Economic Policy

Center for American Progress

Creates 'Playbook for 

Advancement of Women in Economy'

    Washington, D.C. — (CAP) -- 3/14/2024 - Women are driving many of the United States’ economic successes. Not only were they the primary drivers of the strong labor market in 2023, but their spending powered the economy, and they are expected to control two-thirds of consumer spending by 2028. Yet women continue to face economic insecurity throughout their lives, which is partly driven by the failure of policymakers to center them in economic plans. Between the persistent gender wage gap and continuous attacks on reproductive freedoms, women’s economic security has been anything but secure. 

    The Center for American Progress’ new “Playbook for the Advancement of Women in the Economy” offers a blueprint for actions that both federal and state policymakers can take to strengthen women’s economic security. It makes the case for how an economy that delivers for women is an economy that delivers for all. 

    CAP’s “Playbook for the Advancement of Women in the Economy” features 13 chapters covering everything from protecting and increasing abortion access and guaranteeing paid family and medical leave, to ending workplace discrimination and harassment and realizing equal pay, to expanding women’s access to male-dominated industries and dismantling employment barriers for disabled women and immigrant women in the health care sector, and more. The playbook contains a suite of policy options readily available for policymakers to guarantee family planning and care, deliver good jobs, and build a labor force to meet the demands of the country’s future. 

    Historically, women turn out to vote at higher rates than men and list economic concerns as a top voting issue, and they’ve made their voices heard time and again in referendums. Ahead of the 2024 election, this is likely to continue. Policymakers should listen and respond to the needs of women—or else they risk not just their political success but also the U.S. economy.

    “This playbook offers ready-to-use solutions to fast-track the advancement of women’s economic security and help the United States unlock women’s—and the economy’s—full economic potential, ”said Rose Khattar, director of economic analysis for Inclusive Economy at CAP. “For decades, women have suffered from systemic economic inequities – from wages that are too low and costs that are too high—and this has plagued women at every stage of their lives, costing not just women and their families, but the economy at large.

    “Current and aspiring federal and state policymakers have an opportunity to create a new reality for women that expands their economic opportunities and secure the gains they’ve already made to ensure their economic well-being and, by doing so, invests in the U.S. economy,” said Sara Estep, associate director of the Women’s Initiative at CAP. “The playbook includes a suite of recommendations for policy action that will help strengthen women’s economic security and help put women and families economic security first—because an economy that helps women thrive is an economy that helps everyone thrive. 

    Read the playbook: Playbook for the Advancement of Women in the Economy” by Rose Khattar and Sara Estep

Civil Rights

ACLU Warns Against Bills Attacking

Kansans’ Right to Vote

    TOPEKA, KAN. – (ACLU) - 2/20/2024 - As state lawmakers consider multiple election-related bills, the ACLU of Kansas is warning against each bill’s negative impact on Kansas voters, but also against the collective anti-democratic theme of the package of bills that all seek to make it harder for Kansans to register, cast a ballot, and have their vote count.

    “Democracy is not a partisan matter – it’s the very foundation that ensures each Kansas voter can have a voice in the laws and policies affecting their lives,” said Micah Kubic, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kansas. “The election process is the single most meaningful way for Kansans to hold their elected officials accountable – so it’s particularly disturbing to see some of those same elected officials leverage their power to undermine that fundamental process of accountability. Democracy is strongest when more people participate, and these bills are designed to make fewer people participate."
     The currently seven pending bills in the Kansas legislature seek to limit early in-person voting, place additional restrictions on mail-in ballots, and more.

    “These bills are reminiscent of the attacks on Kansans’ voting rights during the era of then-Secretary of State Kris Kobach,” Kubic said. “We somberly remind our legislators that those attacks have been rejected time after time – rejected by Kansans, rejected by courts, and rejected by common sense. When Mr. Kobach pushed through attacks on our democracy, it resulted in lengthy, costly, and significant losses for Mr. Kobach. Those unconstitutional laws were struck down on behalf of Kansas voters, and any new unconstitutional attacks on our democracy will be, too.”

    ACLU of Kansas Policy Director Rashane Hamby said: “It may be tempting for lawmakers to get lost in the details, but they shouldn’t lose sight of what the big picture is for the Kansans they serve and that Kansas still remains in the bottom of the country for voter turnout. Every last one of these bills is about creating barriers and making it even harder for Kansans to vote, especially elderly voters, those who are in rural communities, or voters with disabilities. We know that Kansans as a whole trust our election process and the officials who administer it, but many lawmakers continue to politicize our fundamental right to vote and lean on misinformation to justify it.”

