April 30, 2021 •
News You Can Use Digest – April 30, 2021
Biden Signs Executive Order Raising Federal Contractors’ Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour
MSN – Dartunorro Clark (NBC News) | Published: 4/28/2021
President Biden signed an executive order that raises the minimum wage for federal contractors and tipped employees working on government contracts to $15 an hour. The raise will begin in January, and agencies must implement the measure no later than March. Biden has signed a separate order to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for federal employees. The new order also directs federal agencies to raise the tipped minimum hourly wage to $15 by 2024 and to ensure that tipped employees working on federal contracts earn the same minimum wage as other employees on those contracts.
Feds Raid Giuliani’s Home, Office, Escalating Criminal Probe
Associated Press News – Michael Sisak, Michael Balsamo, and Eric Tucker | Published: 4/29/2021
Federal agents raided Rudy Giuliani’s home and office, seizing computers and cellphones in a major escalation of the Justice Department’s investigation into the business dealings of former President Trump’s personal lawyer. Giuliani has been under federal scrutiny for several years over his ties to Ukraine. The dual searches sent the strongest signal yet that he could eventually face federal charges. The warrants, which required approval from the top levels of the Justice Department, signify prosecutors believe they have probable cause that Giuliani committed a federal crime though they do not guarantee that charges will materialize.
Gaetz Probe Includes Scrutiny of Potential Public Corruption Tied to Medical Marijuana Industry
CNN – Evan Perez, Paula Reid, Scott Glover, and David Shortell | Published: 4/23/2021
Federal authorities are investigating whether a 2018 trip to the Bahamas involving U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and several young women was part of an effort to illegally influence Gaetz about medical marijuana, people briefed on the matter said. The Justice Department is examining whether Gaetz took gifts, including travel and paid escorts, in exchange for political favors, the sources said. In pursuing evidence of corruption, sources said investigators are scrutinizing Gaetz’s connections to medical marijuana, both the legislation he has sponsored and his connections to people involved in the industry, searching for “pay-to-play” arrangements.
Inside the Democratic Strategy to Expand Voting Rights State by State
Politico – Liz Crampton | Published: 4/20/2021
Red and blue states are on opposite tracks in shaping the electoral process. As Republicans pass some of the most restrictive voting laws of modern times, Democrats are ramping up a strategy to expand voting rights by passing bills to make it easier for more Americans to access the ballot box. The fracture between red states limiting voting access and blue states expanding it may deepen the partisan divide in an already divided nation. The actions are also likely to end up in the courts, leading to potentially years of debate over what is constitutional.
Jim Clyburn Fined for Avoiding Metal Detectors Off the House Floor
CNN – Annie Grayer and Manu Raju | Published: 4/23/2021
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn was fined for violating the procedure of going through the metal detectors installed off the House floor, the first Democrat to receive such a penalty. All members who avoid going through the metal detectors are fined $5,000 for their first offense and $10,000 for their second, a rule Clyburn supported that was instituted after the violent insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. These fines are deducted directly from members’ salaries by the chief administrative officer.
Kamala Harris’ Influencer Niece Raises Concerns Among Some Ethics Experts
MSN – Lucien Bruggeman (ABC News) | Published: 4/28/2021
Entrepreneur and influencer Meena Harris’s propensity to invoke her famous aunt, Vice President Kamala Harris, during a post-inauguration media blitz has raised concerns among some ethics experts. Meena Harris represents a unique challenge for public servants in the internet influencer era, where visibility and name recognition translate into followers – and where followers are currency. Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One, said by “using her relationship with the vice president to heighten her profile, Meena Harris is playing with fire.”
New Census Numbers Shift Political Power South to Republican Strongholds
MSN – Michael Scherer (Washington Post) | Published: 4/26/2021
The once-a-decade reshuffling of the 435 U.S. House seats will give six states more representation at the expense of seven states on a razor-thin margin, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The effort to redraw congressional districts is likely to benefit Republican officeholders more than Democrats next year. That stands as a threat to Democratic control of the House. The full partisan effect of the shifts will not be known for months, as states must sift through population data that will be released later this year to draw new congressional district lines, resulting in hundreds of decisions by state lawmakers and independent commissions about the partisan makeup of each individual district.
