Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Today the New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly approved a new anti-bullying bill. Passage of the law gained momentum in the wake of the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who threw himself from the George Washington Bridge after his dorm mate live-streamed a gay sexual encounter over the internet. The bill passed 30-0 in the state Senate and 71-1 in the Assembly.
The bill (A3466) would require training for most public school employees on how to spot bullying and mandate that all districts form “school safety teams” to review complaints. Superintendents would have to report incidents of bullying to the state Board of Education, which would grade schools and districts on their efforts to combat it. Administrators who do not investigate reported incidents of bullying would be disciplined, while students who bully could be suspended or expelled. School employees would also be required to report all incidents they learn of, whether they took place in or outside of school.The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Chris Christie.
(Tipped by JMG reader Brian)
Following up on last week's press release by GOProud in which they pleaded with the anti-gay candidates they endorsed to not be so anti-gay, a massive coalition of Tea Party groups has responded with an attacking letter sent to the GOP leaders of the Senate and House. Turns out, they are interested in "social issues," not that we ever doubted it.
Here's the preamble to the letter, written by Free Republic founder Jim Robinson.
Today, Tea Party Nation, along with over 180 other Tea Party Groups, Leaders and Activists released a letter to the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. Last week, GOProud, a non-Tea Party group, sent a letter to Senator McConnell and Speaker to be Boehner, claiming to speak for the Tea Party movement. It was signed by 16 people. We decided to send a letter that speaks for the mainstream of the Tea Party movement. This letter is going Senator McConnell and Congressman Boehner today.The letter goes on to oppose the repeal of DADT, oppose the DREAM Act, oppose immigration amnesty, etc etc. Nothing really new there, other than the Tea Party's explicit condemnation of GOProud as "not one of us."
Yesterday the Pentagon revealed that under the new rules, not one soldier has been discharged under DADT for a full month.
Under new rules adopted Oct. 21, Defense Secretary Robert Gates put authority for signing off on dismissals in the hands of the three service secretaries. Before then, any commanding officer at a rank equivalent to a one-star general could discharge gay enlisted personnel under the 1993 law that prohibits gays from serving openly in uniform. Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told The Associated Press that no discharges have been approved since Oct. 21. Smith did not know if the absence of recent discharges was related to the new separation procedures. The Pentagon has not compiled monthly discharge figures for any other months this year, she said.A spokesman for the Palm Center said it would normally be "statistically unlikely" to go a full month without a DADT-related discharge. Last year 428 soldiers were fired over their sexuality.