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Category Archives: Second Amendment

Boom times for the Second Amendment, apparently – The Boston Globe

Posted: July 5, 2020 at 10:28 am

I dont accept the suggestion that self-preservation is the most important act we can carry out while alive. Think of the civil rights protesters in the 1960s who knew they were taking their lives into their own hands when they marched through racist strongholds like Alabama.

Being willing to die for a cause is a far more powerful force for change than the urge to protect your own life and family and property and to heck with everyone else, which seems to be the mentality of the predominantly white gun-owning populace in this country.

It is critical to practice pacifism and not engage in the techniques of the enemy, whether it is Donald Trump supporters who, armed, storm state capitols in protest over pandemic regulations or cops who pepper spray demonstrators.

Martin Luther King Jr. said that if you havent found something you are willing to die for, you arent fit to live.

Remy Trahant

Cambridge

Bullet points, so to speak

Re Black and white Americans are embracing the Second Amendment, the following should be noted:

Peter Sexton

Cohasset

Maybe we should start embracing gun associations

Once again, Jeff Jacoby has hit the nail on the head: (Black and white Americans are embracing the Second Amendment). Here in 2020, the best way to create equity and harmony among various demographic groups in America is not through education, legislation, or even the police, but by making sure that all groups are equally armed.

I had not heard of the National African American Gun Association, which Jacoby cites, but he has given me a great idea. I need to found a Boston chapter of the National Anti-gun Progressives Gun Association, because when the bullets start flying, even the gun-averse dont want to be caught with their holsters down.

Ill leave it up to others to start their own gun association chapters, for farmers, LGBTQ Americans, Asian-Americans, etc. Why shouldnt a solution for keeping the peace that worked in 1820 also work in 2020?

Some may view this as a dystopian future for America, but according to Jeff Jacoby, this is what the Second Amendment is for.

Nathan Aronow

Newton

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Boom times for the Second Amendment, apparently - The Boston Globe

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Has Anyone Told Kelly Loeffler The Second Amendment Applies To Everyone? – Above the Law

Posted: at 10:28 am

In 2015, a group called the National African American Gun Association formed with the intention to promote self-protection. Since the 2016 election, this organization has seen its membership soar, in some measure due to the concern (I would argue the fact) that the president of the United Sates is a racist who is emboldening racism in our society. The more black Americans embrace or utilize their Second Amendment rights in public, however, the more you see alarm being expressed by people who are traditionally pro-gun.

The most recent example came from Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler recently described Americans who were lawfully, and peacefully, carrying weapons as totally unacceptable and an example of mob rule. As Scott Shackford points out in his piece in Reason, it is not against the law to carry guns openly in public in Georgia, where Loeffler serves as a senator. In fact, Loeffler never accuses the armed individuals of breaking any laws, and in the very recent past, she has been an outspoken proponent of gun rights and expressed the need to protect and defend the Second Amendment. So, asks Shackford, [w]hat could possibly make a pro-gun-rights senator suddenly take such a dim view of citizens rights to bear arms? The only logical, and rather obvious answer is that in Georgia, the people legally carrying guns in public happened to be black.

It is simply stunning how the narrative around the right to bear arms can still change today, on national television no less, depending on the race of the gun owner. For example, when it was white armed Americans in Michigan who were protesting in their state capitol building, the president offered praise and a message of support. Yet, when the group is Black Lives Matter, even unarmed protests are described by this same president as hate coming down the street. Again, the inference for why there is such a difference in reaction between the two protests is absurdly obvious.

One of the most common narratives coming from pro-gun rights groups is that the only way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. Although I happen to agree, it must also be acknowledged that this narrative can backfire when its a good black man with a gun stopping a bad guy trying to harm others. However, as activist Michael Render (otherwise known as Killer Mike) recently argued, such instances of injustice should not dissuade black people from owning guns. In fact, according to Render, it should encourage legal ownership in order to normalize it and to defend what you care about. Moreover, gun ownership is a right and, to Render, it is imperative that black Americans embrace all of their rights to use like tools in a toolbox.

