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FACT CHECK: Catherine Cortez Masto on Crime v. Joe Heck

While Cortez Masto Prosecuted Criminals, Congressman Heck Threatened Nevadans’ Safety By Voting Against More Funding For Cops

Las Vegas, NV – Another day, another out-of-state special interest group propping up Congressman Heck’s campaign with lies about Catherine Cortez Masto. Last night, it was reported that Washington Republicans are running yet another ad that lies about Catherine Cortez Masto’s record while ignoring Congressman Heck’s own record of putting partisan politics ahead of Nevadans’ safety

The truth is: crime went down during the eight years Cortez Masto was Attorney General. Nevada law enforcement is supporting Cortez Masto because she has a proven record of solving problems and working with law enforcement to keep Nevada communities safe

“Nevada cops support Catherine Cortez Masto because unlike Congressman Heck, she has consistently put the safety of Nevadans ahead of partisan politics,” said Zach Hudson, spokesperson for Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate. “The facts are clear: while Catherine Cortez Masto was prosecuting criminals, Congressman Heck was voting against more funding for Nevada cops. Washington Republicans are lying about Catherine’s record to distract from Congressman Heck threatening the safety of Nevadans by voting against more funding for Nevada law enforcement.

In March, Cortez Masto was endorsed by the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers (NAPSO), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the Peace Officers Research of Nevada (PORAN), the Washoe County Sheriff Deputies Association, and the Southern Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs (SNCOPS) in her campaign for Senate. SNCOPS consists of: the Henderson Police Supervisors Association (HPSA), the Las Vegas Peace Officers Association (LVPOA), the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA), and the Las Vegas Police Managers and Supervisors Association (LVPMSA). This was the first time in Nevada history the organizations came together with one unanimous endorsement.

View the facts about this blatantly false ad below:

NRSC AD “WHO” – PUSHBACK 8/2/16

Voiceover: Who do you trust to keep your family safe?

 

FACT: LAW ENFORCEMENT UNIONS THAT ENCOMPASS ALMOST EVERY PEACE OFFICER IN NEVADA UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSED CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO FOR SENATE…

Headline: Associated Press: “Nevada Police Unions Back Democrat Cortez Masto For Senate.” [Associated Press, 3/2/16]

Coalition Of Nevada Law Enforcement Unions Endorsed Cortez Masto For U.S. Senate. “A coalition of Nevada law enforcement unions is announcing support for Democratic Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto. Cortez Masto’s campaign announced endorsements Wednesday from the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, Peace Officers Research of Nevada, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Southern Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs. The latter group includes the Las Vegas Police Protective Association and organizations representing Henderson and Las Vegas police supervisors.” [Associated Press,3/2/16]

The Law Enforcement Unions Cited Cortez Masto’s Work To Fight Human Trafficking And Support For Funding More Police Officers As Reasons For The Endorsement. “Cortez Masto’s previous job as Nevada’s attorney general involved frequent work with law enforcement. Representatives from the unions cited her initiatives to fight human trafficking and her support of funding more police hires as reasons for the endorsement.” [Associated Press, 3/2/16]

Cortez Masto Picked Up Support From Nevada Police Unions.“Former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) picked up endorsements from the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Peace Officers Reserve of Nevada, and the Southern Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs Wednesday.” [National Journal, 3/3/16]

…BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO FOUGHT TO KEEP NEVADANS SAFE AND BRING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE

Fox News: Cortez Masto “Dedicated Herself To Fighting Sex Trafficking In Our State.” In February 2015, Fox News In The Morning reported, “Catherine Cortez Masto. Former Nevada Attorney General. Dedicated herself to fighting sex trafficking in our state. ‘The numbers that we’ve seen in our state, when these kids come through, 60 percent of them are our own. They’re homegrown.’ she decided it’s time to do more to hold the perpetrators accountable.” [KVVU, 2/19/15]

AG Cortez Masto Sponsored And Pushed For Legislation To Combat Child Sex Trafficking In Nevada. According to an article by Alex Pompliano of the Nevada Media Alliance, “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and other supports of the bill will join Sandoval as he signs AB67 into law. The bill establishes the crime of sex trafficking of children and adults, and makes victims eligible for state assistance and allows them to sue their traffickers. By doing so, the bill holds pimps accountable and protects the victims of sex trafficking. Cortez Masto, a primary proponent of the bill, says bills passed this year by the Legislature will serve as a springboard for more anti-trafficking measures in future years.” [Carson Now, 6/6/13]

Cortez Masto’s Bill Created New Tools For Law Enforcement To Stop Sex Trafficking And Gave More Recourse For Victims Of Sex Trafficking. According to a press release posted on the Mesquite Citizen website, “The bill was approved by unanimous votes of both houses of the legislature. The bill will now be sent to Governor Brian Sandoval’s for final approval. A public signing with Gov. Sandoval will take place. Background on AB 67: Changes the current pandering statute to the sex trafficking statute. The federal definition of sex trafficking will be used to increase penalties by one sentencing level. Creates law enforcement tools for racketeering, conspiracy, and wiretapping. Those convicted would have to register as a sex offender, and their assets will be seized, liquidated and provided as relief to the victims. Restitution will be mandatory with the ability to bring a civil cause of action. The prosecution will be allowed to preserve the victim’s testimony for trial.” [Mesquite Citizen, 6/3/13]

Cortez Masto Strengthened Laws To Protect Kids From Predators: “In My Office, We Actually Are The Investigators And Prosecutors. We Are The Ones Who Lure The Predators So They Are Not Preying On Our Kids.” “Masto’s work has resulted in new laws strengthening the registration and notification requirements of convicted sex offenders and preventing a person from luring someone believed to be a child. During her presentation the attorney general told the students how her office works to get the ‘bad guys’ each day. ‘It’s happening here and every community in our state. In my office, we actually are the investigators and prosecutors. We are the ones who lure the predators so they are not preying on our kids. We have laws that allow us to pretend we are the 12-year-old so that we can lure those predators. We have seen horrific cases here in Nevada and we want to make sure our kids are protected and they don’t become that next statistic,’ she said.” [Pahrump Valley Times, 3/21/14]

Cortez Masto Often Visited Schools To Discuss Internet Dangers With Children. “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said she often visits schools to discuss the dangers of technology, especially on the Internet, where children might trust strangers and sometimes hide activity from parents. When Cortez Masto walks into a sixth-grade classroom, she said almost all students raise their hands when asked whether they own a cell phone, belong to a social network, play video games with strangers and share photographs online. ‘This is at the sixth grade,’ she said. ‘The technology these kids use have become an extension of their being.’” [Las Vegas Sun, 8/2/10]

Headline: Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Cortez Masto’s Senate Hopes Mirror Her AG Track Record.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal,4/30/15]

As Attorney General, Cortez Masto Visited All 17 Counties To Help Nevadans Address Domestic Violence, Sex Trafficking, Home Foreclosures, And Prescription Drug Use. “As attorney general, Cortez Masto visited all 17 counties to help Nevadans with their problems, from domestic violence and sex trafficking to home foreclosures and prescription drug abuse, which is just as prevalent in the rurals as it is in urban Las Vegas and Reno.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/30/15]

Cortez Masto Spent Eight Years As Attorney General Working In A Bipartisan Manner To Fight Sex Trafficking, Sex Offenders, And Protect Seniors. “After five terms in the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid is leaving behind some pretty big shoes to fill. And so far there are three candidates hoping to do that. Of course the Democratic Party wants to see that seat stay blue. The Reid Machine is fully behind Catherine Cortez Masto, who spent 8 years as our Attorney General. There she fought sex trafficking, sex offenders and to protect senior citizens. She says bipartisanship politics is the key. ‘These are all areas I have a proven record of working on in a bipartisan manner. It is about building partnerships and coalitions. That’s what we need in Washington and I have a proven record to show I can do it,’ Cortez Masto said during a recent interview.” [KTVN, 2/1/16]

Cortez Masto Said She Isn’t Concerned With Polls Or Pundits, She Wants To Talk With Nevadans About The Issues, Find Out What’s Important To Them, And Fight On Behalf Of Nevada. “Cortez Masto is not concerned about polls or pundits that call the race a toss-up. ‘Right now my focus is just on this race, it’s on getting out and talking to people about the issues,’ she said after the forum. ‘I came out early and rolled out my campaign on April 8 just for that reason. I wanted to make sure I was getting around the state, similar to what I did when I was attorney general, and continue to talk about the issues, to learn what’s important to them and the things that I want to fight for on their behalf.’” [Record-Courier, 8/14/15]

Cortez Masto: Nevada Needs A U.S. Senator Who Is Going To Work For The Best Interests Of The State. “Cortez Masto reached her term limit as attorney general last year and set her sights on another goal. ‘I have worked very hard on behalf of the state — on behalf of people, women, children, seniors — fighting on their behalf for businesses so that they can continue to grow. And that’s what we need in this state, somebody who is going to work on behalf of the best interests of this state as a United States senator.’” [Record-Courier, 8/14/15]

Voiceover: In Catherine Cortez Masto’s last term as Attorney General, Nevada murder went up 11 percent. Robbery went up 28 percent. Rape 51 percent.