Only 17 Percent of Public Affairs Staff Are People of Color: Survey
The Hill – Alex Gangitano | Published: 4/22/2021
Public affairs executives revealed only 17 percent of public affairs staff on average at firms are people of color. Sixty-one percent of executives said that the lack of diversity discourages individuals from entering the public affairs field, according to a survey of 127 executives conducted by the Public Affairs Council. The survey is part of the council’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiative and examined hiring, staffing and training, and advancement and programming, among other criteria.
Rep. Steve Chabot’s Ex-Treasurer Charged with Embezzling $1.4 Million from His Campaign
MSN – Sabrina Eaton (Cleveland Plain Dealer) | Published: 4/27/2021
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot’s former campaign treasurer was charged with wire fraud and records falsification for embezzling more than $1.4 million from Chabot’s campaign. James Schwartz II also did consulting work for the campaign through companies he controlled. A bill of information says Schwartz embezzled money from the campaign by writing larger checks from the campaign to himself and his companies than he and those companies earned. Prosecutors say he concealed the embezzled money by misrepresenting the amount he was paid in reports the campaign filed at the FEC.
The Arcane Legislative Maneuver ‘Sucking Up All the Oxygen in D.C.’
Politico – Theodoric Meyer | Published: 4/27/2021
The likelihood that Democrats will move an infrastructure bill using reconciliation, which lets the Senate pass legislation with only 50 votes as long it complies with a byzantine set of rules, has made Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, one of the most powerful people in Washington. It is also changed the influence industry, fueling a sudden demand for lobbyists who specialize in reconciliation. The demand for such expertise on is another indication of how the legislative process has broken down. While lobbyists are still hired to help shape legislation that moves through Congress the traditional way, much of the action is increasingly narrowed to a few massive bills.
The Brother of a Top Biden Advisor Lobbied the White House This Year on Behalf of Big Health-Care Companies
CNBC – Brian Schwartz | Published: 4/21/2021
Lobbyist Jeff Ricchetti, the brother of President Biden’s advisor Steve Ricchetti, lobbied the Executive Office of the President for health care clients during the first quarter of the year as the administration began its efforts to combat the Covid pandemic. Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, compared the Ricchetti brothers’ situation to an instance from former President Trump’s tenure.
From the States and Municipalities
Alaska – Alaska Lawmaker Blasted Airline for ‘Mask Tyranny.’ Now She’s Banned from the Only Flights to the Capital.
MSN – Tim Elfrink (Washington Post) | Published: 4/26/2021
A police officer responded recently to an Alaska Airlines terminal in Juneau as state Sen. Lora Reinbold clashed with staffers over mask rules. It was a familiar battle for the lawmaker, a vaccine skeptic who has criticized flight attendants as “mask bullies” and accused the airline of “mask tyranny.” Now, she is not welcome on their flights at all. Alaska Airlines banned Reinbold “for her continued refusal to comply with employee instruction regarding the current mask policy,” the airline said. That is a serious problem for Reinbold because Alaska Airlines operates the only regular flights to the state capital from her home in the Anchorage area.
Arizona – Election Conspiracies Live on with Audit by Arizona GOP
Associated Press News – Jonathan Cooper and Bob Christie | Published: 4/25/2021
Conspiracy theories about the 2020 election proliferated across the country even before President Biden’s victory but have had staying power in Arizona, which flipped to the Democratic column for just the second time in 72 years. Republican lawmakers are challenging the outcome as they embark on an unprecedented effort to audit the results. The Senate used its subpoena power to take possession of all 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County and the machines that counted them. They gave the materials to Cyber Ninjas, a security firm with no election experience. The process is alarming election professionals who fear the auditors are not up to the complex task and will severely undermine faith in democracy.
California – Caitlyn Jenner Running for California Governor
Politico – Carla Marinucci and Steven Shepard | Published: 4/23/2021
Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon turned television star and transgender activist, is officially running for governor in California. Her entry puts a Hollywood-sized spotlight on the Republican-led effort to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office —complicating his path, firing up social media, and raising questions about just how much of a circus-like atmosphere will dominate the election. Jenner will give Newsom a challenger with name recognition and wealth in a vast state, where candidates often struggle to connect with voters in large and distinct media markets.
