Friday, August 30, 2013

Conyers: To Truly Celebrate Labor Day We Must Emphasize Full Employment and a $15 Minimum Wage

Rep. Conyers to March in Solidarity Alongside UAW and AFSCME on Labor Day

(DETROIT) – This weekend, Detroit will celebrate Labor Day with two marches, one by the United Auto Workers (UAW) and another by the Detroit Chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). These marches down Michigan Avenue will honor the hard work and dedication of workers across the country. These marches also come on the heels of employees  in the fast food and restaurant service industry who went on  strike yesterday in more than 60 metropolitan areas, calling for fair wages and the fundamental right to organize. Concurrently, Ford Motor Company announced yesterday the relocation of a Ford Fusion production plant to Flat Rock, Michigan that will create 1,400 well-paying jobs for the Detroit metropolitan area. Reflecting on these events in the time leading up to Labor Day, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
"As we prepare for the Labor Day weekend marches and festivities, I applaud the resilience and organization of the labor movement. Over the past week alone, we have witnessed fast food workers around the Nation going on strike for decent wages, and the UAW garnering hard-earned jobs for the Detroit community. It is my sincere hope that these developments indicate a better future ahead for organized labor that will put more people to work,” said Conyers.

“In the aftermath of the Great Recession, millions of Americans continue to struggle through unemployment or underemployment. As we march, it is critical that we continue to advocate for a full employment economy. This can be best accomplished by continuing to grow support for H.R. 1000, the ‘Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act.’ Through two public trust funds, this legislation is designed to both rehire individuals who seek to work and to provide training for the many new types of jobs being created. Now more than ever this country needs public service workers, in fields ranging from highway improvement, to waterways infrastructure, and at schools in all grade levels.

“As President Obama declared in his speech at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, ‘The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own.’ In celebrating the hard-fought gains by organized labor this weekend, I call for a renewed commitment not only to the rights of workers already employed, but for all who seek to join them. I look forward to participating in the weekend’s festivities, and to continuing the long march towards economic justice.”

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Conyers Announces Forum on Legal Implications of Detroit’s Bankruptcy Filing; Forum To Be Moderated by Professor Michael Eric Dyson

(DETROIT) – In response to the myriad issues presented by the Detroit bankruptcy filing, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) announced he will be holding a forum on Friday, September 6, to discuss legal and other implications of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing. The forum, expected to be broadcast live by C-SPAN, which will be held at the Fellowship Church in Detroit beginning at 6 pm, will be moderated by acclaimed scholar and commentator Michael Eric Dyson and  include key public officials, legal experts, clergy and others.

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
In announcing the forum, Rep. Conyers stated:  “Given the unprecedented nature of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, it is imperative that we have a public forum to discuss its impact on Detroit and the city’s future.  The forum will examine the full range of issues facing Detroit as a result of the bankruptcy filing, including the impact on pensions, the state of possible conflicts of interests and other issues raised by an unelected official making the filing, such as whether the filing was made in good faith. In addition, the forum will discuss the ramifications of the filing on taxpayers, workers, retirees and other stakeholders in DetroitMichigan, and around the nation.”

Further information about the event is detailed below:

Detroit Bankruptcy Forum 
Ø      Host – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) – Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee

Ø      Moderator – Michael Eric Dyson – Professor, Georgetown University

Ø      Harvey Hollins – Director of the Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives on behalf of Governor Snyder
Ø      Robert Ficano – Wayne County Executive
Ø      State Senator Coleman Young
Ø      State Senator Bert Johnson
Ø      Detroit Council Member JoAnn Watson
Ø      Reverend Wendell Anthony – President, NAACP, Detroit Chapter
Ø      Marcia L. Dyson – Political Strategist, Social Activist and Writer
Ø      Al Garrett – President, AFSCME, Detroit Chapter
Ø      Mark Diaz – President, Detroit Police Officers Association
Ø      Rose Roots – President, AFSCME Detroit Retiree Subchapter 98
Ø      James Spiotto – Partner and head of the Special Litigation, Bankruptcy and Workout Group, Chapman & Cutler LLP
Ø      Krystal Crittendon – Former corporation counsel for the City of Detroit
Ø      Mike Steinberg – Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union ofMichigan
Ø      Shar Habibi – Research and Policy Director, In the Public Interest

