Jeff Elkner (middle) with his wife Roxana Alfaro and son Louis.
by Jeff Elkner
My wife, Roxana, my son, Louie, and I are Arlington Virginia New Majority chapter members, and we attended the first VNM statewide members meeting of VNM in the state capitol building in Richmond on Saturday. What an inspiring day! We were so proud to join the fightback for a fair and free Virginia!
Highlights of the incredible day for me include: Continue reading
Originally posted at Progress|VA.
Conservative lawmakers did not waste any time in getting partisan legislative proposals started for the next session that starts in January. Some controversial proposals are already public, just two weeks since the election, and they include:
- Ending Criminal Background Checks for Gun Purchases – The Virginian-Pilot reports, “Gun-rights advocates have lobbied Gov. Bob McDonnell to scrap the program… Efforts to cancel the state’s 22-year-old background check system… could be debated in the upcoming General Assembly session.” This will likely be just one of many pro-gun proposals from conservatives.
- Undoing Compromise Redistricting – Conservatives led by Republican Leader Tommy Norment would redo this year’s Virginia State Senate and House redistricting to be more favorable to Republicans. (Virginia Gazette) Conservatives are also trying to stall Congressional redistricting until January, in order to pass a map that will protect their 8 – 3 Republican Congressional majority and eliminate the creation of a second minority seat. (Washington Post)
- Conservative Immigration Policy - New legislation, and legislation copied from other states, will have significant anti-immigrant impacts on Virginia law enforcement, businesses, social and medical services, education, and housing. (Change Servant)
- Anti-Union Legislation – Del. Marshall has filed a bill to prohibit state revenue for the Dulles metro project if there is a project labor agreement. (VA Legislative Information System) Senate candidate George Allen also recently voiced opposition to Project Labor Agreements. (Progressive Point)
- Removing a Ban on Uranium Mining – Conservative lawmakers will likely help the uranium industry remove Virginia’s 30-year ban on uranium mining in the Commonwealth. (Keep the Ban)
- Exempting VA Coal Companies from the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and All Federal Regulations – Last year, conservatives passed legislation in the House of Delegates that would exempt any products mined, manufactured, or produced in any other way and sold in Virginia from all federal regulations. That means coal companies would be exempt from the Clean Water Act and utilities would be exempt from the Clean Air Act if they were burning coal mined in Virginia. (Virginia Chapter Sierra Club) This will very likely be put forward again in January.
- Major Budget Cuts and Layoffs – Gov. McDonnell will soon submit a budget that will likely include layoffs and cuts of up to 6% for Virginia agencies, as well as many changes disingenuously labeled “reforms” from McDonnell’s commission that excluded Democratic members. (Richmond Times Dispatch Oct. 28, 2011; Richmond Times Dispatch Nov. 20, 2011)
Also likely to return is a proposal to change pension plans from defined-benefit to defined-contribution–a conservative plan to hand over teachers and firefighters’ retirement accounts to Wall Street for them to gamble away. (Virginian-Pilot) We can expect many other conservative legislative proposals, such as school vouchers, anti-transparency measures, and a right-to-work constitutional amendment.
Following Republican gains in Virginia’s State Senate and House, conservative lawmakers believe they will be able to force through ideological and controversial bills that had previously been stopped by the State Senate. These proposals are not in the best interest of Virginians and we cannot allow them to become law because we weren’t paying attention.
So many schools struggle to fulfill their core mission: to educate youth in this country and prepare them to fully participate in building a better future. They need more and better-trained teachers, and more resources to build better school buildings and equip classrooms. Yet, the reforms that some lawmakers pursue have far more to do with making schools unsafe for all its students and uniting corporate interests with the beliefs of the far right.
ColorLines Magazine presents a terrifying story, reposted here, about a school district in Colorado that is terrorizing students and families by inviting ICE agents to police its school corridors. As time passes and political rhetoric becomes ever-more hate-filled, stories like this seem normal. But it’s our duty and task to work for schools that keep our kids and families safe, and promote the kind of critical thinking that can answer the big questions that our current governing generations have failed to answer.
Originially posted here.
John Moore/Getty Images
by Julianne Hing
Friday, October 21 2011
What happens when the police officer who works at your high school also happens to moonlight as an immigration agent conducting raids in the neighborhood where you live? Latino middle and high school students in the small Colorado town of
Carbondale started reporting exactly this over a year ago, along with the fear that their school resource officer was using information he learned at school to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement pick up parents in the town.
Now, the school board for Carbondale’s Roaring Fork School District is considering a policy that would bar police officers from serving such dual roles.
“When it comes to immigration, mixing it with law enforcement is very problematic,” Continue reading