California – Ex-Palmdale Mayor Pleads Guilty to Perjury in No-Show Job Corruption Scandal
MSN – James Queally (Los Angeles Times) | Published: 4/22/2021
Former Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford pleaded guilty to a single count of perjury, ending a years-long probe of a “pay-to-play” scandal where he was accused of collecting $500,000 from consultants who he then helped attain lucrative contracts with the city. Under the terms of the plea, Ledford was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay about $189,000 in restitution. Ledford, who had been mayor of Palmdale since 1992, lost a re-election bid in 2018.
California – San Jose Mulls Major Changes to Campaign Finance Law
San Jose Spotlight – Lloyd Alaban | Published: 4/26/2021
San Jose City Council members are looking to overhaul campaign finance regulations in hopes of avoiding more ugly political contests in 2022. A new proposal includes a requirement that campaign committees file mailers with the city clerk, an online repository for all campaign ads, more detailed disclosures for campaign literature, and a cap on donations from “corporations with conflicts of interest.” The city has strict rules on contributions and spending for campaigns controlled by candidates. But there are few regulations for outside committees.
California – Supreme Court Hears Case That Could Endanger Election Transparency Rules
The Fulcrum – Sara Swann | Published: 4/26/2021
A case that was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court examines the constitutionality of a California regulation requiring nonprofits wishing to raise money in the state to disclose their largest donors to the state attorney general. While the case is about the reporting rules for charities and other tax-exempt organizations, good-government advocates are concerned about a decision opening the door for successful challenges to campaign finance transparency rules or to the disclosure requirements for the millionaires, businesses, and advocacy groups that spend large amounts of money to influence elections.
Florida – Legislators Send DeSantis a Bill to Limit Citizen Initiatives. Is It Constitutional?
MSN – Mary Ellen Klas (Miami Herald) | Published: 4/26/2021
If signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Senate Bill 1890 would impose a $3,000 limit on contributions to any political committee sponsoring or opposing a constitutional amendment proposed by initiative, limiting the ability of proponents to finance the expensive signature-gathering operation needed to bring a proposed amendment before voters. The cap is the same as on donations to individual legislative campaigns. But lawmakers can accept unlimited amounts of campaign money as long as it is given to their political committees. Under the bill, only after an idea obtains enough signatures to get onto the ballot does the cap disappear and affiliated committees can collect unlimited contributions to help pass the measure.
Florida – Who’s Behind Grow United PAC, Which Funded Ghost Florida Senate Candidates? It’s a Mystery
MSN – Mark Harper (Daytona Beach News-Journal) | Published: 4/22/2021
Layers of secrecy connect Florida Senate candidate Jestine Iannotti and a mysterious entity that spent $180,000 to promote her. A ghost candidate and a political unknown, Iannotti never campaigned in the race Jason Brodeur won. But campaign ads were mailed on her behalf that were designed to take votes from Brodeur’s other opponent, Patricia Sigman. Records show the money behind Iannotti’s campaign begins with an obscure source and fades into two short-lived political committees fronted by mysterious people. Those PACs in turn funneled more than $500,000 into helping Iannotti and two other state Senate ghost candidates. How that money was specifically used to help the ghost candidates is not clear.
Hawaii – Honolulu Bribery Scandal Prompts Permit Department Overhaul
Associated Press News – Jennifer Sinco Kelleher | Published: 4/23/2021
Honolulu is overhauling its building permit process after a federal investigation resulted in indictments alleging a bribery scheme. Indictments allege five current and former employees of the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) took bribes in exchange for favors, including approving plans for residential projects and nullifying code violations at a multi-family residence. The city’s corporation counsel will use an outside investigator to examine how current DPP systems work, report whether procedures are being properly followed, and identify any breakdowns within the system.
Idaho – Ethics Hearing: Idaho lawmaker accused of rape pleads Fifth
Associated Press News – Rebecca Boone | Published: 4/28/2021
An Idaho lawmaker facing rape allegations from a 19-year-old intern refused to answer some questions during a legislative ethics hearing after his attorney told him to invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination. A committee will use testimony from Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger’s hearing to determine if the lawmaker “engaged in conduct unbecoming a representative which is detrimental to the integrity of the House.” He could be expelled. Much of the testimony focused on whether it was appropriate or expressly forbidden for lawmakers to date staff members. The committee also heard testimony from two other representatives who said von Ehlinger was previously warned against making women feel uncomfortable.