Friday, September 6th, 6:00 p.m.
Fellowship Church
7707 West Outer Drive
DetroitMI 48235

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Conyers Lauds President Obama’s Speech at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

(WASHINGTON) – Fifty years ago in 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King inspired a nation by declaring a vision of an America where all men were created equal and entitled to the promises of the Constitution.  Yesterday, thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington that marked the turning of the tide in the civil rights movement. Following the events, Congressman Conyers gave the following reflections:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“There are so many memories I have carried throughout these last 50 years since the March in 1963.  I will never forget Dr. Kings powerful voice on that day, the very voice that challenged the conscience of our Nation and inspired movement for great changes in our nation’s values and politics.  Today, the first black President of the United States, Barack Obama, voiced some of the similar tensions and struggles that we faced then and are still facing today,” said Conyers.

"In the 50 years since Dr. King articulated the dream of that generation, the United States has seen significant progress toward the ideal of racial equality. However, Dr. King believed that if one of us was not free, then none of us were free.  As we face the continuing struggles for equality for ever more diverse groups in our nation, the words Dr. King still provide inspiration and guidance.  

"The President sounded the call for action on the road to greater equality. I believe that we must not turn back the clock on Dr. Kings grand vision of equality, reconciliation, acceptance and instead, use this anniversary as a reminder of what is at stake for our nation. Thankfully, we do not have to wait another 50 years to fulfill this dream.  Congress can act to create jobs, reform our immigration system, protect the right to health care for all, and ensure that the damage done to voting rights by the Supreme Court is undone.  

"I applaud President Obama, the embodiment of this dream, and the King family for their commitment to lead our Nation to being a more perfect union."

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Alabama Has To Pay Back $88 Million In Bogus Child Medicaid Bonuses

Providing medical care for low income children is an issue marked by political and social dissonance.

The Michigan Senate has just passed the Medicaid expansion, leading to an increase in enrollment of children in the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA).  Unfortunately, there is a large segment of the population who have been mesmerized by political demagogues who have made popular rhetoric to blame people for being "too lazy to work" and "generational wanting of entitlement handouts" as the reasons why Obamacare, The Affordable Heathcare Act, should be destroyed as it is sucking dry the pockets of wealthy tax payers.

It has become fashionable to blame those who need Medicaid the most for the future demise of Social Security but that is far from the truth.

Here are another $88 million reasons to ask why those so against Obamacare are not including situations like this into their discussions of fiscal responsibility.

Alabama should have received bonus payments of only

$1,468,012 and $5,687,907 for FYs 2009 and 2010, 

respectively, as we determined by calculating the bonus 

payments using the correct current enrollment numbers for 

these years. Therefore, of the total $95,353,417 in bonus 

payments that Alabama received for these 2 years, 

$88,197,498 was not allowable.

I am not here to blame the State of Alabama for thinking it was doing such a good job that it was averaging $40 million a year in bonuses when its Medicaid administrators damn well knew or should have known that the other States were averaging about $4 million a year.

I am here asking those in leadership who are so against the expansion of Medicaid why they are not speaking upon audits, such as this, which I have been bringing to light for the last 10 years.  I believe the political silence is a result of its personal, financial benefit.

History has us to believe that Marie Attionette told her advisors to "Let them eat cake" when they informed her that the people we starving and had no bread to eat.

History has a strange way of repeating itself when speaking to political leadership.

People:  "The children, the children and their caregivers have no health care!!"

Politicians against health care for all:  "Let them die."

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Fulfilling Martin Luther King’s dream

By John Conyers, Jr.
U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.

In the 50 years since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. articulated the dream of a generation, the United States has seen significant progress toward the ideal of racial equality. But the other half of King’s vision — economic equity for all Americans — remains sadly unfulfilled.

America’s wealth and income gaps have grown to shocking proportions, in no small part due to federal tax and spending policies that have betrayed the great civil rights leader’s ardent hopes for a better society. To many, the quest for economic equality represents the last great frontier in civil rights.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, political and social progress is clear. Legally mandated racial segregation in the American South has been dismantled. African-Americans have come to occupy positions of power and influence, from the boardroom to the statehouse to the White House. When I was first sworn into the House of Representatives in 1965, I joined just five other African-American members; today, there are 43.

