Washington Markup

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:15pm
A sure sign of early summer in Washington, besides the sticky, humid air, is the House and Senate Armed Services Committees kicking off the annual process to pass the defense authorization bill – known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill always touches on a range of important ACLU issues, primarily those at the intersection of national security and civil liberties, and, this year, sexual assault in the military. But, we, as the ACLU lobbyists who focus on freedom of religion and belief and LGBT rights, weren't left out of this annual summertime rite. Here are a few of the things we saw – good, bad, and ugly.
Protesting NATO: What to Know About the Secret Service and H.R. 347

Protesting NATO: What to Know About the Secret Service and H.R. 347

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:58pm

Know before you go: what the newly passed H.R. 347 means for NATO protestors' rights.

Congress Could Save Tens of Thousands of Americans Today. Here's How.

Congress Could Save Tens of Thousands of Americans Today. Here's How.

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 3:10pm

"Too many Americans go to too many prisons for too long for no good law enforcement reason."

That's what Attorney General Eric Holder said in an historic speech before the American Bar Association earlier this year. He was talking about people…

CISPA Remains Fatally Flawed After Secret Committee Markup

CISPA Remains Fatally Flawed After Secret Committee Markup

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:20pm
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The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday marked up CISPA,…

The Biggest New Spying Program You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

The Biggest New Spying Program You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:18pm

Update: Since this piece was posted, the ACLU has filed FOIA requests seeking more information on data-mining by the NCTC. Read more »

What if a government spy agency had power to copy and data mine information about ordinary Americans…

Misdirection: The House Intelligence Committee’s Misleading Patriot Act Talking Points

Misdirection: The House Intelligence Committee’s Misleading Patriot Act Talking Points

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:46pm

This week the House Intelligence Committee circulated nine talking points to its members explaining why the dragnet collection of innocent Americans’ call records is both legal and effective at stopping terrorism. After reviewing the document, the ACLU has gone point-by-point, making notes that either refute or raise serious doubts about almost every assertion in the one-pager. Just click on the document below and hover on the red dots to see our comments.

ACLU and the Equal Pay Act of 1963: Celebrating 50 Years of Advocacy

ACLU and the Equal Pay Act of 1963: Celebrating 50 Years of Advocacy

By Tyler Ray, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:38pm

This June 10th, the ACLU will join organizations and individuals across the country to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a landmark law that required equal pay for equal work for women for the first time. If…

Getting Nothing for Something: (Over)spending at the Border

By Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office at 11:20am

If most employers learned that their employees had been falling asleep on the job out of sheer boredom, the last thing they would do is hire more people to do the same work. That, however, is just what U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has…

Is Illegal Entry the Crime You’re Most Afraid Of?

Is Illegal Entry the Crime You’re Most Afraid Of?

By Ruthie Epstein, ACLU, Washington Legislative Office at 10:39am

Guess what crime is the most prosecuted at the federal level in the United States? Rape? Murder? Assault? Robbery? Racketeering? Financial fraud?

Actually, no. It's illegal entry and re-entry. And I don't mean people trespassing into your home…

Comey's Hollow MLK Guidance to FBI Agents

Comey's Hollow MLK Guidance to FBI Agents

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Newly sworn in FBI Director James Comey has ordered all new FBI agent trainees to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC, so they can reflect on the FBI's infamous history of hounding the civil rights leader and recognize "the…