On the Agenda: February 27 – March 2, 2012

As Michiganders and Arizonans turn out for tomorrow's primaries, we're reminded that the right to vote is under attack. Late last year, the state of Arizona challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act. Section 5 requires states with a history of discriminatory voting laws — like Arizona — to have changes to their congressional districts approved by the Department of Justice or a federal district court in Washington, D.C., before those changes are enacted. In January, the ACLU intervened in that case to defend Section 5; we assert it is critical to help ensure election laws don't discriminate against minority voters. That case is still pending in district court.

Tuesday, February 28

Privacy: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence will hold a hearing on "Federal Government Intelligence Sharing with State, Local and Tribal Law Enforcement: An Assessment Ten Years After 9/11."

Reproductive Rights: The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Department of Health and Human Services birth control coverage rule, entitled "Executive Overreach: The HHS Mandate Versus Religious Liberty."

Education: The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce will begin a markup of the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989). We oppose this legislation because, among other things, it rolls back federal accountability for student achievement.

Wednesday, February 29

National Security: At 10:00 a.m., the full Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled "The Due Process Guarantee Act: Banning Indefinite Detention of Americans." The witnesses have not been made public yet. The bill at issue has been introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as a legislative fix to the problematic provisions that were included in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012.

Immigrants' Rights: The Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will hold hearings on proposed fiscal 2013 appropriations for Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Witnesses will include Michael Fisher, CBP Chief; Kevin McAleenan, acting assistant commissioner of the Office of Field Operations; Mark Borkowski, assistant commissioner of the Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition and Michael Kostelnik, assistant commissioner of the Office of Air and Marine.

Thursday, March 1

Immigrants' Rights: Cecillia Wang and Omar Jadwat of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project will argue before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta challenging the constitutionality of Alabama and Georgia's anti-immigrant laws.

Privacy: The Oversight, Investigations and Management Subcommittee of House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled "Building One DHS [Department of Homeland Security]: Why Can't Management Information Be Integrated?"

The House Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing, entitled “The FY 2013 HHS Budget.” Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, will testify. The Republican majority in the House has stated that they will use this hearing to question Secretary Sebelius about the HHS birth control coverage rule.

Women's Rights: The Department of Defense's Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWTIS) will hold a meeting where the Committee will discuss combat exclusion and sexual assault in the military.

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