Of course, gun ownership being viewed wildly different depending on the race of the owner is nothing new. Irrational and downright bigoted fears of black Americans possessing arms to defend themselves was the primary cause of this countrys first gun control laws. Laws, it should be said, that are not applied evenly to this day. Which is why I have argued that gun laws are, as a general matter, destructive, ineffective, and unnecessary.

The good news is that American views on race are increasingly improving, and hopefully, normalization of black gun ownership can inevitably increase. But as Loeffler and the president often demonstrate, there is still a lot of work to be done in regard to viewing black gun ownership in a positive light, or even just a neutral light.

Tyler Brokers work has been published in the Gonzaga Law Review, the Albany Law Review, and is forthcoming in the University of Memphis Law Review. Feel free to email himor follow him onTwitterto discuss his column.

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Your Second Amendment Rights are in Jeopardy! Take a Stand #GUNVOTE – AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

Posted: at 10:28 am

#GUNVOTE

USA -(AmmoLand.com)- As the 2020 presidential election quickly approaches, many of the candidates platforms include proposals that severely threaten your Second Amendment rights.

From proposed bans on popular modern sporting rifles and ammunition to mandates for federal licensing and registration, these ill-informed proposals would strip away the rights of law-abiding citizens while doing nothing to protect public safety. It is time you make a choice and take a stand.

Visit http://www.gunvote.org then click on the 2020 presidential candidates to view their positions and quotes on Second Amendment issues.

Even between elections, target shooters, hunters, and gun owners would do well to stay informed about the issues that affect us. Becoming educated about the views, votes, and decisions of officeholders and those positioning themselves to run for office should be an ongoing concern. #GUNVOTE is here to help you to protect Americas firearms freedoms. Dont wait until election time. Become educated and keep yourself informed before its time to #GUNVOTE.

Protecting your rights has never been more important than it is today. Our national crisis has exposed the politicians who want to strip away our constitutional freedoms. Send them a message! Be a voter in the 2020 elections to protect your rights!

Help Drive Voter Registration NSSF is urging all industry businesses and activist-minded individuals to download and display NSSFs #GUNVOTE icon on their company websites and incorporate #GUNVOTE messages in their social media campaigns. Download everything you need here, and then link to gunvote.org, where visitors can find voter-registration information for their states and other helpful resources

About the National Shooting Sports Foundation

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 10,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations, and publishers. http://www.nssf.org

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Opinion: Counterprotesters among cowards of the worst kind – The Cincinnati Enquirer

Posted: at 10:28 am

Counterprotesters watch a Black Lives Matter march as curfew approaches June 15 in Bethel, Ohio. Protesters took to the streets after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer kneeled on his neck, ignoring Floyd's pleas that he could not breathe.(Photo: Albert Cesare / The Enquirer)

Thirty-three years ago, I departed small-town America to become a cadet at West Point. Both places have been in the news lately, West Point for its unique, but not unprecedented, graduation on the plain and my hometown for all the wrong reasons.

At the end of four years at West Point, the Class of 1991 swore to defend the Constitution and President George H.W. Bush handed each of us our commissions. The Cold War was over. We watched Desert Storm on CNN, but were rewarded with assignments in Mogadishu, Srebrenicaand Port-au-Prince. For those who served beyond our five-year service obligation, Iraq and Afghanistan have consumed the balance of nearly 20 years.

More: 'We need to start talking about social awareness.' Clermont County activist organizes dialogue in Bethel

More: 2nd day of protests in Bethel results in 3 arrests, police say. 'Independent investigation' to follow

I have done nothing remotely heroic, but it has been my honor to serve in the company of brave men and women. Not the kind of folks who write tell-all books, rather professionals who quietly go about their business leading other Americans and our partners in pursuit of shared national interests.

The officer in Afghanistan sporting nothing but a conservative headscarf and a 9mm tucked neatly into her fashionable clutch while she engaged with local women.