 

THE TRUTH: WASHINGTON REPUBLICANS ARE CHERRY-PICKING CRIME STATISTICS – WHEN CORTEZ MASTO WAS ATTORNEY GENERAL, MOST VIOLENT CRIME DECLINED

From 2007 To 2014, The Total Index Offenses Index Declined From 116,814 To 92,376[2014 Crime in Nevada, Total Index Crimes In Nevada for Past Decade (2005 to 2014), p.55 Accessed 8/1/16]

From 2007 To 2014, The Murder Index Declined From 194 To 168[2014 Crime in Nevada, Total Index Crimes In Nevada for Past Decade (2005 to 2014), p.55 Accessed 8/1/16]

From 2007 To 2014, The Robbery Index Declined From 6,932 To 5,951[2014 Crime in Nevada, Total Index Crimes In Nevada for Past Decade (2005 to 2014), p.55 Accessed 8/1/16]

From 2007 To 2014, The Aggregated Assault Index Declined From 11,039 To 10,466[2014 Crime in Nevada, Total Index Crimes In Nevada for Past Decade (2005 to 2014), p.55 Accessed 8/1/16]

From 2007 To 2014, The Burglary Index Declined From 24,839 To 21,787[2014 Crime in Nevada, Total Index Crimes In Nevada for Past Decade (2005 to 2014), p.55 Accessed 8/1/16]

From 2007 To 2014, The Larceny Index Declined From 49,744 To 42,122. [2014 Crime in Nevada, Total Index Crimes In Nevada for Past Decade (2005 to 2014), p.55 Accessed 8/1/16]

From 2007 To 2014, The Motor Vehicle Theft Index Declined From 22,333 To 10,128[2014 Crime in Nevada, Total Index Crimes In Nevada for Past Decade (2005 to 2014), p.55 Accessed8/1/16]

From 2007 To 2014, The Arson Index Declined From 639 To 403[2014 Crime in Nevada, Total Index Crimes In Nevada for Past Decade (2005 to 2014), p.55 Accessed 8/1/16]

Crime Rates Are Volatile From Year To Year, When Considering Crime Rates Look At Averages To Filter Out Noise. “Trump is right that 2015 saw a crime increase. But not only was it tiny, it hasn’t come close to reversing the spectacular decline of the past two decades. Murders rose in many cities, but individual cities’ crime rates are like the performance of individual stocks — they’re more volatile, year to year, than the overall average. Violent crime in general was up only 1.7 percent in 2015. As in investing, we diversify to reduce risk — similarly, when considering crime rates, we should look at averages to filter out the noise.” [Bloomberg, 8/1/16]

REALITY: IT’S RICH THAT HECK’S WASHINGTON ALLIES WOULD ATTACK CORTEZ MASTO ON CRIME, WHEN HECK HAS VOTED MULTIPLE TIMES AGAINST MORE FUNDING FOR COPS AND RESOURCES TO PROSECUTE CRIMES

Heck Voted Against AB 461 That Ensured Clark County Used The MORE COPS Tax To Hire More Police And Allowed Nye County To Impose A Half-Percent Sales Tax In Order To Hire More Police And Firefighters. According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest of AB 461, “The Clark County Sales and Use Tax Act of 2005 authorized the Board of County Commissioners of Clark County to impose up to one-half of 1 percent sales and use tax to employ and equip additional police officers for various police departments in Clark County. Section 1 of this bill adds a requirement that any governmental entity that authorizes expenditures from the tax revenues for a police department must submit periodic reports to the Legislature concerning the use of that money, and authorizes the Legislative Commission to review and investigate those expenditures.  Sections 3-22 of this bill are modeled on the provisions of the Clark County Sales and Use Tax Act of 2005, and authorize the Board of County Commissioners of Nye County to impose an additional sales tax of up to one-half of 1 percent for the purposes of recruiting, employing and equipping additional firefighters, deputy sheriffs and other public safety personnel and constructing, improving and equipping public safety facilities in Nye County. Any proposed change in the use of the proceeds of the tax must be submitted to the voters and be approved by the Legislature. Section 17.5 of this bill contains requirements identical to those in section 1 of this bill concerning reporting of expenditures of the tax revenues and the review and investigation of those expenditures.” Heck Voted Against The Bill. [AB 461, LCB Digest; Senate Floor Vote, 5/25/07]

Heck Voted Against $3 Million For COPS Program, $1 Million For Violence Against Women Prevention And Prosecution Programs, And Grants To Address Backlogs Of Sexual Assault Kits. In May 2014, Heck voted against a: “Moore, D-WI, motion to recommit the bill to the House Appropriations Committee and report it back immediately with an amendment which would increase by $1 million each, funds provided in the bill for Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution programs, grants to combat violence against women, State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance and grants to address backlogs of sexual assault kits. It would increase by $3 million each, funds provided in the bill for Community Oriented Policing Services and for hiring under this program.” The motion was rejected by a 185-220 vote. [CQ, 5/30/14; motion to recommit H.R. 4660, Vote 268, 5/30/14]

Heck Voted Against Increasing Funds By $20.5 Million For Programs That Aid In The Prevention And Prosecution Of Acts Of Violence Against Women. In May 2012, Heck voted against a: “Nadler, D-N.Y., motion to recommit the bill to the House Appropriations Committee and report it back immediately with an amendment that would increase by $20.5 million the amount provided in the bill for programs that aid in the prevention and prosecution of acts of violence against women. It would reduce by the same amount general administrative funding for the Commerce and Justice departments and the Office of Science and Technology.” The motion was rejected by a 181-233 vote. [CQ, 5/10/12; motion to recommit H.R. 5326, Vote 248,5/10/12]

Heck Voted Against Providing An Additional $3 Million For The Violence Against Women Prevention And Prosecution Programs And $3 Million For The Juvenile Justice Programs. In June 2015, Heck voted against the: “Brownley, D-CA, motion to recommit the bill to the House Appropriations Committee with instructions to report back immediately with an amendment that would provide an additional $3 million for sexual assault victims assistance within the Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs account and an additional $3 million for missing and exploited children programs in the Juvenile Justice Programs account. It would decrease funding for the Justice Information Technology Account by $6 million.” The motion was rejected by a vote of 184-240. [CQ, 6/3/15; H.R. 2578, Vote 296,6/3/15]

Voiceover: When Cortez Masto left office, Nevada ranked as America’s 3rd most dangerous state. FACT: CORTEZ MASTO LED THE CHARGE TO ADDRESS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NEVADA

Elko Daily Free Press Editorial: Cortez Masto Led The Fight To Combat Domestic Violence And Left Behind A Legacy We Hope Others Follow. In January 2015, the Elko Daily Free Press editorial board wrote, “Before she left office, Catherine Cortez Masto released information to combat domestic violence in the state, which is something she battled throughout her time as attorney general. While she is no longer the state’s chief law enforcement officer, she has left behind a legacy we hope others follow. She led the way against domestic violence through the Nevada Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. The NCPDV’s mission is to combat domestic violence through awareness, legislation and the support of agencies involved in the fight against domestic violence, according to the AG’s office.” [Elko Daily Free Press, Editorial, 1/13/15]

Elko Daily Free Press: “Cortez Masto Has Been A Leading State Figure In The Fight Against Domestic Violence.”“Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has been a leading state figure in the fight against domestic violence and is a member of Nevada’s domestic violence fatality review team, which releases its latest findings today. ‘Unfortunately for Nevada, we have been the leader, number one in the nation for the number of women who are murdered per capita by men with handguns. A majority of them are intimate relationships,’ Masto said. Washoe and Clark counties each have a domestic violence fatality review team, but domestic violence homicides aren’t limited to the state’s urban areas. ‘In the State of Nevada, domestic violence issues unfortunately exist in every community,’ Masto added.” [Elko Daily Free Press, 4/25/13]

Cortez Masto Focused On Domestic Violence Prevention In Nevada For Years And Fought For More State & Federal Funding For Victims. “‘People should understand that domestic violence crosses socioeconomic backgrounds, it could happen in any family and it could happen to anyone,’ explains Catherine Cortez Masto, former Nevada Attorney General. Cortez Masto focused on domestic violence prevention in Nevada for years and she says it comes down to educating the community in order to gain more support, ‘It is a lack of resources, not only do we have a lack of state funding we have a lack of federal funding. There is only so much that goes around to help individuals who are dealing with a domestic violence situation.’” [KRNV, 10/29/15]

Headline: Sparks Tribune: “Domestic Violence Gets A Closer Look.” [Sparks Tribune, 1/12/12]

Sparks Tribune: Cortez Masto Led The Charge To Address And Combat Rising Violence Against Women. “The Nevada Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team (DVFRT) held its inaugural meeting on Thursday to address and combat rising violence against women, with Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto leading the charge. The Silver State leads the nation in the per capita number of women murdered as a result of domestic violence, a trend that for years has plagued urban areas such as Reno and Las Vegas, as well as rural areas such as Elko County and, particularly, in Native American communities. ‘It exists in every community in our state,’ Masto said. ‘Nobody escapes it.’ The state Legislature, at Masto’s behest, created the DVFRT last year and authorized a multi-disciplinary team comprised of prosecutors, police, domestic violence service providers, treatment providers and community and faith leaders to review the deaths of domestic violence victims.” [Daily Sparks Tribune, 1/12/12]

Cortez Masto Addressed Domestic Violence With Boy & Girl Scouts, And Her AG’s Office Help Create A Merit Badge Called “Peace Begins At Home.” “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto will address domestic violence when nearly 300 Boy Scouts gather Saturday for a Merit Badge Fair at Clayton Middle School in northwest Reno. Cortez-Masto’s office has worked with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to create a merit badge called ‘Peace Begins at Home,’ which teaches Scouts what to do if they see signs of abuse. ‘When I was running for attorney general, I named domestic violence and sexual assault as two of the top priorities for my office,’ Cortez-Masto said in a recent speech. ‘They still are, and we are actively working to raise awareness of the issues, ensure victim safety and improve offender accountability.’ She said more than 36,000 victims, including 16,000 children, in Nevada contacted agencies for assistance in 2010.” [Reno Gazette-Journal, 3/25/11]

FACT: CORTEZ MASTO CHAIRED THE STATE COMMITTEE TO ADDRESS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Cortez Masto Was The Chair Of The Nevada Council For The Prevention Of Domestic Violence. According to an article by Dave Maxwell of the Lincoln County Recorder, “State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto chaired the quarterly meeting of the Nevada Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (NCPDV) Aug. 1 at the Rapport Executive Leadership Retreat facility in Alamo. The public was invited to attend. Cortez Masto said, ‘Domestic violence exists in every community in the state, and Nevada leads the nation, per capita, in the number of women who are murdered each year as a result of domestic violence.’” [Lincoln County Recorder, 8/12/13]