Yet, there is need for continued vigilance. Voter suppression efforts plague modern elections. And Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which gives the federal government power to approve changes to the voting laws of certain states with a history of discrimination, has fallen victim to legal challenge.

But the most obvious failure to achieve equality is in the economic realm. With a few exceptions, U.S. income inequality has consistently worsened since reaching a low in 1968, according to the Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Census Bureau. Over that same period, the average African-American household continued to earn about 60 percent of the average white household. The percentage of Americans living in poverty — after dropping to 11 percent in the years immediately following Dr. King’s 1963 speech — was back to 15 percent in 2011.

Wealth disparities are even more glaring. In 2010, the median white household had eight times the assets of the median black household, according to the Urban Institute. These huge discrepancies threaten our democratic institutions because concentrated wealth wields disproportionate political influence.

Although several factors have contributed to these troubling financial disparities, researchers have determined that roughly one-third of this escalating income inequality can be attributed to our skewed tax system and cuts to public services and benefits.
An unfair budget policy contributes to economic inequality in different ways. First, lower tax rates for the wealthy and numerous tax loopholes for large corporations keep money in the pockets of those who need it least. Then, the resulting decline in tax revenue causes Washington to slash investments in everything from job training to education to mass transit — the very resources American families need to pull through tough times and get ahead over the long-term.

To help close these economic gaps, we need reformed tax and spending policies that require everyone to pay a fair share. Ending tax loopholes that encourage individuals and large corporations to hide profits and ship jobs overseas could easily raise $600 billion over the next decade to invest in American communities. Limiting the wealthiest families to the top tax deduction available to middle-class taxpayers (28 percent) could raise an additional $500 billion.

With millions unemployed or underemployed, rather than losing 900,000 more jobs with another round of cuts mandated by the cruel budget “sequester,” we could use this new revenue to invest in America’s future through a national jobs program. My proposal, the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act (H.R. 1000), would put Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure and rehabilitating our communities.

Dr. King understood that civil rights included economic rights and that we can never truly form a more perfect union until income, wealth and opportunity are made more equal. On this 50th anniversary of his greatest speech, we come once more to rededicate ourselves to that dream.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, is serving his 25th term in Congress. He is the only member of Congress ever endorsed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Conyers, Nadler, and Scott Call for Immediate Congressional Action to Curb Privacy Abuses

 (WASHINGTON) – Today, further details about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program were made public in press accounts. Specifically, it was reported that internal NSA’s reports show that the agency repeatedly ran afoul of privacy rules. Following these public revelations, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, and Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations issued the following statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“We are gravely concerned with recent revelations of the government’s misuse of its surveillance authorities. Earlier this week, we learned of an internal review that shows the NSA routinely oversteps its own privacy rules. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the government has the capability to reach nearly three-quarters of all internet traffic in the United States.  Just moments ago, the government declassified court documents that show the NSA collected Americans’ electronic communication with no connection to terrorism—and did not learn of the problem for nearly three years.  These revelations, and others over the past weeks, demand that we act immediately. 
“Although we have repeatedly been assured that the government’s surveillance programs are subject to robust internal and external oversight, the burden remains on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to ensure that government acts in a manner that is consistent with our civil liberties.  The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on these programs in July, and Chairman Goodlatte has announced his intention to hold a classified hearing on these programs in September.  These hearings are good first step in our work to curb these abuses with all deliberate speed.

“Meaningful Congressional oversight of these matters also depends on reporting by the executive branch. We must take appropriate legislative action to ensure that the government may not take advantage of existing authorities.  H.R. 2399, the ‘LIBERT-E Act,’ will restrict the use of the USA PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 authority and to provide Members of Congress greater information about the FISA Court’s decisions and opinions. Given recent disclosures, we also believe it is imperative that we enact legislation to declassify certain reports, introduce a public advocate to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and change the manner in which FISC judges are selected.”

