Yesterday, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state signed several bills “aimed at increasing participation in Washington’s state elections.” The bills include:
- Automatic voter registration, when Washington residents apply for an enhanced driver’s license;
- Same-day voter registration, starting in 2018;
- Pre-registration for teenagers, starting at 16 years old;
- Campaign finance disclosure requirements; and,
- The Washington Voting Rights Act, which “aims to increase minority representation by giving communities greater leverage, or the possibility of court challenges, if they want to transition from at-large to district elections.”
These bills represent a huge step forward for the state, and sets an example for other states to follow. Washington state becomes the tenth state plus D.C. to pass automatic voter registration, and voter participation in these other states has already increased. Since the partial dismantling of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, several states have led the way in ensuring that all citizens have easy access to the polls. But this progress is always under attack, especially under the Trump administration, which has sought to enact several voter suppression measures.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Stop the Cover-Up. Over the weekend, fears that Trump might fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller escalated, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe two days before his retirement. Both Republicans and Democrats have spoken out about the firing, and Senator Lindsey Graham is warning Trump that firing Mueller would be “the beginning of the end.” It’s more important than ever that Trump sit down with Mueller and tell him the truth. Sign our petition today demanding Trump end the cover-up.
Another School Shooting. Just days before cities across the country host March for Our Lives events, a shooting occurred at Great Mills High School in Maryland. Initial reports indicate several students are injured, some critically. This is the 27th shooting incident at a school or college this year where someone was injured or killed. With 96 Americans killed with guns every day, it’s clear that action—not thoughts and prayers—is necessary. But will Congress have the courage to stand up to the NRA?
Immigration Enforcement. The Trump administration has launched a full-out attack on immigrants across the country, and it is drastically ramping up the role of state and local law enforcement in federal immigration law. One way in which they are doing this is through a program called 287(g), which allows state or local law enforcement officers to act as immigration agents. Last year alone, 29 jurisdictions enrolled in the program, nearly doubling the number of jurisdictions entangling local policing with ICE. A new report from the Center for American Progress finds that immigrants are making substantial economic and fiscal contributions—money that would be at risk if these immigrants are deported or forced out—and are part of the social fabric in jurisdictions with 287(g) agreements. Read the full report here.
Teachers’ Strike. After years of being some of the lowest-paid teachers in the nation, West Virginia teachers organized and successfully advocated for a 5 percent wage increase from the state legislature. On Thursday, some of these teachers and labor leaders will join the Center for American Progress for a conversation about the strike—what was learned and how the success can be turned into momentum for the future. Watch live at 11:15am ET on Thursday here.
#6MonthsAfterMaria. Six months ago, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, destroying much of the island and depriving its residents of power, clean water, and food. Still today, 11 percent of Puerto Rico and 8 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands continue to suffer through the longest power outage in U.S. history. These types of delays in recovery present serious health concerns, especially for young children, older adults, and the nearly 400,000 people with disabilities in Puerto Rico. The Trump administration has inadequately dealt with the aftermath of Maria, bungling critical contracts. But the reality is that Puerto Rico needs and deserves the full force of the U.S. government to ensure that it can fully recover and thrive after such devastation.
UNDER THE RADAR
Zinke’s Cynical Plan for Parks. Today, the House Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing on a bill that would codify Secretary Zinke’s proposal to address the National Park Service maintenance backlog by expanding mining and drilling in America’s public lands and coastal waters. But Congress should think twice before giving Zinke a blank check to drill under the guise of supporting national parks. Zinke has already proposed massive budget cuts to the national parks, and expanding offshore drilling near our Atlantic and Pacific coasts, eliminating national monuments, and opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the oil and gas industry is a sham solution at best.