Washington Markup

The 1980s Called. They Want Their Mandatory Minimums Back.

The 1980s Called. They Want Their Mandatory Minimums Back.

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 2:27pm
Senator Leahy closed this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on mandatory minimums by asking everyone in the room with a loved one serving a mandatory minimum to stand up. The whole audience stood.
ACLU to Congress: We Need a Comprehensive LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

ACLU to Congress: We Need a Comprehensive LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:28pm

Did you know that there are just 18 states that have explicit workplace non-discrimination protections for LGBT people, or that a mere 13 states have such protections in place for LGBT students?

On Tuesday, the director of the ACLU's Washington…

Police Hunger for Drones May be Growing, but So Are Privacy Concerns

Police Hunger for Drones May be Growing, but So Are Privacy Concerns

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:06pm

The ACLU’s Chris Calabrese testified yesterday before the Senate Commerce Committee in a hearing on the economic benefits and the safety, privacy, and First Amendment implications of unmanned aerial vehicles — drones — which are poised to invade…

Yes, the States Really Reject Real ID

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 3:21pm

Remember that time when Congress passed a law that tried to create a national database of drivers' information and turn drivers' licenses into national identification cards? And remember how groups from across the political spectrum joined forces…

The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform

The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:11am

Over the last several months, members of Congress have introduced at least two dozen spying reform and transparency bills. Today, a new proposal called the USA FREEDOM Act from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was introduced…

Countering Violent Extremism: Time for the Administration to Get It Right

Countering Violent Extremism: Time for the Administration to Get It Right

By Zak Newman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:07pm

Today President Obama took the unusual step of chairing a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. He went seeking international support for the campaign against the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including a U.S.-sponsored…

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…

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”…

New Government “Propaganda” Bill a Positive Step for First Amendment

New Government “Propaganda” Bill a Positive Step for First Amendment

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:58am
Throughout the country, many of us have rightly been long concerned about the danger of the government using taxpayer funds to covertly influence public opinion.  This issue came up again recently as part of this year’s defense authorization bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Friday.  Reps.
Is E-Verify Effective? Depends on How You Look at It

Is E-Verify Effective? Depends on How You Look at It

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:35pm

Yesterday the New York Times wrote about E-Verify, the system of employment verification tucked into the immigration legislation that passed the Senate later in the afternoon. As the Times notes, E-Verify is "a linchpin of the legislation… [that]…