In Foley Square, ready to fight for reproductive rights.

Good Morning from Bath, New York…

The United States Senate finished voting on “motions to instruct” for Conference Committee conferees on the United States Innovation and Competition Act/America COMPETES Act semiconductor, innovation, and competition legislation working its way through Congress before leaving Washington last week. That means the Conference Committee—featuring more than 100 lawmakers—will meet this Thursday, May 12. The $250 billion package is intended to boost American research and manufacturing to better compete with China’s growing strength in high-tech industries. Last week in Ohio, President Joe Biden continued to push Congress to pass the legislation. “We’ve gotta up our game.” 

Two of the major issues to be resolved: 
 
Trade Adjustment Assistance: The program, which provides government assistance to U.S. workers harmed by globalization, was included in the House version but Senate Republicans have resisted funding TAA without a concurrent authorization for Trade Promotion Authority, which helps speed congressional passage of trade deals.
 
Differences in National Science Foundation policy between the two bills: The House bill gives less money to the NSF than the Senate bill. Plus, the House bill identifies fewer regional hubs that will receive increased funding for research and development.
 
 
There is talk of passing a final bill by Memorial Day but, in truth, August is more realistic. 
 
The best news is the legislation, which had also been known as the Endless Frontiers Act and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the Senate and the America Competes Act in the House, is now being called the Bipartisan Innovation Act.

 

However, the biggest news out of Washington this week was the confirmed leak of a draft opinion in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Health Organization, a draft that, if finalized as written, would overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood. Read the full draft opinion from Justice Alito here
 
Congressional Republicans were quick to condemn the leak of the opinion while Democrats were forced to imagine what a post-Roe future may look like. Thirteen states have “trigger laws” that would automatically outlaw abortion should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v Wade. The decision also adds a new dimension to the 2022 midterm elections. Pro-choice rallies popped up all across the country and some Democrats hope this will both energize their base voters and also help win back some of the suburban voters the party is losing on crime and inflation. This is worth watching but even if it does help, Democrats need lots and lots of help to be able to hold Congress.  
 

Back in New York…

 
The submission was based on a 2012 federal decision that found New York’s then-September date for conducting congressional primaries was too late to ensure ballots were received in a timely manner by overseas military voters. Since that case, the Northern District of New York needs to sign off on any adjustments to the calendar for congressional contests. Since that has yet to happen, Democrats argued the June 28 primary should proceed as planned. Kaplan was very skeptical that the approval for the August date would not soon be granted, rendering the entire Democratic argument moot. Judge Kaplan said the New York State Board of Elections could easily ask Judge Gary Sharpe—who issued that 2012 decision in the Northern District of New York—permission to delay the date to August. Finally, last Thursday, the Board of Elections did formally ask for that delay. On Saturday, Democratic Super Redistricting Lawyer, Marc Elias, moved to intervene on behalf of overseas voters to prevent New York from moving the elections to August. Expect more to come on this, presumably this week. 
 
Meanwhile, an in-person redistricting hearing took place in Steuben County on Friday for the public to offer comments and propose maps to the Court and redistricting special master Dr. Jonathan Cervas. Speakers representing downstate Latino, Yiddish, Asian-American, and other ethic communities spoke about the importance of their respective communities being drawn together in the new maps while government watchdog groups spoke on the need for fair and ethical maps to establish trust in elections. A spirited citizen from Yonkers made the trip to share that the Legislature’s proposed maps made “no sense” because they would have grouped together Jets-Giants, and Mets-Yankees fans (no mention of Bills fans).
 
Dr. Cervas has one week to come up with new Congressional and state Senate Maps. Following a two day public comment period ending on May 18th, the maps will be formally issued on May 20th. 
 
The state Assembly maps, originally left out of the initial lawsuit, are now also being challenged in court. Two separate legal filings are seeking to throw out the Assembly maps after the ruling that nullified the state senate and congressional maps found that the entire redistricting process was unconstitutional. 
 
Redistricting: man alive!

 

Both the Senate and the Assembly are wrapping up Committee meetings for the 2022 Legislative Session this week. Between both Houses, roughly 70 Committees will meet to consider hundreds of bills in the last crunch for Committees to advance members’ priorities for 2022. Anything not advanced this week will have to be prioritized through leadership and put on a Rules agenda. In short, you will want to pay attention to Committee activity now through Thursday. Read Assembly agendas here, and the Senate agendas here.
 
It was also a big week for council or local elections in Britain, Wales, Scotland, and especially, Northern Ireland. The Conservative party lost eleven councils while the Labour Party picked up five councils. However, no one felt like a winner on election night. Conservatives and Boris Johnson, still dealing with the fallout from “partygate”, suffered losses in traditional strongholds, while Labour failed to make the sizable gains they had anticipated. Sinn Fien in Northern Ireland was the biggest winner of the night, topping the polls there for the first time. 

 

 -Jack O’Donnell

 

 

 

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