Weekly Roundup: November 30–December 6
The Weekly Roundup by GWCD is a collaboration between members of the news & blog committee to compile three main headlines from the week. As one of the goals of the committee is to keep our GWCD community updated on current events, the Weekly Roundup is intended as an easy way for members to read up on the highlights from each week in addition to the articles published regularly by our members.
House Makes History and Votes on Decriminalization of Marijuana
By Jack Castanoli
The Democratic House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill to federally decriminalize marijuana with a majority of votes—228 to 164. The history making piece of legislation vote did not fall on party lines; six Democrats voted against the bill and five Republicans voted for it.
Trump ally Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was the only Republican co-sponsor of the bill and was one of the handful of Republicans who actively supported it. On the Democratic side, Conor Lamb (D-PA) was one of the few Democrats to vote against the bill, citing that it was taking the idea of decriminalization too far.
However, the bill is unlikely to make it onto the Republican-controlled Senate floor after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voiced disdain for the bill. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pressured McConnell to consider the bill, citing (limited) bipartisan support for it.
One in three Americans now live in a state where recreational marijuana is legalized, and the trend towards legalization and decriminalization is continuing. Five more states in November voted to legalize either medicinal or recreational marijuana, marking a turning point in marijuana policy on a national level.
Courts Restore DACA
By Manuel Wallick
On Friday, December 4th, a federal judge in Brooklyn ordered that the Trump Administration reinstate the DACA program. This is a significant reversal for the administration which had sought to remove the program as a part of its efforts to restrict immigration. The program which had been initiated under the Obama Administration was meant to help young people who were in the country illegally.
The judge’s order states that enrollment must be opened for those wishing to apply. This is directed against a memo issued by acting-Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, who sought to limit enrollment and protections offered by the program.
This is a significant victory for immigration advocates, who sought to protect the program, as well as for President-Elect Biden who plans to expand it into a path to citizenship. For those in the program and those who wish to apply, this is a weight off of their shoulders and a step forward.
Trump Pushes Georgia Governor to Help him Overturn Election
By Jane Cameron
President Trump is pushing Georgia Governor, Brian Kemp, to assist him in overturning Biden’s win in the state. He has requested that the Governor either call a special session in order to convince state legislators to select their own electors that would pledge their support for Trump or to order an audit of absentee ballot signatures.
Despite Georgia law prohibiting the Governor from interfering in elections, Trump proceeded to criticize Kemp at a rally in support of Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for the January Senate runoff elections. Kemp replied to Trump’s tweet claiming he has called for an audit 3 times, even though only the secretary of state, an elected officer of the state, is the only person with the power to call an audit.
This event follows Trump’s claims of fraud and other irregularities in voting in many other state elections which have all been overturned. Biden won the state of Georgia by more than 12,000 votes, making Trump’s victory far from probable. Republicans worry that Trump could harm voter turnout among his base in the Georgia runoffs that determine which way the Senate will swing. Hence, Trump’s inability to accept defeat could result in Republicans losing more than just the White House.