“The Intersection of Food and Health” Lunch Briefing: 5/10 at Noon

By now you have received an invitation to attend a lunch briefing on May 10 at noon hosted by Food Tank, in collaboration with New York University, Tufts University, and George Washington University.  As Co-Chairs of the Food is Medicine Working Group, we
are excited that this briefing will focus on the intersection of food and health. We hope you can join this important discussion.

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: Sign Bipartisan Letter Urging OPM Not to Make Pretrial Diversion a Barrier to Federal Employment

May XX, 2019

The Honorable Margaret Weichert
Acting Director
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
1900 E Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20415

Dear Acting Director Weichert:

We write to you to express strong concern regarding the proposed changes to the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) hiring practices that would require prospective federal employees and contractors to disclose their participation in pretrial diversion programs.

A conviction history is a significant obstacle to obtaining gainful employment. Research has shown that a criminal record makes an employer almost half as likely to call an applicant back, and the effect is even more dramatic if the person seeking employment
is a person of color. This has led to unemployment rates of over 27% for formerly incarcerated individuals.  For the aforementioned reasons, diversion programs are essential to breaking cycles of incarceration – a conclusion that has strong, bipartisan support.
 

Statutory pretrial diversion is well established in 48 states and the District of Columbia and is designed to offer non-violent offenders a second chance to avoid the collateral consequences of conviction and the stigma of a criminal record. Once a diversion
program has been successfully completed, there is no conviction. That is especially important as convictions can sometimes carry lifetime consequences of unemployment. A federal hiring inquiry into an applicant’s participation in a diversion program defeats
the very purpose of these programs. At a time of growing consensus regarding the need to prioritize rehabilitation and reintegration for individuals who have touched the criminal justice system, OPM should be moving to reduce—rather than increase— barriers
to employment.

OPM’s current Federal Hiring Questionnaire limits its inquiries to incarceration, probation, and parole. Requiring applicants to make an admission about pretrial diversion is a significant departure from this practice, and it runs counter to the administration’s
goal to “unite around prison reform legislation that will reduce crime while giving our fellow citizens a chance at redemption.” With one in three Americans possessing a criminal record, access to the workforce is already difficult for a significant number
of people. That access should not be impeded further by the federal government, which currently employs 2.1 million people.

America is a country of second chances, and a mistake should not leave an individual with a lifetime sentence of unemployment and instability. Too often we have seen that one single blemish on a person’s criminal record can obstruct their ability to support
themselves, their families, and their communities. We are turning the corner and there is broad, bipartisan support to help people reenter the economy and their community with the supports they need to succeed. Diversion programs that provide mental, behavioral
and addiction treatment are an essential and proven tool in reducing recidivism and increasing employment.

Everyone deserves an opportunity to work for a better life. We strongly encourage OPM to immediately withdraw the proposed requirement for disclosure of diversions.

Sincerely,

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Cosponsor H.R. 1029 – the Space Resource Institute Act

Since the 1960s, the U.S. has dominated space exploration and aeronautical innovation. Colorado has played a critical role in this success as one of the largest aerospace industries in the country. Stakeholders like the Colorado Space Business Roundtable,
the Space Foundation, the United Launch Alliance, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Lockheed Martin have engaged us on the newer issue of In-Situ Research Utilization (ISRU). ISRU is the practice of using materials found on the moon and asteroids
to replace materials that have otherwise been found on Earth.

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Babies in the Budget – Federal Spending on Infants and Toddlers

Please join the Congressional Baby Caucus for a briefing on “Babies in the Budget: Federal Spending on Infants and Toddlers”. We welcome Congressional staff, interns, and advocacy groups to engage with the following speakers for an-depth analysis of how
federal spending over the last decade, in FY19 appropriations, FY20 budget proposals, and under potential sequestration impact mandatory and discretionary program spending on American families with infants and toddlers.

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DEADLINE EXTENDED – Protect Kids’ Health! Sign Bipartisan Letter Telling the EPA to Stop Its Efforts to Weaken Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

Please join us in sending a letter to Administrator Wheeler opposing efforts to undermine or weaken the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) and urging him to withdraw the EPA’s recent finding that it is not “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury
and hazardous air pollutant emissions from coal and oil fired power plants because of the costs of doing so. 

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