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January 2011 YEO Newsletter
Dear Young Elected Officials:
First of all, let me extend the warmest wishes for a very happy new year from myself, and all the staff at the Young Elected Officials Network and People For the American Way Foundation. As 2011 begins, it promises great things, and we look forward to seeing what this year has in store.
2011 is sure to be a year of opportunity. The opportunity to have our voices heard, to enact good policy, to protect the freedoms of every citizen, and to reaffirm our commitment to creating a more progressive America.
As always, the YEO Network will continue to support you in your endeavors. You can look forward to robust programming to include our the 2011 National Convening in Washington, DC, bi-monthly telebriefs, monthly newsletter updates, policy sharing and support, partner conferences, and so much more. We look forward to having you involved in our Network as we continue to work to support you and your leadership growth.
We are here to help you in your challenges and build upon your strengths as elected officials, and we look forward to connecting and growing with you in your public service. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if there is anything we can do to assist you.
Join in our excitement. Click here for a preview of YEO Leadership in 2011>>
Yours in service,
Issue of the Month- Anti-Bullying
We have all seen the heartbreaking reports in the news of the tragic effects of bullying. In response, people from all walks of life – from celebrities to our political leaders – have come together to help put an end to bullying and to let young people know that things do get better. Our Young Elected Officials are no exception and have been working to introduce anti-bullying legislation. It is our hope for 2011 that all schools, universities, and workplaces foster positive, encouraging, and inclusive environments for all.
State Senator Jamie Eldridge (Massachusetts) sponsored a bill to require school officials to implement bullying prevention policies and develop strategies for reporting and investigating any cases. Sen. Eldridge’s goal was to ensure that schools educate their students on the dangers of distributing potentially harmful materials, whether through a text message, a social networking site, or in any other way. “The solution is creating an awareness among students that that activity is wrong, so if someone gets an offensive text message, it’s already in their mind that sending that along is wrong,” he said. (Please see below for a sample of this policy.)
State Representative Mark DuVall (Mississippi) introduced a bill to require the state Department of Education to develop a model policy that addresses punishment, procedure, and reporting of bullying, as well as amend existing laws which make it a misdemeanor for anyone to abuse, bully, or harass school officials or students during school hours or a school-related activity. "There's been bullying since the beginning of time, but there needs to be more focus on how to identify (bullying) and provisions to try to limit and offset it," Rep. DuVall said. (Please see below for a sample of this policy.)
State Representative Kelda Roys (Wisconsin) sponsored legislation to allow employees to file suit in circuit court against an employer for workplace bullying. Currently, workers’ compensation is typically the exclusive remedy for an employee with a claim against an employer, but this new law provides that an employee can sue over an abusive work environment and potentially recover medical expenses, back pay, front pay, compensation for emotional distress, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.
State Representative Marko Liias (Washington) was the prime sponsor of a newly enacted law to address harassment and bullying in Washington’s public schools. The new law requires all school districts in the state to update anti-bullying policies and adopt new procedures to ensure that officials respond to bullying and harassment. Additionally, the new law requires each school district to designate an official who will be responsible for overseeing anti-bullying efforts. Rep. Liias has also convened stakeholders to draft follow-up legislation to create an ongoing working group on school harassment, intimidation, and bullying. “As students, parents and communities around the country are shaken by the recent string of youth suicides, here in Washington, we have a simple message for our students: It is getting better. Thanks to a new law on the books, schools will have to get more serious about bullying and harassment in our state,” said Rep. Liias.
City Councilman Nathan Triplett recently wrote an opinion piece about fighting anti-gay rhetoric in his city of East Lansing, Michigan, entitled “Respecting Diversity is Paramount to Community.” Click here to read the full article>
Resource Center - Anti-Bullying Information
Specific ADL Anti-Bullying Resources:
Other ADL Fact Sheets and resources to address Cyberbullying:
Other Significant Bullying/Cyberbullying Initiatives:
Last month, more than 40 YEOs representing 21 states gathered in Baltimore, Maryland for the YEO Policy Academy on Foreclosure and Neighborhood Stabilization. It was an intense weekend of advanced policy study.
YEOs had the opportunity to discuss policies and programs in an effort to dissect and understand our country’s financial and foreclosure crises, and then explore creative neighborhood stabilization efforts at the local and state levels. For more information about the neighborhood tour, click here to read the PFAW blog post.
If you were unable to attend the Policy Academy and would like the training materials from any of the sessions, please contact Elisabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recruiting for young leaders and campaign hopefuls!
We are now recruiting for the 2011-2012 Front Line Leaders Academy Class!
For eight months FLLA works with thirty young, little known leaders and provides trainings on a wide range of leadership development, community organizing and political skills. Fellows selected to this elite academy are trained on how to be an effective candidate, campaign manager, finance director, communication director and field organizer. Young Elected Officials and fellows work one-on-one, as they develop the necessary skills to become the next generation of progressive candidates, campaign leaders and community organizers.
If you know someone interested in…
|Constituent Services Corner
State Senator Jamie Eldridge (Massachusetts) has announced he will host a Middlesex & Worcester District Listening Tour over the next few weeks and has invited constituents to attend a meeting to share their thoughts and ideas on legislative priorities for the next session and issues of importance or concern to them. “With the new legislative session beginning this January, I wanted to take some time to bring community members together to talk about issues of importance and hear directly from my constituents about their legislative priorities,” said Sen. Eldridge. “I’ll be hosting five meetings across the district — in Ayer, Acton, Maynard, Marlborough and Westborough — and want to encourage constituents to come out and tell me what’s on their minds.” Read more>
Delegate David Englin (Virginia) will be holding a community forum to discuss potential extreme weather in the forthcoming months, which will include representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation, Dominion Power, Comcast, and Verizon. There will be a formal program, followed by a question-and-answer period for residents to provide feedback to the various representatives present. Read more>
Alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett (St. Louis, Missouri) sponsored a self-defense class for a group of women at a South St. Louis gym. The purpose of the free self-defense class was to teach basic safety skills, build confidence, and allow neighbors to meet neighbors. Read more>
Progressive Policy Corner
Bullying and Cyber-Bullying Prevention and Intervention Law for Schools
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Anti-Bullying and Anti-Harassment Legislation