Policy Updates

On the Hill Updates: November 2, 2018

Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Time to #GetCovered!

The health insurance marketplace is open for business! Shop from now until December 15 for a plan that will start on January 1. Access to health care is a reproductive justice issue — we all deserve to have the resources we need to make our own decisions about our health, families, and futures. Go to www.healthcare.gov for more information about plans and pricing.

  • Take Action! Let your families and communities know it’s time to #GetCovered!

Federal Courts

#CourtsMatter to voting rights

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on October 31 that the state of Ohio must count provisional election ballots for the 2018 midterm elections cast by certain people previously purged from the state’s voter rolls, as long as those voters still live in the county in which they were previously registered and have not been disqualified by felony conviction, mental incapacity, or another reason. This is a victory for voting rights advocates and comes on the heels of this year’s US Supreme Court’s troubling decision in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, in which the Court ruled that revoking an individual’s voter registration on the basis of inactivity does not violate the law. The 6th Circuit found, however, that the notices sent by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to remove voters from its rolls didn’t comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, thereby constituting improper purging of voter rolls.


Civil Rights

Nation mourns deadly attack in Pittsburgh

On October 27, eleven Jewish members of three congregations were murdered in cold blood at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The attack is believed to be the deadliest on the Jewish community in US history. The event follows the racially motivated murder of two black people in a supermarket in Kentucky (being investigated as a hate crime) and pipe bombs targeting prominent Democratic targets. Hate crimes and incidents against Jews and Jewish institutions are on the rise, and communities across the United States are both mourning those lost and considering how to respond. “In times like this,” said Paula Garret, NCJW national board director and former president of Tree of Life synagogue, “it is incredibly soothing to have the support of my sisters in NCJW and to witness the outpouring of love that is coming our way from Jews and non-Jews alike. While I mourn the deaths of my fellow congregants, I take solace from the support we, in Pittsburgh, have received.”

Attorney General Sessions supported citizenship census question

New documents uncovered in the trial over adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census shed light on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ role in its addition. This week, emails revealed that after receiving a request from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to add the question, staff from the Census Bureau concluded that using other streams of data would be a more accurate account of citizenship than people’s self-reported information. They requested a meeting with DOJ to discuss their findings, but Assistant Attorney General John Gore testified out of court that Sessions “personally made the decision to direct DOJ not to even meet with the Census Bureau to discuss alternative approaches.” On the heels of this information, the administration asked the US Supreme Court to delay the trial, scheduled to begin November 5. NCJW opposes adding a citizenship questions to the census as it would suppress response rates in communities of color, ultimately impacting the allocation of government resources and political representation for these communities.


Economic Justice

EEOC meets on workplace harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released a report detailing their increased efforts to fight and prevent workplace harassment in 2018. The Commission held a meeting on October 31, attended by NCJW, to discuss the report and its significance one year after the #MeToo movement went viral. Three EEOC commissioners interviewed seven witnesses about how and why workplaces must change to both address and prevent harassment.


Immigration and Refugees

Family separation update

In last week’s status report for Ms. L v. ICE the government notified the court that it failed to include 14 children in the original count, bringing the current total of separated kids to at least 103. The next status update is on November 9.

Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric reaches fever pitch

In the past week, President Trump has tweeted nonstop about the migrant caravan traveling through Mexico, ordered troops to the US-Mexico border, proposed ending birthright citizenship, and in an incendiary speech on November 1, discussed ending asylum, detaining immigrant families and children in “tent cities,” and mused that troops should shoot migrants throwing rocks. He also announced he will sign an executive order next week impacting asylum claims. While it’s clear this focus on immigrants is part of a political ploy prior to the election, his words have real consequences, and next week’s executive order could be incredibly damaging. Further, sending thousands of troops to the border has major impacts on border communities. NCJW condemns these remarks and will stay vigilant in our opposition to policies that harm immigrants and communities of color broadly.


Gender Based and Sexual Violence

House funds domestic violence shelters and programs

Before leaving for recess, the US House of Representatives reauthorized the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA, HR 6014), co-sponsored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Gwen Moore (D-WI). FVPSA is the only federal funding source that is dedicated to domestic violence shelters and programs. More than 1,500 shelters across the United States rely on FVSPA funding to provide services such as crisis hotlines, counseling, victim assistance initiatives, and programs for underserved communities.

  • Take Action! Call your senators (Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121) and urge them to co-sponsor the Senate version, S 2784, offered by Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chris Coons (D-DE), and John Cornyn (R-TX) — and pass this critical legislation now!

Sign On Letters

  • On October 26, NCJW joined 20 organizations in a request organized by the Young Center to extend the comment period for a proposed rule to change child detention standards.

Amicus Briefs

NCJW signed on as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to a brief asking the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the equal pay case Gordon v. United States en banc (i.e. for all judges to hear the case).

Related Resources