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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  February 11, 2016 3:00pm-5:01pm EST

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and sadness that engulfed julie benner and michelle webster, when that nightmare, something the spouse of every officer fears became a reality. officers nigel benner and dan webster served with distinction in the armed forces, volunteered in their communities, raised their families amongst us. they chose service to each of us and to sacrifice their safety for each of us. heroes to strangers. where most would run away from trouble out of fear, they would run toward it out of duty with courage. we will never understand why the tragic deaths. the senseless murders of these two heroes occurred.
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and maybe we aren't supposed to understand it. but i do know this -- we are supposed to recognize men and women like officers benner and webster. we are supposed to hold them up, to honor them, to encourage their exceptionalism in others. to tell our kids to be like them. and serve like them. julie and michelle, your husbands showed each of us the highest and purest form of love. there is no greater expression of love for your neighbor than to be willing to lay down your life for them. and i know that their sacrifice was and remains your sacrifice as well.
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as a state we pray for you and your families, and we recognize you for the courage and poise you've shown through unthinkable tragedy. may your husbands rest in god's true peace. thank you for being with us today.
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as we start this session, this is not the backdrop we asked for. but it's the reality we fales. call them boomerang thugs or turnstile thugs, whatever. we had vicious, heinous criminals among us who are willing to take the lives of our greatest heroes and who have no business being out on our streets. we see teens terrorizing neighborhoods late at night. we still see drunk driving tragedies on our roadways. innocent new mexicans like roberto himendez, grace sinfield and jacob salazar, all taken too soon. often by repeat offenders who are still driving their deadly weapons on our roads. and communities, parents and
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families ask how are these criminals still out there. the public's frustration is not misplaced. our laws are too lax. our justice system too weak. particularly when it comes to violent dangerous offenders. it's our job to fix it. and there's a lot we can do. every judge should have real-time access to the criminal background and history of defendants who appear in their courtrooms so that sentencing and bail decisions can be made with that information. and we need to amend our constitution to allow judges to keep the most dangerous criminals in jail without bail.
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because stories like joseph's are too familiar. jailed for aggravated battery and assault, child abuse and being a felon in possession of a firearm, he was granted bail, sent back into albuquerque's neighborhoods. nine days later he was ramming a deputy's car with a stolen truck, putting more lives in danger. with what we've seen this past year, there are no more excuses for light sentences and automatic bail for violent offenders. and we need laws that are tough in substance, not just in sound bites. look at our three strikes law. sounds tough. but it was worded so that it didn't mean anything. no one has ever been
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incarcerated under that law. let's put real teeth into it so we can keep those who commit repeated violent felonies, who repeatedly prey on innocent families behind bars for life. in addition, skipping out on parole should be a fourth-degree felony, and i fully support the bipartisan effort to allow local communities to adopt curfews if it's necessary to keep us safe. with respect to ending dwi, i recently announced several major initiatives. saturation patrols on our
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deadliest highways targeting repeat offenders and the establishments that overserve them, a court monitoring program that will place citizens inside courtrooms in five counties to shed light on the criminal justice process and the outcomes. and an ongoing roundup of those with outstanding bench warrants for dwi crimes or repeat dwi offenders who have absconded from parole because of their unwillingness to take responsibility for driving drunk means they're likely to do it again. people like danny velarde who was just recently captured tried to evade justice after committing six dwis. and being convicted of voluntary manslaughter. whether it's a citizen monitoring a courtroom or someone reporting that they saw
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one of our top ten dwi absconders or the college kid who risks being disliked because refusing to let his friend drive drunk. ending dwi in new mexico involves each and every one of us. it's cynical and factually incorrect to suggest that our drunk driving laws are tough. or anything like surrounding states. they're not. those who repeatedly drive drunk need to face stiffer penalties and so should those who knowingly toss them the keys to drive the car. of course, protecting our communities also involves protecting our children. so, if they are exploited in
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child pornography, those who possess those images or videos should face the full weight and serious force of the law. but that's not happening in new mexico.⌞ because our supreme court ruled the prosecutors no longer have the option to charge someone in possession of child pornography with multiple counts based on the number of images they have. they said our laws aren't clear enough to allow that, and rather than clarify it, some in the legislature have refused to act. consequently, criminals like former aps kindergarten teacher joshua whites who allegedly possessed 40 child pornography files was charged with only one count in november. and juan santos torres who
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possessed several videos was sentenced to just 14 months in jail, a fraction of the time he should have served because of this loophole. that's not right. i agree with the attorney general. we must close the child pornography loophole in new mexico. we must also make protecting our families a key priority in the budget. i recognize that revenues are uncertain due to persistently low energy prices and that most agency budgets will have to be held flat. this means that with the limited new revenue we will have, we must prioritize more and better.
