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Puerto rico government

In the shadow of U.S. Supreme Court history, a Puerto Rican family struggles

  • Highest U.S. court to hear Puerto Rico rights case on November 9
  • Century-old decisions limited the rights of American territory

TOA ALTA, Puerto Rico, September 28 (Reuters) – Emanuel Rivera Fuentes, severely disabled since birth and lying in the bed he shares with his parents in Puerto Rico, recites a list of 14 medications he needs to take daily for health problems, including cerebral palsy.

Medication is only one aspect of the care he needs, a burden that falls largely on his parents, Abraham Rivera Berrios and Gladys Fuentes Lozada, who adopted him when he was a baby and never saw him. he only had a few weeks to live.

Now 35, Rivera Fuentes spends most of her days in her bedroom in the family’s modest teal-colored house in Toa Alta, a town about 20 miles west of the U.S. Territory’s capital. of the Caribbean, San Juan. He cannot walk and needs help with basic chores.

As a resident of Puerto Rico and not the mainland United States, he is denied a federal benefit worth several hundred dollars a month that other Americans are generally eligible to receive. He and his family argue the denial is illegal and hope the U.S. Supreme Court will rectify the matter soon.

The question is whether the US Congress has unconstitutionally denied the benefit of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to residents of Puerto Rico. The nine judges, whose new nine-month terms begin next Monday, are expected to hear arguments in a case on the issue on November 9.

“It’s discrimination,” Rivera Berrios, 70, said in Spanish, as her son listened from his bed, with a Christian cross attached with a safety pin next to his striped pillow. “We are American citizens living in Puerto Rico. We are not receiving it. It is discrimination.”

The family sued the U.S. Social Security Administration for access to SSI benefits, arguing that the exclusion violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee that all people are treated equally under the law.

Their lawsuit is on hold while the Supreme Court considers the case in a similar case sued by fellow Puerto Rican resident Jose Luis Vaello Madero, who received SSI benefits while living in New York City but lost his eligibility when he moved to the territory in 2013.

More than 300,000 residents of Puerto Rico could be eligible for the benefit at a cost of $ 2 billion per year, the federal government said.

Puerto Rico struggles with a high rate of poverty. Its 3 million inhabitants have also been shaken in recent years by a financial crisis, Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have complained about their treatment by the US government. Puerto Rican politics are divided between those who want to remain a semi-independent Commonwealth, those who prefer the American state, and those who favor independence.

The Supreme Court has been instrumental in defining the legal status of Puerto Ricans, dating back to a series of rulings beginning over a century ago called “island cases,” some steeped in racist language. The rulings endorsed the idea that residents of newly acquired US territories could receive different treatment than citizens living in US states.

The upcoming case gives judges the opportunity to step back or even quash island cases.

“The court should recognize that the underlying premise of these cases was fundamentally racist,” Pedro Pierluisi, pro-state governor of Puerto Rico, said in an interview.

In Puerto Rico, island cases are viewed in the same way as the widely deplored Supreme Court rulings, notably Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), who confirmed racial segregation, and Korematsu v. United States (1944), which authorized Japanese-American internment. during the Second World War. The court then repudiated the two decisions.

‘NON-CIVILIZED RACE’

The island cases helped demarcate the rights of the newly acquired territory, previously a Spanish colony. They established that Puerto Ricans and those living in other U.S. territories do not have the same constitutional rights as people living in U.S. states. Congress later granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship, although they could not vote in federal elections.

A 1901 Supreme Court decision titled Downes v. Bidwell included an opinion written by Justice Henry Billings Brown, who five years earlier had drafted the Plessy v. Ferguson endorsing “separate but equal” racial segregation. Brown referred to territories “inhabited by extraterrestrial races” which may not be possible to rule on the basis of “Anglo-Saxon principles”.

Justice Edward Douglass White endorsed the idea that the United States can take “an unknown island, populated by an uncivilized race” without conferring citizenship. Such language conflicted with how the United States previously approached the rights of other territories, usually ruled by white settlers, which ultimately gained state status.

While some judges over the years have deplored the island cases, the court has never categorically repudiated them.

The court, which has a Conservative 6-3 majority, could decide the upcoming case without looking into those earlier rulings. But Vaello Madero’s lawyers said a ruling against him would confirm the Insular Cases’ “fundamental premise”.

President Joe Biden’s administration does not explicitly rely on island affairs to defend the SSI exclusion, instead citing later rulings based on Puerto Rico’s “single tax status”, including exempting its residents from federal income tax.

It’s an argument some Puerto Ricans, including the governor, have said inconsistent with Biden’s June statement defending his administration’s decision to pursue the case while asking Congress to expand benefits like the ISS in Porto. Rico.

“There cannot be second class citizens in the United States of America,” Biden said.