Headline: Lake Tahoe News: “Meth, Domestic Violence Top List Of Concerns For Nev. AG.” [Lake Tahoe News, 3/28/11]

Cortez Masto Ran For Attorney General To Address Issues, Including Domestic Violence, And Chaired Nevada’s Domestic Violence Prevention Council. “Masto, a native Nevadan, said she ran for Nevada attorney general because she saw so many issues that needed to be addressed at the state level. She took the oath of office in January 2007 for her first term and was sworn in Jan. 3, 2011, for her second term. Another issue facing the state is domestic violence, which impacts women and children as well as animals. Masto chairs the Domestic Violence Prevention Council. ‘Nevada leads the nation in the number of women murdered through domestic violence. My office has put together a Fatality Review Team and we have a prosecutor on staff. There is a need to understand what is means to be a domestic violence victim. It includes a cycle of violence and is a control issue,’ she said.” [Lake Tahoe News, 3/28/11]

Cortez Masto: Survivors Provide An Important Voice On State Committee For Domestic Violence. “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is inviting former victims of domestic violence to apply for a vacant position on the state Committee on Domestic Violence. Masto says survivors provide an important voice for the nine-member committee. It oversees treatment programs for people who commit domestic violence. Members include a mental health professional, law enforcer, prosecutor, advocate, judge and domestic violence victims and survivors.” [Associated Press, 5/7/14]

FACT: CORTEZ MASTO’S OFFICE FOUGHT FOR AND SECURED FUNDING TO COMBAT SEXUAL ASSAULT AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Headline: Las Vegas Sun: “Marriage License Fee Hike Would Fund Domestic Violence Programs.” [Las Vegas Sun, 3/9/09]

AG Cortez Masto Testified In Support Of SB 14 That Would Increase Marriage License Fee From $20 To $25 To Fund Programs That Combat Domestic Violence. “Half of all Clark County homicides are related to domestic violence, Attorney General Catherine Masto told a legislative committee Monday. Masto was testifying before the Senate Finance Committee in support of a bill to raise the marriage license fee to fund programs to combat domestic violence. Senate Bill 14 would boost the marriage license fee from $20 to $25. The cost of a license now is $55, of which $20 of that goes to domestic violence programs that provide shelter, hot lines and support groups.” [Las Vegas Sun,3/9/09]

  • Cortez Masto: Safety Is Enhanced When Individuals Have Access To Hotlines, Shelters, Support Groups And The Variety Of Services Available Through Local Programs. “As the State’s leading law enforcement agency, we have been instrumental in development of law enforcement protocols and training curriculum and have worked with prosecutors and courts to identify barriers. There are many barriers to be addressed. They include safety for domestic violence victims and accountability for their offenders. Safety is enhanced when individuals have access to hotlines, shelters, support groups and the variety of services available through local programs.” [Senate Finance Committee Minutes, 3/9/09]
  • Nevada Legislature Passed SB 14 And Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons Signed The Bill Into Law In May 2009.  [SB 14, Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau, Legislative History]

Nevada Received About $1.25 Million For STOP Officer Training And Nearly $250,000 For Sexual Assault Victim Service Providers.In February 2014, Cortez Masto press release stated, “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announces the awarding of $1,265,124 in Services Training Officers Prosecution (STOP) Violence Against Women Formula Grant funding and $247,954 in Sexual Assault Service Provider Formula Grant funding (SASP) for Calendar Year 2014. ‘We are excited to financially back the agencies that do so much for our community and provide services to victims of sexual and domestic violence,’ said Masto. Forty-seven agencies received grant awards to fund services provided to victims of sexual and domestic violence, as well as law enforcement and prosecution efforts to combat domestic violence and court compliance projects throughout Nev. A list of the STOP and SASP grantees is available on our website, ag.nv.gov.” [Nevada Attorney General press release, 2/14/14]

AG Cortez Masto’s Office Received $167,000 Grant From Sexual Assault Service Providers Program. “The Department of Justice has awarded the Nevada Attorney general’s Office a $167,371 grant from the Sexual Assault Service Providers grant Program (SASP.) This is the second grant the Nevada Attorney general’s Office has received for SASP. SASP directs grant dollars to States and Territories to assist in supporting rape crisis centers and other nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations that provide core services, direct intervention and related assistance to victims of sexual assault. ‘These grant dollars are directed to those organizations and agencies dealing with victims of sexual assault,’ said Attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto. ‘These vital services are often underfunded and the Federal dollars will help these organizations in their important work.’ SASP is the first Federal funding stream solely dedicated to the provision of direct intervention and related assistance for victims of sexual assault. Five funding streams are directed toward States and Territories; tribes; state sexual assault coalitions; tribal sexual assault coalitions; and culturally specific organizations.” [Comstock Chronicle, 11/5/10]

Cortez Masto Awarded Funds To Domestic Violence And Abuse Crisis Centers Across The State. “In September the Office of the Attorney general awarded funds from the initial 2009 SASP grant of $239,352 to Nye County’s no to Abuse; Washoe County’s HAWC Community Health Center; Clark County’s Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada and The Shade Tree; Humboldt County’s Winnemucca Domestic Violence Shelter; and the Family Support Council of Douglas County. Other agencies that will also receive funds from this initial grant beginning January 2011 are the Crisis Call Center, the Rape Crisis Center, the Domestic Violence Intervention of Churchill County and AlIVE of Lyon County. Solicitation for next year’s cycle of SASP subgrant applications which will reflect the $167,371 funding will be advertised in late 2011 with awards to be granted for 2012. Nevada’s SASP grant awards will be administered and overseen by the Office of the Attorney general.” [Comstock Chronicle, 11/5/10]

Headline: Associated Press: “NV Gets Nearly $1.5M Violence Against Women Grant.” [Associated Press, 10/27/10]

AG Cortez Masto’s Office Received $1.5 Million STOP Violence Against Women Grant For Law Enforcement, Prosecution, Victim Services And Courts. “The Nevada state attorney general’s office says it has received a nearly $1.5 million federal Justice Department grant for STOP Violence Against Women programs. Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said in a statement that sub-grants will be awarded by the end of the year in categories including law enforcement, prosecution, victim services and courts. Federal pass-through grants to the states were authorized by Congress in the Violence Against Women Act of 2005. Masto says the program aims to identify and support programs to reduce violent crimes against women and to bolster services for victims. Recipients are required to submit financial, administrative and program reports to the government to maintain grant funding.” [Associated Press, 10/27/10]

Headline: Associated Press: “Nev. Agencies Get $1.2M For Anti-Violence Programs.” [Associated Press, 6/30/09]

AG Cortez Masto Allotted $1.2 Million In Recovery Act Funds To STOP Violence Against Women Programs. “More than two dozen agencies across Nevada will receive more than $1.2 million for programs to reduce violence against women. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said Tuesday the money under the Recovery Act STOP violence Against Women grant program will create or retain the equivalent of 17.5 full-time positions in 28 agencies in the state. Nevada has been allotted economic stimulus funds for programs that meet federal and state objectives of the grant program. The attorney general’s office will administer the grant money to Nevada programs. The STOP Violence Against Women Program encourages the development of ways to combat violent crimes against women.” [Associated Press, 6/30/09]

FACT: CORTEZ MASTO STOP GRANT FUNDED SPARKS PROSECUTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND DUIs

AG Cortez Masto Announced $12,000 STOP Grant For Sparks City Attorney Office Victim Advocate Program To Support Prosecution Of Domestic Violence And DUIs. “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto will formally announce the award of $12,000 to the Victim Advocate’s program for the Sparks City Attorney’s Office at 3 p.m. Friday in Sparks City Council chambers at 745 4th St. The award is part of the Attorney General’s S.T.O.P. (Service, Training, Officers, Prosecution) Grant Program, intended to provide support and recognition to Nevada’s victims of domestic violence, as well as assisting in the prosecution of those who commit crimes of domestic violence. The S.T.O.P. Grant is part of the Sparks city attorney’s efforts to combat recent budget cuts by securing alternate funding sources to support the city’s prosecution of domestic violence crimes and DUIs. ‘Our successful prosecution of domestic violence crimes is three times higher than the national average. I refuse to allow this extremely effective program from being lost because of budget cuts,’ Sparks City Attorney Chet Adams said.” [Reno Gazette-Journal, 8/7/08]

FACT: CORTEZ MASTO VAWA GRANT FUNDED PROSECUTOR FOR NYE COUNTY

Headline: Pahrump Valley Times: “New County Prosecutor On Loan From AG’s Office.” [Pahrump Valley Times, 9/7/11]

Cortez Masto Loaned Prosecutor To Nye County To Combat Domestic And Sexual Assault Cases With VAWA Grant. “The Nye County District Attorney’s Office welcomed a new prosecutor into the fold. The addition helps ease the caseload of the office’s already stretched staff. Deputy Attorney General Ross Armstrong will serve as a tri-county prosecutor in Nye, Mineral and Esmeralda counties. Nye County District Attorney Brian Kunzi said Armstrong’s tenure is being funded by a grant. ‘The attorney general actually has a grant called the ‘Violence Against Women Act,’’ he said, referring to the program that was used to bring in Armstrong. […] In a press release, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said prosecuting domestic and sexual assault cases is a huge priority in Nevada. ‘The goal of this project is to deliver the message to potential perpetrators in Esmeralda, Mineral and Nye counties that domestic violence and sexual assault will not be tolerated,’ she said.” [Pahrump Valley Times, 9/7/11]

