Entries Filed in 'Civil Rights'

Portland City Council might vote tonight to repeal the city’s buffer zone outside of health centers

July 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Civil Rights

We Must Move Forward to Protect Women’s Access to Reproductive Health Care Services

Portland City Council might vote tonight to repeal the city’s buffer zone outside of health centers.Last month the Supreme Court ruled to strike down buffer zones outside of women’s health centers.

“If elected governor, I am committed to working with the Legislature and Attorney General’s office to move forward with common sense measures that strike the right balance between protecting First Amendment rights and patient safety. These include ‘floating’ or ‘bubble’ protection zones around all health centers, the kind of protected zones that were upheld by the Supreme Court 14 years ago (Hill v. Colorado),” said Congressman Mike Michaud.

Read more ›

Tags: ·

Federal lawsuit alleges more than 250 violations during Maine’s 2008 Blueberry Harvest

July 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Civil Rights, Community Maine

Late last week, Pine Tree Legal Assistance filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court on behalf of 18 farmworkers claiming multiple egregious violations of federal law by a farm labor recruiter, two Maine employers, and several housing providers, during the 2008 blueberry harvest.

The lawsuit alleges that more than 250 violations of the federal Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (AWPA) during the 2008 blueberry harvest. Maine is the leading producer of wild blueberries, harvesting 91.1 million pounds of wild blueberries in 2012, according to the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistic Service.

“The defendants’ blatant disregard of the legal protections for migrant farmworkers who harvest Maine’s blueberry crop established a pattern of unscrupulous practices that is deplorable, illegal, and should not be tolerated in our state,” said Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

Read more ›

Tags: ·

Gov. LePage dodges association with domestic terrorist group Sovereign Citizens

July 1st, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Civil Rights

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Governor LePage’s refused to take responsibility for holding 8 private meetings with members of a domestic terrorist movement that is on the FBI watch list, Sovereign Citizens. New reports today claim that LePage lied about the content discussed in his meetings with the extremest group, which has allegedly threatened to arrest and execute Maine Democratic leadership.

“Gov. LePage’s words and actions are out of step with Maine values. By meeting repeatedly with these individuals, he’s given credence to their dangerous beliefs. We must take threats of violence from extremist groups seriously. Gov. LePage has once again shown a severe lapse in judgment that proves he’s not fit to lead the state of Maine,” said Congressman Mike Michaud, the Democratic nominee for governor.

In a, 20-minute audio recording of the Maine Watchman radio show taped after meetings with the governor, hosted by Steve Martin and Jack McCarthy, both members of the Sovereign Citizens movement, got a firsthand account of these individuals extreme beliefs. They espouse anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT conspiracy theories and warn of a “holocaust against America’s Christian population.”

“There is no place for this. It’s completely unacceptable. Gov. LePage owes the people of Maine an explanation and should denounce this at once,” said Michaud.

Read more ›

Tags: ·

Presidential Inaugural poet delivers address at World Refugee Day in Portland

June 20th, 2014 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Books, Civil Rights, Photos, World News

Omar Raouf presenting his first published book to Presidential Inaugural poet, Richard Blanco, on World Refugee Day in Portland, Maine. Photo by Morgan Rogers

Omar Raouf presenting his first published book to Presidential Inaugural poet, Richard Blanco, on World Refugee Day in Portland, Maine. Photo by Morgan Rogers

World Refugee Day was celebrated and well attended in Portland’s Congress Square Park with Richard Blanco, a Maine resident and 2013 Presidential Inaugural poet, who delivered the main address on June 20th.

The celebration is held every year to honor the 15 million people worldwide who have faced war and persecution in their home countries. City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan welcomed everyone and highlighted Portland’s continued dedication to give refuge to those in need.

“We recognize that we may be citizens of Portland, that we may be residents of the state of Maine, that we may live in the United States of America, but first and foremost we are human beings joined together by our common humanity,” said Brennan. “And that is more important than the distinction we may have as citizens or as documented residents living in the city.”

Read more ›

Tags: ··

Fast Food workers to strike on May 15th in 150 cities

May 12th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Civil Rights

Thousands of fast food workers will go on strike in 150 cities on May 15th.

President Barack Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 but Republicans in Congress are blocking the measure. Obama issued an executive order to increase the wage to $10.10 for federal employees and contractors as a first step. Meanwhile workers are highlighting their plight and fight for a livable wage that values them.

The following article appeared in Nation of Change

Read more ›

Tags:

LePage’s DEP drops cancer-causing formaldehyde as ‘Priority Chemical’ under right wing pressure

May 6th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Capitol news, Civil Rights, Community Maine, Health Care, Healthy Lifestyles

Today, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) formally withdrew a proposed rule that would have required manufacturers to disclose which children’s products contain formaldehyde, a widely used toxic chemical known to cause leukemia and other cancers in humans.

