Highlights from the Week
1. On December 6, the United States House of Representatives passed the Veteran Service Recognition Act of 2022. This bill, which passed by a vote of 220–208, amends immigration-related issues pertaining to noncitizen military veterans. It also authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide lawful permanent resident status to a veteran subject to removal. It will now move on to the U.S. Senate for a vote. Click here to read the bill text and view the vote breakdown. Additionally, click here to read a statement from the bill’s sponsor, Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) and here to read a statement in opposition of the bill from Mike Bost (R-IL). Lastly, to read statements from other members who voted on the bill, click here.
2. For the past few weeks, demonstrators in China have protested the country’s “zero-COVID” policy, which included strict lockdowns and other mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. The protests have grown to tens of thousands, garnering international attention as the largest mass demonstration in China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. On Wednesday, December 7, the Chinese government announced a rollback of some of the policies, including mass testing requirements and mandatory hospitalization. Click here to read a statement by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators condemning the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for their violent crackdown on the protesters.
3. On Thursday, December 8, basketball player Brittney Griner was released from a Russian detention facility, in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout. In February of this year, Griner was detained by Russian customs for having hashish oil in her luggage. She was later arrested for smuggling charges. She went on trial in July and pleaded guilty, and in August, she was sentenced to nine years in prison. During this time, President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken negotiated her release. Click here to read remarks from President Biden and here for a statement from incoming Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
By the Elections Research team: Noah, Nick, Zachary, Courtney, Seth, & Caleb and Elections Research intern: Francesca
Want to learn more about the results of the 2022 midterm elections? You can see the full list of results for these offices below:
Want to learn more about the results from Georgia’s congressional runoff election? You can see the results of this race here.
By the Officials Research team: Johanan, Neal, Thomas, Bibi, Craig, and Israel
Public Statements: 748 statements were added this week. See highlights from the week for notable statements.
States: 26 new votes were added.
Idaho’s House passed H 705, which amends existing law to provide for certain limitations during a state of extreme emergency proclaimed by the governor. This bill seeks to establish that the governor may in the case of an extreme state of emergency: proclaim a state of emergency, order the active service and dismissal of the National Guard, have authority over all executive agencies and departments of the state government, circulate widespread publicity of these rules and orders, and establish termination of state of emergency regulations (i.e. expiration or cease of state of emergency). This bill also establishes that during any proclaimed state of emergency no agency of any governmental entity shall impose federal restrictions prohibiting the manufacturing, sale, transport, storage, display, and use of firearms or ammunition.
Ohio’s House passed and updated SB 185, which prohibits local governments from confiscating firearms during declared emergencies. This bill seeks to prohibits any agency, political subdivision, elected or appointed official, or employee of this state or political subdivision, board, commission, bureau, or other public body from regulating or curtailing the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, display, sale, transportation, transfer defensive use, or other lawful use of a firearm or ammunition. This bill also seeks to prohibit the suspending or revoking of a valid concealed handgun license or limiting the business operations of any entity engaged in the lawful selling or servicing of any firearms or ammunition.
Virginia’s House passed HB 509, which would repeal the “red flag” gun law. This bill seeks to specify the restrictions of who can’t obtain a concealed handgun permit, establish that any individual who sells, barters, or gives a firearm to any person who they know is prohibited from possessing such a handgun is guilty of a Class 4 felony, and require a criminal background check on employees of gun dealers in order to transfer firearms.
Federal Legislation: 4 new votes
HJ Res 100 - To provide for a resolution with respect to the unresolved disputes between certain railroads represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee of the National Railway Labor Conference and certain of their employees
Special Interest Groups:
There were 19 endorsements released to the live web this week, which can be viewed here (organized by group). This year to date, the SIGs team has rated 118,656 candidates and entered endorsements for 46,110 candidates.