FACT: CORTEZ MASTO SOUGHT TO HELP FIND ELKO LAWYERS TO FIGHT DOMESTIC ABUSE

Headline: Associated Press: “AG Hears Of Elko Pro Bono Divorce Lawyer Shortage.” [Associated Press, 7/16/10]

AG Cortez Masto Said She Would Help Find Family Practice Lawyers To Help Elko Victims Of Abusive Husbands. “Nevada state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto says she’ll help try to find family practice lawyers in northeast Nevada willing to donate time to help domestic violence victims divorce abusive husbands. Masto said Thursday during a Nevada Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence meeting in Elko that the need for lawyers to help victims should be brought up at a family law conference. Elko-based Committee Against Domestic Violence staff member Pam Lansford told the panel there aren’t any pro bono divorce attorneys in Elko County willing to work free or on sliding fee scale. Lansford says stay-at-home mothers are often at a disadvantage in divorces because they don’t have money, while abusive husbands who work can hire lawyers.” [Associated Press, 7/16/10]

Headline: Elko Daily Free Press: “Victims Need Affordable Lawyers: AG Will Look Into Attorney Issue In Elko.” [Elko Daily Free Press, 7/15/10]

AG Cortez Masto Planned To Find Solution To Need For Elko Lawyers To Fight Domestic Abuse. “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said Thursday she plans to look for a solution to Elko’s lack of family practice lawyers willing to help domestic violence victims divorce their abusers. ‘This was the first time I had heard about the lack of family law attorneys. I will reach out to the family section of the state bar,’ she said after chairing a meeting in Elko on domestic violence. She said the Nevada Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence comes to rural communities once a year to hear about their issues, which usually center on lack of funding and lack of professionals. ‘Once we know about issues, we can find solutions,’ Cortez Masto said.” [Elko Daily Free Press, 7/15/10]

FACT: CORTEZ MASTO’S OFFICE FUNDED WEST WENDOVER VICTIM ADVOCATE

Cortez Masto’s AG Office Provided $46,000 Per Year Grant To West Wendover Victim Advocate. “The council also held a town meeting Wednesday in West Wendover, and Cortez Masto said there was a good turnout. Kareen Prentice, domestic violence ombudsman for the attorney general’s office, said West Wendover is receiving a grant for a victim advocate. The grant is $46,900 a year for two years. Along other lines, the council agreed Thursday to seek legislation to change the law creating the council to state that its focus covers sexual assault, as well as domestic violence. ‘We’re just adding what we already do,’ Cortez Masto said.” [Elko Daily Free Press, 7/15/10]

FACT: CORTEZ MASTO’S OFFICE DEVELOPED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TRAINING PROGRAM FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT

AG Cortez Masto’s Office Developed Training Program To Help Police Officers Investigate Domestic Violence Offenses. “Nevada has developed a training program to help officers investigate domestic violence offenses. Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said the training program, which will be distributed to law enforcement agencies across the state, is one of two new programs Nevada has begun to provide more assistance to victims of domestic violence. One program will assist law enforcement with training, and the other will help Nevada prosecutors in handling domestic violence cases. The key is coordination among law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates and treatment providers to help the victims and stop the cycle of violence, said the attorney general. The Attorney General’s Office will distribute 300 training disks to law enforcement agencies in Nevada The attorney general and the Nevada Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training developed the CD, entitled ‘Domestic Violence & Elder Abuse Investigations.’” [Crime Control Digest, 10/26/07]

Headline: Associated Press: “Nevada Official Unveils Programs To Fight Domestic Abuse.” [Associated Press, 10/5/07]

Cortez Masto’s AG Office Produced Training Programs For Law Enforcement And Prosecutors Handling Domestic Violence Cases.“Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced two new programs aimed at helping domestic violence victims in Nevada, which leads the nation in the number of domestic violence deaths per capita in 2005. Cortez Masto said Thursday that one program will assist law enforcement with training and that the other will help Nevada prosecutors in handling domestic violence cases. ‘We should be doing so much more and so much better for Nevada’s families,’ Cortez Masto said, adding that the key is coordination among law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates and treatment providers. Law enforcement will be helped with an interactive training CD called ‘Domestic Violence & Elder Abuse Investigations.’ The CD was put together by the attorney general’s office, the Nevada Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards Training, or POST, and various agencies and groups within the city of Henderson. The 300 training discs will be used by more than 16,000 law enforcement officials across the state.” [Associated Press, 10/5/07]

Voiceover: Catherine Cortez Masto couldn’t keep us safe in Nevada, why would we trust her to do it in Washington?

 

FACT: AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, CORTEZ MASTO WAS THE LEADING FORCE THAT PASSED TOUGH LAWS THAT INCREASED PRISON TIME FOR PIMPS AND PREDATORS

AG Cortez Masto Sponsored And Pushed For Legislation To Combat Child Sex Trafficking In Nevada. According to an article by Alex Pompliano of the Nevada Media Alliance, “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and other supports of the bill will join Sandoval as he signs AB67 into law. The bill establishes the crime of sex trafficking of children and adults, and makes victims eligible for state assistance and allows them to sue their traffickers. By doing so, the bill holds pimps accountable and protects the victims of sex trafficking. Cortez Masto, a primary proponent of the bill, says bills passed this year by the Legislature will serve as a springboard for more anti-trafficking measures in future years.” [Carson Now, 6/6/13]

Las Vegas Sun: Cortez Masto Championed Law That Increased Penalties For Sex Trafficking Law As It Was Working Its Way Through The Legislature. “The new law ups the penalty for sex trafficking to put it on the same level as the state’s sexual assault laws, disallows probation for people convicted of sex trafficking, allows courts to order those convicted to pay restitution to victims and requires a person convicted of sex trafficking register as a Tier 1 sex offender, among other provisions. […] Masto championed the bill while it was working its way through the Legislature. The law went into effect in July. In the news release about the indictment, Masto said her office will use every law enforcement tool available to prosecute sex trafficking cases to the fullest extent of the law.” [Las Vegas Sun, 11/22/13]

AG Cortez Masto’s Involvement With The Sex Trafficking Legislation “Marked A Turning Point” As A Cortez Masto Aide Pulled Together AB 67 Toughening Penalties On Pimps As An Omnibus Bill. “This event marked a turning point. The huge turnout, which included people from various backgrounds and both political parties, indicated that a serious effort to combat child sex trafficking was not only the right thing to do; it might also be politically feasible. Attorney General Masto assigned her top aide, Michon Martin, to scour other states for model legislation, then pulled together a task force that drafted a groundbreaking omnibus bill—Assembly Bill 67, which defined sex trafficking in Nevada as a crime, sharply ramped up penalties for pimps, gave law enforcement new resources for tracking and prosecuting offenders, and redefined children working in the sex trade as victims rather than as criminals.” [Commonweal Magazine,9/9/15]

After A Full-Scale Lobbying Effort, Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill Passed Unanimously On The Last Day Of The Legislation Session In 2013. “NCG leaders took their case to anyone who would listen. They met with their legislators, key committee heads, prominent gaming-industry executives, local public officials, and key social service agencies like the Salvation Army. They spoke to reporters, sent thousands of emails and postcards, and worked the phones. Finally, they dispatched busloads of committed activists to the state capital, Carson City, to press for passage of AB 67. On the last day of the legislative session, the bill passed unanimously. For once, the voices of ordinary Nevada citizens had prevailed.” [Commonweal Magazine, 9/9/15]

Exploitation Of Children Became Class A Felony With Maximum Life Sentence, Trafficking An Adult Became Class B Felony With Three-To-10-Year Sentence. “The passage of Assembly Bill 67 will help law enforcement, Chalmers said. ‘I am extremely proud of the collaborative work of supporters, stakeholders and elected officials that went into this law,’ Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, sponsor of the bill, said in an email. ‘I remain committed to the fight against this rapidly growing crime that deprives children and young adults of their human rights.’ The new law, which went into effect on July 1, made trafficking an adult a category B felony that carries a three-to-10-year sentence. Exploitation of a child is now a category A felony that carries a maximum life sentence. Parole eligibility for those cases depends on how young the victim is.” [Reno Gazette-Journal, 7/21/13]

Nevada Bureau Of Criminal Justice Head: Before AB 67 Traffickers Were Fined And Released. With The New Law, Offenders Will Face Life In Prison. “Sex trafficking is a real problem throughout Nevada, said Russell Smith, chief deputy attorney for the Nevada Bureau of Criminal Justice. ‘As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply,’ Smith told the Nevada Community Prevention Coalition (NCPC) this week while discussing human and sex trafficking. […] Assembly Bill 67, passed last year, defines sex trafficking as when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, in which the person performing the sex act is younger than 18. The bill also increased the penalties for such crimes. Smith said before that bill became law, offenders were usually sentenced to take a sex trafficking class, maybe charged a fine and then released. With the new law in place, offenders will face life in prison with a chance of parole after various lengths of time.” [The Spectrum, 1/22/14]

FACT: CORTEZ MASTO SPONSORED AND PASSED BILL TO INCREASE PENALITIES ON STRANGULATION

Headline: Las Vegas Sun: “18 Arrested Under New Domestic Violence Law.” [Las Vegas Sun, 7/23/09]

Cortez Masto Fought For AB 164 To Increase Domestic Violence Penalties On Strangulation. “Metro Police have wasted no time enforcing a new law that went into effect July 1 that increases certain domestic violence penalties. Assembly Bill 164, approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jim Gibbons on May 6, revised a battery charge involving strangulation. […] The bill was introduced in the Assembly on Feb. 12 and passed both houses of the Legislature on May 1. Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto supported the bill. Assemblyman William Horne, D-LV, chief sponsor of the bill, said he was approached by the attorney general to introduce the enhanced punishment under domestic violence statutes.” [Las Vegas Sun, 7/23/09]

