ABC News reports, “at least one prominent Republican lawmaker wants to change the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which grants American citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil. "Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News last week. "We should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child's automatically not a citizen." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has added his voice to those flirting with an attempted repeal of birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of parents who are illegal immigrants by calling for hearings on the issue -- by far the highest-level endorsement yet from the party establishment. House Minority Leader John Boehner on Sunday, August 8th said he's open to talks on changing the U.S. Constitution -- or at least the way it's interpreted -- so that U.S.-born children
of illegal immigrants are not automatically U.S. citizens. "I think it's worth considering," Boehner said. 

In the House, H.R. 1868 has been introduced. No Senate legislation has been introduced as of this writing.

With the gulf oil spill now officially capped and a completed relief well that would shut down the well for good now a very near reality, advocates wonder if Washington will take action on climate change or energy legislation. Several bills have been introduced in the 111th Congress. According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change:

in June 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a comprehensive climate and energy bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454). The U.S. Senate has been considering a number of related proposals, ranging from “energy only” bills, such as the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (S.1462) to proposals that place an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions, such as the American Power Act…

Sponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), ACELA (S. 1462) was passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 17, 2009... This energy bill includes provisions on increased energy production, energy efficiency, renewable energy standards, technology research and development, energy market stabilization, and transmission network improvements.

President Obama has extended a ban on drilling in the gulf. We should expect more directed attention in the coming months on the President’s clean energy objectives, which include expansion of nuclear and renewables as an eventual replacement for oil. The President, in his first address from the oval office, on June 15th, called for a new approach to America’s energy future, moving us toward clean and green energy. Nuclear energy is an important component of the President’s energy plan.

America's poorest families have never experienced a reduction in monthly food stamp benefits —until now. To pay for an education jobs bill, the Senate voted on Wednesday to cut $11.9 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(formerly known as food stamps), beginning in 2013. With this slash in aid, families living in poverty ultimately will see their benefits drop by about $59 a month, pushing the 40 million Americans on food stamps into soup-kitchen lines long before the end of every month.
*As reported by the Education Trust

NHCSL 8th National Summit
November 18-21st
San Antonio, Texas

In this issue:

  • Immigration:Judge halts major portions of SB 1070 and new talks about changing the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship provision
  • Energy: Proposed energy legislation post the gulf oil spill
  • Education: Senate votes to cut food stamps to pay for
  • Broadband: FCC, industry talks on net neutrality break down
  • Health Reform: The President discusses healthcare.gov
  • White House News: Two grants

On July 28th, Judge Susan Bolton ordered an injunction to halt implementation of the provisions of Arizona law SB 1070 that the civil rights community has widely denounced as threatening to basic civil rights of Arizonans, and potentially threatening racial and ethnic profiling, including:  

  • Requiring an officer to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of people stopped;
  • Making it a crime for undocumented immigrants apply for and perform work; and
  • Allowing police officers to arrest a person without a warrant based on probable cause that the individual committed a public offense that makes them removable from the United States.

Bolton ruled in a case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice challenging the constitutionality of S.B. 1070.  Several civil and human rights groups filed a similar suit in May.
S.B. 1070, signed by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, has been widely denounced as extreme, unconstitutional, and likely to lead to discrimination. NHCSL has taken a position on this, including in a letter to Governor Brewer, and statements, including a statement in support of the federal lawsuit to block the law.

Talks between Google, Verizon, AT&T and other industry leaders, and the FCC broke down last week, with all parties releasing statements. Newsfactor.com reports:

According to The Washington Post, the now-discontinued FCC/industry negotiations had led to agreement on a variety of issues, including what the paper described as "tighter boundaries for managing web traffic than those agreed upon by Verizon and Google, according to sources familiar with the meetings."
In the wake of a storm of criticism that descended on both Google and Verizon, the FCC is faced with having to move as quickly as it can, or face a de facto industry arrangement. Some industry observers are saying that Google, which has been a champion of Net neutrality and an open Internet, only intends to agree to service-level agreements on content that requires quick delivery, such as real-time medical files and communications, and leave all else to voluntary arrangements.

One question is whether the FCC will now attempt to regulate Net neutrality with its rules, or if that fight will be in Congress -- or both. In mid-June, the agency released what Chairman Julius Genachowski described as a "Third Way" plan to reclassify Internet service in order to achieve universal access and to "protect and empower consumers."

