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Recall Effort to Oust California Gov. Gavin Newsom Officially has Enough Signatures

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A campaign effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom became official last Monday

What We Know:

  • Critics of Gov. Newsom have met the state’s threshold with 1.6 million validated signatures to force a recall election of the Democratic governor this year. Grassroots organizers needed 1.5 million people to back the recall election, which likely won’t occur until sometime between this summer or as late as December.
  • The announcement was delivered from the secretary of state’s office days after former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner announced that she was joining the race for governor. According to NBC, other opponents in the running include former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and John Cox, a businessman who previously ran against Newsom in 2018.
  • A poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California found that Newsom is expected to defeat the recall as 56 percent of likely voters did not support the campaign, while 40 percent wanted him out. The secretary of state’s office said people who signed the recall have 30 days to remove their names from the petition. 
  • The recall has been fueled by anger over the pandemic restrictions Newsom placed on California in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus throughout the last year. Those in favor of the recall were mostly unhappy with Newsom’s slow rollout of sending children back to school.

The California governor responded to critics, saying he is working as hard as possible to get children back into the classroom and Californians back to work while balancing safe practices to combat the deadly virus.

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Ossoff Introduces Bill Reversing GA Law Making It Illegal to Give Voters Water

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U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) says his Voters’ Access to Water Act is a “direct response” to portions of Georgia’s Senate Bill 202, also known as the Election Integrity Act and SB 202.

What We Know:

  • Ossoff introduced the bill on Monday that specifically targets one section of the Election Integrity Act. The controversial bill makes it a misdemeanor to provide anything, including food and water, to voters within 150 feet of the polling place or 25 feet of those standing in line. The Rome News-Tribune reports these are the same distances from which campaign activity is prohibited. Those who violate the law may face a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Despite this, poll workers can set up self-service water receptacles.
  • Ossoff’s bill states that volunteers would be able to provide food and water to voters, but only if they’re not partaking in political activity. Also, volunteers may do so if they offer it to everyone in line.

“This is about the health and well-being of a senior citizen who’s being made to wait six hours in line to vote and allowing a volunteer to hand that senior citizen a bottle of water without facing up to a year in jail,” Ossoff remarked.

  • The Georgia Senator mentioned he intends to incorporate his proposal into the For the People Act, or S.1. The measure, which passed the U.S. House and awaits approval from the U.S. Senate, will expand voting rights, correct campaign finance laws to reduce money’s interest in politics, and more.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp approved SB 202 in March. He did this after former President Donald Trump alleged that the state robbed him of votes in the 2020 election. Since signing it into effect, many citizens and politicians alike have protested it. A large portion of Democrats feel that the “needlessly cruel” law targets minorities, as they live in areas with long voting lines. In response, many activist groups have boycotted Georgia businesses such as Home Depot and Coca-Cola. People want corporations to speak out against SB 202. In April, the MLB moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta because of Kemp’s decision. Regardless, Republicans believe SB 202 simply restricts political organizations from changing voters’ minds at the last minute. In addition, Gov. Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger declare that poll workers can hand out water, but not within 150 feet, as it could foster politicking.
  • The Election Integrity Act has inspired other Republican-led state Legislatures to pass similar initiatives, like Florida, Texas, Michigan, and Arizona. This provides evidence that there are other states than Ossoff’s that want to narrow voting rights.

Alongside his bill, Ossoff promised he would fight for the approval of federal voting protections like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. He referred to his course of action as “basic decency”.

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LeBron James Responds After Bar Refuses to Play Games Until He’s Expelled From NBA

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The NBA superstar tweeted his response to the bar owner who announced the ban on Lebron James‘ games after he spoke out against the recent police shooting in Columbus, Ohio.

What We Know:

  • Jay Linneman is the owner of Linnie’s Pub in Cincinnati, Ohio. On April 21, Linnieman posted on Facebook his displeasure with James voicing his political opinion. In response, he announced that his bar would no longer be showing any games featuring James until he’s removed from the league.
  • “If anyone wants to watch an NBA game, don’t come to Linnie’s Pub,” Linnieman wrote in his post. Linnieman is tired of athletes speaking on political issues. “They just need to play the game, and that’s it,” he stated. Linnieman continued by saying athletes’ opinions don’t matter and that they’re only using their platforms to push an agenda. In response, James sarcastically tweeted that he was on his way to Linnie’s pub that night.

  • In a since-deleted tweet, James shared a photo of Nicholas Reardon, the officer involved in the fatal shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant. He shared the photo along with the caption, “you’re next #accountability.” He explained why he deleted the tweet, saying he needed to learn all the facts first.
  • James continued saying his tweet was being used to spread hate and expressed his anger with the ongoing police violence. “This isn’t about one officer. It’s about the entire system, and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY,” said James.
  • Former President Donald Trump was quick to criticize James’s statements. He called James’ words divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning,” saying the star was doing nothing to unite the country. In a statement from his office, Trump said James should “focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA.”

James has been an avid supporter of racial justice, often voicing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The 17x All-Star is the NBA’s reigning Finals MVP after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship last season.

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Florida Senate Passes Voter Suppression Bill

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On Monday, Florida’s Senate advanced a new voting bill that includes limits on casting ballots by mail and drop boxes.

What We Know:

  • The legislation was created by the Republican Senate and lists a number of challenges to Florida’s voting laws. The restrictive bill would limit where drop boxes can be placed and would require those casting ballots to show identification to an election official first. If passed, the bill also requires voters to apply for mail-in-ballots more frequently, restricting who can drop off a voter’s ballot at a dropbox and preventing anyone except official election workers from handing out food and water to those waiting in line to vote.
  • According to NBC, Democrats and voting-rights activists say the bill would create significant new barriers to voters. 

“This bill is just a vindictive way of trying to punish people for an election that some people just didn’t like at the national level,” Democratic state Sen. Audrey Gibson said. “Not one indication of fraud, just a lot of folks decided that they were fed up and they wanted to vote.”

  • The Republican-led Senate approved the bill with a majority vote to place new restrictions on voting in a broad effort across multiple states. The reform comes after former president Donald Trump made unfounded claims of voter fraud during the 2020 election. 
  • Those in favor of the new legislation, like Republican state Sen. Joe Gruters, said, “The goal for everyone is to make it as easy as possible to vote and as hard as possible to cheat. And when I hear my colleagues standing up and talk about restrictions and suppressing voters, it’s disappointing because this does nothing to suppress the vote, it does nothing to restrict the vote.”

As of late, it is unclear if the bill will be passed in the House of Representatives.

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