Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016 White House Tribal Nations Conference

Museum of African American History Opening

Hillary Clinton Speaks with Reporters Aboard Campaign Plane

Hillary Clinton speaks to reporters on her campaign plane about Monday night’s debate at Hofstra University and her opponent’s temperament and suitability for the presidency. She also says she will show up for the two remaining debates. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Legislation Bars Telecom and Utility Companies from Charging Early Termination Fees in the Event of Death

Legislation has been signed in New York that prevents telecommunications companies and utility providers from charging a contract termination or early cancellation fee in the event of a customer's death.
"This was a heartless and inappropriate policy that is mostly borne by grieving New Yorkers grappling with the loss of a loved one," Governor Cuomo said. "Ending these fees is the right thing to do and will spare those in mourning from this annoying burden."
Many companies use early termination fees to ensure that a customer continues to use a service through the full contract period. Under this new law, (A.8630A /S.6485-A), landline, cell phone, television, internet, energy and water service providers are prohibited from charging contract termination or early cancellation fees if a customer dies before the end of an agreement. In addition, a civil penalty of up to $1,000 will be placed on providers that violate this law. This measure takes effect immediately.
Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther said, "This law was written in memory of my mother Therese Malone. After she passed away, a utility company tried to charge her account an early termination fee. I wondered, if this was happening to my family, how many others have been taken advantage of. I thank the Governor for signing this bill into law and joining me in protecting families across New York State. My mother was a generous, caring woman who was guided by her faith. She would be pleased that, even after her passing, she was able to help others."
Senator John Bonacic said, "I'm pleased that Governor Cuomo has signed this common-sense, pro-consumer legislation into law. It is wrong for companies to charge early termination, or cancellation fees to deceased individuals, and I am proud to have sponsored the legislation that will prohibit this practice." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Statement from NAN on National Voter Registration Day

(New York, NY) – The following is a statement form Rev. Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network:

“For over fifty years, we have fought to ensure that every person, no matter their race, gender, or physical ability, has the right to fully participate in the Democratic process that governs our great nation. Today, on National Voter Registration Day, we ask men and women across the United States to go out and register to vote.

“Over the last several years, we have seen countless attempts to enact discriminatory laws that would serve to impede and prohibit minorities from being a part of the electoral process. These cowardly attempts at quieting the voices of thousands of Americans should only drive us forward on our quest to make sure that every person who is eligible to vote is allowed to do so.

“We encourage every American to go out and register today, or to make sure that their voter registration is up to date. Now, more than ever before, it is essential that every American is able to place their vote and make their voice heard.” 

Source: Mercury

Politics in Action: H.R. 954 and H.R. 5303

H.R. 954 - CO-OP Consumer Protection Act of 2016
(Rep. Smith, R-NE, and seven cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 954.  The Administration remains committed to providing Americans with accessible, quality, and affordable health coverage, including by addressing issues that arise when their health insurers stop offering coverage during the year.  In such circumstances, the Administration has offered special enrollment periods, provided consumer outreach, and worked with state departments of insurance to ensure consumers have smooth transitions to other health plans.  Individuals for whom coverage is unaffordable or who experience a hardship also may quality for an exemption from the individual-responsibility provision of the law.  These options are available to all consumers in these circumstances, not just those enrolled in coverage through CO-OPs.

H.R. 954 would exempt anyone whose CO-OP ends coverage during the year from the individual-responsibility provision.  This is unnecessary given consumer protections already available.  Moreover, it would create a bad precedent for using exemptions from the individual-responsibility provision to address unrelated concerns about the Affordable Care Act.  The individual-responsibility provision is a necessary part of a system that prohibits discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions and requires guaranteed issuance.  The provision helps prevent people from waiting until they get sick to buy health insurance or dropping health insurance when they believe they do not need it.  Weakening the individual responsibility provision would increase health insurance premiums and decrease the number of Americans with coverage.

The Administration always is willing to work with the Congress on fiscally responsible ways to further improve health care affordability and the Affordable Care Act.  The President's Budget offers a number of proposals to do so.  However, H.R. 954 would be a step in the wrong direction, because it would create a precedent that undermines a key part of the law and would do nothing to help middle-class families obtain affordable health care. 

If the President were presented with H.R. 954, he would veto the bill.

H.R. 5303 - Water Resources Development Act of 2016
(Rep. Shuster, R-PA, and 3 cosponsors)

While H.R. 5303 would advance some of the Administration's policies and principles including building a foundation for long-term economic growth, addressing significant risks to public safety, strengthening the Nation's resilience to the impacts of climate change, and protecting and restoring our environment, it should be improved with additional reforms and elimination of problematic provisions.  Additionally, the Administration believes that the Congress should quickly pass targeted funding to support Flint, Michigan, whether in the Water Resources Development Act or another vehicle.

