Laphonza Butler Becomes First Black Lesbian To Serve In The U.S. Senate

Laphonza Butler Becomes First Black Lesbian To Serve In The U.S. Senate

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced the appointment of Laphonza Butler, the President of EMILY’s List, the largest organization in the country committed to electing women, to serve the remaining term of the late Senator Dianne Feinstein in the United States Senate until 2024.

Butler, who has been a senior adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris for a long time, is a labor leader and advocate for women and working people. She will make history as the first openly LGBTQ person to represent California in the Senate.

Additionally, she will be the first Black lesbian to openly serve in Congress in American history, and the second Black woman to represent California in the Senate after Vice President Kamala Harris.

“An advocate for women and girls, a second-generation fighter for working people, and a trusted adviser to Vice President Harris, Laphonza Butler represents the best of California, and she’ll represent us proudly in the United States Senate,” said Governor Newsom. “As we mourn the enormous loss of Senator Feinstein, the very freedoms she fought for — reproductive freedom, equal protection, and safety from gun violence — have never been under greater assault. Laphonza will carry the baton left by Senator Feinstein, continue to break glass ceilings, and fight for all Californians in Washington D.C.”

Butler hails from a working-class background. Her father, who was a small-business owner, was diagnosed with a terminal illness and passed away when Butler was 16 years old. Her mother, on the other hand, took on multiple jobs such as being a classroom aide, home care provider, security guard, and bookkeeper in order to support Butler and her two siblings.

Laphonza Butler, who was the first woman of color and mother to lead EMILY’s List, will step down from her position as president of the organization with her selection to the Senate.

Prior to joining EMILY’s List, Butler gained experience running political campaigns and leading strategy efforts for various companies, organizations, and elected leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Butler played a key role in Vice President Harris’s presidential campaign.

Additionally, she served as the president of SEIU Local 2015, the largest labor union in California, for over ten years. This union represents more than 325,000 nursing home and home-care workers in the state.

Before, Butler was the President of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) and also held the position of SEIU’s Property Services Division Director.

In this role, she was accountable for overseeing the strategic direction of organizing efforts for over 250,000 janitors, security officers, window cleaners, and food service workers nationwide.

Additionally, Butler served as an SEIU International Vice President and as the president of the SEIU California State Council.

Butler, who had previously served as the director of the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve System, was appointed to the University of California Board of Regents by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018. She held this position until 2021.

Additionally, she took on several other responsibilities such as being a board member for the National Children’s Defense Fund, BLACK PAC, and the Bay Area Economic Council Institute. She also worked as a fellow for the MIT Community Innovators Lab.

Butler was given the title of “Champion for Change” by President Barack Obama.

Butler earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Jackson State University. She is married to Neneki, her wife, and they have a daughter named Nylah together.

Ranking Member Grijalva Condemns Committee Republicans for Fueling Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Ranking Member Grijalva Condemns Committee Republicans for Fueling Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Ranking Member Grijalva’s partial opening statement as delivered for today’s full House Natural Resources Committee hearing, titled “Destroying America’s Best Idea: Examining the Biden Administration’s Use of National Park Service Lands for Migrant Camps,” is provided below.

“Thank you. Mr. Chairman, when you assumed leadership of this Committee, I was cautiously optimistic.

It’s no secret that the gap between our policy views is wide, but I have come to think of you as a reasonable and principled colleague. I hoped that those qualities would be reflected in the Committee’s work.

But today’s hearing is neither reasonable nor principled. It is a dehumanizing political stunt.
The current influx of migrants is a humanitarian crisis, no doubt, that deserves meaningful, comprehensive solutions.

Solutions that are rooted in upholding our basic values and human rights. And solutions that would provide resources to respond to the crisis and to the humanitarian needs that we are confronting. Solutions that are based on facts – not rhetoric from MAGA talking heads.
Solutions that accept the reality that we’re dealing with. Solutions that deal, yes, with security. Nobody is denying that. No one on our side is saying let’s open up the borders and see what happens. It has to deal with security.

But we also have to understand that we’re dealing with a global crisis—a crisis of major proportions, affecting the third world primarily across this globe.

A crisis built on poverty, repression, and oppression, political and otherwise. Undemocratic governments in all parts of the world, the violence, the collapse of civil society, organized criminal groups that infect and affect every decision for these countries and these communities. Climate that is impacting our world in a very direct way.

This impact of a global crisis in creating the challenges that we confront, not only on the southern border, but across this nation, are driven by root causes. And we’re not dealing with those—that would be part of the solution as well.

But we won’t hear about any of that today. Because it’s not about solutions, this hearing.
Today’s hearing is not meant for solutions. Today’s hearing is an excuse for Republicans to double down on failed policies from the Trump administration.

