TO: Interested Parties
FROM: The DLCC
RE: One Year of Trump Resistance
DATE: Jan. 20, 2018
FROM: The DLCC
RE: One Year of Trump Resistance
DATE: Jan. 20, 2018
In the past year since Donald Trump was inaugurated as President, state Democrats have stepped up to create a blue wall of resistance against the Trump administration’s extremist policies. And it’s working. Facing the lowest approval rating of any elected president in his first term, Trump and his Republican legislators are desperate to claim victories that simply are unattainable in the toxic environment they have created in Washington.
With the 2018 midterms quickly approaching, we must work together to continue to elect more local Democrats to state legislatures all over the country and win back Democratic control of chambers so state leaders can keep pushing back against the chaotic and extremist right-wing machine and protect progressive American values.
Examples of state legislatures passing progressive change to protect voters against Trump’s harmful policies:
- President Trump issued an Executive Order giving employers the ability to withhold insurance coverage of contraceptives if the employer had religious objections, and states took action to protect women. Colorado, Nevada, Washington and Oregon passed legislation making it possible for women to fill a 12-month supply of birth control prescriptions.
- Eight states and Washington D.C. passed laws to allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control, including: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington.
- The following eight states passed laws to guarantee birth control coverage without a co-pay or deductible: California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.
- The majority Democrat General Assembly in Illinois passed legislation mandating abortions be covered by state health insurance and Medicaid and removed language in a state law that could criminalize abortion if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned.
- Delaware became the first state to enact legislation to ensure abortion remains legal in the state even if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned. Oregon soon followed with the passage of the state’s Reproductive Health Equity Act.
- New York expanded access to birth control and abortion by mandating free coverage under state health care providers.
- California passed legislation ensuring Medicaid recipients would retain access to reproductive care and abortion.
- The Republican-led Nebraska State Legislature has rejected Medicaid expansion five times, but Democratic State Senator Adam Morfeld is pushing to put a Medicaid expansion question on the ballot in November 2018. Nebraska would join Utah and Idaho in considering initiatives to decide Medicaid expansion at the ballot box.
- In Maine, voters approved Medicaid expansion after Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed legislation five times to expand insurance for the most vulnerable.
- 11 million Americans have gained coverage from Medicaid expansion in 31 states and the District of Columbia under the Affordable Care Act.
- In January of 2018, the Virginia House and Senate Democrats announced that extending access to affordable health care to nearly 400,000 hardworking Virginians through Medicaid expansion is their top joint legislative goal. About 83 percent of Virginians support expanding Medicaid, according to a new poll.
STANDING UP FOR WORKING FAMILIES
- Approximately 4.5 million low wage workers in 18 states saw a boost in their paychecks starting New Year’s Day as wage hikes took effect in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington.
- California raised the minimum wage to $11, giving roughly 2.5 million people more money in their weekly paychecks, according to economists at the University of California, Berkeley. The increase is part of the gradual phase-in of the state’s $15-an-hour minimum wage.
- This year, Democrats in California, Delaware, and Oregon passed legislation guaranteeing equal pay. While Democrats were stymied by Republicans from passing equal pay legislation in Illinois, Maine, Nevada, and New Jersey, they will continue to fight for equal pay for equal work.
- Maryland’s Democrat-led General Assembly passed legislation requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to hundreds of thousands of Maryland workers, and were able to override a veto from the state’s Republican Governor when the legislation was threatened.
- Nevada Democrats passed protections for pregnant women to prevent and prohibit discrimination by employers.
- Rhode Island’s Democrat-led General Assembly mandated paid sick leave for private-sector employees and made it easier for firefighters to qualify for tax-free disability pensions.
- Washington Democrats enacted legislation providing Washingtonians with paid family and medical leave to allow employees to take needed time off to care for sick loved ones without losing their hard-earned paycheck.
STANDING WITH IMMIGRANTS
- In response to the Trump administration’s repeated efforts to demonize immigrants, several state legislatures acted swiftly to protect undocumented immigrants from the federal government’s cruel deportation tactics.
- California and Illinois both became sanctuary states; in fact, California’s refusal to help federal agents deport undocumented immigrants prompted Thomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to suggest that state politicians should be arrested.
- One week into his presidency, Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning people from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. In response, New York directed its port authority to disregard the order; Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that his office would offer legal help to those detained at airports.
- States like Vermont, New Mexico, and Hawaii all introduced legislation to prevent state law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal immigration laws.
- Several states took action this year to ban conversion therapy, a widely discredited and detrimental practice that attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Nine states and Washington D.C. have outlawed conversion therapy for minors, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
- Arizona Democratic State Senator Sean Bowie is trying to get a bill passed that would make Arizona the 10th state in the nation to bar mental-health professionals from practicing conversion therapy.
- In November, Virginia Del. Danica Roem because the first openly transgender candidate to be elected to a state legislative seat in the entire country. While her candidacy and subsequent electoral victory were historic, she was one of nearly 10 openly transgender candidates who were elected to state and local offices last November.
- In Texas, Democratic state legislators successfully fought back against anti-LGBTQ legislation during the regular and special legislative sessions. More than 50,000 Texans, 27 Fortune 500 companies, and nearly 500 faith leaders acted on behalf of the LGBTQ community, and several harmful pieces of legislation ultimately failed to pass.
- Hawaii passed legislation prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression while Nevada Democrats used their majorities to revise the state’s nondiscrimination laws to protect LGBTQ individuals. Meanwhile, Delaware became the 17th state to legally protect transgender people from discrimination.
- Virginia introduced bills to expand the number of documents that can be used for voter ID purposes, simplify the absentee voting process, extend poll hours, and restore voting rights for former prisoners.
- In Nevada, Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson introduced legislation that would allow county election officials to extend the early voting period until the last Sunday before Election Day. The legislation passed both the Senate and the Assembly, but was vetoed by Republican Governor Brian Sandoval.
- Rhode Island passed a bill to require random post-election audits to verify machine-ballot tallies.
- In 2017, President Trump announced a commission to investigate unfounded claims of voter fraud in the 2016 election. It was obvious from the very beginning that the commission was nothing more than a ruse to restrict voting access to people of color, young people, and low-income Americans. Just a few days ago, the president dissolved the commission, citing severe pushback from states across the country.
- In November of 2017, Massachusetts became the first state since the Las Vegas shooting to ban bump stocks or devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire more rapidly like an automatic weapon.
- Democrats in the Washington Legislature flipped the state Senate last November, and now legislators are pushing for gun regulations such as bans on bump-stocks and high-capacity magazines.
- In Rhode Island, state Democrats passed legislation to take guns away from domestic-abusers.
- California strengthened what were already some of the toughest gun laws in the country by restricting ammunition sales and assault weapons, and barring school officials from carrying concealed weapons at work.
- In response to Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York, Jay Inslee of Washington, and Jerry Brown of California created a bipartisan coalition of states committed to upholding the emissions-reduction targets of the Paris climate accord. In fact, more than 550 state legislators signed their commitment to protecting the planet from climate change’s worst impacts.
- The states who joined together to take action on climate change and formed the United States Climate Alliance include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
For more information or to schedule an interview with the DLCC, please contact Mara Sloan at [email protected]. You can find a PDF of this memo here.
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