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Conyers Announces Henry Ford Health System Awarded $441k for Nursing Research

(DETROIT) – This week the Department of Health & Human Services, National Institute of Nursing Research office awarded a new grant, totaling $441,471, to Henry Ford Health Systems for nursing research. The National Institute of Nursing Research supports and conducts basic research and clinical training on health and illness across the lifespan to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and improve palliative and end-of-life care. The grant awarded to Henry Ford Health Systems is designed to promote scientific exploration that will lead to better health outcomes and health services, specifically studying the behavioral treatment of menopausal insomnia; and sleep, depression, and daytime outcomes. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement announcing this grant:
U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.

“Nursing research has a tremendous influence on current and future professional nursing practice, and I am pleased to announce that Henry Ford Health Systems has received such a grant for $441,471,” said Conyers.

“With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there is an ever growing need for more nurses. This sort of research funding will help the Detroit-Metro nurses implement new changes in the lifelong care of individuals and in developing treatments that provide the best care possible to the citizens of Southeast Michigan.”

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Conyers Hails Mayor Bing’s Order to Remove “Pet Coke” from Detroit River

(DETROIT) – Yesterday evening, Detroit Mayor David Bing ordered that the petroleum coke piles stored alongside the Detroit River be removed by Tuesday, August 27. After this announcement, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
"I am heartened that Mayor Bing has ordered the removal of petroleum coke, better known as ‘pet coke,’ from the Detroit riverfront.  This order is critical to protecting the quality of Detroit’s air and water from this public nuisance.  However, until a final resolution is achieved, I will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for the elimination of these polluting piles,” said Conyers.

“Over the past few months, it is become clear that an order by Mayor Bing might be necessary to properly address this problem, due to the lack of engagement or concern on behalf of the polluting parties in this case.  My engagement with this issue began in early Spring, shortly after these piles appeared.  On March 12, 2013, Congressman Peters and I wrote a letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) asking for their review of the problem.  We were unsatisfied with their response, and so we wrote them again on May 21, 2013 asking for assurances regarding the adequacy of protections for Detroit’s residents, air, and water.  While MDEQ responded with more specific reasons to believe there was not a problem, subsequent facts made clear that wasn’t the case - the most glaring example being the massive ‘pet coke’ dust cloud which was filmed forming over Detroit.  Throughout this months-long process, the parties involved in storing and shipping this potentially dangerous material acted without consideration or concern for the community.

“Mayor Bing’s order to withdraw the pet coke, seems necessary in light of the disrespect and disregard Detroiters have been shown by those who control the ‘pet coke’ piles.  I am also glad to see that he ordered the piles to be properly stored and covered with a tarp, which is what I and several local officials have been supporting from the beginning.  I would like to thank Mayor Bing for taking this step to protect our home.  I would also like to thank those who have worked with me on this issue, Representative Peters, other members of the Michigan delegation, local officials, state representatives, and state, national, and Canadian advocates for clean air and water who have been critical to addressing this issue. Because of their work, all of us who make Detroit our home can breathe a little easier.”
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Hamtramck Emergency Financial and Operating Plan

Michigan Emergency Manager releases Emergency Financial and Operating Plan for City of Hamtramck.

The report recommends to cut 5 police and 5 fire and utilize volunteers and reserve.  It also suggests dissolving the Downtown Development Authority and Community Economic Development.

Public Works Duties and Tax collection are to be contracted out.  Sewer and Water rates look to be increased.

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Lori Scribner Challenges Michigan Adoption

Lori Scribner is extremely aggressive fighter against Michigan Children's Institute.  What she fails to understand is that Bill Johnson, the ominous one, is all powerful and all wise because God told him and Marua Corrigan told him so.

Dan Beaton, the Assistant Attorney General is rather a nice guy but will lie his ass off in a court of law.

Realistically, her chances are none to a hell no.  Why?  Michigan will not get rid of the leadership in child welfare that, more than likely, will get financially hit, again.