Justice Department spokeswoman Danielle Blevins said there was “no tension” between Biden’s position and the department’s legal arguments which she said “fulfilled its traditional duty to defend laws promulgated by Congress “.

Emanuel Rivera Fuentes’ parents are struggling to pay the bills as they hope to secure SSI benefits to help buy equipment, including a ramp and a new wheelchair for him. For them, the SSI exclusion sends the message that they are not considered fully American.

“You feel unprotected,” Rivera Berrios said. “If you have rights but don’t receive them, you are annoyed and disappointed. You lose faith in the government. You feel betrayed.”

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham and Scott Malone


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Kansas City Group Helps Former Inmates Reclaim Their Voting Rights | KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri resident Christine McDonald did not know she could vote after serving her prison sentence in 2007. As a former incarcerator, McDonald believed she had lost that right.

“No one told me I could vote,” she said.

But the same year McDonald left prison, she witnessed the signing of a bill for the federal government. Second Chance Act, which funded reintegration programs. It was then that she learned her right to vote.

In November 2008, McDonald’s voted for the first time in his life. She remembers crying when she told her boss.

“I felt like it was almost like trying to show the world around me that I deserved to be here, despite my mistakes,” she said. “Because my mistakes always made it so difficult to get a job and decent housing, it was a way I thought I could prove to everyone around me, ‘Hey, I care.’ “

Now McDonald’s is working to make sure others formerly incarcerated in Kansas City and across Missouri know their voting rights.

She is an organizer with the Our Voices team at Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, a social justice group in Kansas City. The team recently launched an initiative called Our Voices-Our Votes. Its objective: to make known the right to vote of formerly incarcerated people and to have them register on the electoral rolls.

Calvin Williford, an organizer of MORE2, said the team’s goal is to register 20,000 new voters by November 2022, when states hold midterm elections. He said the team was working with the League of Women Voters in Kansas City, a nonprofit focused on voting rights.

McDonald knows there are a lot of people like her who might not know they can vote again after serving their sentence in Missouri.

“In so many areas we are excluded, like looking for job opportunities, looking for housing opportunities,” she said. “However, it is one way for us to be included.”

Recently, the Kansas City Council adopted a resolution recognize the work of MORE2 in hiring and registering people in Kansas City with misdemeanor or felony convictions. Kansas City is the first municipality in Missouri to pass such a resolution.

Williford said the group will continue to work with other municipalities in the state to pass similar resolutions that raise awareness of the problem and combat disinformation.

“The biggest obstacle, in our opinion, is misinformation, misinformation, about the right to vote,” Williford said. “And this belief that because you have a crime you will never be able to vote again. This is simply not true in the state of Missouri.

Fight against disinformation on the right to vote of formerly incarcerated people

In Missouri and Kansas, people who are incarcerated or on parole or probation cannot vote until their sentence has been served.

For people who have served their full sentence in Missouri, the voter registration process is the same as for anyone else.

Lauri Ealom, Democratic Director at the Kansas City Council of Elections, said the board is working with the Missouri Department of Corrections to obtain a list from the secretary of state’s office of those who have been convicted.

When a formerly incarcerated person registers again to vote, the electoral committee can verify that he is not on probation. During voter registration campaigns, Ealom said those previously incarcerated would generally assume they couldn’t vote.

“There are mixed messages that are sent to the media when it comes to their rights,” she said. “They are definitely surprised. And we go ahead and register them and we do all the background checks and then they are registered to vote.

McDonald agreed that overcoming this misconception is one of the biggest challenges in his advocacy.

Williford said Our Voices-Our Votes also works to connect with people who have completed probation or parole supervision.

“It is easy to identify a person coming out of prison and give them information about the right to vote,” he said. “It’s much more difficult when someone is back in the community for two, three or four years on probation or parole and then, again, has the right to vote. “

Even though those formerly incarcerated know they can vote again, McDonald said they may feel discouraged, as if their vote doesn’t matter.

“They don’t understand that their vote matters because nothing else seems to matter when they go out,” she said. “Nobody cares about having a job, nobody cares about living in a decent neighborhood.”

What the denial of the rights of criminals looks like in Kansas and Missouri

The voting rights of those currently or formerly in prison vary from state to state.

Only Maine; Vermont; Washington DC; and Puerto Rico allow people currently in prison to vote. They do not restrict the right to vote of anyone with a criminal conviction.

The majority of states have restrictions on voting rights that deny the right to vote to those who are currently or formerly in prison.

The Sentencing project, a national research and advocacy organization focused on criminal justice and ending mass incarceration, estimates that 5.2 million people in the United States were banned from voting in 2020 due to deprivation laws the right to vote. But only a quarter of those who couldn’t vote were currently in jail or jail.

The Spencing Project found that a majority of these voters deprived of their rights – 75% – were on probation or parole or had served their sentence. Even though they lived in their community, they could not vote due to laws prohibiting incarceration after voting.

