FAIRNESS: the Civil Rights Act of 2004 introduced today.
According to published reports, President George W. Bush is on the verge of announcing his support for a constitutional amendment that would force states to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Amending the U.S. Constitution, the foundation of our freedom, to require states to discriminate against some Americans is an extreme act that would set a dangerous and shameful historical precedent. It would fly in the face of decades of hard-fought efforts by civil rights activists to ensure that every American is entitled to equal treatment under the law. White House moves to embrace such an amendment signal an alarming willingness to seek short-term political advantage regardless of the long-term cost to American lives, communities, and values.
President Bush’s proposed education budget for fiscal year 2005 eliminates 38 education programs, and underfunds the Bush Administration’s education flagship, the so-called No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) by $9.4 billion. The Bush budget also eliminates funding for the most respected teacher certification organization in the country and instead funnels millions to an untested certification organization backed by friends of the Administration.
In response to ongoing voter intimidation efforts from the district attorney of Waller County, Texas, students and civil rights organizations at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) filed a lawsuit and preliminary injunction to ensure that PVAMU students will be able to freely exercise their fundamental right to vote. Students at the historically black college in Waller County are seeking to participate in the March 9, 2004 primary election and all future elections free from the threat of prosecution.
A comprehensive report released today by People For the American Way explores mismanagement and failed policies in Florida’s education system under Governor Jeb Bush and Education Commissioner Jim Horne.
The report, “Dereliction of Duty: Florida’s Failed Education Policy,” is an accounting and analysis of how Florida’s policies on vouchers, tuition tax credits, homeschooling, high stakes testing, class size reduction and even the management of the state’s pension fund have done a disservice to students, parents and taxpayers.
This week’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to uphold Florida’s law prohibiting gay people from adopting children in the state was an “awful decision” that harms children in need of loving parents and stable families and violates fundamental notions of fairness and equal treatment under the law
Florida’s constitution clearly provides that state revenues cannot directly or indirectly support religious institutions. Yet state legislators forged ahead, enacting not one but three voucher programs that divert millions of dollars each year to private, religious schools. Following the passage of the Opportunity Scholarship program, People for the American Way Foundation and other education organizations filed a lawsuit in state court contending that the voucher program violates the state constitution.
The state of Florida is pursuing irresponsible education policies and using taxpayer dollars to the detriment of public education. This report demonstrates how Florida is investing millions for a handful of students in untested private programs, contrary to the will of its people and the requirements of its constitution.
1 Constitution of the State of Florida, as revised in 1968 and subsequently amended: Article IX
2 S.V. Date, "Florida Vouchers Praised, Panned," Palm Beach Post, November 30, 2003.
3 Education Week, Quality Counts, 1998-2003.
4 "Editorial: Voucher 'Reforms' Can't Conceal Problems," Palm Beach Post, October 22, 2003.
The House Judiciary Committee’s partisan 20-13 vote to send H.R. 1997, the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” to the full House for a vote is another backdoor attempt by anti-choice members of Congress to roll back reproductive choice. This legislation would create a separate criminal offense for causing the death or injury of an embryo or fetus in any state of development. By recognizing the embryo or fetus as a separate legal person, the legislation could erode the foundation of Roe v. Wade and threaten a woman’s right to choose.