H.R. 5303 would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to construct several new projects that the Administration has recommended for authorization.  New project and study authorizations should be limited to those most likely to provide high economic or environmental returns to the Nation or address a significant risk to public safety within the Corps' three main mission areas: flood and storm damage reduction; commercial navigation; and aquatic ecosystem restoration.  The Administration supports provisions in the bill to de-authorize projects that no longer meet the Nation's needs.

Creating and maintaining the Nation's water resources infrastructure is a shared responsibility between Federal and non-Federal beneficiaries and requires that the management, use, protection, and restoration of our water resources continue to evolve to meet the Nation's future needs.  The Administration welcomes the efforts in the bill to expand options for non-federal project partners who want to cover more of, or all of, the costs to study or construct a Corps project.

This legislation impedes Administration efforts to both enhance resilience and increase public-private collaboration and private investment in environmental restoration by establishing a confusing and duplicative mitigation bank program overseen by the RESTORE Council, which includes Governors from only the five states along the Gulf Coast.

The Administration urges the Congress to enact an important reform of the laws governing the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, which a proposal in the President's FY 2017 Budget would accomplish.  The proposal would raise $1.3 billion in additional revenue over 10 years from the commercial users of these waterways, which would help finance future capital investment and maintenance work on these waterways that will benefit these users and support economic growth.

The Administration remains committed to working with the Congress on bipartisan legislation to address the Nation's water resources challenges. 

Source: Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget

Voices from the Civil Rights Movement: Whitney Young

Trailblazers in Black History: Johnny Grier

Johnny Grier was a former American football official for 23 years in the National Football League (NFL) from 1981 to 2004. He began in the NFL as a field judge before becoming the first African-American referee in the history of the NFL with the start of the 1988 NFL season

Grier has officiated in one Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXII in 1988, which was his last game as a field judge and the same game in which Doug Williams became the first African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl. On the field, he wore uniform number 23, which is now worn by Jerome Boger, another African-American referee.

Source: Wikipedia

Birtherism to Stamina: Top Moments From Trump and Clinton's First Debate

Congressional Showdown Vote Looms on Funding Bill

Democrats opened a last-minute push Tuesday for new talks on must-do legislation to prevent the government from shutting down this weekend, fight the Zika virus and help flood-ravaged Louisiana rebuild.

The aim is to see if Republicans will relent and add money to help Flint, Michigan, with its water crisis — and get Capitol Hill off a collision course that could lead to a government shutdown this weekend. 

Click here for the full article.

After $25B Loss, Wells Fargo Faces Class Action From Investors

A shareholder class action lawsuit was filed against Wells Fargo on Monday that alleged the firm misled investors about its financial performance and the success of its sales practices.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, comes nearly a week after Wells Fargo chief executive John Stumpf faced Senate lawmakers about his oversight at the bank. 

It also singled out Stumpf and Carrie Tolstedt, the now-retired executive at the center of the scandal, for selling more than $31 million of their stock in Wells Fargo at "artificially inflated" prices. 

Click here for the full article. 

Tearful Girl to Charlotte Council: 'We Shouldn't Have to Feel Like This'

A young girl made a plea to address racial bias in emotional remarks to Charlotte's City Council. 

Family Awaits Answers in Death After Police Scuffle

NYPD: Suspect Made Anti-White Statements Before Slashing Man With Box Cutter

The NYPD is searching for a man who said racist things about white people before attacking a man with a box cutter in Chelsea. 

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Source: NBC 4 New York

Cuomo Approval Rating Holds Steady Despite Aide Indictment

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's approval rating is basically flat compared with last spring, even with the indictment of a close aide hanging over him, according to the new NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll.

In total, 40 percent of New York registered voters rate Cuomo's performance as "excellent" or "good," according to the poll released Monday. The last poll, in April, found a 41 percent approval rating for the Democratic governor. His approval ratings peaked in Oct. 2012 at 59 percent.  

Click here for summary.

Source: NBC 4 New York

Cardinal Dolan Ousted Priest for Sex Abuse Claim, But Accuser's Lawyer Says Children Still At Risk


Timothy Cardinal Dolan has removed a Rockland County priest accused of sexual abuse — but children may still be at risk, said a lawyer for the clergyman’s alleged victim.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian said the Archdiocese of New York told him in August that Monsignor John J. O’Keefe — most recently the pastor of St. Margaret of Antioch in Pearl River — had been permanently removed from his duties following an investigation into allegations he had sexually abused his client in the 1980s.

But the archdiocese has not shared its findings with the public, which Garabedian argued puts kids at risk. The archdiocese continues to provide O’Keefe with a place to live, although it would not comment on where the disgraced priest has been living. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The New York Daily News (via The Empire Report)