“It’s very clear in sentencing that you lost your right to vote,” Williford said. “What is not very clear is when you regain your right to vote.”

And in some states, regaining the right to vote after conviction is conditional.

In Kansas, for example, former incarcerated people who have completed their probation or parole period may be barred from voting if they have not paid the fines associated with their sentence. Missouri does not have such a policy.

The Sentencing Project also collects data estimating the number of people convicted of crimes who are disenfranchised.

In Missouri, the Study 2020 found that 95,485 people statewide were not eligible to vote due to criminal denial of the right to vote laws, or 2% of the state’s voting age population. Of those, nearly 68,000 were on probation or parole.

In Kansas, 21,256 people convicted of a felony were prevented from voting. Almost 10,000 of these people were on probation or parole.

Voting as a sense of empowerment for those formerly incarcerated

McDonald’s knows intimately the obstacles people face when they leave prison. Even now, with a conviction on his record and as a blind person, McDonald’s is struggling to find a job.

“It seems like everywhere I turn I face these same obstacles,” McDonald said. “The only way to demystify this is to bring down the walls and let people know that we are not that different from the non-incarcerated. “

McDonald said voting is an area where formerly incarcerated people can exercise their power and show that they are invested in their communities.

“This is how I think formerly incarcerated people can find hope, this hope to hang on a little longer,” she said.

McDonald said it was important for those formerly incarcerated to be part of the community. Exercising their right to vote can also dispel some of the stereotypes and misconceptions people may have about those formerly incarcerated.

“It also shows… that we are part of democracy, we are part of your community, we are part of your city, of your state,” McDonald said. “We want our voices to be heard, nationally, because we want to be part of the voting process, because who is in power matters to us too.”

Since regaining the right to vote, she has voted in every local, state and federal election. She looks for candidates to find out who best reflects her values.

McDonald’s hopes getting more people to vote can lead to more change.

“If we understand our right to vote, and we understand (how) to seek candidates and the value that our votes have in numbers when we actually exercise it, then we can get people in power that we can connect with and help.” to advocate to help remove some of the societal barriers that exist, ”she said.

This story was originally published on the Kansas City Beacon.


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Solar Tax Credit by State – Forbes Advisor

Editorial Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but this does not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.

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Installing your own solar power system can be a daunting process, especially on your wallet. Adding one to your home is a big investment: On average, solar panels cost around $ 16,000.

But, home solar power systems can save you a lot of money in the long run. In addition, there are several rebates and tax credits to encourage homeowners to take the plunge and start producing renewable energy. There are federal, state, and local benefits that can earn you money for installing an eligible system.

What is the Federal Solar Tax Credit?

Installing solar panels entitles you to a federal tax credit. This means that you will get an income tax credit which will actually lower your tax bill.

The federal government enacted the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in 2006. In the years that followed, the US solar industry grew by more than 10,000% with an average annual growth of 50% over the past 10 years. The industry has created hundreds of thousands of jobs and invested billions of dollars in the US economy

You may be eligible for ITC for the tax year in which you installed your solar panels, as long as the system generates electricity for a home in the United States.

In 2021, ITC will offer a tax credit of 26% for systems installed between 2020 and 2022 and 22% for systems installed in 2023. So when deciding whether or not to install solar panels, consider from one to 26% discount.

Eligibility for solar tax credit

You can benefit from the ITC as long as your solar system is new or first used between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2023. Unless Congress renews the ITC, it expires in 2024.

Other requirements include:

  • You must own the system (not rent it)
  • System must be located in the United States
  • System must be located at your primary or secondary residence in the United States or for an offsite community solar project

State solar incentives

Several states and Puerto Rico offer solar incentives in addition to the federal ITC to encourage homeowners to install solar power. Each state has different incentives in place, but there are a few common ones: tax credits, rebates, and renewable energy certificates. States with a high number of solar incentives include California, Texas, Minnesota, and New York.

Each state has its own set of solar incentives which vary widely. Different agencies offer different solar financial incentives, so talk to your installer and check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy and Efficiency for details.

State tax credits

State tax credits work the same as federal ITC, but for your state taxes. The exact amounts vary widely from state to state and generally do not reduce your federal tax credits.

State government rebates

Some states offer initial discounts for installing a solar power system. They are usually only available for a limited time while funds are available, so look for discounts in your state to take advantage of the incentive before it runs out. A state government rebate can reduce your solar costs by 10-20%.

Renewable solar energy certificate

A Renewable Solar Energy Certificate (SREC), sometimes referred to as a Renewable Solar Energy Credit, is another type of state-level solar incentive. After you install your solar power system and register it with the relevant state authorities, they will track your system’s power output and periodically offer you SRECs as a benefit. You can sell your SREC to your local energy utility (or other buyer) to provide a payment that is generally considered taxable income.