My classmate who scooped a wounded child out of harms way as if she were one of his own.

The special forces officers who bear no resemblance to what Hollywood might have you believe and nothing like the posers seen in state capitols enjoying their rights under the Second Amendment.

The heroes I know wouldnt need a gun to make their point in small-town America, nor would they feel threatened by someone holding a sign. America isnt "battlespace"any more than it is Fallujah, Ramadi, Kandaharor Kabul.

Two weeks ago, my daughter sent me text messages with articles about an incident in Bethel, Ohio, associated with a small Black Lives Matter demonstration and the larger counter-protest it incited. Im not proud of my initial "glad I dont live there anymore" reaction. My mother, no longer a resident, heard gossip that one of my teachers children had been involved in the Black Lives Matter demonstration that led to the, at times, violent counter-protest.

Why trade in gossip? I called my second-grade teacher.

Yes, her daughter had been there. Yes, the Black Lives Matter demonstrators had sought and gained permission from the local authorities to hold their signs, socially distanced in front of the Grant Memorial Building a building named for Ulysses S. Grant and fellow West Point graduate, who would look on in horror with me, were he alive, at the ubiquity of stars and bars that have, in recent years, appeared in the Land of Grant. And yes, the woman who taught me in the second grade that being an American citizen was a privilege had attended the demonstration.

Black Lives Matter protesters and a counter protesters talk, Monday, June 15, 2020, along East Plane Street in Bethel, Ohio. Protesters took to the streets following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died on Monday, May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis after a white police officer kneeled on his neck, ignoring Floyd's pleas that he could not breathe.(Photo: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer)

Sadly, the counter-protestors, some of whom were armed, tore her sign from her hands. Before long, she and her daughter left the demonstration fearing that physical harm might come to them if they stayed. But she didnt slink off; no, she communicated to local institutions of civil society, the most important fabric of our nation she stood before the Bethel Historical Society to explain her perspective, emailed the Catholic parish council in the same veinand spoke with media outlets whose very existence the First Amendment enshrines.

I probably know a few of the counter-protestors, though Im told many of them were from out of town. I would like to ask them this:"What about my retired, second-grade teacher holding a sign is so scary that it compels you to bring a gun to a peaceful demonstration? What about my second-grade teachers sign threatened you so much that you trampled her First Amendment rights while celebrating yours under the Second Amendment?" I dont have the luxury of picking and choosing which parts of the Constitution are worthy of defending.

More: Opinion: The Bethel I know has been mislabeled as racist

Since leaving Bethel for West Point, I have had the privilege of serving in and leading diverse organizations around the world. My leaders, peers, and subordinates have come in every color, been gay and straight, spoken a variety of languages other than English, and worshiped in ways never imagined back in Bethel. There are bad people in this world and with my teammates, I have done some small part in trying to defend our way of life from them. But to be clear, my second-grade teacher isnt an enemy.

The bullies with guns and baseball bats that showed up in Bethel probably arent either, but they can no longer be good people in my mind. They are cowards of the worst kind, people afraid of ideas who resort to the law of the jungle, not the rule of law, to make their inarticulate points. There can be no "good people on both sides"when one side is trampling on the Constitution.

Counter protesters scream at Black Lives Matter protesters, Monday, June 15, 2020, along East Plane Street in Bethel, Ohio. Protesters took to the streets following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died on Monday, May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis after a white police officer kneeled on his neck, ignoring Floyd's pleas that he could not breathe.(Photo: Albert Cesare / The Enquirer)

In 2006, I was blessed to watch a group of service members take the oath of U.S. citizenship in Baghdad while fighting under a flag that was not formally theirs until that day. They were already putting their lives on the line for the ongoing experiment that is our democracy. I cannot know, but strongly suspect, that they were clear on the responsibilities that come with the privilege of being a citizen, not just the rights it conveys. The violent counter-protestors need not travel as far as Iraq to learn the same lesson because I know a hero in a small town whose classroom is always open for those seeking knowledge and understanding. You wont find her lurking on social media or trolling the internet because she is too busy serving her community. She is as brave as the men and women I have met under trying circumstances abroad.