  • Nevada Legislature Passed AB 164 And Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons Signed The Bill Into Law In May 2009.  [AB 164, Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau, Legislative History]
  • Since The Law Went Into Effect, 18 People Have Been Arrested Based On The New Charge. “Since the law went into effect, Metro Police Lt. Chris Carroll, of the Metro Police Domestic Violence Detail, said 18 people have been arrested based on the new charge. The bill amended Nevada revised statutes to increase penalties for domestic violence and battery involving strangulation, making it a category C felony, Carroll said. The maximum fine for each charge is $15,000.” [Las Vegas Sun, 7/23/09]

FACT: CORTEZ MASTO EXPANDED THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY AND SUCCESSFUL DEFENDED THE LAW FROM LEGAL CHALLENGES

Pahrump Valley Times: Cortez Masto’s Work Has Resulted In New Laws Strengthening The Registration And Notification Requirements Of Convicted Sex Offenders.” “Masto’s work has resulted in new laws strengthening the registration and notification requirements of convicted sex offenders and preventing a person from luring someone believed to be a child. During her presentation the attorney general told the students how her office works to get the ‘bad guys’ each day.” [Pahrump Valley Times, 3/21/14]

Cortez Masto’s Bill Changed Risk Classification And Tiered Sex Offenders Based On Their Risk To Re-Offend. “Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, whose office introduced the Walsh Act to Nevada’s Legislature in 2007and has been defending it in court ever since, said it’s up to the agencies that would be affected to figure out the costs. […] The risk of each to re-offend has to be reconsidered and reclassified. Nevada sex offenders are classified by tiers — the higher the tier, the higher the risk to re-offend. The higher the risk, the closer a sex offender is supposed to be monitored by parole and probation officials.” [Las Vegas Sun, 2/15/09]

Las Vegas Sun: AG Cortez Masto Introduced The Walsh Act And Defended It From Legal Challenges. “Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, whose office introduced the Walsh Act to Nevada’s Legislature in 2007 and has been defending it in court ever since, said it’s up to the agencies that would be affected to figure out the costs. But representatives of these agencies said nobody is running numbers while the law is stalled in court.” [Las Vegas Sun, 2/15/09]

  •  Cortez Masto Applauded Court Ruling That Upheld Rigorous Sex Offender Reporting Requirements. “In 2008, U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan issued an injunction preventing the law from being applied retroactively. At the time, he expressed concerns that if Nevada posted its list of nearly 5,000 people convicted of sex crimes since 1956, there would be no way to restore their privacy if the law was later found to be flawed. The attorney general’s office appealed, and on Friday, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto applauded the 9th Circuit’s ruling. ‘It has been a long and necessary fight,’ Mast said in a statement. ‘It creates a system that requires sex offenders to be subject to rigorous reporting requirements. We owe it to our community to do our best to protect our citizens, particularly those most vulnerable, from adult sex offenders.’” [Associated Press, 2/11/12]
  • Cortez Masto Spokesman: Previous Court Rulings Have Upheld Nevada Law Requiring Sex Offenders To Be Retroactively Classified. “A spokeswoman for Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s office pointed to previous court rulings, including one from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that upheld Nevada’s law requiring sex offenders to be retroactively classified according to their crimes, not by their risk of reoffending. ‘The Nevada Supreme Court entered a stay of enforcement so they have an opportunity to review this law and determine whether it should be implemented,’ spokeswoman Jennifer Lopez said.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/4/14]
Voiceover: NRSC is responsible for the content of this advertising.

 

REALITY: WASHINGTON REPUBLICANS ARE SPENDING MILLIONS TO DISTRACT FROM CONGRESSMAN HECK’S SUPPORT OF DONALD TRUMP…

Outside Groups Linked To The Koch Brothers And Mitch McConnell Have Already Spent Nearly $10 Million On Heck. “In the race to replace retiring Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), groups supporting Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) spent $9.8 million compared to $2.5 million for those in support of former Lt. Gov. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). […]The top spenders in all of these races are the same. On the Republican side, support comes from groups connected to the billionaire Koch brothers ― including Freedom Partners Action Fund, Americans for Prosperity and Concerned Veterans for America ― as well as from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and One Nation, a nonprofit group connected to both Karl Rove and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).” [Huffington Post, 7/13/16]

Headline: Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Burst Of ‘Dark Money’ To Boost Heck On TV, Radio.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/22/15]

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Heck Received A “Big Boost” With Ads From A Dark Money Groups. “U.S. Senate candidate and Rep. Joe Heck is getting a big boost from One Nation, a nonprofit group with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY. One Nation has launched a $792,000 ad buy that will run on Las Vegas TV and radio stations. The 30-second clip will run for 20 days, the group said in a press release Thursday.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/22/15]

Heck: “I Have High Hopes That We Will See Donald Trump Become The Next President.” “‘I have high hopes that we will see Donald Trump become the next president,’ he said. ‘Though I don’t necessarily agree with how he talks about women and minorities and all of his policy positions, but if he wants to make America great again by bringing jobs back to America, then I am willing to help him achieve those goals and hold him accountable. And as the next U.S. senator from Nevada, I will make sure I stand as a check against anything that is not in our best interest.’” [Pahrump Valley Times, 6/1/16]

KTNV: Heck “Swatted Away Suggestions” That Trump’s Rhetoric And Immigration Policies Would Hurt His Chances.“Heck also swatted away suggestions that Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric and plans to deport 11 million undocumented migrants would hurt his chances, saying that he won his demographically diverse congressional district by increasingly larger margins over the last three elections.” [KTNV,3/14/16]

Heck On Donald Trump: “He’s Out There Talking About What He Needs To Talk About To Run For President.” “So, what does Congressman Joe Heck, Nevada’s Republican candidate for US Senate, think of the guy at the top of the GOP presidential polls? ‘I don’t talk about Donald,’ Heck told News 3 after a morning event put on by the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce. ‘He’s out there talking about what he needs to talk about to run for President,’ Heck added after ‘Eggs and Issues,’ the Chamber’s breakfast debrief with local newsmakers. The Thursday event was held at Vdara in CityCenter.” [KSNV,8/27/15]

… AND HIS RECORD OF VOTING NINE TIMES OUT OF TEN WITH HIS PARTY BOSSES

Heck Has Voted With His Party 90 Percent Of The Time. According to CQ, Heck voted with his party 87% of the time in 2014, 93% of the time in 2013, 89% of the time in 2012, and 90% of the time in 2011. [CQ Vote Studies, Accessed 5/18/16]

Roll Call: Heck Was On The “Good Side” Of The More Conservative Wing Of The Republican Party. “Heck has managed to stay on the good side of the more conservative wing of the Republican Party, which could help him fend off a serious primary challenge from the right. Republicans hope to avoid the situation they faced in 2010, when a crowded, messy primary resulted in the nomination of Sharron Angle, a flawed and gaffe-prone candidate who lost what was seen as a winnable race against Reid.” [Roll Call, 5/11/15]

MSNBC: Heck Voted For A “Far Right” Budget Scraping Medicare, Opposed Minimum Wage Increases, Was A Staunch Opponent Of Reproductive Rights, And Called Social Security A Pyramid Scheme. “Republican Rep. Joe Heck is a prominent U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada, and at first blush, the conservative congressman, running for an open seat, appears to be well positioned. Nevada is a fast-growing swing state with a diverse population, and Heck has previously won with fairly broad support. But it won’t be easy. Heck voted for a far-right budget plan that tried to scrap Medicare; he’s opposed minimum-wage increases; the GOP candidate is a staunch opponent of reproductive rights; and he’s even condemned Social Security as a pyramid scheme.” [MSNBC, 9/2/15]

Video from the Convention

Bernie Sanders full speech:

First Lady Michelle Obama’s full speech:

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s full speech:

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s full speech:

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s speech:

Michael Bloomberg’s full speech:

VP Joe Biden’s full speech:

President Barack Obama’s full speech:

VP Nominee, Senator Tim Kaine’s Speech:

Meryl Steep’s “It Takes Grit and It Takes Grace” speech:

Chelsea Clinton introduction video:

Clinton introduction video narrated by Morgan Freeman (11:59):

Clinton’s acceptance speech: (1:07:47)

Elizabeth Banks intros Clinton Social Justice video:

Background Check Initiative

The Background Check Initiative is a common-sense proposal that will close loopholes in Nevada law that make it all too easy for felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill to buy guns. We have the right to bear arms, but with rights come responsibilities. The Background Check Initiative will improve public safety in Nevada by requiring background checks for all gun sales, with reasonable exceptions for family, hunting, and self-defense.

VoteYes

This November, Nevadans will vote on Question 1, the Background Check Initiative
Current federal law requires criminal background checks on gun sales at licensed dealers.
However, no background check is required in the unlicensed sales conducted online, at gun
shows, or even between strangers in parking lots. These sales typically occur with no
background check, no questions asked – and thus, make it far too easy for criminals to get
guns.

Background Checks Save Lives
91 Americans lose their lives every day to gun violence. There is no single solution to the
gun violence crisis facing our country, but we should do everything we can and the fact is,
background checks help save lives.

In the 18 states that have enacted comprehensive background checks:

  • 46 percent fewer women are shot and killed by intimate partners
  • 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns
  • 48 percent fewer people commit suicide with guns

About the Campaign
Since 2014 supporters and volunteers have been preparing for the Background Check
Initiative to ensure a victory. In order to qualify for the ballot, over 250,000 Nevadans
signed their names, breaking records in Nevada for most signatures gathered.

Today the campaign has thousands of volunteers and donors from across the state, and an
advisory board of over 50 Nevadans including faith leaders, business owners, veterans and
law enforcement officers.