Currently, the agency is receiving comments on the plan, which reclassifies wired broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service and leaves Internet content and applications largely unregulated. Some companies, such as eBay, Amazon, various consumer groups -- and Google -- have been backing the FCC, while phone and cable companies are largely opposed.

Statements from all sides quickly emerged:

From Eddie Lazarus, the chief of staff to the chairman of the FCC:
“We have called off this round of stakeholder discussions… It has been productive on several fronts, but has not generated a robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet – one that drives innovation, investment, free speech, and consumer choice. All options remain on the table as we continue to seek broad input on this vital issue.”

From Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs:
“We are disappointed that the net neutrality talks convened by the FCC have broken down.  Over recent months, we have negotiated in good faith to bridge differences in our common goal of preserving the open Internet.  To that end, we put a number of significant concessions on the table and, despite today’s setback, remain convinced that a consensus solution can be achieved.  Moreover, we believe a consensus solution is vital if we are to ensure continued investment and job creation in the Internet space.”

From Tom Tauke, Verizon Executive VP for Public Affairs, Policy and Communications:
“…the FCC talks made good progress toward consensus on a number of points. As with any policy debate, there needs to be balance, which means that all participants should continue to work to find common ground…we will continue to work with the FCC, Congress and all interested parties…

The Washington Post reports The announcement comes amid an apparent agreement between Verizon and Google on so-called net neutrality ground rules that would allow certain prioritization of Web sites on fixed wire networks and no rules on wireless networks. Sources familiar with the discussions at the FCC said reports Wednesday of a deal between Verizon and Google on net neutrality upset participants in the meeting, who were moving closer to agreement on stronger rules against blocking and slowing traffic on wireless and fixed-wire networks.

Not Your Ordinary Website Demo: President Obama Explains Healthcare.Gov
In this video President Obama explains HealthCare.gov, the new consumer website that helps you take control of your health care coverage. This first-of-its-kind website makes it easier to find health care coverage and clearly explains how the Affordable Care Act will benefit you, your family, or your business.
The video shows the American people just how easy using HealthCare.gov can be. In the video, the President shows how consumers can find their insurance options and discusses stories of American’s who suffered under the old health care system. The video comes as the Affordable Care Act is growing increasingly popular with the American people who are beginning to see the benefits of health reform. Seniors are receiving prescription drug rebate checks, small businesses are eligible for tax credits and some young adults are able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan. And today’s message follows an earlier video featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden regarding new preventive services available under the new health care law and HealthCare.gov.

HUD Offers $79 Million In Grants For Housing Counseling
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that $79 million is available for a broad range of housing counseling programs to help families find and preserve housing. The available funding is an increase of $21 million, or 27 percent, over last year. These grants will be awarded competitively to hundreds of HUD-approved counseling agencies and State Housing Finance Agencies across the nation that offer a variety of services including how to avoid foreclosure, how to avoid mortgage scams, how to purchase or rent a home, how to improve credit scores, and how to qualify for a reverse mortgage. More here

U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Ad Council Unveil National PSA Campaign to Raise Awareness of Making Home Affordable Program
The Advertising Council, in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), announced today the launch of a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to encourage homeowners who are struggling with their monthly mortgage payments to learn about the Making Home Affordable Program. While over one million homeowners have already received assistance from the program, the national campaign encourages other struggling homeowners who may be eligible for assistance to reach out for the help they need through free resources made available by the Federal Government.  The PSAs direct homeowners to visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov or call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) to see if they may be eligible for assistance to make their mortgage payments more affordable and to understand options they may have to avoid foreclosure.  More here

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) is the preeminent organization representing the interests of 300 Hispanic state legislators from all states, commonwealths, and territories of the United States. Founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3, NHCSL is a catalyst and advocate for joint action on issues of common concern, such as health, education, immigration, homeownership and economic development to all segments of the Hispanic community. NHCSL also works to design and implement policies and procedures that will impact the quality of life for Hispanic communities; serves as a forum for information exchange and member networking; an institute for leadership training; a liaison with sister U.S. Hispanic organizations; a promoter of public/private partnerships with business and labor; and a partner with Hispanic state and provincial legislators and their associations representing Central and South America. For more information visit www.nhcsl.org