Other incentives

Local utility discounts

Local utilities often offer financial incentives to encourage local homeowners to install solar power systems. Some offer discounts on energy bills based on the amount of power produced by the system, while others offer one-time grants to install a solar power system.

Incentives that pay you a credit per kilowatt hour for the power produced by your system are called PBI or performance-based incentives.

Subsidized loans

Your state, local utility, or other nongovernmental organization may offer subsidized loans to help finance the purchase of your solar panel system. Before purchasing your system, discuss subsidized loan options with an installer in your area. He will probably know all the solar programs available locally.

Tax exemptions

In addition to tax credits, you can benefit from certain tax exemptions after installing a solar system. Despite the fact that these systems will increase the value of your property, some states and municipalities will not include them when assessing property taxes, meaning your property tax bill will not increase with solar installation.

Some states also have programs to ensure that all purchases of solar power system components are exempt from state sales taxes, which could save you hundreds of dollars when you go to install your system.

Final result

The combination of these various solar tax credits and other financial incentives can save you money on installing your solar power system. Although installing software requires a significant amount of money upfront, these programs will significantly reduce the overall cost of the system.

Compare quotes from the best solar panel installers

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2021, a record year for the collection of room taxes | Business

Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) today joins the commemoration of World Tourism Day by announcing that 2021 has become a banner year for tourism on the island. This was evidenced by the highest numbers recorded in room tax collections in the first eight months of the calendar year, with six of them recording the highest figures since 2008.

As the PRTC reports show, the month of July reflects the highest impact on room tax collection with an unprecedented amount of $ 11,155,042, compared to $ 7,059,467 in July 2017, which had been The highest. It is followed by the month of June, which in 2014 reflected $ 6,567,228, also significantly exceeding it with a total of $ 10,341,325.

During the current year, there has been a sharp increase in the collection of taxes from new hostels of various modalities, with short-term rentals being the fastest growing. In total, there are currently 4,306 dwellings registered in the tax collection division of the PRTC, which is an increase of 24% from the 3,471 registered in 2020.

“At Puerto Rico Tourism Co., we are extremely happy and grateful for the boom and growth that our industry has experienced this year 2021, after such a difficult time that has been experienced around the world, due to the COVID pandemic. -19, even reaching historic levels in housing collections and the creation of new tourism businesses. For this reason, today we celebrate World Tourism Day with great enthusiasm under the slogan established by UNWTO, Tourism for Inclusive Growth ”, PRTC Executive Director Carlos Mercado Santiago.

According to Mercado, “we can say that we have experienced one of the most successful stages in the history of tourism in Puerto Rico, as we have relied on the active inclusion of talents, efforts and collaboration from different segments. who contribute to the sector, such as: agro-industries, tour operators, restaurant managers and waiters, porters, flight attendants, cruise lines, carriers, among others; and of course the local and international tourists who visit us and who make up the universe that drives the tourism industry. All of this translates into economic development for Puerto Rico. “

In commemoration of World Tourism Day, he presented Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi’s Proclamation to five tourism businesses that exemplify the theme of tourism for inclusive growth. These are:

Bici Cano – It has just joined as an approved company and obtained its Ecotourism certification. He toured the G8 communities and discussed the proposals that the UNWTO presents as an objective of strengthening world tourism.

Seaside Playa Puerto Nuevo – Awarded as part of the Blue Flag program. Among its offers (and compliance criteria) is the power to guarantee access to the beach to anyone with a physical limitation that prevents or complicates access and enjoyment of the sea.

Peniel Access Ecological Tour – Licensed company that offers accessible kayaking experiences in the Laguna Grande de Fajardo and pioneer in special equipment to guarantee the experience for all.

Punta Tuna Eco Tours – Approved community ecotourism company. Among its tour offerings are interpretive panels suitable for blind people and specialized chairs for better movement along sidewalks for people in wheelchairs, among others.

Puerto Rico Al Sur – Approved ecotourism company that responds to community inclusion.

“It should be noted the interest that Puerto Rican businessmen have shown in betting on the tourism industry to develop their businesses. It is a factor that enriches the market and the experience that we offer to the visitor, this which helps us add more diversity and strength to Puerto Rico’s positioning as a world-class tourist destination, ”said Mercado.

As part of the PRTC’s initiatives in celebration of World Tourism Day 2021, the government entity posted the message “Thank you Puerto Rico, 2021: a banner year for tourism” on its social networks and on digital billboards around the island, in collaboration with private companies.

In turn, the companies recognized today will be reviewed throughout the week on the institutional social media of the PRTC and the Voy Turisteando brand, in order to raise awareness of the faces of tourism in Puerto Rico, community programs and those who offer accessible experiences. people with physical limitations.


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Peter Apo: Hawaiians must agree on the meaning of sovereignty to achieve this

A recent AFAR magazine interview with the well-respected dean of the Hawai’inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, Jon Osorio, struck me like the sound of a conch pulling me to attention.

