What We're Reading

Morning Reads: The New Face of the $20 Bill; First Indictments in Flint

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: The New Face of the $20 Bill

Harriet Tubman. (H. Seymour Squyer/National Portrait Gallery via Wikimedia Commons.)

New face –> Abolitionist Harriet Tubman will be the new face on the $20 bill. At first, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew intended to remove Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill and replace him with a woman in an effort to diversify the faces on America’s currency. But Hamilton is a popular guy right now thanks to Hamilton, the musical, so instead, he’ll stay put and Andrew Jackson, a former slave owner, will be replaced by Tubman, a former slave. Nick Timiraos chronicles the saga for The Wall Street Journal.

And, at Vox, Dara Lind writes that Harriet Tubman once staged a sit-in to raise $20 to rescue her father.

Panama Papers blowback –> Greg Farrell, Tom Schoenberg and Katherine Chiglinsky at Bloomberg: “New York State’s banking regulator has ordered 13 foreign banks to turn over information about their contact with a Panamanian law firm that helped register tens of thousands of shell companies, broadening the state and federal authorities investigating revelations related to the Panama data leak.”

Energy update –> The Senate has managed to pass a huge energy reform bill. “The legislation, which its sponsors hope to become the first broad energy law in nearly a decade, is a collection of policy changes aimed at tasks like electric grid modernization and natural gas exports, although it avoids the most controversial proposals on either side,” Timothy Cama writes for The Hill. The Sierra Club describes the bill as less than ideal but, “Senators [Lisa] Murkowski and [Maria] Cantwell accomplished what most thought was impossible — writing a bill with bipartisan support that keeps out many of the extreme anti-environmental ideological riders we have come to expect from the GOP majority and [which] litter the House bill passed last year.”

“Only the beginning” –> Michigan’s Attorney General yesterday announced the first indictments in the Flint water crisis. The charges, leveled at three bureaucrats who allegedly covered up the scandal, include “felonies of misconduct in office and conspiracy related to tampering with evidence. Those charges carry maximum penalties of up to five years in prison and up to four years in prison, respectively.” The Detroit Free Press reports, “Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette addressed the media on the ongoing investigation, saying, ‘These charges are the only beginning and there will be more to come. That I can guarantee you.'”

The latest from SCOTUS on “one person, one vote” –> Richard Wolf at USA Today: “The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that states can draw legislative districts with slightly different populations in an effort to benefit minority groups, even if the results help one political party over the other. The decision signaled a recognition by the court that despite its disdain for both racial and partisan considerations, neither violates the Constitution’s ‘one person, one vote’ principle.” This case, writes Wolf, “represented the justices’ third consecutive ruling on political redistricting that has pleased Democrats more than Republicans following a landmark 2013 decision” in which the court struck down the Voting Rights Act, a boon to Republicans.

New York takeaways –> At Slate, Michelle Goldberg writes that even though Bernie Sanders’ supporters were the most visible — and sometimes the loudest — politically active New Yorkers, they were not the majority in most city neighborhoods. She remembers the 2004 general election, in which John Kerry’s supporters made far more noise, and seemed all but certain to win — until the votes were counted and they turned out to be in the minority.

And, amid polling-place and registration-roll chaos yesterday, New York had the second lowest voter turnout rate this year of any state, beaten only by Louisiana. The Nation’s Ari Berman goes through some of the reasons, including the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act: “Brooklyn’s voter purge could have been stopped if the Supreme Court had not gutted the Voting Rights Act, since Kings County was one of the jurisdictions that had to approve its voting changes with the federal government based on a history of voting discrimination. Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan were covered under Section 5 of the VRA in 1970 because they had English-only literacy tests dating back to 1921 and very low turnout among minority voters.”

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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