Having reflected on my initial "sure glad I dont live there anymore"reaction to the news from Bethel, I now offer a refined position: I am proud to say Bethel is my hometown because heroes like Lois Dennis, not pretend patriots, have had my back for the last four decades.

Matthew Darlington Morton lived in Bethel, Ohio, for 18 years. He is currently stationed at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, home of the United States Army War College, where he is a colonel and member of the faculty. These are his views and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense, United States Army, or the United States Army War College.

Matt Morton(Photo: Provided)

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Donald Trump endorses Tony Gonzales to replace U.S. Rep. Will Hurd – The Texas Tribune

Posted: at 10:28 am

President Donald Trump on Friday endorsed Tony Gonzales in the Republican primary runoff to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, three days after U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz shook up the race by backing Gonzales' opponent, Raul Reyes.

"[Gonzales] will be a GREAT Congressman for Texas!" Trump tweeted. "A Navy veteran, he is Strong on the Economy, Life and the Second Amendment. We need him to defeat the Radical Left in November. Tony has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

Gonzales welcomed Trump's endorsement, thanking him on Twitter. "Let's win in November!" Gonzales said.

Trump's backing is a dramatic intervention. Cruz endorsed Reyes on Tuesday and launched a TV ad buy for him through his leadership PAC.

Reyes and Gonzales, a former Navy cryptologist, are competing to take on Gina Ortiz Jones, the Democratic nominee for the seat, in one of the top pickup opportunities for Democrats nationwide. Jones is running again after nearly unseating Hurd in 2018.

Gonzales has the backing of Hurd as well as national GOP leaders. He has been endorsed by the top two Republicans in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and Tom Emmer, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, has publicly promoted Gonzales.

But until Friday, Gonzales did not have the most powerful GOP endorsement of all: the president's. Gonzales had expressed hope for Trump's support in the primary, and on Monday, he teased that he would have "HUGE news to share later this week."

A day later, Cruz stepped in, saying the 23rd District "deserves strong conservative representation." His leadership PAC, the Jobs, Freedom, and Security PAC, launched a six-figure cable buy for Reyes at the same time, airing a 30-second spot with Cruz speaking to the camera.

"President Trump needs more congressmen like Col. Reyes, leaders who wont surrender our border, our sovereignty, our way of life," Cruz says in the ad.

Reyes has been campaigning as the purest Trump supporter in the runoff, pointing out that Gonzales is supported by Hurd, who has had occasional disagreements with the president. Last week, though, a Trump campaign adviser criticized Reyes for a mailer featuring the president's image superimposed alongside Reyes, calling it misleading and noting Trump had not endorsed in the runoff at that point.

While the Trump endorsement gives Gonzales a big boost in the primary runoff, it is likely less helpful for the general election. Trump lost the perennial battleground district by 4 percentage points in 2016, while Hurd carried it by 1.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee responded to the endorsement by noting that Trump could be a liability in the general election.

"This last-minute endorsement arrives too late to prevent the Republican contests turn into a bitter, vindictive and expensive mess, but just in time for Gonzales to own President Trumps losing record of raising health care costs in the general election," DCCC spokesman Avery Jaffe said in a statement. "With this toxic endorsement in a pro-Clinton and pro-Biden district, Tony Gonzales is now the overwhelming favorite to win on July 14 and lose on November 3. Congratulations, Tony!"

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Shreveport protests pause 4th of July weekend, will continue in future – Shreveport Times

Posted: at 10:28 am

To subscribe to The Times go to https://help.shreveporttimes.com/subscription-services Shreveport Times

After receiving mounting threats, local activistshit pause on Shreveport protests for the Fourth of July weekend, but vow to resume protests soon.

Representatives from 45 Days of Action-Shreveport, All Streets All People, Speak Up Shreveport, We The People and XPress Yourself Louisiana Artists and Creative Voices for Change were in attendance at a press conference on Saturday to discuss the cancellation and the goals of their movement.