What struck me was the topic, the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, which seems to have been dormant of any meaningful public discourse during the four years of the Trump presidency.

Osorio may be reviving and raising the bar in the sovereignty conversation. “The sovereignist movement is not a monolithic thing. We do not agree between us on the form that this sovereignty should take ”, he wrote, describing the main challenge of this conversation.

I believe its target audience, besides the native Hawaiian community, includes today’s descendants of non-ethnic Hawaiians who were also citizens of the kingdom when Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown in 1893.

Osorio suggests the need for a unification strategy that sorts out the options and puts everyone on the same page in defining a preferred model of sovereignty. I should clarify that for the purposes of this column, “sovereignty” is defined as Hawaiians exercising authority to govern themselves. The term “self-determination” refers to Hawaiian exclusivity by sorting out a model of sovereignty and subjecting it to ratification through a democratic process. The two are linked.

To move forward, wherever the dialogue leads, it must be framed by a reliable historical account of why, what, when and how we got to where we are. O ke ala ma mua ke ala ma hope – the path to the future is a path through the past.

The road to annexation

Hawaii is the only American state that is not on the North American continent. It sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 1,800 miles from the nearest land mass. The native people of Hawaii were essentially isolated from the rest of the world for several centuries until the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778. Hawaii is also the only state in the nation that was once a royal kingdom, with a royal palace , headed by a king or queen. .

Iolani Palace is decorated for the celebration of King Kalakaua's 183rd birthday on November 16, 2019.
Iolani Palace was the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs and served as the official royal residence. Cory Lum / Civil Beat / 2019

Since the arrival of Captain Cook, the history of governance of the Hawaiian Islands has grown from a system of island feudal societies to the Royal Kingdom of Hawaii established in 1810 by King Kamehameha the Great.

Over time, Western businessmen have gained influence over the governance of the kingdom. In 1887, during the reign of King Kalakaua, they succeeded in converting the royal monarchy into a constitutional monarchy – creating a legislative body and giving it the power to overthrow the monarch. This constitutional takeover was labeled as the “Bayonet Constitution”.

The amended constitution removed much of the king’s executive power and deprived most Native Hawaiians of their right to vote. The business-led legislature was now able to override the king’s veto.

In 1893, King Kalakaua was replaced by Queen Liliuokalani who launched a daring attempt to restore royal rule. This led to a serious confrontation with a self-proclaimed group of businessmen identifying themselves as the “Security Committee”. The committee was made up of six citizens of the kingdom, five Americans, a Scotsman and a German. They staged a coup, imprisoned the Queen, declared a provisional government in 1893, and called on the United States Congress to annex the Kingdom of Hawaii.

The Congress rejected the first two annexation attempts because of the American policy against the participation in the colonization of the island nations of the Pacific which was in full swing by the European powers including England, France, Germany, Russia and Spain.

The Hawaii Provisional Government then changed its name and established the Republic of Hawaii in 1894 to gain more time to pursue a third annexation attempt, which was successful. Hawaii became a US territory in 1898, then it became the 50th state in 1959.

The Spanish-American War

While it is true that the annexation of Hawaii to the United States was primarily initiated by the American sugar planters and their business colleagues, business was not the main motivation of the United States Congress.

Here is a succinct explanation of what really happened from the records of the State Department Historian’s Office:

“The Spanish-American War of 1898 ended the Spanish colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere and secured the position of the United States as a power in the Pacific. The American victory in the war produced a peace treaty that forced the Spaniards to renounce their claims to Cuba and cede sovereignty over Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines to the United States. The McKinley administration also used the war as a pretext to annex the Independent State of Hawaii.

After rejecting Hawaii’s first two annexation attempts, Congress turned around when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 – the same year Hawaii was annexed.

A Dominant Global View of Hawaii

The cultural, political, social, and economic history of Hawaii from an Indigenous perspective is a 243-year-old drama that began in 1778. The story has not yet been fully understood, even by those who live there. here. What most people think of Hawaii today was driven by global tourism marketing, which began in the late 1800s and intensified dramatically in the 1900s.

Over a century of tourism marketing has produced a worldview of the Hawaiian Islands as a paradise of sunny days, starry nights, flowers, palm trees, romance, sandy beaches, hula hoops, surfing and many. aloha. This view of a Pacific paradise is held by most Americans.

This makes it very difficult to make politicians aware that there could be problems in Heaven. In my opinion, Hawaiian sovereignty tops the list of the oldest, most difficult and most difficult to resolve political issues on the long list of troubles in Hawaii’s paradise.

What’s important to note is that the concept of Hawaiian sovereignty – some prefer the term self-determination – continues to define the playing field on which controversial public policy issues driven by native Hawaiians play out.