“Federal action on formaldehyde has been stalled by Koch brothers campaign cash and chemical industry lobbying,” said Mike Belliveau, president of Prevent Harm, a public health group. “That means Maine should lead, not follow the money. Instead, once again, Governor LePage has placed toxic politics before the health of Maine people.”

The proposed rule would have named the carcinogen a Priority Chemical under the Kid-Safe Products Act, a groundbreaking state law that seeks to protect children’s health from harmful chemicals in consumer products.

“Gov. LePage’s administration continues to undermine the health and public safety of our state. Instead of protecting consumers – and, in this case, children – he has sided with lobbyists for chemical companies. The governor has turned the Department of Environmental Protection over to the companies it should be regulating,” said Congressman Mike Michaud.

Citing federal government review, the DEP action followed the lobbying pleas of major formaldehyde producers, including Koch Industries, the industrial conglomerate owned by David and Charles Koch.

Read more ›

Tags:

Maine’s 10th Report of the Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel focuses on importance of recognizing warning signs and intervention

April 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Civil Rights, Public Safety

wmalletscales“Maybe there was something I could have done.” This is the all-too-familiar comment heard in the wake of Maine’s twelve domestic violence homicides in 2013 and it has led Maine’s top experts on domestic abuse to encourage more Mainers to look for the signs of abuse and to connect victims and their families with assistance when they see it.

The 10th biennial report of the Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel was released today at a State House press conference. This year’s report, entitled “Building Bridges Towards Safety and Accountability” makes observations and recommendations for law enforcement, prosecutors, the Judiciary, health providers, state agencies, and the general public.

“Threats of violence and threats of suicide must be taken seriously,” said Attorney General Janet T. Mills. “Telling your boyfriend or girlfriend, ‘I can’t live without you,’ can quickly cross from innocuous to devastating. In the context of an abusive relationship, these utterances are veiled threats of violence, with a strong undercurrent of manipulation and control. Recognizing the signs of abuse is key to preventing homicide.”

Read more ›

Tags:

Maine parents protest by returning products containing toxic chemicals to Walgreens in Portland, Bangor

April 17th, 2014 · No Comments · Civil Rights, Community Maine, Health Care, Healthy Lifestyles, Issue 40

Two dozen parents, pregnant women, and medical professionals showed up at Walgreens drug stores in Portland and Bangor, April 16th, to return a variety of products that contain high levels of the chemical phthalates, according to new testing results released today by HealthyStuff.org. Participants called on the national pharmacy chain to do more to keep these dangerous chemicals off store shelves.

“Walgreens and other giant retailers have an important role to play in making everyday products safer,” stated Emma Halas O’Connor, Coordinator for the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine. “We need lawmakers to set science-based standards and we also need large companies like Walgreens to mind the store and use their market power to increase demand for safer alternatives. No child should be exposed to the hormone havoc of phthalates while they play with their favorite toy or get ready for their next day at school.”

Phthalates are known to cause serious health effects, including abnormal development of male sex organs; learning and behavior problems; diabetes; increased rates of asthma and allergies; and greater risk of prostate and testicular cancer. They are commonly used to soften vinyl plastic and are routinely added to hundreds of everyday products and building materials found in the home, including lunch boxes, kids’ backpacks, school supplies, rain coats and boots, shower curtains, tablecloths, floor tiles and wall covering. Phthalates are also a common ingredient of “fragrance” found in many cosmetics, lotions and other personal care products.

Read more ›

Tags:

New Maine law to increase accountability for jails

April 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Civil Rights, Public Safety

In an unanimous vote, the Senate enacted a measure to reform Maine’s county jail system.

“With this bill, we will truly have a consolidated state and county jail system,” said Senator Stan Gerzofsky of Brunswick, the sponsor of the bill. “We have finally given the Board of Corrections the authority to better manage our jails, including mental health and community services.”

The bill authorizes major financial reforms, guides county jail operations, and clarifies the management authority of the Board of Corrections (BOC), which was formed with the creation of the consolidated jail system in 2008.

The bill is the result of two years of work with stakeholders including sheriffs, county commissioners, and municipal officials. It includes a more systematic and controlled budget process that is streamlined and better able to predict cost increases, benchmarks for the unified system and increased accountability for individual jails, and a clear lines of authority and duties for the BOC, county officials, and the sheriff.

Tags:

Supreme Court McCutcheon Decision reflects latest assault on campaign finance laws

April 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Civil Rights, News from Washington

U.S. Suprime Court, Washington D.C. Photo du Houx

U.S. Suprime Court, Washington D.C. Photo du Houx

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning released a decision that continues to erode campaign finance laws meant to protect the nation’s democratic process.

“The re­sult, as I said at the outset, is a decision that substitutes judges’ understandings of how the political process works for the understanding of Congress; that fails to recognize the difference between influence resting upon public opinion and influence bought by money alone; that overturns key precedent; that creates huge loopholes in the law; and that undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform,” said Justice Breyer’s in his written and verbal dissent.

Read more ›

Tags: ···