It’s an excuse to distract the American people from the fact that Republicans are pushing us into a government shutdown that doesn’t need to happen. A government shutdown that will actually slow down the processing of asylum applications, I might add.

And finally, this hearing is an excuse to use national parks and public lands as a political foil to fuel anti-immigrant rhetoric that creates the division in our country and that the Republican party sees as the only political advantage heading into the 2024 election.

So, of course, we’re gonna hear about it, and we’re gonna continue to hear about it. No solutions, we’re just gonna hear about it.
For anyone who believes that this hearing is a sincere attempt to protect public lands, let me quickly relieve you of any misguidance you might have on that.

If my GOP colleagues actually cared about the parks, they would increase funding for the Park Service.

Instead, they’ve done the opposite and passed an appropriations bill that cuts the Park Services’ already underfunded budget by half a billion.
If my GOP colleagues actually cared about our public lands, they would make a real effort to hold oil, gas, and mining companies accountable for the messes that they leave on our public lands.

Instead, they do the opposite and continue pushing bill after bill to gut environmental laws like NEPA and give industry a cheap — or even free — pass to wreck our landscapes and stick taxpayers with the cleanup bill.

And if my colleagues actually cared about the American people, they wouldn’t be pulling this stunt and would instead get to work to keep our government funded and open – our most basic responsibility in Congress.

But if my Republican colleagues are about migrant scapegoating, ginning up the political rhetoric on this issue, MAGA drumbeats, Fox News shoutouts, Speaker McCarthy retweets, and dramatic distractions, then I’d say they’re on the right track.”

Ranking Member Grijalva’s Opening Statement (partial, as delivered)

On September 15, 2023, Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a letter to the United States Department of Interior (DOI) and the National Park Service (NPS) protesting a proposed lease for migrant housing at Floyd Bennett Field, a former airfield in Gateway National Recreation Area.

The National Park Service reportedly leased Chair Westerman’s first district office in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Chair Westerman appeared on Fox News days after sending the letter, citing xenophobic claims, including those falsely linking migrants to the fentanyl crisis. In fact, US citizens account for 73.1% of fentanyl smuggling encounters at the border.

The following week, as House Republicans struggled—and ultimately failed—to reach agreement on a continuing resolution to fund the government, Chair Westerman and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) traveled to New York City to visit a migrant processing center at the Roosevelt Hotel, where they were denied entry by city officials.

Following the visit, Subcommittee Chair Gosar issued a statement in which he used extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric:

“Every city in America has become a border city. Drugs and criminals, including hundreds of terrorists, are pouring into our backyards. Our schools and hospitals are overrun with illegals. Police forces are overwhelmed as progressive mayors slash their budgets. Our streets are not safe. Fentanyl is rampant. Police officers are being assaulted. Cartels are thriving.”

As recently highlighted in an analysis by immigration reform organization America’s Voice, this anti-immigrant language echoes previous incidents of Committee Republicans using dangerous “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy rhetoric in statements and social media posts. Dehumanizing language, as well as invasion and replacement conspiracies, are directly linked to acts of political violence and domestic terrorism.

Footage Shows Houston Jack In The Box Employee Shooting At Family Over Curly Fries

Footage Shows Houston Jack In The Box Employee Shooting At Family Over Curly Fries

According to a lawsuit, a family from Florida is taking legal action against Jack in the Box and an employee from Texas, as the drive-thru employee allegedly fired a weapon during a dispute over a misplaced order of curly fries.

The incident was captured in a video that was recently shared by ABC 13, and it has been reported that the case is scheduled to be heard in a Houston court in November, as confirmed by the Harris County District Clerk’s office.

Anthony Ramos, a resident of Florida, was in Houston for contract work on March 3, 2021. He picked up his wife, Jeraldin Ospina, and their six-year-old daughter from the George Bush International Airport.

The family then visited the nearby Jack in the Box at around 11:30 p.m. and placed an order for two combos, which came to a total of $12.99.

According to the lawsuit, Ramos requested employee Alonneia Ford to check if his order was complete before receiving his food.

He discovered that a side of curly fries was missing from his order, and when he informed Ford about the incomplete order, she allegedly declined to fulfill it.

Subsequently, Ramos requested to speak with the restaurant’s manager.

According to court documents, Ford is accused of yelling at the family and telling them to “get the f**k outta here,” which led to an argument.

The shared video from ABC 13 depicts Ford throwing ice towards the family’s vehicle, and the documents mention that she also threw ketchup and other objects out of the drive-thru window.

In addition, the video depicts Ford retrieving a gun from her pants’ waistband and firing at least two shots at the departing vehicle.

According to court documents, the SUV’s back seat contained a 6-year-old child, and Ospina was pregnant during the incident.

The lawsuit alleges that Ramos resigned from his contract position in Houston following the shooting and relocated to Florida with his family.

