Dear Greylock Together,
Maybe you’re following the big-ticket items on the news. I understand they’re chatting in the Senate about an out-of-work insurrectionist these days, for example. And you’ve probably seen the stimulus bill news and COVID-19 items, too — the 28% increase in vaccine supply, etc. But here are some items of good news that you might have missed. It’s okay to be happy about good stuff, folks. This list got really long, so here’s just some of the highlights.
- ICE will be directed to focus on national security and serious criminals, and will no longer be rabidly focused on deportations above all. It’ll be a dramatic shift.
- The refugee cap will be lifted hugely by the end of the year, going from 15,000 to 125,000. It should be far higher, but this will still be the highest number of refugees allowed to seek refuge on our shores since the early 1980s.
- The Massachusetts climate change bill was vetoed by Governor Baker last term. So they’re passing it this year again, unchanged. It’s a pretty good bill.
- USA is back in the WHO and the Paris Climate Agreement.
- The Keystone XL Pipeline permit has been canceled.
- The US will no longer be supporting the Saudi attacks on Yemen.
- Trans people can serve in the military once again.
- DACA is no longer under threat (for now… immigration reform is still needed).
- The Muslim ban is gone.
- Trump managed to build about 80 miles of new border wall, but did replace about 370 miles of existing fencing with the new design. It won’t be finished, though — President Biden has canceled all existing construction contracts.
Good stuff, folks!
BIC Success. The BIC fundraiser raised over $4,000. Thanks to everyone who contributed, and thanks to the companies that donated gift cards: Big Y, Stop & Shop, Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, Target, and the Berkshire Co-Op Market!
Williamstown and North Adams Vacancies. There are openings in government in both towns and they need progressives to fill them. In Williamstown, there are many openings (listed here), but most importantly there are two seats on the Select Board and one seat on the Planning Board that will be open. You’ll need some signatures (not electronic, but real!) on official papers, which you can get from the town clerk (contact here) and which are due by March 23rd. No word at this time about incumbents. The list of North Adams openings is longer and can be seen here — notice Planning Board, Zoning Board have openings!
House Rules Delay. New MA House Speaker Ron Mariano has opted not to immediately try to pass a rules bill, which leaves open the possibility of maybe getting a more open process. Act On Mass is on it, and we hope for more movement on this front. The rules vote is now going to be in six months… this is something we’ll be keeping an eye on!
State Chair Nonapology. The MA Democratic state chair Gus Bickford has apologized in a general way for his role in helping smear Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, formerly a candidate for MA-01, during last year’s election. He didn’t apologize to Alex Morse. There are no plans for significant change. The whole thing is an outrage.
Punchbowl Chat. Our friends at Force Multiplier MA are hosting a conversation with Anna Palmer, founder of Punchbowl News (a new publication focused on politics news that scooped up a bunch of big names in journalism last month). It’s free and it’ll be fun!
GT Book Group. The GT book group’s Feb 25th meeting (at 7) will be reading Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. Their March 25th meeting will be reading Evil Geniuses: the Unmaking of America by Kurt Anderson.
Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.
GT Book Group
25 Feb @ 7:00 pm
Zoom (link to follow)
CONTACT INFO FOR GT TEAM ACTION:
- Book Group – Greg
- Newsletter – Alexander/Jess
- Antiracism/Racial Justice – Jess