JACPAC News & Opinion Digest

April 4, 2014 

JAC Around Town
aroundtownJAC met with elected officials, candidates and leaders around the country.

JAC met with Senator Al Franken (D-MN) who JAC strongly supports for re-election. (l-r: Joy Malkus, Senator Franken, Donna Kahan, Kevin Wolfberg)

Thank you to Arnstein & Lehr for hosting JAC's meeting with Senator Franken.

Invitations will be going out for our 4th annual Power of Women Luncheon soon.
Be sure to join us June 3rd!
(l-r: Janna Berk, Susan Berk, Laurie Lustbader, Jacki Parmacek)

Upcoming JAC Events

Membership Breakfast
featuring a political forum 
May 5th
Detroit Area 
Watch your inbox!

Leading the Way:
Jewish Women's Voices in Politics
May 7th
Glencoe, IL
sponsored by the
JAC Education Foundation in conjunction with NCJW

4th Annual Power of Women Luncheon
June 3rd
Chicago, IL

Want to host an event in your area?  Contact the JAC office.  

Candidate Events 

Lunch with Senator
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
April 24th
Palo Alto, CA

Jan Schakowsky's
13th Annual Women's Power Lunch
with special guest
Lizz Winstead
May 5th
Sit at the JAC Table!
Chicago, IL

Want to host an event in your area?  Contact the JAC office.  

People You Should Know  


This week we focus on Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who announced his candidacy in New Hampshire specifically to target Senator Shaheen, has significant funding and national support.  


As a strong proponent of all of JAC's issues, we strongly support Senator Jeanne Shaheen.    

Please support her today.  


  Tell the Senate it is time to end sexual assault on campus. 

  Senators Gillibrand & McCaskill are joining together to allocate increased funds to investigate and combat sexual assualt on college campuses.

Call your senator and tell them rape should never be part of the college curriculum.

Your voice DOES make a difference.
Call today.
(202) 224-3121

Stay informed,
share your knowledge.
See JAC's Action Alerts



On Our Radar

Federal Legislation we are watching:

* US-Israel Strategic 
* Federal 20-week abortion
* Voting Rights Act
* Unemployment Benefits
* Paycheck Fairness
* Immigration Reform 
* HR 1565 - Public Safety &
   2nd Amendment Rights

Why It Matters:
Voting Rights   
A new report looks at voting laws across the country.

Voting Access has been expanded in the following states.
Key Facts:
  • 190 laws to expand voting access have been introduced in 31 states in 2014
  • 12 of those bills are legislatively active in 7 states: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Washington 
  • More Americans will have the ability to make their voices heard in the 2014 elections in these states 

Voting Access has been restricted in the following states

Key Facts:

  • At least 49 restrictive bills were introduced or carried over from 2013 in 19 states
  • Of those, 5 restrictive bills are legislatively active in 4 states - Nebraska, New Hampshire, Washington, and Wisconsin
  • If passed, fewer Americans will be able to cast ballots in the 2014 election and be disenfranchised from our democracy. 

Have you checked the voting laws in your state? Changes are happening in these key areas:

  • Early voting access
  • Early voting duration
  • Voter ID requirements
  • College student voting
  • Absentee ballot requirements
  • Vote by mail options
  • Voter roll purging 
For more details on recent laws, check out the
Brennan Center for Justice 


Check your registration status with your local county clerk or the
Election Assistance Commission 


Visit Us Online  
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter 

This week's issue highlights these key developments here and in the Middle East:
This week's EZ Read brings you these stories and some that may have slipped past your news feed.
Israel & The Middle East 
Israel greets the long-awaited Super Hercules
A transport plane that can fly farther and faster than its predecessor, widening the Israel Air Force's sphere of operations, was unveiled Wednesday at an IAF base in the Negev. The C-130J, known as the Super Hercules in the US and as the Samson locally, can be refueled in midair, can fly 30 percent farther than the Rhino, which carried Israel's troops to Entebbe, and can carry 25 percent more weight - in vehicles, paratroopers, ground forces and wounded soldiers.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

U.S. lawmakers draft new Hezbollah sanctions
U.S. lawmakers are pushing for new legislation that will impose further economic sanctions on Hezbollah and its Al-Manar television station as they seek to cripple the party's sources of funding.
Read Full Article
Ambassador Dennis Ross. Photo Source: The Washington Institute

dennisrossU.S. Policy and the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

Ambassador Dennis Ross sets

the context for understanding where we are in the peace process, how we got there, and what we might do from this point on.

Read Full Article

Obama denies visa to Iran diplomat

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy

The White House said Friday it would not issue a visa to Iran's next ambassador to the United Nations, who has ties to the Iranian hostage crisis. "We have informed the United Nations and Iran that we will not issue a visa to Mr. Hamid Abutalebi," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

Read Full Article

Kerry: Iran could produce nuclear bomb in two months

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
It would take Iran just two months to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday, delivering a sober assessment on efforts to stymie Tehran's nuclear program.
Read Full Article

State Department: No decision on Jonathan Pollard

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/09/4031477/islamic-cleric-in-gaza-rejects.htmlstorylink=cpy
Administration officials moved quickly Thursday to shoot down reports that a deal had been struck to keep open negotiations over a framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that would include releasing the former Navy intelligence officer and convicted spy from a North Carolina prison.
Read Full Article
Reproductive Rights
abortionprotectionAbortion war twist: spike in measures favoring access 

The battle against abortion rights continued apace in the first quarter of 2014. Legislators in 38 states introduced 303 provisions seeking to limit women's access to abortion. But the data also show a twist: a spike in efforts to protect or increase access to abortion. In the first three months of 2014, legislators introduced 64 measures in 17 states aimed at protecting or expanding access to abortion - more than had been introduced in any year of the last 25.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy

A Texas OB/GYN Details the Horrific Consequences of Abortion Restrictions

Dr. Sherwood Lynn, an obstetrician gynecologist, has provided abortion care in Texas for four decades. Recently, however, it's become much harder for him to perform this procedure. A 2013 law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and despite his experience, Lynn has been denied access to applications for admitting privileges in the Rio Grande Valley and other cities in Texas.     

