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To that end, we endorse organizations that work towards these goals and share ways to support their efforts. We also publish informative articles from trustworthy news sources and information on related events and actions we can take as individuals.

Featured Articles From Our Newsletter

President’s Day on Monday, February 19, 2024

In 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring February 22 a day of celebration honoring George Washington. A federal holiday on February 22 was officially passed into law in 1879 for federal employees in Washington, D.C., and in 1885 the day became a paid holiday for all federal employees. Over time, it became a holiday for many state and business employees, too. 

The shift from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents’ Day occurred in the late 1960s, when Congress proposed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This Act included a provision to combine the celebration of Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday (February 12, 1809) on the third Monday in February. 

Since 1862, there has been a tradition in the United States Senate that George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address be read on his birthday. The address is a 6,000-word statement printed in Philadelphia’s American Daily Advertiser in which Washington sought to explain his decision not to run for a third term re-election.

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Supreme Court of Ethics

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a code of ethics following months of financial scandals associated with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. The nonbinding code, signed by all nine justices, outlines five canons intended to guide their behavior, emphasizing integrity, impartiality, diligence, and the avoidance of impropriety and political activity.

The code itself is unremarkable. It is based on the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct, which is used throughout the country. In structure and in content it is largely the same. It, however, is absent of specifics and teeth.

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A Modern Day Translation of George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address

New Laws in Michigan Take Effect February 13, 2024

PEG has previously reported that many new laws were passed in 2023 and take effect 2/13/24. Since the majority of these laws were not supported by Republicans, the bills did not go into effect until 90 days after the lawmakers adjourned the legislative session last year.

RIGHT-TO-WORK LAW REPEALED AND PREVAILING WAGE LAW REINSTATED

On a party-line vote, Democrats repealed Michigan’s right-to-work” law that had allowed workers in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying union dues. House Bill 4004 only affects workers in the private sector based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that currently bars the public sector from requiring employees covered by collective bargaining agreements to pay union dues. However, Democrats passed a state law that would also repeal right-to-work for public sector workers in the event the court reverses its earlier decision.

Democrats also reinstated a prevailing wage law, repealed by Republicans in 2018, that requires contractors hired for state projects to pay union-level wages, so Michigan employees making minimum wage should see a slight raise in pay in 2024.

As of Jan. 1, 2024, the state’s minimum wage increased from $10.10 to $10.33 per hour. Read the entire act here.The state’s minimum wage has been wrapped up in legal issues for years. Read about it here. Learn more about the Minimum wage: How we got here and why it’s not working and how the increase will affect minors, tipped, and training employees.

EXPANDING ABORTION ACCESS

Michigan’s new Reproductive Health Act is comprised of eight separate bills, see below. According to the governor’s office, the package was designed to repeal “politically motivated, medically unnecessary statutes that criminalized nurses and doctors, forced health care providers to close, raised costs for patients, and restricted access to abortion.”

Democrats removed other previous abortion restrictions such as a state law that banned higher education institutions’ pregnant and parenting services offices from providing referrals for abortion services and regulations for clinics that state law required to purchase a special insurance rider for private health plans to cover abortion.

Attempts were made to repeal the mandated 24-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion but this did not pass. Abortion rights proponents have sued the state asking the judge to declare the law unconstitutional under a ballot proposal adopted by voters enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution.

More details can be provided here. Senate Bill 474; Senate Bill 476; Senate Bill 477; House Bill 4951; House Bill 4953; House Bill 4954; House Bill 4955 and House Bill 4956

Voting Michigan: Download and Share these FREE Graphics with friends and neighbors

 

LGBTQ+ RIGHTS

In 2023 Democrats expanded the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. This change came after the Michigan Supreme Court previously ruled that Michigan’s civil rights law prohibits such discrimination. Senate Bill 4 also banned conversion therapy targeting LGBTQ+ youth to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION

A series of new gun laws take effect 2/13/24: universal background checks for all gun purchases, including long guns, Bills: House Bill 4138 & House Bill 4142; safe storage requirements to keep guns out of the hands of children, Bills: Senate Bill 79, Senate Bill 80; accessible gun safety devices, Bills: Senate Bill 81, Senate Bill 82;red flag” law enabling courts to temporarily order the removal of guns from those posing an imminent risk to themselves or others, Senate Bill 83, House Bill 4146, House Bill 4147, House Bill 4148, House Bill 4145; and a temporary ban for those with domestic violence convictions from possessing and purchasing firearms and ammunition for at least eight years in Michigan, Bills: Senate Bill 471, Senate Bill 528, & House Bill 4945.

Click here for additional information on how red flag laws work and here to become more educated about the new gun reform laws.

EDUCATION LAW CHANGES

Third grade students will no longer be held back if they fail a reading proficiency test. Senate Bill 12 amended that law which now requires that the parent or guardian of these students be notified of the reading deficiency and provided with information about intervention options. The student will also be placed into a reading intervention program through fourth grade to help address their reading difficulties.

In addition, Michigan’s public schools will no longer be ranked using an A-F letter system to grade their performance. The rankings had provided a way for parents to evaluate and compare public schools in their communities, however, the system was characterized as burdensome red tape for Michigan’s schools.

CLIMATE ACTION LAWS

On February 13th, Senate Bill 273 and Senate Bill 502 take effect. The former bill improves energy efficiency and waste reduction programs to drive down costs for families and small businesses. It will reportedly help Michiganders upgrade their homes to save money while ensuring access to reliable power. The latter bill authorizes the Michigan Public Service Commission to consider climate and equity in their regulatory decisions in an effort to prioritize the health and well-being of Michigan communities as they expand energy production.

The Clean energy standard, Senate Bill 271 takes effect February 27, 2024 and the Clean energy projects, House Bill 5120 and House Bill 5121, take effect in November 2024.

Join us March 10, 2024 for A2 Climate Teach-In

The annual A2 Climate Teach-in provides an easy and meaningful entry point for those who want to get more involved in climate action. You will have the chance to build your own Climate Action Toolkit. Various workshops and discussions throughout the day culminate in the keynote address, “What We Can Do Together for Climate Action,” delivered by United States Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Michigan’s 6th District. Genesis of Ann Arbor, 2309 Packard St, Ann Arbor. Register here. 1:30—5:15 pm

The Second Annual A2 Climate Teach in on March 10 2024 from one thirty to five fifteen

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