Four State and Congressional Laws to Keep an Eye on
Although I write frequently about the presidency, it is also beneficial to highlight certain political developments at a state and congressional level. In this blog I will address some of the major bills passed in recent days in our governments:
*D.C. Statehood— A debate for quite a while, the likelihood of Washington D.C. becoming the fifty-first state rests on the U.S. Senate floor. Last year, House representatives passed the legislation, but Mitch McConnell did not bring the bill to the Senate floor. It is expected to be rejected
by a majority of Republican Senators if brought to their attention under the newly elected Congress, as Washington D.C. is known to politically lean Democratic, and admitting D.C. into statehood may make it harder for Republicans to occupy a majority in Congress.
*Transgender Rights— Florida and Arkansas are two states that recently passed legislation to require transgender athletes to compete amongst peers of the same birth gender. In fact, the Florida House passed a bill that allows schools to require a genital inspection of student athletes if they are suspected of being transgender. While supporters feel that this legislation will help preserve the integrity of sports leagues (particularly banning transgender women from competing amongst women), critics say that these laws are discriminatory and a violation of privacy.
*Abolishing the Death Penalty in Virginia— Last month, Virginia became the twenty-third state to ban the application of the death sentence as a punishment for convicted murderers. Virginia is the first southern state in the country to end the practice.
*Georgia Voting Law— The implications of this bill are significant enough to cause the MLB to relocate its all star game from Atlanta, Georgia to Denver, Colorado. Delta and Coca-cola condemned its ratification. So what are they outraged about? The bill was signed into state law by Governor Brian Kemp this year, and it will go into effect on July 1, 2021. Its measures include creating special ballots for nonpartisan elections, a cutoff date of eleven days before a primary, general election or runoff election for mail-in-ballot applications, and proof of a Georgia state driver's license number, ID card number, date of birth, and a social security identification. The law also instructs polling centers to recruit "poll watchers," or 'nonpartisan' voting officers who will scrutinize the voting process. Critics argue that this law discriminates against minorities and poor individuals who may lack the proper forms required in order to vote, with some even comparing these measures to the Jim Crow Laws.
Are you outraged and hopeless by these state/congressional laws? Or satisfied and optimistic? Comment below with your initial reaction.
USA Today & Now This News (*note: despite the websites' potential biases, I filtered out positive/negative adjectives in order to present both sides of the story).