Illinois – Fired Madison County Officials Sue Cities Over Two-year Corruption Investigation
MSN – Kavahn Mansouri (Belleville News-Democrat) | Published: 4/21/2021
Two former Madison County administrators who were fired last year filed a lawsuit against several cities they say contributed to the investigation that caused them to lose their jobs. The civil lawsuit filed by former County Administrator Doug Hulme and Information Technology Director Robert Dorman claims four cities whose police officers participated in the county’s anti-corruption task force led to the county’s firing of the two. Dorman and Hulme were accused of accessing employee emails for political gain and leveraging information in a “pay-for-play” scheme. The Illinois attorney general’s office declined to file charges, but the county board voted to fire them. Both say that firing denied them due process.
Indiana – Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb Sues Over Legislation Limiting Executive Powers
Indianapolis Star – Amelia Park-Harvey (Indianapolis Star) | Published: 4/27/2021
The ongoing power struggle between Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and the state Legislature is now making its way to court. It is the latest development in the rift between Holcomb and members of his own Republican Party who have been perturbed by the governor’s extensive ability to declare a state of emergency and issues various mandates during the coronavirus. Lawmakers overrode Holcomb’s veto of a bill that would allow lawmakers to call themselves into an emergency session distribute discretionary federal funds. Now, Holcomb is suing over the measure, asking a judge to stop the new law.
Indiana – Quiet Extension of Indiana Legislative Session Until Nov. 15 Draws Legal, Political Scrutiny
The Republic – Hope Shrum (StateHouseFile.com) | Published: 4/27/2021
Current and former state lawmakers and a former Indiana Supreme Court justice are raising concerns that a new law to extend the 2021 legislative session until November 15 blurs the separation of powers and could have serious implications for the future. The coronavirus pandemic postponed 2020 census results and the change was necessary in order to vote on election redistricting in the fall, proponents say. But some worry the unusual move could set a precedent for a full-time Legislature, and others wonder about lawmakers fundraising while technically still in session, which is typically not allowed.
Kansas – Wichita City Officials Drop ‘Friends’ from Ethics Proposal, Back Away from Fines
MSN – Chance Swaim (Wichita Eagle) | Published: 4/27/2021
After drafting a new ethics code, the Wichita City Council moved to weaken the wording of the existing policy, scrubbing all mention of the word “friends.” The council is left to police itself under the current ethics code and has not enforced the policy, saying friends was not well defined. The new proposal would strengthen other parts of the law. It would limit gifts to $150 a year, create an advisory board to handle complaints against council members and city board appointees, establish whistleblower protections, and allow penalties to be handed out for violations.
Michigan – Indicted Taylor Mayor Rick Sollars Ruled Ineligible for Ballot Over Outstanding Campaign Filings, Fees
Detroit News – Christine Ferretti | Published: 4/24/2021
Taylor City Clerk Cynthia Bower ruled indicted Mayor Rick Sollars is ineligible to appear on the August primary ballot over his failure to file campaign finance reports and pay thousands of dollars in late fees. Bower said the legal challenge to Sollars’ candidacy is uncharted for Taylor and came into play under a Michigan law that went into effect in 2018. Sollars, she said, has the option of seeking an appeal of her decision or waging a write-in campaign.
Michigan – State Investigation into Detroit Mayor’s Office, Deleted Emails Results in No Charges
MSN – Joe Guillen (Detroit Free Press) | Published: 4/21/2021
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that a nearly two-year criminal investigation into the conduct of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s office concerning a local prenatal health care program will not result in any criminal charges. The investigation focused on the deletion by city staffers of about 150 city emails and the propriety of the city’s partnership with the program, Make Your Date. While Nessel acknowledged the investigation found unethical behavior, she said the findings did not support a criminal prosecution.