"We felt it was more secure for us and our community to cancelthat protesttoday,'' PJ Brown-Coleman of 45 Days of Action-Shreveport. "That was a hard decision to come to. The organizers had several meetings throughout the week on what kind of contingency plans could we have. Could we beef up security? Do we have have enough manpower for what could arise? We unanimously decided that the protection and our security was more important than putting them in harm's way today.''

Others are reading: Louisiana U.S. Bill Cassidy may have misused campaign funds to join New York club

Independent activist William James said he called for the cancellation of the protest.

James' concern came following a tense situation last weekend between protesters at the Confederate Monument in Shreveport and counterprotesters.

"I live in downtown Shreveport. I work in downtown Shreveport,'' James said. "When I see grandma and grandpa walking with their grandchild toplay Pokemon Go throughout the streets of downtown Shreveport, how am I going to feel having called for a protest and being aware of all of the threats that were made?

"If you have one nervous Nellie thatdrops his pistol and doesn't put it on safety, and one round goes off and hits grandma, grandpa, (and) grandchildis just playing Pokemon Go and had nothing to do with the protests, how could I sleep at night?''

Omari Ho-Sang of All Streets All People/45 Days of Action speaks at a news conference on Saturday.(Photo: Scott Ferrell)

While organizers said they have received death threats, they also plan to resume the protests.

The Fourth of July weekend brought the additional concern of a long weekend and the possibility of out-of-town counterprotesters.

"We will continue to protest,'' Brown-Coleman said. "One of the reasons this particular protest was canceled was the Fourth of July is such an antsy holiday right now. It was imperative for us to cancel today.

Keep reading: Analysis: Masks may have prevented virus spread in protests

"We had a leadership meeting earlier in the week and someone made the statement that if a firework had popped last weekend, there would have been bloodshed... It was just the right call to make.''

When the protests resume, they will continue to press for the transformation of Shreveport.

"What does it mean to transform Shreveport?'' Omari Ho-Sang of All Streets All People/45 Days of Action asked. "One, hold those accountable for hurting our people. Thismeans law enforcement -- from the Civil Service Board down to the uniformed street police officer and to the district judges and department directors and decision makers.... Two, we will protect and provide for the needs of our communities. Way too many children are growing up in the confines of food deserts. .... Adequate education with the proper additional support to make sure that even in this pandemic that the majority of our population is not being served less than the best...

"Over 40 percent of the population in Shreveport is either working poor or straight up in poverty. That means they are one $400 emergency awayfrom complete destitution. In 2020 America, that's a product of the violence of silence. It's time to raise our voices. You want to protect your communities, it will take muchmore than the protection of your Second Amendment rights.''

More: A union under tension

Meanwhile, James will continue to push for the removal of the Confederate Monument.

He recalled growing up in Ledbetter Heights and walking with his mother down Texas Street opposite the courthouse and seeing men wearing hoods walking around the building.

He suggested the monument could be moved to the Louisiana State Museum or Oakland Cemetery.

"How can anybody who didn't fall under the approval of the Confederacy or fall in their good zone, how can we expect equal justice walking into that courthouse?'' James asked. "Whether we are the plaintiff or the defendant. How can we feel we are represented properly? The 14th amendment,at the end, it guarantees equal justice for all. For 39 years of my life, I've seen nothing but inequality. How can we expect justice for anybody going into that courtroom when you have a symbol of discrimination, a symbol of hate?''

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‘Until we are all free, no one is free,’ Richmond man says on Fourth of July – wtvr.com

Posted: at 10:28 am

RICHMOND, Va. -- Dozens of people flocked to the statue to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Richmond's iconic Monument Avenue Saturday to simply hang out, take pictures next to the monument or grill and pass out free food.

"Nothing but peace and unity," Brent Holmes explained. "We're out here just enjoying each other's company. You got people over there registering people to vote -- the most important thing on the planet."

