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Who Said That

West Des Moines, Iowa, school district spokesperson Laine Buck, regarding the district’s decision to add disclaimer signs, but not remove any Little Free Libraries on school grounds. At least two suburban school districts have placed disclaimers on the free-standing outdoor displays where people are encouraged to share books in response to a new state law that bans books that describe sex acts from libraries and classrooms. Webster Elementary school in the Urbandale school district’s disclaimer on the “little libraries” states that they are not funded, sponsored, endorsed or maintained by the district and are not “in any way part of the Urbandale Schools library program.” (Associated Press — Sept. 29, 2023)
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, regarding the formalization of a Senate dress code after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moved to relax the unofficial dress code just days earlier. The SHORTS Act, introduced by Romney and Joe Manchin, requires business attire, specifying “a coat, tie and slacks or other long pants” for men; the resolution doesn’t say anything about women. Despite the seeming-frivolity of the resolution, Romney did highlight the bipartisan victory, saying that “what may not be a real big problem, but it’s an important thing and makes a difference to a lot of people.” (NPR — Sept. 28, 2023)
Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, regarding the need for broadband accessibility nationwide. On Tuesday, Sept. 26, Rosenworcel said that she plans to implement a proposal to reinstate net neutrality rules that were repealed under former President Trump, but that would bar broadband providers from blocking or throttling Internet traffic to some websites and speeding up access to others that pay extra. (The Hill — Sept. 26, 2023)
Evan Milligan, regarding the Alabama redistricting lawsuit, for which he was the lead plaintiff, that argued the state’s rearranged congressional map still meant that candidates preferred by Black voters had no chance of winning outside a single congressional district. The maps, which were used in the 2022 midterm elections, had just one majority Black district out of seven seats in a state where Black residents make up more than a quarter of the population. The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, Sept. 26, allowed the drawing of a new Alabama congressional map with greater representation for Black voters to proceed. (Associated Press — Sept. 26, 2023)
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, regarding the bipartisan group of senators that gather once a week to participate in the Senate pickleball caucus. The sport has greatly expanded in the past several years; now there are an estimated 48 million Americans playing regularly. Tillis believes that the human connection can lead to better communication in politics. (NPR — Sept. 25, 20223)
Larry Bendesky, an attorney for Alicia Paxson, husband to Philip Paxson, who drove off a collapsed bridge and died last September while following Google Maps directions. The Snow Creek Bridge in Hickory, N.C., had collapsed nine years earlier but was never repaired or barricaded, and Google Maps continued to direct drivers to cross the collapsed bridge, according to the lawsuit. Alicia Paxson is suing Google and its parent company Alphabet as well as individuals responsible for the upkeep of the bridge. (The Hill — Sept. 21, 2023)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, regarding the decision to stop enforcing the U.S. Senate’s unwritten dress code for its 100 members starting this week. Women weren’t allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor until 1993, the same year that the first women’s restroom was built off the Senate floor, and in 2017 the rules were amended to allow women in the House to wear sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes; the Senate also adopted the change in 2019. On Wednesday, Sept. 20, 46 GOP senators sent a letter to Schumer demanding he reverse the change for the sake of decorum. (NPR — Sept. 21, 2023)
Houston County, Ga., Sheriff Cullen Talton, regarding his decision to not seek re-election in 2024. The 91-year-old sheriff was elected to the position in 1972. (Associated Press — Sept. 20, 2023)
Hinds County, Miss., Board of Supervisors poll manager Sheila Davis, regarding the 1,000 poll managers across the county who haven’t yet been compensated after working 14-hour days for the Aug. 8 primary and Aug. 28 runoff elections. The workers are refusing to return for the Nov. 7 general election if they don’t get paid. (Associated Press — Sept. 18, 2023)
Mike Doten, a farmer from Pomfret, Vermont, regarding the recent decision by the town’s selectboard to block one of New England’s most idyllic roads to anyone except residents for three weeks at the height of the foliage season, from Sept. 23 to Oct. 15. Doten and other residents of Pomfret were fed up with the hundreds of cars clogging the road, often parking haphazardly, when foliage season was underway. Tour buses would also park on the road, spilling out passengers with cameras and cellphones at the ready. Social media has made the situation worse, according to residents.