Missouri – Missouri House Docks the Pay of St. Louis Lawmaker Who Was Censured After Ethics Investigation
St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Jack Suntrup | Published: 4/26/2021
A Missouri lawmaker has seen his pay slashed since his colleagues in the House censured him in January over allegations he had sex with a Capitol intern and tried to cover it up. House leaders began withholding $1,000 per month, or $500 per pay period, from state Rep. Wiley Price a month after he became the first House member in state history to receive the official rebuke. The deductions stem from a line in the House Ethics Committee resolution censuring Price; the resolution orders him to pay back $22,492 in costs associated with a yearlong ethics investigation.
Nebraska – Nebraska Watchdog Group Files Complaint Against Former Lawmaker
Omaha World-Herald – Martha Stoddard | Published: 4/21/2021
A watchdog group accused the head of Blueprint Nebraska, a panel of state business leaders promoting economic growth, of failing to register as a lobbyist. The complaint names Jim Smith, a former state senator who is now president of Blueprint Nebraska.
New York – After Shift, State Ethics Panel Hires New Executive Director
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 4/28/2021
New York’s ethics oversight agency has a top staffer to lead its operations after having gone two years with the position unfilled. And for the first time, that key post at the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) will not be filled by a former staffer of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. JCOPE announced the hiring of Sanford Berland as its executive director. Berland is a former Court of Claims and state Supreme Court justice, and also had a long private legal career, including 14 years at Pfizer.
New York – Chaim Deutsch Kicked Out of City Council After Pleading Guilty to Tax Fraud
MSN – John Annese (New York Daily News) | Published: 4/28/2021
Chaim Deutsch was expelled from the New York City Council after pleading guilty to federal tax fraud. He could face a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Initially, council Speaker Corey Johnson stripped Deutsch of his committee assignments and barred him from doling out so-called member items, which are discretionary grants to community groups and projects. Johnson announced Deustch was removed from office, citing a state law that declares a public office vacant if its holder is convicted of a crime that violates his or her oath of office.
New York – Donovan’s Dad Discussed Mayoral Campaign Contribution Targets and Aided Super PAC, Records Show
The City – Greg Smith | Published: 4/26/2021
In New York City, independent expenditure committees that support candidates can raise unrestricted dollars but are barred from coordinating their spending with campaigns they back. New Start NYC, which supports mayoral hopeful Shaun Donovan and has been funded almost entirely by the candidate’s wealthy father to the tune of $3 million, has insisted it does not coordinate efforts in any way with the candidate’s campaign. The Campaign Finance Board said it found no evidence of improper activity and cleared Donovan’s campaign to receive nearly $1.5 million in public matching funds. But documents in the case present a more complex picture.
New York – New York’s Ethics’ Overhaul on a Slow Path to Reform, but Will It Get There?
Albany Times Union – Chris Bragg | Published: 4/26/2021
Since the 1980’s, cycles of scandal and reform have played out in a familiar Albany rhythm. Scandal brought pressure to change to New York’s ethics laws. The Legislature created a new ethics enforcement system, but the new commission was ultimately ineffectual as it lacked independence from politicians who created it. To newspaper editorial boards, watchdog groups, and some legislators, it is the perfect time to get rid of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE). Few consider JCOPE a viable vehicle to investigate the allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo because of the influence he exerts over the panel.
Ohio – FirstEnergy Says It’s Talking to Feds About Cutting Deal in HB6 Bribery Probe
Cleveland Plain Dealer – Andrew Tobias | Published: 4/22/2021
FirstEnergy is talking with federal prosecutors about taking a deal in the bribery investigation linked to a nuclear bailout bill in Ohio. That includes the possibility of a deferred prosecution agreement, through which a company can take actions like paying a fine or cooperating with prosecutors to avoid being criminally charged. FirstEnergy has not been officially accused of wrongdoing in the matter. But prosecutors have made clear they think the company and its affiliates gave $61 million to former House Speaker Larry Householder and his allies to help Householder gain his leadership position and to help pass legislation favorable to FirstEnergy.
Oregon – Portland Business Alliance Violated City Lobbying Rules 25 Times, Auditor Finds
OPB – Rebecca Ellis | Published: 4/27/2021
The Portland Business Alliance violated the city’s lobbying rules 25 times over the course of 2020, according to an audit. Officials discovered the violations after launching a review of possible undisclosed lobbying efforts by the trade group. A media inquiry asked why the alliance’s most recent lobbying report mentioned a series of meetings and telephone calls, but no emails. The violations could have resulted in a maximum penalty of $75,000 but the city auditor’s office fined the alliance $450 total. They also recommended the group’s staff get trained on how to comply with lobbying laws.