Three of the most sensitive media issues were Kahoolawe in 1975 – now resolved; telescopes on Mauna Kea in 2015 – still in play; and the ongoing Hawaiian challenges regarding the US military’s use of state land – also on the move.

While these questions, in all their complexity, do not directly invoke calls for sovereignty, they feed off each other.

The way to go

So what are the options? Without delving into the weeds, the best I can do is come up with a list that includes the following: Independence, Commonwealth, Most Favored Nation, Nation within a Nation, Nation within a State, and Status Quo. At some point, Hawaiians will have to find a way to sort out the options, which I guess would involve some form of democratic process. I believe more options will emerge if serious public dialogue ensues.

I remember there was a rigorous but unsuccessful initiative in 2015 called Kanaiolowalu to develop a voters list that included only Hawaiians, to elect delegates to a constitutional convention, and to come out of convention deliberations with a proposal to ratify in a country reserved for Hawaiians. vote.

Hawaiian flag hoisted in Thomas Square Park in Honolulu on July 31, 2021. At the start of the
The Hawaiian flag is hoisted in Thomas Square Park in Honolulu at the start of Hawaiian Restoration Day. Ronen Zilberman / Civil Beat / 2021

The legality of a Hawaiian-only process using public funds has faced a constitutional challenge. It’s worth mentioning that the challengers included Native Hawaiians.

Although a constitutional document was produced, it never reached the stage of ratification. It is possible that this unratified constitution will resurface if the dialogue on sovereignty gains momentum, as I expect.

I should also mention the Akaka Bill introduced by US Senator Daniel Akaka. He basically proposed a version of the nation in a nation model to the US Congress. It is a model by which individual Native American tribes can enter into negotiations with the federal government by presenting their own palette of governing authority provisions, which are then submitted for approval to Congress.

The Akaka bill was defeated in 2010 after a fierce campaign in Congress. It’s the only Hawaiian sovereignty option I know of that, over decades of political navigation, has nearly cleared the mountain, only to be subjected to ignominious defeat.

But, whatever the options, let’s be clear about the reality of the plight of Native Hawaiians in the pursuit and agreement on a unified future. No matter how united most Hawaiians seem on the issue of the pursuit of sovereignty, we all take different paths to climb the mountain.

We Hawaiians have become a community of tribes having great difficulty moving forward as one people. The successful pursuit of Hawaiian sovereignty will require extraordinary leadership and considerable financial resources. In my opinion, neither is on the horizon yet.

The Covid-19 pandemic has, in a positive way, had the effect of reducing public dialogue on the burning issues of indigenous Hawaiians such as Mauna Kea. I think the respite was a good opportunity to get some fresh air. The future of the pandemic era is unpredictable and who knows when a degree of normalcy might return.

But, whatever tomorrow may bring, I sort of sense that in the coming months, especially as the 2022 election year approaches, the voices will start to rise again.

I am not able to identify the source of the following quote but I am compelled to share it with you as it pretty much sums up the whole column: to launch our canoe and navigate our future. Imua.


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Atlantic City Latino Festival celebrates the community and diversity of Latin America | Local News

Festival goers Maggie Rosa and Ivy Sanders were visiting Atlantic City from Connecticut when they heard about the festival.

“We thought we would go out and show our support,” said Rosa, who wore a blue T-shirt with a Puerto Rican flag on the front.

Rosa and Sanders said the best part of the festival was the abundance of social services and resources that were present. Organizations attending the event included the Atlantic City government, the University of Stockton, the League of Women Voters as well as legal, healthcare and housing services.

“Education is really the key, and having all of these resources here that people have access to is huge,” Rosa said. “Bringing the resources directly to people who may not know them is amazing. “

Jessica Castiblanco took a break from her booth, where she sold hot plates, to walk around and discover the festival.

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“It’s a great weather, amazing vendors and food, it’s a great time,” Castiblanco said. “The festival is a great opportunity to get to know these different companies that you may not have known before, and being able to support them is always nice. “

Roxana Perez-Nieves, one of the organizers of the event, said the festival brought back many fond memories.


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COVID vaccine mandates and rules: who is required to show proof of vaccination?

Federal employees must now be fully immunized.

Sarah Tew / CNET

For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit WHO and CDC websites.

With new Covid-19 vaccine With mandates affecting about two-thirds of the U.S. workforce, or up to 100 million people, President Joe Biden seeks to pressure about 80 million Americans to get vaccinated. Roughly 1 in 500 people in the United States have died COVID-19, and vaccination rates have slowed despite rising delta variant case. Since Biden announced the plans on September 9, they have backlash received Republicans in Congress, as well as state and local officials.

White House politics requires COVID-19 vaccines for all federal employees and contractors who do business with the federal government, as well as for health workers in Medicare and Medicaid establishments. In addition, the plan orders the Ministry of Labor to require all companies with 100 or more employees to ensure that their workers are either vaccinated or tested weekly. The strategy also calls on state officials to make vaccinations compulsory for teachers and school staff.