  • Nevadans for Background Checks Endorsements
  • Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers
  • Service Employees International Union of Nevada (SEIU)
  • Nevada State Education Association (NSEA)
  • Nevada State Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
  • The Council for a Better Nevada
  • The Fraternal Order of Police

We count among our proud and active supporters moms, veterans, doctors, survivors of
gun violence, gun owners and NRA members, and Nevadans from all walks of life who are
committed to creating safer communities and helping to save lives. Please learn more and
join us at www.SafeNevada.org.

NV Secretary of State’s Office Certifies Sufficiency of 3 Petitions

(Carson City, NV; July 12, 2016) – Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, in her capacity as Nevada’s chief elections officer, today certified that the petitions returned for The Energy Choice Initiative, Medical Patient Tax Relief Act, and Referendum on Certain Provisions Related to Net Metering Set Forth in 2015 Statutes of Nevada, Chapter 379 are sufficient and will appear on the 2016 general election ballot. In addition, pursuant to NAC 293.090, Secretary of State Cegavske has designated the three petitions as Question Number 3, Question Number 4, and Question Number 5, respectively. A legal challenge against Question Number 5 (the net metering referendum) is still pending before the Nevada Supreme Court.

PetitionPetitioners were required to collect and submit 55,234 valid signatures from registered Nevada voters, including at least 13,809 signatures in each of the four petition districts, for each petition. Only registered voters of the county and petition district where the petition Initiats were circulated were qualified to sign the petitions. The breakdown of the signature examinations conducted by the local election officials can be found by clicking on the following links:

The text and status of various initiatives and referendum being proposed for the 2016 general election can be found in the “Election Center” of the Nevada Secretary of State’s website, www.nvsos.gov, or by clicking here.

The Nevada Secretary of State’s Office will now be appointing people to serve on ballot question committees and develop the arguments for and against all three ballot questions. These arguments, as well as other relevant information, will be printed in the sample ballots delivered to all registered voters before the general election on November 8, 2016.

New Protections: A Big Deal for Retirement Security : U.S. Department of Labor Blog

Are you worried about having enough money in retirement? You have a lot of company if you are. And like most people, you probably want to make good decisions about your retirement money, and would …

Source: New Protections: A Big Deal for Retirement Security : U.S. Department of Labor Blog

Do You Need A Reason to Vote for Catherine Cortez Masto?

Do you need a reason to get off your couch and head to the polls this fall to cast your vote for Catherine Cortez Masto for U.S. Senate?  Well here’s a good one:

Mitch McConnell told Fox News that he believes the NRA must approve of our next US Supreme Court justice nominee to receive any consideration by a Republican Senate.  The NRA disapproves of Judge Garland’s nomination, therefore, the current Republican majority will not allow his nomination to be brought to the Senate floor for a vote on confirmation.

This utter nonsense has to end.  We need to take the Senate back!  To do that, we need to make sure that Catherine Cortez Masto is elected to replace retiring Senator Harry Reid.  We cannot allow Republican Joe Heck to become Nevada’s next Senator and allow him to rubber stamp replacement of potentially FOUR retiring Supreme Court justices with “Scalia clones.”

A Bishop In The Exam Room: When Faith Dictates Health Care Instead Of Science

A number of folks in Humboldt County have expressed complaints about our local hospital, but they should be thankful for the secular hospital we have available to serve our population. Given the merger-mania in corporate America, we could be facing, like so many other communities, a takeover of our hospital by Catholic Hospitals of America and the imposition of OBGYN-lite policies, restricting the availability of reproductive healthcare services to women throughout the hospital’s service area.

Here’s a post an article from ThinkProgress that will walk you through how religious institutions are imposing their religious beliefs on women through the limited care they’re willing to provide, essentially elevating their religious rights at the expense of any patient’s rights.


CREDIT: DYLAN PETROHILOS
CREDIT: DYLAN PETROHILOS

— by Erica Helerstein and Josh Israel

When Rita, a Michigan-based OB-GYN, learned that the hospital where she worked would be switching hands, she was dismayed.

The secular community hospital, Crittenton, had plans to join with Ascension Health, a prominent Catholic nonprofit hospital chain. Rita, who asked that her real name be withheld to protect her identity, knew the transition would profoundly impact her ability to do her job the way she saw fit. The OB-GYN specifically wanted to work at a place where she could practice the full scope of reproductive care, from preventing pregnancy to delivering babies. But now, with the hospital merger looming in the not-so-distant future, that possibility seemed increasingly unlikely.

Rita also understood the change in leadership meant that her patients’ medical options would be limited. That’s because Catholic hospitals follow a set of rules written by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which often prohibit doctors from performing basic reproductive services — like contraception, sterilization, in vitro fertilization, abortion — and end-of-life care.

Although Rita knew certain services at the hospital would soon be banned, many of her patients had no idea. They also may not have known that mergers like Crittenton’s are becoming increasingly common.

As hospitals throughout the country struggle with financial woes, many have begun to merge with Catholic systems in order to stay in business. This means a growing number of patients are winding up in institutions guided by religious doctrine. Between 2001 and 2016, the number of hospitals affiliated with the Catholic Church increased by 22 percent. Today, one in six patients in the U.S. is cared for at a Catholic hospital — a troubling trend for health care providers like Rita, who worry that patients are increasingly being placed in centers that provide services based on faith rather than medical necessity.

“I do think as more places are being purchased by Catholic systems it’s going to become more of a problem,” she told ThinkProgress. “To take away the ability to provide services that people need or desire… I think it’s very upsetting both for an OB-GYN and also for a woman. Having those choices gives you the ability to participate in society.”

Rita found another job before the Catholic system moved in. Although she says her decision to leave Crittenton was based on other factors, she admits she probably would have sought employment elsewhere even if those reasons hadn’t come up. Before Rita departed from the hospital, though, she warned her patients about what was to come — and encouraged them to get their tubes tied before it was too late.

As Rita was advising her patients to move forward with their procedures, organizers with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan were trying to gin up support for a campaign opposing the Crittenton merger. In June, they arranged an event at a public library in a nearby town to talk about what the shift in leadership would mean for community members. But only six people showed up. “It was so hard for us to connect to anyone who cared,” said Merissa Kovach, a field organizer in charge of the campaign.

The struggle to engage people who could be directly impacted by Crittenton’s transition might not be entirely surprising given the demographic makeup of Rochester, which is predominantly white, conservative-leaning, and upper-middle class. But it suggests another problem that Kovach and others have been struggling to address: A widespread lack of awareness about a conflict that’s quietly brewing in the health care industry. It’s a trend that has managed to accelerate rapidly and yet evade public scrutiny. Because Catholic hospitals aren’t required to disclose their religious affiliation or talk about the limited medical services they may offer, many patients wind up in the dark — and don’t think about the hierarchies that govern their care until it’s too late.

In Rochester, for example, the two systems merged without much of a fuss. But just a few days after Ascension took over the hospital in October 2015, its official website changed ever so slightly. “Tubal ligations” were removed from the list of available services.

CatholicHospitalData-before-after6

The role of Catholics in health care is nothing new — indeed, throughout the Middle Ages, it was the Catholic Church that created hospitals and hospices for the old and ill in an attempt to follow Jesus’ teachings about healing the sick. Many of the earliest hospitals in America were set up by Ursuline sisters and other Catholic orders dedicated to serving the poor. About 75 Catholic hospitals had been established in the U.S. by 1875.

But there has been a particular boom in the number of Catholic hospitals since the beginning of the 21st century, according to a groundbreaking 2013 report on the growth of Catholic hospitals and health systems by MergerWatch, a patients’ rights organization that tracks hospital mergers, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In 2001, about 8.2 percent of the nation’s acute care hospitals were Catholic nonprofits. By 2011, that number had jumped to 10.1 percent. This increase coincided with notable drops in the numbers of other nonprofit hospitals and public hospitals.

This trend is accelerating among all hospital chains, too, and not just nonprofits. A recently released 2016 update found that 14.5 percent of all acute care hospitals are now Catholic-owned or affiliated (up from 11.2 percent in 2001) and that four of the nation’s 10 largest hospital systems are Catholic-sponsored. Some of the growth is the result of new Catholic hospitals opening their doors — but many were the result of secular hospitals merging with Catholic systems, bringing them under the Catholic hospitals umbrella.

But while Lois Uttley, MergerWatch’s director, believes Catholic hospitals do deliver “excellent care” in many treatment areas, she and her group are working to shine a light on a major exception. They believe Catholic hospitals prevent many women from getting the reproductive health care they need — even procedures that are medically necessary — ultimately putting them in an untenable situation once they walk through the doors of one of these religious facilities.

Once a hospital elects to merge with the Catholic system, it agrees to obey a set of directives issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Called the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” (ERDs), these rules include instructions that Catholic care “should distinguish itself by service to and advocacy for those people whose social condition puts them at the margins of our society and makes them particularly vulnerable to discrimination: the poor; the uninsured and the underinsured; children and the unborn; single parents; the elderly; those with incurable diseases and chemical dependencies; racial minorities; immigrants and refugees.”

Although these large Catholic hospital systems operate in accordance with religious values and doctrine, they aren’t directly funded or controlled by the Catholic Church. As Uttley put it, “they are not being funded by the envelope my mother used to put in the collection basket every Sunday.”

Instead, as tax-exempt nonprofit corporations, they are funded through a combination of private insurance reimbursement, Medicare and Medicaid payments, and sometimes government grants, according to Uttley.

By bringing many hospitals together into large Catholic health systems, they can cut costs through shared administration and joint purchasing, offering protection to hospitals in rural states where isolated health care facilities often struggle. “It’s to their credit, they’ve kept these hospitals operating in very challenging times,” she said.

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CREDIT: DYLAN PETROHILOS

But the directives also include prohibitions on abortion, even when a woman’s health is at risk; assistance with surrogacy; egg and sperm donation; contraception; and temporary or permanent sterilization, with few — if any — exceptions. And the condoning of or participation in euthanasia or assisted suicide “in any way” is expressly verboten for all who work at a Catholic health care institution. MergerWatch, the ACLU, and the handful of other organizations that track this issue believe these directives often mean even procedures needed to mitigate serious health risk to the patient are unavailable at a Catholic hospital.

