BWA BILL ALERT: FOR THE PEOPLE ACT OF 2019: HR 1 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Background: On March 8, 2019, the 116thU.S House of Representatives passed the historic For the People Act of 2019 (HR 1), also known as “The Restoring Our Democracy” bill. Introduced by Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD) on January 3, 2019 and co-sponsored by 236 House members, HR 1 is a comprehensive bill that expands voter registration and voting access, makes Election Day a national holiday, and limits removing voters from voter rolls. Further, to guard against unjust gerrymandering, the bill provides for states to establish independent nonpartisan redistricting commissions. The bill is organized in three Divisions: A: Voting, B: Campaign Finance and C: Ethics.
Issue: The stated purpose of this comprehensive 706-page bill is to expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen the government’s ethics rules. It is important that African American women and their families be informed about this important legislation.
What the Bill Will Do: The bill would make voting easier for citizens providing for online registration, same day registration for federal elections, at least 15 days of early voting, require paper ballots to protect against computer tampering, and Election Day would be a federal holiday. The bill establishes in the Legislative branch the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions to improve the cybersecurity of U. S. election systems. The bill addresses election security and includes provisions related to sharing information intelligence with state election officials, protecting the integrity and security of the voter rolls, and supporting states in securing their election systems. The bill addresses campaign financing by mandating disclosure and transparency around campaign contributions from organizations, including Super PACs (addressing the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United Decision), and expands prohibitions on contributions from foreign nationals. Further, the bill addresses campaign advertising, including online platforms, and revises disclaimer requirements for political advertising. Importantly, convicted felons would regain their right to vote after they have completed their sentences.
The bill also establishes ethics standards including establishing a code of ethics for federal judges, and prohibits members of the House of Representatives from serving on for-profit Boards, and establishes conflict of interest and ethics requirements for federal employees and the White House. Further, the bill requires candidates for President and Vice President of the United States to submit ten (10) years of Tax Returns.
Status of the Bill: HR 1 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 8, 2019. The bill was received in the Senate on March 12, 2019, and following the second reading on March 14, 2019, was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.
What You Can Do:
- Attend a Town Hall in your Congressional District
- Contact Your U.S. Senators at www.senate.gov www.house.govU.S. Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121); and urge the Senate to bring HR 1 to the Floor for a Vote.
- Share this Alert on Your Social Media Platforms
- Host A Forum to discuss the details of HR1 to enable citizens to be informed in your community
Vanita Banks, BWA Legislative Affairs Committee, Updated April 14, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC – Friday, September 18, 2020 – The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) went on the offensive today, hosting a virtual town hall devoted to protecting and securing the voting rights of African Americans and other people of color during its 43rd Annual Symposium. Moderated by Heather McGhee, Board Chair, The Color of Change, a panel of prominent political activists and observers – including Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President, Repairers of the Breach and Co-chair, Poor People’s Campaign; Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, anthropologist, educator and Board Chair of The National Council of Negro Women, Inc.; Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr., an esteemed author, commentator and Chairman of Princeton University’s Department of African-American Studies, and Aisha C. Mills, a nationally renowned political strategist and social impact advisor – discussed strategies for combatting voter suppression, registering and engaging African-American voters, and ensuring that they have the opportunity to make their voices heard.
The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) has partnered with Common Cause, an organization fighting for an accountable government, equal rights / opportunities / representation and empowering voices in the political process to get out the vote and protect the vote. This partnership will allow individuals and organizations to expand their community outreach by ensuring that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count.
The Election Protection Program provides Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive information and assistance at all stages of voting – from registration, to absentee and early voting, to casting a vote at the polls, to overcoming obstacles to their participation.
The Black Women’s Agenda endorses federal, state and local government public health warnings prescribed to mitigate the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS~CoV-2) (formerly called HCoV-19 and commonly called COVID-19).
The assertion that coronavirus only threatens older people has been debunked. While data is rapidly being compiled, COVID-19 is trending across all age demographics because of the potentially high transmission from virus shed in asymptomatic patients and the ability for the virus to remain infectious in the air for hours and on surfaces such as plastic and steel for days.