Holmes was one of many who came to Monument Avenue on Independence Day. He's been peacefully protesting daily at the monument and around the city. While many across the country celebrated the nation's 244th birthday, Holmes said it was just another day for him.

"People can enjoy what they want to enjoy but you can't tell me to enjoy a holiday that wasn't meant for black people, period," Holmes said.

Others had similar views.

"The effect of colonialism and the effect of the racism that has permeated our culture," Gregory Cater said. "It's important for us to know that we have to make a change and that change is now."

John Mock agreed.

"Until we're all free, no one is free. That's equality for everyone," Mock said.

The holiday comes as the nation continues to have a discussion about racial justice.

"I'm emotional mainly because many of my friends have succumb to the racism and the police brutality that has taken place," Carter said.

Although he sees progress locally because of the Black Lives Matter movement, Holmes believes more work still needs to be done.

"If we can get together for a common goal, such as the Second Amendment, such as a 'no-knock' warrant, such as police brutality, then why can't we dig deeper and get together as a people," Holmes pondered. "We don't want anything more than you do. All we want to do is be equal."

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Keystone thrives on President Trump’s visit – Kotatv

Posted: at 10:28 am

KEYSTONE, S.D. (KOTA TV)- Although the Mt. Rushmore fireworks display on the 3rd of July has cleared, Keystone is still crowded with visitors from all over the country the following day. Several visitors say, this year's 4th of July weekend is probably the best. "Oh, the atmosphere was awesome, I have not felt that much energy in... I don't know how many years." Laura McGlory, a visitor from Colorado comments. "It was fun, we had a blast yesterday," McGlory's friend says. "I felt really safe, very safe and the sheriff's department was present on every corner but they did a great job," Anne Grant, another visitor from Colorado says.

The president's visit may have sparked protests, it has also inspired some business ideas. There are shops and kiosks popping up on the street that sell Trump merchandise, and they are very popular with the visitors. "I'm the president of the MAGA Mall, we have the finest quality MAGA caps." Ronald Soloman, who sells MAGA apparel and travels all over the country usually for Republican events. He has made a special stop at Keystone.

While some people protested against the president's visit Friday, a few people travel to Keystone the next day to show some very opposing opinion-- their vehicles are donned with flags and posters about believing in the Second Amendment, and an overall support for President Trump's re-election in 2020. "We just take flags, zip tie them, and fly them around town," a driver of a well-decorated pick-up truck says.

Despite the political controversy, the town is hustle and bustle with red, white and blue.

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Two for the price of one: Pair of proposed amendments to state constitution head to Pa. House – PA Post

Posted: at 10:28 am

Ben Pontz covers state and local government for PA Post. He previously worked as an Associate Producer with Smart Talk. He is a graduate of Gettysburg College where he double majored in political science and public policy with a minor in music and he served as editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Gettysburgian.

June 29, 2020 | 5:00 AM

Courtesy Gov. Tom Wolf's Flickr page

The Pennsylvania State Capitol building on Monday, June 22, 2020.

Against the backdrop of a clash between Gov. Tom Wolf and the GOP-led state legislature that has reached the Commonwealths highest court as well as statewide protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, a pair of constitutional amendments one addressing emergency powers, the other addressing racial equality has passed the Pennsylvania Senate and awaits consideration in the House of Representatives.

To amend the Pennsylvania Constitution, a resolution must pass both chambers of the legislature by simple majority in consecutive legislative sessions and then, after being advertised in newspapers in every Pennsylvania county, be approved by voters as a ballot question.

It is a high bar. Dozens of proposed amendments are introduced each year in the legislature, but far fewer actually pass one or both chambers once, let alone in consecutive legislative sessions, according to data compiled by Duquesne University Law School.

That is to say that it is fairly noteworthy that the Pennsylvania Senate passed by Senate Bill 1166 earlier this month. What is particularly notable, though, is that the bill contains two separate and distinct amendments in one.