The groups also pointed to a troubling lack of transparency: Because Catholic hospitals often choose not to disclose which services are not offered, patients don’t always realize they operate any differently from a secular institution.

Proponents of the Catholic hospital system say the distinction should already be obvious to patients given the facilities’ religious presentation. As the attorney for one Catholic hospital in California that refuses to perform tubal ligation argued in a lawsuit earlier this year, “no one is lacking for understanding that this is a Catholic hospital, from the crucifix in the front entrance to everything about it.”

But that’s not necessarily how providers see it. Nancy, a physician who provided services at Rochester’s Crittenton before the merger and continues to do so today, said the now-Catholic hospital is presented to the public as a secular institution with no disclosure of its restrictions. “I think it is incredibly difficult to understand what limits we have available,” said Nancy, who asked that her real name be withheld because she is still practicing in the field, noting that the names of Catholic hospitals don’t always reveal their religious affiliation. “It’s not Saint Crittenton. It’s not Mary of Christ Crittenton. It’s just Crittenton.”

Ascension and Crittenton did not respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about their practices. A spokesperson for the Catholic Health Association, which represents hundreds of Catholic hospitals and facilities nationwide, said his group “encourages transparency from Catholic hospitals regarding the services they do and do not offer.”

But Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, says in practice, that transparency is often absent — putting patients in potentially perilous situations when they’re in urgent need of care.

“The hospital closest to you might be Catholic, you might not know it, you might not think to ask these questions until [you’re facing] an emergency situation or far along in a pregnancy,” she said.

Rachel Miller found herself in that exact situation when she was a patient at Mercy hospital in Redding, California in 2015. Miller, who was pregnant with her second child, was certain she didn’t want to have more kids: In 2013, she had an emergency C-section for her first daughter, and knew she would have to repeat the procedure for the birth of her second child. After she discussed her options with her OB-GYN, she decided a tubal ligation made the most sense — she could get it right after delivering her baby and it wouldn’t require an additional hospitalization.

Miller sent a request to Mercy for the procedure, and assumed it would be approved. Instead, she received a letter back stating Mercy would be unable to accommodate her, citing the Catholic bishops’ directives.

Miller had never heard of the directives before — in fact, she had no idea that the standard of care at Mercy would be any different than what was available at a secular hospital. “I guess if someone had asked me at the time, ‘is this a Catholic hospital?’ I would have said yes, because it’s Mercy, normally a Mercy hospital is Catholic,” she told ThinkProgress. “But I had never thought about it. And as far as Catholic hospitals in general and having ERDs, I had never thought about that either.”

Miller was sure she wanted to get her tubes tied, but after Mercy’s rejection, she found that her options were limited. Redding has only one hospital with a labor and delivery department and the nearest hospital Miller could find that took her insurance was some 160 miles away. That was out of the question — Miller knew she would have to stay at the hospital for several days, and she didn’t want to be away from her toddler for that long. Mercy — the largest hospital provider in California — was her only option, and they just wouldn’t budge.

That was especially concerning to Elizabeth Gill, an attorney at the ACLU of Northern California who later took up Miller’s case. “It’s troubling that your access to health care in such a significant degree in a state like California is dictated by the moral code that corporations subscribe to, especially given that these are entities that are largely state and federally funded,” she said.

The predicament Miller found herself in is becoming increasingly common.

For many patients, Catholic hospitals are now so ubiquitous they may be the closest or only option for care. According to MergerWatch’s most recent report, more than 40 percent of the acute care beds in Alaska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Washington, and South Dakota are in Catholic-owned or affiliated hospitals, and more than 45 Catholic hospitals in the country provide the only acute care in their geographic region. Naturally, this impacts the services available to patients. As Miller experienced, the bishops’ guidelines often prevent doctors from performing tubal ligations after patients deliver, which is the safest time for the procedure.

Moreover, as the National Women’s Law Center noted in a complaint to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, many Catholic hospitals don’t follow the medical standards of care for what’s known as “miscarriage management,” often by denying services to women experiencing pregnancy complications before viability or in the middle of a miscarriage.

Tamesha Means was 18 weeks pregnant when she showed up at a Mercy hospital in Michigan in December 2010. Her water had broken prematurely. Hospital staff examined Means, but neglected to tell her that the fetus she was carrying had virtually no chance of survival — and in fact posed a risk to her health if she continued to carry it. Means was sent home, but she returned the next day as her bleeding and cramps intensified. Again, she was instructed to go home. Means returned for a third time that night — visibly in pain and showing signs of an infection. The hospital prepared to send her home once again, but stopped when she started delivering. The baby died shortly thereafter, and the hospital staff told Means to prepare funeral arrangements.

The ACLU took on the case, arguing that the directives prevented hospital staff from informing Means of the risk of the pregnancy and directly placed her in harm’s way. “Because of the Directives, MHP did not inform Ms. Means that, due to her condition, the fetus she was carrying had virtually no chance of surviving, and continuing her pregnancy would pose a serious risk to her health,” the lawsuit claimed. As a result, “Ms. Means suffered severe, unnecessary, and foreseeable physical and emotional pain.”
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CREDIT: DYLAN PETROHILOS/SHUTTERSTOCK

The restrictions on care don’t present a burden for patients alone — working within the system can also weigh heavily on providers who are prevented from performing the full range of medical care they expected to practice as an OB-GYN. According to a 2012 national survey, more than 50 percent of OB-GYNs who work at Catholic hospitals said they’ve run into conflicts with their institutions over the directives. Dr. Didi Saint Louis, a physician in the Southeast who completed her medical residency at a Catholic hospital, is familiar with that tension herself. She remembered seeing a patient who fell extremely ill at an early stage in a nonviable pregnancy. Saint Louis was prohibited from terminating the pregnancy — even though the fetus would not survive — and ended up transferring the patient to another hospital.

“I remember our director riding in the ambulance with the patient, she went straight to the operating room, they terminated the pregnancy, and she was fine,” she recalled. “But it could have gone so many different ways. And while the Catholic hospitals strive to give the best standard of care, this is one area where I think they fall short.”

The impact of a hospital merger can be much more profound for people living in geographically isolated regions without easily accessible alternatives. According to MergerWatch, there are 46 hospitals nationally that provide the only short-term acute care for people in their region, leaving people who lack transportation and travel resources with few alternative options.

Nancy, the physician from Michigan who works with Ascension, says she’s fortunate to be in a region with more than one hospital. “I’m in an area in which my patients can commute or get to a different location, so people in more remote areas are stuck without that,” she said. “Which is a really disturbing trend.”

About 2,000 miles west of Rochester, a Catholic hospital merger brought a very different outcome. In Washington, a battle was waged over the fate of Vashon Island’s only health clinic. Vashon, a quirky island community near Seattle, is home to about 11,000 people, 45 miles of shoreline, and an unofficial mayor who was re-elected in 2015 over a goat named Bandit. It is a Democratic bastion: Mitt Romney received a mere 18.6 percent of the vote in the 2012 elections, to Barack Obama’s 77.6 percent.

In 2012, Mark Benedum, the CEO of the island’s health clinic, announced the board had decided that, due to financial struggles, the time had come “to explore the benefits of joining a larger system.” It reached an agreement to become an affiliate of Franciscan Health System, a chain of Catholic health facilities and part of the behemoth Catholic Health Initiatives.

Benedum initially claimed patients’ options would be unaffected by this union, insisting, “it’s not going to change a thing.”

Vashon’s residents weren’t so sure. A group of skeptics, calling itself Vashon HealthWatch, worried that the island’s sole clinic would now be forced to adhere to the bishops’ directives — and that their care would be limited as a result. After consulting with MergerWatch, they organized a massive town hall meeting where members of the community could question Franciscan and Highline leadership.

On April 25, 2013, weeks after the Franciscan’s purchase of the clinic was complete, about two hundred people packed the multipurpose room at one of the the island’s schools, according to Kate Hunter, who helped organized the event. It was a far cry from the sparsely attended event that took place in Michigan. And not only did people show up, but they’d read the directives and were prepared with specific questions.

Benedum and executives from Franciscan Health Services were peppered with two hours of anxious inquiries from community members about the merger’s impact on available reproductive health and end-of-life services.

Margaret Chen, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Washington Foundation, said this level of civic engagement is atypical. “The visibility of concerned citizens was large in the Vashon Island community, maybe in part because of the unique situation [of being so separated from other options].” This response, she suggested, might have been part of the reason the new ownership agreed to continue offering birth control, family planning, and contraception to patients on the island — though a company spokesperson said the directives are “consistently applied” across all of its facilities.

While the executives sought to assure residents that “nothing is going to change at the Vashon medical clinic,” Hunter wasn’t convinced. She recalled one particularly concerning exchange toward the end of the forum: “Does your contract with your doctors specify that they will follow the directives?” a resident asked. “Yes, they do,” the Franciscan representative answered. “Our employment contract does.”

John Jenkel, who is part of the Vashon-Maury Health Collaborative, a community group that works to improve emergency care options on the island, said the relationship between the new ownership and residents was scarred by that early tension. “[T]hose directives and the manner in which the Franciscans communicated with the community caused a rift that never really made for a comfortable working relationship on our small island,” he said. “The initial discussion that the Franciscans had with the community was a rocky one, and the relationship of the directives to the type of care the Franciscans would be providing was never too clear.”

Hunter stopped going to the Vashon clinic. “I just feel so strongly that no one’s religious beliefs should interfere with my health care and I had no confidence that that would not be the case at the clinic anymore,” she said. Instead, she travels to a secular nonprofit facility in Seattle, via ferry and bus — a 60- to 90-minute trip each way.