While stopping issuing warrants for all private companies, the White House is also pushing entertainment venues like sports arenas and concert halls to require customers to show proof of vaccination or a COVID test. 19 negative for entry. It is also increasing fines for those who do not wear masks on planes, trains and buses.

Here’s what you need to know about who needs to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of the new administration plan. If you are already fully vaccinated and are waiting to receive a wakeup call, the Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended for people at high risk. Also, here is the latest on recover your vaccination record if you have lost it and vaccines for children.


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Who is affected by the federal mandate on the COVID-19 vaccine?

Announcing “a new plan to demand that more Americans be vaccinated to combat those blocking public health,” Biden launched his administration’s Path out of the Pandemic program, which aims to increase the vaccination rate by requiring vaccines in the public and private sectors. About 80 million Americans eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine have not been vaccinated. And since July, 99% of COVID deaths were among the unvaccinated, which also represent 97% of hospitalizations.

Here’s who should be vaccinated as part of the plan:

  • Employers with 100 or more employees will need to have their employees vaccinated or tested weekly to come to work. Biden said OSHA, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, would implement requirements that affect more than 80 million workers. Companies are waiting for more details in a formal rule to be released in the coming weeks.
  • Federal workers and employees of contractors who do business with the federal government will need to be vaccinated.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will require vaccinations in Head Start programs, as well as schools operated by the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Indian Education.
  • Workers in healthcare facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, including hospitals and home health agencies, will also need to be fully immunized.
  • People applying to become lawful permanent residents of the United States must be fully immunized as of October 1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Announcement September 14.

The president also called on places of entertainment to require proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter their facilities.

Was there any opposition?

In response, Republican governors threaten to fight new administration policies. Senior Republican on the House of Representatives committee overseeing health policy, Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, said Biden “is use fear, control and mandates. “The Republican National Committee is committed to continue the Biden administration on the vaccination mandate.

A CDC report September 17 shows that unvaccinated people were more than 10 times more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, according to data from April to July: “Getting vaccinated protects against serious illnesses from COVID-19 , including the delta variant. “

Some companies that fall under the new vaccine mandate face challenges and questions regarding policy compliance and implementation, according to the wall street journal. For example, companies need to determine who will be responsible for covering the cost of testing unvaccinated employees and whether they can allow exemptions.

Which companies have employee vaccination mandates?

Several companies have announced mandatory vaccination plans, including airlines, cruise lines, concert halls, health facilities and restaurants. Some of the requirements may include guidelines on masks and testing, and some may only apply to employees traveling overseas, working in the office, or having face-to-face interactions with customers. If any of these apply to you, check with your employer for details.

Here are some of the companies that have announced vaccination requirements for their employees:

  • Amtrak
  • Google
  • Lyft
  • Mcdonalds
  • Microsoft
  • NBCUniversal
  • Netflix
  • Selling power
  • Twitter
  • Tyson Foods
  • Uber
  • United Airlines
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

Are there vaccination mandates for the US military and police?

In August, the Pentagon said that the 1.3 million servicemen on active duty will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The directive covers all active service members of the armed forces or the ready reserve, including the National Guard. The Department of Defense will make Pfizer’s photos of military installations around the world accessible. Members of the military who have received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines will still be considered fully vaccinated. There are some exceptions, including one for religious reasons, but they are not granted frequently.

In response to several cities demanding that law enforcement officers be vaccinated, police associations have openly spoken out against the vaccination warrants. In Oregon, for example, police and firefighters associations are continuing to block a state-level vaccine requirement.

At present, the military are already required to obtain at least nine other vaccines – up to 17 vaccines in total – depending on where they are deployed.

What about cities, states and universities with vaccination mandates?

Several states, including California and New York, require state employees to be vaccinated. In addition, several cities, such as New York and San Francisco, require proof of vaccination for indoor meals, gyms, and other indoor activities. As of October, Los Angeles County require proof of vaccination to enter indoor bars, nightclubs, breweries and wineries.

Nine states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have vaccination requirements for staff in K-12 schools.

More … than 400 colleges and universities also require vaccines for students who plan to take in-person classes.

img-covid-vaccination-vaccine-austin-cota-6

Some cities require proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities.

Natalie Weinstein / CNET

Are other vaccines currently mandatory in the United States?

Yes. A federal mandate on vaccines is nothing new. In 1977, for example, the federal government launched an initiative vaccinate up to 90% of the country’s children against seven diseases:

  • diphtheria
  • measles
  • mumps
  • whooping cough
  • poliomyelitis
  • rubella
  • tetanus

All 50 states require specified vaccines for students, with exemptions varying from state to state. More school requirements follow the The CDC vaccine schedule for kids.