Constraining the governors authority during emergencies has been a priority of Republicans throughout the pandemic. When that was the only component to the resolution, it passed in committee along party lines. On the floor of the full Senate, though, Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Montgomery & Philadelphia) proposed a second amendment be included in the resolution, the need for which he said recent incidents of police brutality had laid bare. Hughess amendment would forbid discrimination under the law on the basis of race and ethnicity, and senators were unanimous in voting to add it to the emergency powers amendment.

If the amendments were to eventually reach the ballot, they would do so separately, meaning that a voter could theoretically vote for one and not the other. But in the legislature, packaging the two together may explain the broad bipartisan support the underlying bill received. When it came time to vote on the entire bill, it passed 44-6.

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Preventing that type of logrolling is exactly why the Pa. Constitution has a separate provision requiring that legislation be limited to a single subject, a principle commonly known as the single subject rule. But that rule does not apply to resolutions proposing constitutional amendments, said Michael Dimino, a professor of law at Widener University Commonwealth. Neither he nor Bruce Ledewitz, a law professor at Duquesne University who directs the law schools project on the Pennsylvania Constitution, could recall an example where two constitutional amendments had been proposed in a single package like this. But Ledewitz said Article 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which details the process for amendments, hints that this approach may be just fine because it states that when two or more amendments shall be submitted they shall be voted upon separately.

The next stop for the amendments is the House State Government Committee, where Chairman Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) said he has no specific plans at this point to consider them.

Ledewitz said that the emergency declaration amendment strikes him as the type of amendment that might make it through both chambers in one session but may not have legs in a second session.

Cooler heads will prevail, and it wont seem so pressing. Itll go to the back burner. This is the perfect example of one that might not pass next time, he said.

Wolf has repeatedly defended his ongoing use of emergency powers. His press secretary, Lyndsay Kensinger, said only that the administration is monitoring the proposed amendments.

Emergency powers have formed the basis of much of the governors work to respond to the coronavirus including suspending evictions and utility shutoffs, allowing doctors from other states to practice in Pennsylvania, and, at least in part, closing businesses. Whether the business closure orders and the governors phased reopening plan could continue without emergency powers is a question currently before the state Supreme Court. But declaring an emergency gives the executive branch flexibility to respond to a crisis, and under the proposed constitutional amendment, that flexibility would end after 30 days unless the legislature passes a resolution agreeing to an extension.

Supporters of the amendment say that recalibrating checks and balances in times of emergency is important no matter what happens in the current dispute.

A proposed constitutional amendment is what I consider the long game. It is a serious and dramatic remedy for when the operating principles of state government diverge too far from the checks and balances that are central components to our system, said Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), who was a top staffer during the Ridge and Schweiker administrations and assisted them in responding to emergencies. It is time for the legislative branch to have a shared responsibility to help the people of Pennsylvania prepare, recover, and respond to emergencies.

Through this pandemic, we have shown that there are gaps in our ability to govern during these times, said Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh & Northampton). Allowing for a more regular voice of the legislature during these times will reassure people that the decisions are not as partisan and that many voices are being heard. In the end, though, what I like about the constitutional amendment is that it leaves power to the people to make decisions about what they want to happen during these extraordinary times.

The potential implications of the amendment outlawing racial discrimination are less clear. The Pennsylvania Constitution already forbids state government from discriminating against any person in the exercise of any civil right, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution already guarantees equal protection and due process under the law.

The existing language in the state constitution has been analyzed by both state and federal courts largely the same way as the Fourteenth Amendment. But, because Pennsylvanias Constitution enumerates specific rights, such as education, the anti-discrimination language it contains can underpin legal challenges alleging unequal treatment in more policy areas. In 2012, for example, a court ruled that a claim that the revocation of the charter for a charter school that served primarily students of color was discriminatory could proceed under the state constitution, but not the federal constitution.

On the floor of the Senate, Hughes said the amendment would legally enshrine ideals that have never been fully realized.

