VOTING RIGHTS WRONGED– Advancement Project Co-Director and Top Wonk Penda D. Hair reacted to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act yesterday, which had enabled Section 5 to regulate discriminatory voting laws: “[The] decision threatens the promise of equal access to the ballot…We have essentially lost an effective tool today to stave off voter suppression this year, because states like Virginia and North Carolina will not have to submit their photo ID laws for preclearance.” Advancement Project released a series of maps detailing the implications of the decision in key voting states.
U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) have authored the Right to Vote Amendment that would definitively guarantee the right to vote to all citizens. Pocan and Ellison: “As disappointed as we are by today’s decision, it demonstrates why we cannot wait to enact [the] constitutional amendment.” Pledge your support for a voting rights amendment HERE.
INEQUALITY ON DISPLAY– The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) launched Inequality.is, an interactive website offering a comprehensive picture of inequality in America and different ways citizens can take action. EPI economist Elise Gould: “Inequality is not an abstract issue. It affects the vast majority of Americans, who have seen wage growth slow to a crawl even as productivity has increased. Inequality.is shows people that income inequality is personal and affects them in very real ways.”
PROTESTING THE PIPELINE — Twenty-two people – many of whom are former Obama campaign staffers and donors – were arrested at the State Department’s downtown Chicago office last Monday while peacefully protesting the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline. The NoKXL campaign, backed by CREDO Action, Rainforest Action Network, and The Other 98%, organized the demonstration after already accruing over 62,000 signatures in a Pledge of Resistance to the border-crossing pipeline, which would pump heavy crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Texan refineries.
Since 1990, pipelines in the U.S. have spilled more than 110 million gallons of crude and petroleum. Oil from tar sands is 15 to 20 percent dirtier than conventional petroleum and the extraction process is significantly more resource-intensive. Former Vice President Al Gore: “This whole project is an atrocity.”
Learn more about NoKXL HERE. On Twitter, use #nokxlpledge.
NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE GAINS MOMENTUM — The New York Assembly passed the National Popular Vote Plan Bill last week by a 100-40 margin, sending it to the state Senate for approval. If successful, New York will join California, Washington DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington in a compact that commits their electoral college votes to the presidential candidate with the national popular vote. Rhode Island also recently passed a similar bill (SB 346/HB 5575) in both houses. READ: Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote
IMMIGRATION WALL OF SHAME — MoveOn.org has started the Immigration Wall of Shame, a member-led campaign exposing elected officials for using racist language in opposing comprehensive immigration reform. The site will be updated whenever public officials make derogatory comments about immigrants in the ongoing deliberations.
AMERICAN BRIDGES FALLING DOWN — More than 66,000 bridges throughout the country are considered structurally deficient, according to a new report by Transportation for America. $12.8 billion is currently allocated to fix the bridges every year, despite the fact that the Federal Highway Administration estimates that it will cost $76 billion to fix the already crumbling infrastructure, plus an additional $20.5 billion annually until 2028. READ: “The Fix We’re In For: The State of Our Nation’s Bridges 2013.”
HUMAN CHAIN TO COMBAT CUTS — On Tuesday July 2nd, The Alliance for Retired Americans will sponsor a day of action in over 40 cities across the country in support of enhanced retirement security. The Human Chain Against the Chained CPI Cuts to Social Security hopes to elevate grassroots efforts to combat the proposed cut to Social Security, which would result in an annual benefit that is roughly $1,000 lower by the time a beneficiary reaches age 85.
Find events in your area HERE.
FROM THE WONK WIRE …
… BEAT THE CLOCK: Roosevelt Institute Fellow and Top Wonk Michael Konczal says that Commodities Future Trading Commissioner Gary Gensler is in a race against time and congress to finish one of the most important pieces of financial reform: regulating cross border derivative exposures.
Find out more at www.topwonks.org
ON OUR AGENDA …
INEQUALITY FOR ALL — Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich investigates the correlation between the widening income inequality gap and the country’s economic health in the new documentary Inequality For All. Venture Capitalist and Patriotic Millionaire Nick Hanauer is also featured. Find out about upcoming festival screenings HERE.