Which states ban COVID-19 vaccination requirements?

At least 20 states with Republican governors, including Arkansas, Florida and Texas, prohibit proof of vaccination requirements. This means that businesses, schools and local government institutions cannot enforce an immunization mandate. (The same goes for requiring face masks.) The prohibitions have come into force either by law or by decree.

Some governors are trying to prevent private employers, as well as the state, from requiring vaccines, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Some also try to prevent the use of vaccine passports, which prove that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

For more information, here’s what you need to know breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated. Also, here is what we know about the delta plus variant.


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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.


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States come first for Google display ads

By Bryan Koenig (Sept. 24, 2021, 7:11 p.m. EDT) – Texas Attorneys General’s lawsuit against Google will be briefed on dismissal motions while the rest of the massive consolidated case remains in dispute. pause, according to a New York federal judge ruled Friday in an attempt to impose some order on the litigation over the search giant’s display advertising business.

U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel has suspended virtually all findings and other briefings until he rules on a motion to dismiss the Texas case, which, like the publishers and advertisers lawsuits, accuses Google to monopolize the display advertising market and abuse its role as an intermediary to place ads on third-party websites …

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New York Shipping Association receives Seven Seals Award from New Jersey Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

New York Shipping Association receives Seven Seals Award from New Jersey Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

September 23, 2021 – Edison, New Jersey – September 21st, 2021, the President of the State Guard and Reserve Employer Support (ESGR), Mr. Mike Ferrero, presented the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) with the Seven Seals Award in recognition of the recruitment program of NYSA’s current veterans in the marine industry.

“It is an honor to once again receive this recognition, which stems from the joint recruitment efforts of the NYSA and the International Longshoremen’s Association,” said John Nardi, President of NYSA.

“The International Longshoremen’s Association honors the New York Shipping Association and its leader, President John Nardi, for receiving the Seven Seals in recognition of the continued hiring of Veterans,” said the ILA President, Harold J. Daggett. “The ILA is proud to partner with the NYSA to provide our American Veterans with a waterfront longshoring career opportunity. “

These two organizations have hired nearly 600 veterans over the past 6 years and continue to add veterans to the marine industry.

Price of the Seven Seals

The Seven Seals Award is the broadest and most inclusive award awarded by the Guardian and Reserve Employer Support (ESGR) and is presented at the discretion of the President of the State or by the senior leadership of the ESGR. The Seven Seals Award is given in recognition of a significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative or support that promotes and supports the ESGR mission.

Support from the guard and reserve employer

The ESGR, a Department of Defense program, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between service members of the Reserve Component and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from the military engagement of an employee. ESGR is supported by a network of nearly 3,300 volunteers in 54 committees located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam-CNMI (Community of the Northern Mariana Islands), Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Volunteers, drawn from small business and industry, government, education and past military service, bring a wealth of experience to assist employers, military personnel and their families. In conjunction with ESGR headquarters staff and a small group of support staff for each state committee, volunteers work to promote and enhance employer support for military service in the Guard and Reserve.

ESGR has served our country for over 45 years, fostering a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of National Guard and Reserve members in the United States. These citizen warriors could not defend and protect us at home and abroad without the continued promise of meaningful civilian employment for themselves and their families. ESGR continued to adapt to meet the needs of Reserve Component members, their families, and U.S. employers by partnering with a network of other national, state, and local organizations and professional organizations. Together we all serve!

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New York Maritime Association

The primary function of the New York Shipping Association is to represent management in the collective bargaining and administration of the stevedoring contract in the Port of New York and New Jersey. We seek to get involved in any issue that may impact the flow of goods through the port. Our mission is to represent the interests of our members by maximizing the efficiency, cost competitiveness, safety and quality of ocean freight operations in the Port of New York and New Jersey.

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Migrant camp shrinks at US border as more Haitians are deported | National government and new policies

After anxious minutes of indecision, dozens of families rushed into the river to cross where there was only one municipal police vehicle, believing it was best to take their chances with the US authorities.

Guileme Paterson, a 36-year-old Haitian, looked stunned. “It’s a tough time,” she said before starting to cross with her husband and their four children.

“Things are bad,” said Michou Petion, carrying his 2-year-old son to the river. Her husband carried bags of personal effects and several pairs of sneakers hung around her neck.

“The US deports a lot to Haiti, now I don’t know if I can get in or out,” Petion said.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials allowed reporters to visit the camp but prevented them from speaking to the migrants. For those who remained, food, shelter and medical attention were provided, US officials said.

Sharpton said Thursday he had visited the camp and witnessed “truly catastrophic and human shame”. A handful of protesters, some wearing former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign camouflage hats, shouted through Sharpton’s remarks.

Sharpton pledged to “keep coming back … and standing by our people and making sure that asylum is treated in a way and in a way.”


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