It is clear to anyone and everyone that discrimination based on race is cooked into the DNA of this nation, said Hughes. It is reflected in our long and troubling history in Pennsylvania, reflected in the documents that are the foundation of this nation, reflected in how we educate our children, how we lend money, how we provide housing how we hire people, how we provide health care, and, most recently and most in our face, how we police, how we protect communities. The need for additional protections are based on that history. The need to advance those protections are based on understanding the DNA, the long-troubling history, and the reality that exists in this nation right now.

Hughess office said that on an issue as important as prohibiting race-based discrimination, Pennsylvanias Constitution ought to be clear because state constitutional provisions interpreted by state courts often provide greater protections than similar federal constitutional provisions interpreted by federal courts.

The language of the proposal mirrors that of the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sex that Pennsylvania ratified and added to its own constitution in 1971.

In Pennsylvania, that amendment has been the subject of litigation over access to school sports, car insurance rates, and employment benefits. But it does not give private citizens the ability to sue private employers for sex discrimination, the Pennsylvania Superior Court found in 2008.

In other words, the Pennsylvania constitutions prohibition on sex discrimination does not circumscribe, prohibit, or limit the conduct of private citizens or private entities, so an amendment prohibiting racial discrimination likely would not affect private entities in areas where there is not separate legal justification prohibiting discrimination.

Dr. Jessie Ramey, Director of the Womens Institute at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, said in an email that in addition to specific legal protections, equal rights amendments provide symbolic and cultural significance.

Hughes argued that the amendment transcends symbolism. Pointing to Trump judicial nominees that, he said, have a track record of discrimination, Hughes said that federal courts may not be equipped to protect Pennsylvanians civil rights, which ought to heighten the urgency of this amendment at the stat level.

Its been offered up, its presented to us, and it stares us directly in our face every day, every hour, said Hughes. We must seize these protections, we must secure these protections at all costs.

PA Post is an independent newsroom covering policy and government in Pennsylvania. For more, go to http://www.papost.org.

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Loeffler claims ‘strongest conservative record of anyone in my race’ – Forsyth County News Online

Posted: at 10:28 am

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler took office at the beginning of the year, and since then, she said she has been adjusting to her new role, helping with the COVID-19 response and other pieces of legislation and preparing for the November jungle primary for the seat.

This week, Loeffler took a few minutes to talk with Forsyth County News about a variety of topics, including the state and federal responses to COVID-19, and said she has been working with federal and state leaders to ensure that Georgians are protected.

In my role on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, I was able to help shape the legislation that we were able to draft to respond to COVID-19 in terms of designing the relief but also then stayed incredibly busy helping deliver the relief, and it's given me the opportunity to connect with so many Georgians, Loeffler said. Families, employers, our health care leaders across the state have worked with the governor to make sure that we understand what the needs on the ground are for the state and have been able to deliver billions of dollars of relief to Georgia.

Loeffler said moving forward, a fifth COVID-19 relief package was being considered and said what were looking at right now is how to be targeted and help families, employers, the health care system, to get back on their feet.

She has also developed the USA Restoring and Igniting the Strength of our Economy, or RISE, plan, which would focus on growing and buying from American businesses.

We need to continue to take those measures to keep everyone safe, Loeffler said, but get back to school, work, church, and synagogue, and I think as we see the economic numbers coming back, what I'm looking at right now and working with the administration on is, what did we miss? or what is needed in terms of federal relief to get our country back on its feet, and so it's been incredibly busy at the same time.

Other pieces of legislation Loeffler has sponsored or introduced include measures aimed at preventing technology company from censoring conservative voices online and outlawing any potential database of licensed gun owners or a national gun registry for lawful gun owners.

She has also supported several measures in support of law enforcement.

Loeffler was born in Bloomington, Illinois and is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and DePaul University.

She is a co-owner of the WNBAs Atlanta Dream, and until her appointment to the Senate, was CEO of Bakkt, a digital assets platform created by International Exchange.

Loeffler voting for acquittal in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has long supported conservative causes, including protecting the Second Amendment, being pro-life, cutting taxes and is a supporter of the proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

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