Minnesota, home to Congresswoman Michele BachmanÂ — who grew her career on the backs of LGBT citizens being denied marriage —Â Â just got a same-sex marriage bill to debate. State Senator Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark (image), both Democrats, have introduced marriage equality to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, just months after voters rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. â€œThis is a day that Minnesotans should be very proud of,” Senator Dibble, a Minneapolis Democrat who is a chief sponsor of the bill, the Star Tribune reports:
“Our challenge in coming weeks is that we really have this discussion with renewed energy, about why marriage matters, why family matters.”
Dibble also reportedly stated, “It’s going to be a lot of hard work. My message is for folks to engage,” and â€œWeâ€™re affirming things that we all prize, love at the center of marriage.â€
â€” JCA MN (@JCA_MN) February 27, 2013
Minnesotans United Campaign Manager Richard Carlbom said, via a statement:
In Minnesota, we donâ€™t turn our backs on family â€“ and this legislation will make that statement as true as possible. No Minnesotan should be singled out and excluded from enjoying a basic freedom, like the freedom to marry the person they love, just because of who they are. There is no substitute for the unique promise of love and commitment inherent to marriage, and it is time for Minnesota state law to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.
The Tribune adds:
Passage remains far from certain, however. DFL legislative leaders said the budget fight remains their top priority and have not committed to bringing up the marriage issue for a floor vote.
In the last couple weeks, Republican Sen. Branden Peterson of Andover said he would support the measure, the first GOP member to do so. This week, Republican former State Auditor Pat Anderson said she supported Petersen and same-sex marriage.
Petersen had meetings in his district and could not attend the news conference, but issued a statement expressing his strong support.
“As a strong proponent of limited government, conservative principles and individual liberty, I am proud to add my name as co-author of legislation to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Minnesota,” he said.
If same-sex marriage becomes law, the weddings could begin in August.
â€” Project 515 (@Project_515) February 27, 2013
NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, is “promising $500,000 to campaign against Republicans who support marriage equality in Minnesota and support Democrats who oppose it,” as Zack Ford at Think Progress reports:
In a press release announcing the commitment to bullying, NOMâ€™s Brian Brown specifically called out Sen. Branden Petersen (R) for endorsing the marriage equality effort, claiming that the issue is all about protecting children:
BROWN: Republicans like Branden Petersen donâ€™t realize that not only is voting to redefine marriage a terrible policy, it is also a career-ending vote for a Republican. NOM will do everything in our power to defeat any Republican who votes in favor of same-sex marriage. Legislators need look no further than what happened to GOP Senators in New York. Four of them were responsible for passing gay marriage. We helped take out three of those Senators by repeatedly informing their constituents of their betrayal on marriage. They are now out of office. We will not hesitate to do the same thing in Minnesota.
We urge Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature to vote their values, and not what their party bosses tell them. Standing for true marriage is the right thing to do for Minnesota families, and especially for children. The fact is that Minnesota children, and all children, have a right to expect laws that promote them being raised by a mother and father. We will support those legislators, Democrats and Republicans alike, who vote for Minnesota family values, just as we have done in other states. Marriage is not a partisan issue, and NOM does not hesitate to oppose weak Republicans and support strong Democrats.
Image by Minnesotans United, via Twitter
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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed
Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.
“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.
Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.
Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.
Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.
A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.
Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticketed via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
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