When ThinkProgress reached out to Franciscan for comment, spokesperson Scott Thompson said that “none of the practice’s women’s reproductive services changed at the clinic after Highline’s affiliation with CHI Franciscan Health.” However, he added that the Vashon Island clinic would be closing in August. The company attributed the decision to the cost of operating the clinic and the fact that visits had declined from about 1,000 a month when they took it over to between 750 and 850 a month today.

Kate Hunter laments that with the closing, “there will be no health care clinic on Vashon Island. We’re back to ground zero.”

The bishops’ directives were last updated in 2009 and, according to observers, are due to be revised again in the near future. Reproductive rights advocates say a revision could loosen restrictions on how hospitals that become Catholic through mergers may deal with reproductive decisions — or could put the kibosh on the limited flexibility that Catholic chains have shown in places like Vashon Island.

Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, domestic program director for Catholics for Choice, fears it will be the latter. “I think the upcoming regulations are going to close those avenues for alternative provision for those health care services, to make the partnership agreements even more strict on who must/must not do this or that,” she said. “I think it will make it worse.”

MergerWatch’s Lois Uttley is a bit more optimistic. “We hope that they will be realistic about the fact that, in this day and age, Catholic hospitals are serving everyone in the community, not just Catholics. And they are employing doctors and staff that come from a wide background of religious affiliation,” she said. “We hope there will be a recognition that all hospitals, including Catholic ones, are licensed to serve the whole community.”

The press office for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did not respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about their timetable for an update. But when and if the directives are updated, they could make a huge difference in terms of whether doctors at hospitals that merge with Catholic hospital system.

In the meantime, several approaches have been contemplated for how to address the topic.

The Center for Inquiry, which advocates for a secular society, thinks that the Medicare and Medicaid funding Catholic hospitals receive could be used as leverage to force Catholic hospitals to provide a full range of reproductive health and end-of-life care. Michael De Dora, who heads the Center’s Office of Public Policy, explained that while he does not believe all individual doctors should be forced to engage in all health care services, all hospitals should. “The responsibility should be with the hospital in any case [if] they’re receiving public funds,” he said. “That is the ideal.”

The ACLU’s Brigitte Amiri noted that some — though not many — states have considered legislation that would shield doctors from punishment, should they choose to provide services forbidden under the directives. After non-discrimination laws and same-sex marriage equality were enacted, several Catholic Charities organizations shelved adoption services rather than serve same-sex couples.

Thus far, the ACLU has concentrated its efforts on the judicial system, threatening and bringing lawsuits under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act and state medical laws. Two suits were dismissed at the trial court level, though both are being appealed, and others are still working their way through the courts. In April, for the first time, the 41,000 doctors of the California Medical Association announced they would join an ACLU of Northern California case against a Catholic hospital system that bars its doctors from performing tubal ligation.

Since these and other attempts to force Catholic hospitals to provide services have not yet been met with much success, some activists have focused on making the rules more transparent.

Washington state enacted a requirement that hospitals generally disclose what services they refuse to provide to the state government — which would become public record — but MergerWatch’s advocacy coordinator, Christine Khaikin, observed even that “leaves a lot of room for interpretation to the hospital system,” and few hospitals have reported much of anything.

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CREDIT: AMERICAN ATHEISTS

The American Atheists, a group that advocates for a strict separation of government and religion, have circulated a piece of model state legislation called the Patient’s Right to Know Act. The organization’s national legal and public policy director Amanda Knief said it would simply require that providers “inform their patients up front of all services they’re not going to provide, according to their religious, philosophical beliefs.” This “sunshine law” would not require hospitals to provide an explanation or a referral, she added, but simply a disclosure of which services are not provided there “because we’re Catholic affiliated, or we’re Pastafarian affiliated, or we don’t believe in modern medicine.”

The bill has been introduced in Arizona, and Knief is hopeful other states will soon follow. But, she acknowledges, it may have trouble gaining momentum — some progressive groups have been reluctant to back the measure because it lacks a requirement that the hospital refer the patient to a place that performs procedures prohibited by the directives.

In some communities, MergerWatch has partnered with local advocates to utilize state hospital merger laws and galvanize public actions to force accommodations or block the mergers entirely. “Frankly, totally stopping the merger is our fallback position,” Lois Uttley explained. “What we try to do, from the outset, is make sure that community access to needed reproductive health care services is preserved in some way.” She pointed to one case in which a separately funded and staffed reproductive health care center was opened on the second floor of a newly Catholic hospital that could no longer provide all services under the directives. In another, the community got a local hospital to call off its plans to affiliate with a Catholic system.

But, like with Crittenton Hospital in Michigan, these mergers often fly under the radar. Because the hospitals themselves do not highlight that they are going to begin restricting services, MergerWatch, the ACLU, and a small number of other organizations are often the only early-warning system for communities. And, as Sara Hutchison Ratcliffe of Catholics for Choice pointed out, until more people understand what these mergers mean, it can be an uphill battle for them to galvanize community resistance.

“Awareness isn’t the only solution, but it is the first step,” she said. “Until they are aware, the likelihood of something happening is small… The first step is getting those who have the power to change it involved.”

The fate that awaits Rochester, Vashon, and the numerous other communities that have recently experienced hospital mergers is uncertain. Indeed, some may choose to go the path of resistance favored by Washington’s quirky island community, organizing themselves and arranging well-attended town hall meetings. But, as Merissa Kovach and her coworkers at the ACLU of Michigan experienced while organizing their campaign, getting that community buy-in is often an uphill battle.

“One of the biggest issues with this is that it’s just not well-known at all and nobody understands what these hospitals are doing,” Kovach said. “We’re in such a public education step with this, and it’s such an unknown issue. People don’t know why they should care.”

But why did they seem to know and care in the Washington island? At least some portion of the differences between the two community responses can likely be drawn along political lines — Vashon overwhelmingly leans left, Rochester tilts right. But what took place in the Michigan city might be the more standard course of events: A merger takes place in a community that isn’t predisposed to fight it — or isn’t even aware that it might impact the care they expect to receive — and, as was the case with Rochester, a new merger quietly goes into effect. And the cumulative impact of these mergers, critics say, is an overall reduction in available reproductive services.

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CREDIT: DYLAN PETROHILOS

So what are the alternatives to Catholic medical care? In some rural communities, there aren’t any — it’s a Catholic system or nothing at all. That’s a sobering reality for people on all sides of the debate, including reproductive health advocates. They recognize that a singular focus on the expansion of the Catholic health care system ignores the forces that often propelled them to step in in the first place. Public hospitals are struggling, and their Catholic counterparts can provide much-needed care. According to the most recent MergerWatch report, the number of public short-term acute care hospitals in the U.S. dropped an astonishing 34 percent between 2001 and 2016. The number of secular nonprofit hospitals, too, shrunk by 11 percent, while for-profit systems shot up by more than 50 percent. In rural areas, where it is harder to turn a profit, these trends have left tremendous disparities in health care access.

Catholic hospitals help fill some of that gap — but at what cost? The ACLU’s Brigitte Amiri worries that hospitals’ fealty to the directives over the standard of care means that for some, the delta between the services they seek and those that are available is becoming a gulf.

“We don’t want to take away health care services from a community that desperately needs them,” she acknowledged. “But I don’t think we can be so timid about our work that we don’t push them to provide health and lifesaving care to women.”

Kiley Kroh and Tara Culp-Ressler edited this piece. Cory Herro provided research assistance. Videos by Victoria Fleischer, graphics by Dylan Petrohilos, and illustrations by Laurel Raymond.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter

NRA Demands, Once Again, Trump Constituent Demands

The duplicitous  wants guns in OUR workplaces, in our groceries, in our churches, in our night clubs, yet they ban carrying loaded rifles into THEIR offices. To assure their demands are heeded, they send out their chief lobbyist to threaten our politicians such that if they were to support ANY form of gun control legislation, the NRA would make them pay a price—their seat in Congress.  Thus, more terrified of the NRA than their nescient constituents, Senate GOP members would rather sell guns to terrorists than protect the lives of your loved ones.

To end the Democratic filibuster of Senate business last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised “a vote” on gun legislation this week. But, he made sure that any votes taken would require a 60 vote super-majority for passage. Accordingly, all FOUR gun management amendments failed cloture, leaving the terror loophole and the gun show loophole firmly in place and the ability of terrorists on the watch list and the No-Fly list with the affirmed right to buy as many assault rifles and ammunition as they can carry.  Do you feel safer now?

4720

Heller voted NAY

4749

Heller voted YEA

4750

Heller voted NAY

4751

Heller voted YEA

It’s time to make the NRA’s money worthless.  If we really want to make a difference in how our country is governed, it’s time we started taking out the NRA-supported GOP obstructionist trash, starting with taking out Amodei in the US House this year and replacing him with Chip Evans. We also need to assure that Rep. Joe Heck is NOT elected to the Senate and that we replace retiring Sen. Harry Reid with Catherine Cortez Masto. Senator Heller isn’t up for re-election this year, but he’ll be up for re-election in 2018.  We need to remember that he’s indebted to the NRA to the tune of $122,000 and that they’ve bought his votes.

Oh, and as you read through the above vote summaries, if Senator Grassley’s name sounds familiar to you, he chairs the Judiciary Committee. He’s the one blocking any and all consideration of the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Merrick Garland.  So nice to see that he now has a two-fer in an election year where he’s running for re-election to a 7th 6-yr term.

#NRA Class of 2016 with Scholarship Donations

Have you ever wondered why the GOP Senate continually sides with the NRA on all gun-related proposed legislation, and against well over a majority of their constituents, Democrat, Republican and Independents? They’ve been bought, including Nevada’s own Sen. Dean Heller (to the tune of a $122,000 scholarship from the NRA)!

NRA-Class-of-2016