Courage Campaign in the News

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 A consortium of liberal watchdog groups handed a long-time Monterey County state legislator an F grade for, they say, voting more conservatively than the district he represents.

Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the lead group, The Courage Campaign, said Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, was placed on its so-called “Hall of Shame” after his voting record was compared to how voters in the 30th Assembly District voted on state ballot initiatives.

“The Hall of Shame includes the state legislators most out of step with their constituents, and most closely aligned with corporate and special interests that exploit Californians,” Kurtz said.

Alejo joined 10 other Assembly members who received an F grade. With the exception of one Republican, all are Democrats.

Nike has a connection with presidential candidate Donald Trump — and thousands are calling for the tie to be severed.

The athletic apparel company’s flagship Niketown store in New York City is located in a space owned by Trump.

A petition from the California-based progressive advocacy organization Courage Campaign calls for Nike to announce plans to relocate the flagship store after its lease expires in 2017.

According to the Courage Campaign, more than 34,000 peoplehave signed the petition since it launched last month.

A grassroots effort to shed light on how state legislators vote in Sacramento and whether or not those votes are reflective of their constituencies has yielded the People’s Report Card of California, an inaugural window into State Senate and Assembly members’ performance on what the group’s organizers deemed key issues for Californians.

The report was put together by the Courage Campaign, a member-group of a larger coalition of California "watchdogs" that seek to hold legislators accountable for their votes at the State Capitol. Its “courage score” ranked state lawmakers by their votes for or against 25 bills last year that ranged from bulking up climate change policies to social justice issues like creating a system to document and prevent racial profiling by law enforcement and closing the gender pay gap.

Hernan Jaramillo, Roy Nelson, James Greer, Kayla Moore, Mark Bennett and Martin Harrison all have tragedy in common: Each died since 2010 during scuffles with police in Alameda County.

But unlike similar incidents elsewhere in the Bay Area, none of the deaths was independently investigated by the district attorney. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley does not automatically probe use-of-force deaths unless the decedent was shot by police.

Told by this news organization that her policy is at odds with peers, O'Malley expressed surprise and said she would consider a change. Currently, she said, her office simply follows an officer-involved shooting protocol agreed to by the county chiefs of police.

On Tuesday a coalition of interest groups in California is launching, a campaign and website that lets California voters evaluate how their elected representatives are performing in their districts. The site will go live at 6 a.m. on April 5.

The coalition is made up of interest groups Courage Campaign, Color of Change, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action and ranks all 120 state legislators with a “courage score” on a scale of 0-100 with a corresponding letter grade.

Jennifer Fearing, a lobbyist for animal rights groups who organized the “Champions” screening, said it’s an especially vital tool for nonprofits and other small organizations like the ones she works with, which have a smaller and less sophisticated presence in Sacramento.

Documentaries send a message that something is “a mature problem that serious people are worried about and have put resources into,” she said, while also providing an entertaining platform to educate the public and politicians.

Multimillion-dollar organizations have filed five separate lawsuits to try to stop the Reproductive FACT Act, a law designed to provide women with critical information when they are making time-sensitive decisions about pregnancy.

The Reproductive FACT Act is straightforward, reasonable and popular. It passed by nearly 2-to-1 majorities in the Assembly and Senate. A poll showed that 80 percent of Californians – including a majority of Republicans and Catholics – support the law. It’s been hailed around the country as the first successful attempt to mitigate the damage done by crisis pregnancy centers that masquerade as comprehensive reproductive health clinics but manipulate women to reject abortion care.

After losing in four different courts to temporarily block the law while litigation continues, several crisis pregnancy centers have made it no secret that they intend to disobey the law.

In Do Your Job actions across the country, thousands on March 21 are urging Senate Republicans to uphold their constitutional obligation to consider a presidential appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At events outside local congressional offices, including in Milwaukee, constituents are offering to enroll Senate Republicans in “Civics 101 Refresher” and to pay the costs of a basic government course at a local college.

More than three dozen national organizations are coordinating the nationwide day of action, including Civic Action, CREDO Action, Democracy for America, Organizing for Action and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

California-based Courage Campaign launches an online petition calling on House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the rest of California’s Congressional GOP delegation “to condemn the violence that is erupting at Donald Trump rallies.

Reproductive rights advocates who hailed the enactment of California’s landmark crisis pregnancy center (CPC) regulation at the start of this year now find themselves cast in the new role of enforcement agents.

The state’s Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act requires, in the most basic terms, the state’s licensed CPCs to post a short notice about the availability of birth control and abortion care. Violators face civil penalties of $500.

Responsibility for enforcing the law falls squarely on the state attorney general, city attorneys, and county counsels. But some cities and counties are being sued by groups of CPCs that aim to block the law. And some attorneys for local governments are reportedly bargaining with CPCs to be dropped from the lawsuits in return for temporarily agreeing not to enforce the law.


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