MPR Snippet- Lori Scribner (Grandmother)

Lori Scribner of Florida talks about her section 45 case in Michigan, where she is trying to get her grandchildren. This case is out of Michigan and demonstrates how hard it is for grandparents to adopt there own grandchildren.
----Could you include something about this in your news. Michigan is trying to traumatize these children more as Lori has gotten them to Florida, now Michigan wants them back. Of course if this case does go to the supreme court and Lori would win it could be a big victory for Grand parents. You may also include her video we shot from last year. People have said it is a tear jerker. Thank-you

Some of you are aware of the situation Lori Scribner is in with her 4 grandchildren. 
But, in case you are not.......Lori lives in Florida and the grandchildren lived in Michigan. Lori has been fighting for years to get her grandchildren, after Michigan asked her if she wanted them. She did everything she could to prove she was willing and able to care for these children, including but not limited to becoming a foster and buying a 5 bedroom home for them.

She fought for guardianship and adoption from the beginning and was denied by the lower trial court. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court on the guardianship and ordered the children to be given to her. Last week, that took place by order of the lower court. Lori then flew the children to Florida and they are happy. 

The Michigan Assistant Attorney General has now requested that the lower court put a stay on the whole proceedings, so that it can go to the Supreme Court. Michigan has demanded the return of the children who are now being used as ping pong balls between Michigan and Florida. Lori has 72 hours to return them.

We need a huge calling to the Governor's office, the DHS/CPS Director and the AG's Office.

The most effective way to make contact is by FAX. But, if you cannot FAX......Please call and request these children be left where Michigan ordered them to Florida with their grandmother.

Governor Rick Snyder.........(517) 373-3400
(517) 335-6863 (FAX)

CPS Director Maura Corrigan.........(517) 373-2035
(517) 335-6101 (FAX)

Assistant Attorney General Dan Beaton.........(517) 373-7700
(517) 335-1152 (FAX)


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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Conyers and Scott Praise Attorney General Holder’s Action to Curtail Mandatory Minimum Sentences

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Attorney General Eric Holder delivered an important speech at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco.  He spoke about the issue of overcrowding in federal prisons and the policies that have led to this problem.  He said that, “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no good law enforcement reason.”  He also stated that, “widespread incarceration at the federal, state, and local levels is both ineffective and unsustainable.”  He announced that federal prosecutors will take steps to prevent the application of mandatory minimum sentences to certain low-level drug offenders. Since 1970, the number of individuals incarcerated in the U.S. has risen from approximately 300,000 to over 2 million.  This makes the United States the world’s leading incarcerator by far with an average incarceration rate of over 700 per 100,000. Mass incarceration has consigned 1.3 million African Americans and Hispanics to prison. According to the latest available figures, these two groups comprise 58 percent of all inmates even though they make up only one quarter of the U.S. population.

Following Attorney General Holder’s comments, John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations issued the following statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.): “I welcome Attorney General Holder’s recognition of the problem of massive over-incarceration, a situation that is unjust and fiscally unsustainable, both at the federal level and in the states.  In fact, some states, such as Texas and Arkansas are already taking action to find alternatives to incarcerating some offenders.  I applaud the steps the Attorney General will take to reduce the application of mandatory minimum sentences to certain low-level drug offenders and I hope he will join in the larger effort to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing across the board, including H.R. 1695, the‘Justice Safety Valve Act,’ introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott and which I am cosponsoring.” 

Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.): “The Attorney General is taking an important step toward rational and sound sentencing policy, but we must do more to curtail the application of mandatory minimum sentences.  Studies have shown that mandatory minimum sentencing, which handcuffs the ability of judges to apply sentences which fit the circumstances of each case, fails to reduce crime.  That is why we need to enact H.R. 1695, the ‘Justice Safety Valve Act,’ a bipartisan bill I have introduced with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and other colleagues including Rep. John Conyers, and which has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) as S. 619. This bill would allow judges to sentence federal offenders below the mandatory minimum sentence to prevent an unjust sentence, consistent with sentencing criteria already specified in federal law. We continue our call to adopt evidence-based, smart approaches to reducing crime, such as the Youth Promise Act, which I have introduced in the House as H.R. 1318, instead of policies which sound tough but only feed what the Children's Defense Fund calls the ‘Cradle to Prison Pipeline.’ We hope that the Attorney General’s leadership in making these remarks today will be a spark that generates a broader discussion about how we can adopt cost-effective crime-fighting approaches that make us safer while also saving money.”


For more details on incarceration statistics, the NAACP Criminal Justice Fact Sheet can be found online at

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