Stacey Caldwell, a school board member in Moore County, N.C., commenting on a proposal to hire two virtual math teachers for a middle school. Each would require a teacher assistant to oversee the real-world classroom. (Sandhill Sentinel – Sept. 13, 2023)
Kathleen Hall Jamison, commenting on The 2023 Annenberg Public Policy Center’s annual, nationally representative survey, which found that many Americans do not know what rights are protected under the First Amendment and a substantial number cannot name all three branches of government. (Annenberg Public Policy Center — Sept. 14, 2023)
New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan, regarding the fact that he will not invoke an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to block former President Donald Trump from appearing on ballots in the state next year. Others have made claims that Trump is ineligible to run for president again under a rarely used clause of the 14th Amendment that prohibits those who “engaged in an insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution from holding higher office. (Associated Press — Sept. 13, 2023)
Kentucky Chief Justice Laurance B. VanMeter, regarding his decision to not seek re-election for another term of the state Supreme Court in 2024. VanMeter won election to the state’s highest court in 2016. (Associated Press — Sept. 12, 2023)
Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, regarding his avowal to not enforce an emergency order from New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to temporarily suspend the right to carry firearms in public in and around the city of Albuquerque. The firearms suspension was issued as an emergency public health order and Lujan Grisham told reporters that she expected legal challenges and that the state police would handle enforcement. (Associated Press — Sept. 11, 2023)
Rand Hoch, president and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, the group which spearheaded the effort to make Lake Worth Beach, Fla., the state’s first safe haven city for LGBTQ people and their families. The city commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a resolution that reiterates the city’s commitment to “protecting human rights for all individuals.” (The Hill — Sept. 7, 2023)
Sheila Dixon, a former Baltimore mayor who resigned from the role as part of a 2010 plea agreement in a corruption case, regarding her announcement that she will be running, again, for the city’s 2024 mayoral race. In December 2009, Dixon was found guilty of embezzlement for misusing gift cards that had been donated to City Hall for charity, spending them at Target and Best Buy to purchase things for her family and staff instead of using them to serve the poor. (Associated Press — Sept. 7, 2023)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, regarding the fact that last month was the hottest August ever recorded by far with modern equipment and it was the second hottest month ever measured, behind only July 2023. The world’s oceans were nearly 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit and have set high temperature marks for three consecutive months. So far, this year is the second hottest year on record, behind 2016. (NPR — Sept. 6, 2023)
Richard Howell, the executive director at Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., regarding the fact that American, Delta and United Airlines have collectively dropped 74 regional airports from their service since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cessation of airline service is not only a problem for the airports where businesses rely on travelers, but it’s a big issue for site consultants looking to potentially bring their businesses to small towns, like Williamsport. (NPR — Sept. 4, 2023)
Daniel Schwarz, a privacy and technology strategist at the New York Civil Liberties Union, regarding the New York City Police Department’s plans to use drones to monitor private parties in response to complaints over the Labor Day weekend. (Associated Press — Aug. 31, 2023)
Lawyer Collyn Peddie, regarding the “nebulous” Texas law that would have limited cities’ abilities to write laws that don’t conform with state laws that regulate a variety of areas including transportation, agriculture, labor and property codes. The law, known as the “Death Star” bill, was ruled unconstitutional by a Travis County state judge on Wednesday, Aug. 30, just days ahead of Sept. 1, when it was scheduled to take effect. (KUT — Aug. 30, 2023)
Forest, a Maui disc jockey for Mana’o Radio in Wailuku, regarding the island’s economic reliance on tourism and how the recent Lahaina wildfires have discouraged many tourists from visiting the other 75 percent of the island that was left unscathed. Last year tourists spent $5.5 billion on Maui, and the island typically receives upward of 3 million visitors a year. (NPR — Aug. 30, 2023)
Dylan Pyles, co-founder of Kansas City-based group Liberation Lit, regarding Missouri’s new rule that will prohibit people incarcerated in state prisons from receiving books and other publications from friends and family starting Sept. 25 in an attempt to reduce the influx of drugs and other contraband into the facilities. Incarcerated people will now be required to buy their own books, magazines, newspapers and correspondence courses. The base salary for incarcerated people working in a prison is $7.50 or $8.30 per month, but could be as high as $80 per month; people in work release programs outside of prison make closer to minimum wage and those in Missouri Vocational Enterprises job training programs make 81 cents per hour. (KCUR — Aug. 29, 2023)
Eric Hitchner, an English high school teacher in Philadelphia, regarding the lack of air conditioning in his fourth-floor, 111-year-old classroom and how COVID-19 relief funds were spent on education tech, like smartboards, instead of cooling systems. Last September, when it was in the low 70s outside, Hitchner’s classroom was 86 degrees inside. Hitchner’s Philly school is one of the estimated 36,000 public schools nationwide that do not have adequate air conditioning. (NPR — Aug. 28, 2023)
Chelsea Andrews, executive director of Montgomery County’s Housing Opportunity Commission, commenting on the Maryland county’s unique law that allows it to invest in property development to ensure a steady supply of housing for low-income residents. The law requires developers to set aside about 15 percent of the units in new projects for households making less than two-thirds of the area’s median income. (New York Times – Aug. 25, 2023)
Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects for the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax policy group, regarding a proposed California bill that would give unemployment checks to striking workers while they picket for better pay and working conditions. The state’s unemployment benefits fund is filled by a tax that businesses must pay for each worker, but the tax only applies to the first $7,000 of employee wages and has not been changed since 1984. The state has only increased unemployment benefits twice since then, once in 1989 and once in 2001. Despite three years of record job growth, the state estimates that benefit payments will exceed tax collections by $1.1 billion. (Associated Press — Aug. 23, 2023)
St. Louis, Mo., Mayor Tishaura Jones, regarding proposed legislation that would prohibit “military-grade weapons” on city streets and make it a crime for “insurrectionists” and those convicted of hate crimes to possess firearms. The state’s attorney general is warning that such a law would violate the state constitution. (Associated Press — Aug. 23, 2023)
Erik Olson, a health and food expert at the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, regarding some states’ refusal of federal funds to remove lead pipes that can contaminate drinking water and damage brain development in children. Washington, Oregon, Maine and Alaska have all declined most or all of their funds in the first of five years that the federal grants and loans are available; some states are hesitant to pay for lead removal projects because they are uncertain if they want to take out loans to search for lead pipes. (Associated Press — Aug. 22, 2023)
Barry County, Mich., chief law enforcement officer Dar Leaf, regarding what he believes is the sacred mission of America’s sheriffs. Leaf is on the advisory board of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which was founded in 2011 and teaches that elected sheriffs must protect their citizens from the overreach of an out-of-control federal government by refusing to enforce any law they deem unconstitutional or unjust. (Associated Press —Aug. 21, 2023)
The Cobb County, Ga., School District, in a press release after the county’s school board voted to fire Katie Rinderle, an elementary school teacher of 10 years, for reading the picture book My Shadow Is Purple by Scott Stuart, after a parent complained about the book’s content about gender fluidity. Rinderle is believed to be the first public school teacher fired in Georgia because of the state’s new law that bars the teaching of “divisive concepts” and created a parents’ bill of rights. (Associated Press — Aug. 17, 2023)