Highlights from the Week
1. On Thursday, October 6, President Biden granted a presidential pardon to all U.S. citizens who have been convicted of the crime of marijuana possession at the federal level. This does not include state prosecutions or distribution charges, but activists and supporters say that the pardon will help non-violent offenders get a fresh start without previous convictions on their records. At the time of the pardon, there were not any individuals currently serving federal time for marijuana possession, so the effect of this pardon will primarily be on the thousands of citizens who have already served time and will have their records cleaned. Click here to see President Biden’s statement, or click here to see all statements on marijuana legislation from members of Congress.
2. Scandal rocked the Los Angeles City Council this week after a recording was released showing, now former, City Council President Nury Martinez making racist comments about a fellow council member’s Black child. Beyond the comments targeted towards the child, Ms. Martinez can be heard on the recording making disparaging statements about immigrants in Koreatown and using explicit language to mock other political figures. Ms. Martinez and two other council members resigned Monday after politicians at every level, including President Biden, condemned their actions. Click here to see our local coverage for the city of Los Angeles, or click here to see statements from California representatives.
3. The judgment portion of the Alex Jones defamation trial in Connecticut has concluded, and the jury awarded nearly $1 billion to the parents of Sandy Hook victims for damages done to them. Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, was subject to a horrific shooting in 2012 which killed 20 first-graders and six teachers. After the shooting, Mr. Jones used his radio and web shows to promote the theory that the shooting was faked, the children and parents were actors, and that the shooting was a false flag targeting gun rights. Because of Jones' actions, the parents suffered harassment and emotional trauma at the hands of his supporters, leading to the defamation trial and ensuing judgment. Click here to see all statements from members of Congress that mention the topic of misinformation.
By the Elections Research team (Noah, Anthony, Courtney, Seth, Nick & Caleb) and Elections Research Interns (Torin, Tayelon, Juvencio, Maggie, Francesca, and Joelle)
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Issue Positions/Political Courage Test:
Want to learn more about the candidates who are currently being tested and their responses to the Political Courage Test ahead of the general election? You can see the full list of candidates, their responses, and response rates running in various states by office below:
By the Officials Research team: Thomas, Bibi, Johanan, Neal, Jake, Craig, Israel, and Katie
Public Statements: 1,817 statements were added this week. See highlights from the week for notable statements.
States: 20 new votes were added.
The California House and Senate passed AB 485, amending California’s Penal Code on hate crimes and increasing transparency of police departments. Under the new law, the Department of Justice is required to update the official website with information from local law enforcement agencies regarding hate crimes.
Maryland’s governor signed SB 1005 into law, requiring investments in retirement and pension systems made to Russian companies to be divested. The law prohibits making any new Russia-restricted investments and specifies that the restrictions are for companies identified as located within Russia and linked to the Russian government or political system.
In South Carolina, the House of Representatives failed to pass the Senate amendments to H 5399, a bill which prohibits all abortions. The bill originally passed the House on a 67/35 vote but failed 11/95 with the Senate’s amendments.
Federal Legislation: 0 new votes
Special Interest Groups:
There were 189 endorsements and 20 rating scorecards released to the live web this week, which can be viewed here (organized by group). This year to date, the SIGs team has rated 89,892 candidates and entered endorsements for 33,952 candidates.