Women's Rights

Effort to Enshrine Abortion Rights 

in Missouri Constitution Receives 

Praise from Americans United

    MISSOURI - (AU) - 1/18/2024 - Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to a Jan. 18 announcement that abortion advocates will proceed with efforts to ensure Missouri voters have the opportunity to enshrine abortion rights in the Missouri Constitution through a ballot initiative later this year:

    “In recent times, this country has experienced many dark days with regard to the right to an abortion. But today we are inspired by the light shining bright in the state of Missouri and the announcement of a ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the Missouri Constitution.

Abortion bans violate church-state separation

    “Abortion bans impose one narrow religious view on all of us. They violate religious and reproductive freedom and put lives at risk. The right to an abortion should not depend on where you live; we must never give up on protecting abortion rights in the ‘red’ states. That’s why Americans United sued on behalf of 14 Missouri faith leaders to overturn the state’s abortion ban. We’re also honored to co-lead the Missouri Abortion Access Project (MAAP), educating and encouraging Missourians to fight for abortion rights, which are essential to protecting religious freedom.

    “Americans United is proud to work with the tireless advocates on the ground in Missouri, including many faith leaders, to restore abortion access across the state. Now is the time for a national recommitment to the separation of church and state.”

Lawsuit background

    In Jan. 2023, Americans United, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), the law firm Arnold & Porter, and St. Louis-based civil rights lawyer Denise Lieberman filed Rev. Traci Blackmon v. State of Missouri on behalf of 14 Missouri faith leaders whose various faiths call them to support abortion access.

    The lawsuit demonstrates that Missouri’s abortion ban and other restrictions violate the state constitution by enshrining lawmakers’ personal religious beliefs about abortion in laws passed in 2017 and 2019. The case is proceeding in St. Louis Circuit Court.

    More information about the lawsuit is available here.

Press Freedom

Court Urged to Unseal 

Documents Related 

to FBI Raid on Journalist

    TAMPA, Fla. (ACLU) - Jan. 6, 2024 - The American Civil Liberties, the ACLU of Florida, and their partners filed a friend-of-the-court brief on Jan. 2 in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that a search warrant authorizing a raid on Florida journalist Tim Burke’s home should be unsealed to preserve press freedoms and increase transparency. The ACLU previously joined more than 50 organizations to send a letter to the Department of Justice demanding transparency about how the government believes Burke’s newsgathering broke the law.

    “The First Amendment protects the vital role journalism plays in keeping powerful institutions accountable to the public. But it appears that the government is interpreting computer crime laws in a dangerously overbroad manner — despite Supreme Court case law warning against this kind of overreach. This is both impermissible and unwise,” said Jennifer Stisa Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

    The FBI raided Burke’s home after he obtained outtakes of Tucker Carlson’s interview with Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) where Ye made antisemitic and other offensive remarks. The investigation, according to court filings, involves alleged violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, and a federal wiretapping law. The CFAA is the federal anti-hacking law that prohibits unauthorized access to a computer. But Burke says he got the outtakes from websites where Fox News uploaded unencrypted live streams to URLs anyone could access, using publicly accessible login credentials.

    The brief argues that the meager information available about the government’s investigation of Burke chills newsgathering by generating fear that journalists will be prosecuted for First Amendment-protected activity. Importantly, the brief also calls on the government to return seized materials that are not related to the case, and to allow access to materials that enable Burke to fulfill his newsgathering function. It does not appear that the government has taken Burke’s newsgathering activities into account in conducting this investigation. That failure demonstrates “callous disregard” for Burke’s First Amendment rights.

    “A key function of the press is to report news that might embarrass powerful people and companies,” said Seth Stern, director of advocacy for Freedom of the Press Foundation. “If Burke is being investigated for locating and publicizing publicly available interview outtakes merely because Fox News would’ve preferred the footage remain secret, that poses serious First Amendment problems. Countless other journalists who use the internet to find news need to know whether the government believes they’re breaking the law by doing their jobs.”

    The brief also takes issue with prosecutors’ suggestions that Burke is not actually a journalist, in part because he did not work for an established news outlet at the time he obtained the outtakes. Burke has a long history in journalism. Unsealing the search warrant and any additional documents related to the raid will confirm whether the court was informed that Burke was a journalist — and whether the government considered him to be one. Federal policy requires that the government provide journalists notice before any search of their newsgathering materials or work product occurs, and no such notice was given to Burke.

    The organizations submitting the brief raise concerns — and demand answers — regarding whether the government’s apparent belief that Burke was not a journalist led it to eschew procedures for searches of journalists’ newsgathering materials required under the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 and the DOJ’s own policies. Those policies were revised last year to better protect journalists’ rights in light of Trump-era abuses.