Ford was arrested and charged with aggravated assault using a deadly weapon. The lawsuit alleges that Ford, an employee at Jack in the Box, is responsible for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that Jack in the Box is negligent in hiring Ford. The employee, Jack in the Box, and franchisee A3H Foods General Partner, LLC are all named in the lawsuit. The family is seeking unspecified compensation.

WGA Reach Tentative Deal With Studios After Nearly Striking For 150 Days

WGA Reach Tentative Deal With Studios After Nearly Striking For 150 Days

WGA have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language. Read the full WGA statement below.

Dear Members,

We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language. 

What we have won in this contract—most particularly, everything we have gained since May 2nd—is due to the willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days. It is the leverage generated by your strike, in concert with the extraordinary support of our union siblings, that finally brought the companies back to the table to make a deal. 

We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional—with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership. 

What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted. To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job. So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again—one last time. 

Once the Memorandum of Agreement with the AMPTP is complete, the Negotiating Committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval. The Board and Council will then vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership. 

If that authorization is approved, the Board and Council would also vote on whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time (to be determined) pending ratification. This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval. 

Immediately after those leadership votes, which are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday if the language is settled, we will provide a comprehensive summary of the deal points and the Memorandum of Agreement. We will also convene meetings where members will have the opportunity to learn more about and assess the deal before voting on ratification. 

To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week. 

Finally, we appreciated your patience as you waited for news from us—and had to fend off rumors—during the last few days of the negotiation. Please wait for further information from the Guild. We will have more to share with you in the coming days, as we finalize the contract language and go through our unions’ processes.  

As always, thank you for your support. You will hear from us again very soon.

In solidarity,

WGA Negotiating Committee


Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Ronald Davis Charged With Felony Strangulation

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Ronald Davis Charged With Felony Strangulation

A Pennsylvania State Police Trooper is facing charges for multiple offenses, including strangulation and unlawful restraint.

The charges stem from an incident in which he purportedly served a female acquaintance with an Involuntary Mental Health Commitment. He claimed that she had informed him of her intention to harm herself.

According to the criminal complaint filed against him, Ronald Davis, a 37-year-old resident of Williamstown, is a member of Troop L in Jonestown. He has held the position of trooper since 2015.

According to the police, Davis is being accused of trying to persuade fellow troopers that the victim in the case had suicidal tendencies. The victim was taken to a hospital in Schuylkill County for assessment and detained for 72 hours before being discharged on August 25th.

The investigation into the incident concluded that the victim was not suicidal. It was discovered that she had been in a relationship with Davis, which had ended the weekend before he received the Involuntary Mental Health Commitment.

According to the investigation, Davis allegedly failed to mention the personal nature of his relationship with the victim when he informed the other troopers of his belief that she was going to harm herself.

According to the police, Davis received the Involuntary Mental Health Commitment after he visited the station and was instructed to reach out to Dauphin County Crisis Intervention.

Despite contacting them for personal reasons, Davis reportedly claimed to be a Trooper to the crisis team and utilized his work email to submit the form, as stated by the police.

After getting the nod, Davis allegedly enlisted the help of a civilian to help him search for the victim in Weiser State Forest, where he claimed she texted her saying she was “going to throw herself off a cliff.”

According to the police, when Davis discovered the victim, the civilian started recording the incident as requested by Davis. The recording supposedly captures Davis assaulting the woman while trying to hold her down.

Throughout the altercation, the woman can be heard expressing confusion about the reasons behind her restraint and repeatedly stating that she was having difficulty breathing.

According to the police, Davis is alleged to have been seen throwing the woman to the ground as she tried to escape.

According to the police, Davis did not mention or identify himself as a State Police trooper throughout the entire encounter.

After being dispatched to the scene, the recording shows that the woman is still confused while the troopers attempt to explain the mental health commitment process when the other troopers arrive.

“Why am I getting arrested for fighting with my boyfriend?” the woman asked in the recording, according to police.

The troopers recorded numerous injuries they observed on the woman, which included multiple bruises and other injuries that were consistent with an assault.

Police said that the investigation also found that the text messages Davis displayed to the other Troopers while trying to obtain the Involuntary Mental Health Commitment were misconstrued to create the false impression that she had intentions of causing harm to herself.

During an interview with the police after being discharged from the hospital, the woman admitted that she had embellished certain statements in order to provoke a reaction from Davis, but she never indicated any intention to inflict harm upon herself.

The police concluded that the text messages exchanged between Davis and the victim were “related to a domestic dispute” and that the victim did not show any indications of self-harm.

Following the investigation, Davis was charged by the police with a felony count of strangulation, as well as misdemeanor counts of unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, simple assault, official oppression, and recklessly endangering another person.

According to court records, Davis is currently being held in Dauphin County Prison after his bail request was denied. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for October 2nd.