SIX PAGES OF BRILLIANCE”: In what was described as one of the “most revolutionary internal memos on criminal justice reform ever issued” and “six pages of brilliance” by columnist and reform activist Shaun King, Delaware AG Kathy Jennings issued an internal memo recommending 37 policies and practices to reform the criminal justice system in Delaware. Read King’s full review in The Intercept here.

NO HATE: Michigan AG Dana Nessel launched a new Hate Crimes Unit within the Michigan DOJ this week to investigate crimes motivated by hatred and bias. “Hate crimes are not just an attack on a specific individual but a message to an entire group,” said AG Nessel in a statement, “that’s why they’re so damaging to communities and why we need to partner with our local authorities if we hope to eradicate them.” Learn more from WZZM here.

Bonus content: DAGA Co-chair Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum testified this week in front of the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Senate Bill 577, a bill created by AG Rosenblum’s Hate Crime Prevention Task Force. The legislation proposes a targeted investment in a model of service that gives assistance to individuals and communities impacted by hate, regardless of whether the incident is ultimately prosecutable.  “The stories we heard in Portland, Eugene and Medford about how local residents were impacted by hate-motivated conduct in these communities informed the recommendations in this bill today before the Oregon Senate,” said AG Rosenblum.

ROBO(CALL)COPS ON THE BEAT: According to a robocall index report, 48 billion robocalls were made in 2018. Connecticut AG William Tong said robocalls have “resulted in billions of dollars in harm to consumers and the economy.” In response, a coalition of 54 AGs, including all 27 Democratic AGs, wrote a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation urging Congress to take action. For more info on Robocalls, catch the latest episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver!

TRANSPARENCY RETURNS! Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul announced this week that he would no longer require DOJ staff to sign non-disclosure agreements – breaking from his Republican predecessor Brad Schimel’s practice. “It’s important that we lead by example,” AG Kaul said in a statement. “With today’s announcement, we are re-affirming the importance of transparency in government.” Read the Journal Sentinel article here for the full scoop.

STUNDENTS AGAINST VIOLENCE IN MISSISSIPPI: Following similar efforts by Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro and New Mexico AG Hector Balderas, Mississippi AG Jim Hood rolled out the “Students Against Violence” app allowing users to send tips to local law enforcement. “I encourage teachers, school counselors, coaches, and anyone else who works with teenagers to encourage them to download this app. It could be the thing that prevents them from causing harm to themselves or others,” said AG Hood. Check out this article from WAPT for more on how Democratic AGs are using technology to keep our communities safe.

NO MORE “NO POACH”: 14 Democratic AGs including Maryland AG Brian Frosh won big for workers this week with a settlement with four more national fast food chains to end agreements that stop workers from moving to franchises within the same chain. Such “no poach” agreements limit workers’ chances of getting better paying jobs. “These settlements mean fairer hiring practices for thousands of workers in Maryland and across the country,” AG Frosh said. Read the full story in the Baltimore Sun here.

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