Washington Markup

English as a First Language

English as a First Language

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:40pm
Sigh. As if we don’t have enough divisiveness in this country, a familiar subset of Congressional Republicans are trotting out yet another discriminatory bill papered over with hollow rhetoric about “unity,” “commonality” and shared national vision, which will be the subject of a hearing in the House Constitution Subcommittee today. (Here’s the ACLU’s statement, which focuses mainly on the civil rights and immigration issues in the bill; I’m just covering the First Amendment in this post.)
Cyber Protection Act Too Broad, Infringes on Our Privacy Rights

Cyber Protection Act Too Broad, Infringes on Our Privacy Rights

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:12am

This week is “Cybersecurity Week” in the House of Representatives, and members will vote on a handful of bills intended to protect cybersecurity — the ability to prevent and respond to threats from foreign governments, terrorists…

VICTORY! Military Ban on Consensual Intimacy Ends

VICTORY! Military Ban on Consensual Intimacy Ends

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:33am

In the late hours on Thursday evening, the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 84-15, passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sending the measure to President Obama for his signature.  Included within the sprawling annual defense authorization…

Secretary Jeh Johnson testifying

Answering to the American People on Immigration

By Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office at 4:00pm

This week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson is busy testifying before four different congressional committees  on the President’s FY 2015 DHS budget request.

In these hearings, Congress must demand answers…

Being Pro Immigrant Is So In This Season

Being Pro Immigrant Is So In This Season

By Shawn Jain, Media Strategist, ACLU at 2:10pm

Wake up in the morning feeling not like P.Diddy (sorry, Ke$ha), but instead feeling like wow, another official is saying something really pro-immigrant, and it's fantastic.

Today, it's Dayton Police Chief Richard S. Biehl (in Speaker Boehner's…

DOMA Zombies Surface in Congress

DOMA Zombies Surface in Congress

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:13am

Since the Supreme Court's landmark Windsor ruling last June striking down the core of the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA), the federal government has moved, with commendable speed, in a myriad of areas to extend recognition to the marriages…

VICTORY! Social Security Administration Drops Surgery Requirement for Gender Change

VICTORY! Social Security Administration Drops Surgery Requirement for Gender Change

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:05am

Late last week, after nearly a decade of advocacy led by our coalition partners at the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Social Security Administration (SSA) updated its policy for changing gender designation in Social Security records.…

It Is Time to Modernize Discriminatory HIV/AIDS Laws

It Is Time to Modernize Discriminatory HIV/AIDS Laws

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Steven Waddy, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 4:55pm

While science has vastly advanced since the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic more than 30 years ago, the ways in which many criminal laws treat people living with HIV look like throwbacks to the dark days of the past when fear and misinformation…

We Still Need Diversity and Minority Ownership in our Media

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:05pm

We rely on the media to help us make informed decisions by presenting not just the details of important issues, but also a variety of perspectives and opinions surrounding them. Unfortunately a new proposal from the Federal Communications Commission…

Border Patrol Must Stop Hiding the Truth About Its Uses of Force

Border Patrol Must Stop Hiding the Truth About Its Uses of Force

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:24am

Border Patrol agents work in dangerous situations which can lead to tragic consequences like the shooting death and wounding of agents in Arizona this week.  There is no justification for such violence targeting law enforcement officers. …