Pennsylvania – How a Steelers Owner Wrote Big Campaign Checks Days After $100 Million Investment from Pa.’s Largest Pension Fund
Philadelphia Inquirer – John DiStephano | Published: 4/27/2021
Pennsylvania’s largest pension fund invested $100 million in a business backed by Thomas Tull, a co-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two days later, campaign records show Tull made nearly $1.5 million in donations among national Democrats and Republicans. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party received $10,000. When they were asked whether the money ran afoul of “pay-to-play” rules for contributions at that level, Tull and national Democrats took steps to undo the donation. Critics say the problem of “pay-to-play” in pension fund investments has grown worse following court decisions striking down campaign finance controls, especially by stripping away limits on how much national political funds can raise.
South Carolina – Fired SC Director ‘Tainted’ Process Giving Husband a $600K Contract, Report Says
MSN – Maayan Schechter (The State) | Published: 4/23/2021
Former State Accident Fund Director Amy Cofield, fired by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster after she was accused of helping her husband get a lucrative contract with the agency she ran, said at the time that his hiring was necessary because her department struggled to find a company to do much needed programming work after receiving no bids. But a new report by state Inspector General Brian Lamkin says Cofield involved herself in the procurement process that eventually landed her husband a $600,000 contract, creating a conflict-of-interest that was both “organizational and personal.”
Texas – As the Voting-Rights Fight Moves to Texas, Defiant Republicans Test the Resolve of Corporations That Oppose Restrictions
MSN – Amy Gardner (Washington Post) | Published: 4/21/2021
As the battle over a new Georgia law imposing identification requirements for mail ballots and other voting limits raged this month, Republicans in Texas knew they would be next. and acted quickly to try to head off the swelling number of corporations that had begun to scrutinize even more restrictive proposals being considered there and around the country. To many of the companies and voting-rights advocates, the message is clear: some Republicans have no plans to back down, and businesses that continue to speak out could face retribution.
Texas – Texas Lawmakers, Lobby Firm React to Allegations That a Lobbyist Gave Date Rape Drug to Capitol Aide
Texas Tribune – Cassandra Pollock | Published: 4/25/2021
After the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed it is investigating an allegation that a lobbyist used a date rape drug on at least one Capitol staff member, a prominent Austin-based lobby shop said it had launched an internal investigation into the matter, telling state lawmakers in an email the firm and its employees “do not and will not tolerate a culture where anyone is not valued with respect and dignity.” State lawmakers, staffers, and other Capitol observers denounced the alleged incident, with several House members declaring they were banning from their offices any lobbyist or lobby firm associated with the accusation.
Washington DC – D.C. to Pay $1.6M In Police Misconduct Lawsuit Filed After 2017 Inauguration Protests
National Public Radio – Colleen Grablick (DCist.com) | Published: 4/26/2021
The District of Columbia. will pay $1.6 million to settle two lawsuits filed against the city for false arrests and excessive force during demonstrations on Inauguration Day in 2017. The lawsuits charge that police violated their constitutional rights and city. law when they arrested more than 200 people without probable cause during protests against former President Trump’s inauguration. The suits also alleged unlawful conditions of confinement for those arrests, and excessive use of force by Metropolitan Police Department officers.
Washington DC – House Democrats Pass D.C. Statehood – Launching Bill into Uncharted Territory
MSN – Meagan Flynn (Washington Post) | Published: 4/22/2021
For the second time in history, the U.S. House passed legislation to make the District of Columbia the nation’s 51st state, bolstering momentum for a once-illusory goal that has become a pivotal tenet of the Democratic Party’s voting rights platform. Democrats unanimously approved Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Washington, D.C. Admission Act, describing it as a bid to restore equal citizenship to the residents of the nation’s capital and rectify a historic injustice. But the political odds remain formidable, with the Senate filibuster requiring the support of 60 senators to advance legislation. Republicans, who hold 50 seats, have branded the bill as a Democratic power grab because it would create two Senate seats for the deep-blue city.
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