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy

Record Low Teen Birth Rate Not Low Enough, CDC Says

The number of young teens having babies has plummeted by two-thirds since 1991, but still, 1,700 girls aged just 15 to 17 deliver babies every week in the U.S., federal officials reported Tuesday.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Read Full Article

GOP Lawmaker Compares Abortion To Buying A Car
A Republican state lawmaker in Missouri defended his controversial bill forcing women to have ultrasounds before abortions by comparing abortion to purchasing a new vehicle. "In making a decision to buy a car, I put research in there to find out what to do," state Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R) told colleagues at a hearing on the bill Tuesday.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/20/4133089/kansas-abortion-bill-is-cruel.html#storylink=cpy
Separation of Religion & State
ADL: Impact of New Mississippi Religious Freedom Bill "A License to Discriminate"
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed concern over Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant's decision last week to sign into law Senate Bill 2681, a "Religious Freedom" bill which potentially discriminates and threatens the civil rights of the state's residents.

GOP Candidate Wants To Get Elected To Keep His Daughter From Learning Evolution

Aaron Miller, a Republican congressional candidate in Minnesota, said a big reason he's running is to end classroom instruction on evolution. Miller, a hospital account manager and Iraq War veteran, said during the congressional district's Republican Party convention in Albert Lea on Saturday that Minnesota needs more religious freedom. He cited an incident in which his daughter was forced to learn evolution in school.

Read Full Article 

Beyond the Core
clintonCivil Rights Act's Gains Are Being Undermined, Bill Clinton Says
Even as he praised the Civil Rights Act as a bold step in the quest to build a more perfect union, former President Bill Clinton cautioned Wednesday that the historic law's gains are being threatened by a rising tide in the politics of exclusion. Closing the second day of the three-day Civil Rights Summit, Clinton lauded the "pivotal, brilliant leadership" of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who ignored cautious advisers and cajoled a balky Congress into passing a law that continues to change the country for the better. 

Read Full Article


For Miami-Dade County, a dispute over potty breaks for voters

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/10/4051905/for-miami-dade-county-a-dispute.html#storylink=cpy

For Miami-Dade County voters who have had to wait up to seven hours on Election Day to cast their ballots, there's an argument over what should take priority: the call to citizenship or the call of nature.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/10/4051905/for-miami-dade-county-a-dispute.html#storylink=c

Gun violence as a public health issue

With last month's controversy over Vivek Murthy's nomination for surgeon general still fresh, the nation's second-largest physicians group reaffirmed Thursday that it considers firearm violence a public health issue and issued a wide-ranging set of recommendations to address the deaths and injuries caused by guns.

Read Full Article  


Most Cable News Coverage Of Climate Change Isn't Exactly Accurate: Report 

It is no secret that TV news coverage of climate change is far from perfect, even with outlets generally devoting very little time to the issue. And according to a new report released Monday, when cable news in particular does decide to cover climate change, it doesn't always get the facts straight.

Read Full Article
Political Byte
Scott Brown makes US Senate bid in N.H. official
Scott Brown, who rode a wave of discontent to an upset US Senate victory in Massachusetts in 2010 but was swept out of office in 2012, officially announced Thursday he is taking the plunge again, this time to the north. In unfurling his bid to unseat Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Brown repeatedly attacked her record Thursday night. 

Jackie Speier calls for harassment training

A House Democrat is calling for mandatory sexual harassment training for lawmakers after revelations that a House Republican was caught on tape in a romantic embrace with a now-ex-aide. Saying the House is "not a frat house," Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) is readying legislation that would require all members of the House and their aides to undergo annual sexual harassment training.

Read Full Article

chinaChina's 'lost Jews' to hold first Seder in Kaifeng

The community of Kaifeng is to be holding one of the first Seder meals to be held by indigenous Chinese Jews in generations next week. There are around 1,000 residents of Jewish descent in the city, one of China's former imperial capitals.

French Jews say Prime Minister Manuel Valls has their back

[T]o many French Jews, Valls is something of a hero for his unusually robust defense of Israel and the French Jewish community, and his elevation is seen as a reassuring sign amid one of French Jewry's most troublesome periods.

"I don't think we ever knew a minister who said things the way he says them," Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities.

Let Them Go! (A video for Passover) 

Let Them Go (Passover version of  
Let Them Go (Passover version of "Let it Go" from Disney's Frozen)

Our members count on JACPAC to provide information on current events, candidates, and elections.  JACPAC depends on membership support to make this possible.


If you have not renewed your membership, please consider doing so today, to help us pursue a strong US-Israel relationship, reproductive rights, and separation of religion and state.  Together we can make this a better world!



Janna Berk, President
Marcia Balonick, Executive Director
Joy Malkus, Research Director 

Find Us Online:

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn  Visit our blog 
better jac logo
Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) is a national network committed to the special relationship between the US and Israel and a social agenda that includes reproductive rights and separation of religion and state.  JACPAC supported US Senate and House candidates who uphold this agenda and maintains ongoing dialogue with those it helps elect.  In addition, JACPAC serves as a political resource for the Jewish community, furnishing information about candidates, elections and issues.