RESPONSE TEAM READY!
February 1, 2019
RESPONSE TEAM READY!: In addition to former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams,California AG Xavier Becerra will deliver the official Democratic response, in Spanish, to President Trump’s State of the Union address next week.
PLANET PROTECTION TEAM: New York AG Tish James is leading a coalition of six Democratic AGs and the city of New York to sue the Trump Administration’s EPA for failing to comply with federal law requiring additional controls on smog pollution that blows into New York and other states.Connecticut AG William Tong joined the lawsuit noting, “Trump EPA’s failure to comply with the Clean Air Act violates federal law and endangers the health of Connecticut families.”
KNOW YOUR (DEMOCRATIC AGS) AND TITLE IX: This week public comment was due to Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education on a proposed rule that would undermine the anti-discrimination protections of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and weaken protections against sexual harassment and violence for students. The rule would impose new requirements on schools and students that would be a significant departure from both the fundamental purpose of Title IX to protect students and from the Education Department’s previous Title IX guidance, making campuses less safe.
In response, Democratic AGs sent a message to Secretary DeVos: we must do everything we can to prevent sexual assault on campus.
- Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro, New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal and California AG Xavier Becerra led a 19 Democratic AG coalition in submitting a comment letter to Secretary DeVos and the DOE expressing “strong opposition” to the department’s proposal and calling on federal officials to withdraw the proposed rules that undermine anti-discrimination protections of Title IX. Copy of the comment letter linked here.
- New York AG Tish James also submitted a letter to Secretary DeVos. “These rollbacks limit the school’s responsibility of preventing sexual assault, and makes it harder for survivors to report instances of assault,” AG James said in a statement. “Stripping these critical protections would be to the severe detriment of sexual assault survivors on college campuses across the nation.”
- Colorado AG Phil Weiser told 9News, “I want to stand up for [victims]. For a system that is working for them. And stand up against a federal agency trying to tell us we can’t do things the way we’ve been doing them and the way it works for us.”
STATE SPOTLIGHT: NEVADA
- PLUTONIUM PROBLEMS: Nevada AG Aaron Ford stood by Governor Sisolak this week in fighting back against the U.S. government’s “reckless disregard” for the safety of Nevadans in response to weapons-grade plutonium that the federal government secretly shipped to a site north of Las Vegas. See this Associated Press article for the latest on this developing story.
- SEXUAL HARASSMENT TASK FORCE: Earlier this year, Nevada Governor Sisolak tappedNevada AG Aaron Ford to chair a sexual harassment policy task force and this week, AG Ford appointed members to the task force. The panel will review federal and state sexual harassment and discrimination laws and policies, prevention and training procedures of state agencies, and existing policies regarding privacy and corrective action. “With a focus on prevention, we are committed to developing actionable recommendations to address harassment and discrimination in the workplace,” AG Ford said in a statement. Learn more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here.
MAKING OUR SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES SAFER: This week, New Mexico AG Hector Balderas and Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro implemented new emergency reporting systems using cellphone technology. These programs use mobile apps to help prevent gun violence and other address other threats.
- In New Mexico, AG Balderas announced that the “Rave Panic Button” will be installed at two New Mexico high school campuses. “The threats are evolving, and we should have the best communication tools, the best training and the best technology implemented,” Balderas said. Click here to read more on the announcement.
- In Pennsylvania, AG Shapiro rolled out “Safe2Say,” an emergency reporting program, that is already showing promising results. Check out this press release that details how one potential gun violence threat was shutdown using a “Safe2Say” tip
DOING HER JOB: Michigan AG Dana Nessel removed Michigan from eight federal cases that would limit a woman’s reproductive rights, allow for discrimination based on sexual orientation, and violate the separation of church and state. According to AG Nessel, she “will not use this office to undermine some of the most important values in our state, including those involving reproductive rights and the separation of church and state.” To learn more about these cases, check out the press release here.
OFF TO THE RACES: The Kentucky filing deadline passed this week. Check out the latest column from Al Cross on how things are shaping up here.