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public safety should be at the top of that priority list. expand the use of family support workers who work with at-risk families who have a history of cyfd referrals in order to prevent child abuse. clear the backlog of rape kits in new mexico. provide more officers with immediate access to child abuse case history before being dispatched to a child abuse call. and let's invest in expanding the ranks of our public safety workers and do more to retain them. that means hiring new state police officers, expanding the correctional unit that tracks down violent absconders, hiring more child abuse caseworkers to reduce their caseloads, and providing targeted pay raises for public safety workers who were on the front lines each y day.
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if we do all these things to make new mexico safer, we not only honor our public safety workers, show that we understand and respect the danger and sacrifice they face, we also honor the victims of the senseless violent crimes we've seen and their families, who live with the pain of loss every day. it should motivate us to overcome any special interests or politics that stand in the way, to do what's right, to stand against those who thrive on creating fear and chaos. it's time to say, not here and not in new mexico. of course, combatting crime also
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means working to prevent people from becoming criminals. this is a longer-term challenge, and a lot goes into it. behavioral health can be one of many factors. over the last two years we've seen an 84% increase in behavioral health services provided in our state. to the highest level in state history. and under my budget, we will use additional behavioral health dollars for new crisis triage centers, mobile crisis response teams and community behavioral health clinics. education obviously plays an important role, too. because it's an education that provides someone with hope that tomorrow can be better than today. i was a prosecutor for 25 years. i saw so many 15, 16, even 20-year-olds who could not read,
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had little hope that they'd ever find work, faced more challenges than opportunities in life, dropped out of school at some point, and turned to crime. you see, if we don't get this part right, if our kids don't learn to read, if we cannot graduate our students with basic knowledge and life skills, the ripple effects in their lives, in their children's lives and in society are potentially enormous. no child is unteachable. i will never give up on any kid. every child can learn. our reform agenda's clear. first, every child needs to read at an early age so they can
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learn every year thereafter. under my plan to give our kids the best start possible, we'll expand pre-k which has tripled so far on my watch and build $5 million worth of new pre-k classrooms throughout the state of new mexico. and we'll add $10 million in new reading interventions specifically for students in chronically struggling schools. second, we need a quality teacher in every classroom. teachers, they matter. when they succeed, we should honor them. and when they struggle, we should help them. to build a stronger recruitment pipeline, i ask the legislature to raise the minimum starting teacher salary to $36,000 per year. which would total a 20% increase
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over the last four years. expand the loan repayment program for teachers, and let's offer dozens of scholarships each year to our brightest college students. $15,000 apiece if they enter a college of education in their junior year and commit to teaching in new mexico. and to better support our teachers, we should provide our most effective with additional pay. provide debit cards to help teachers cover the cost of classroom school supplies and expand our new teachers mentoring program to give teachers who struggle help from their peers. third, students should never be trapped in failing schools. and because we have a meaningful
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school grading system, we know where those schools are. the teacher mentorship program i just mentioned is modeled after a similar principal meantering program, called principals pursuing excellence. it is helping turn around struggling schools. in fact, after just one year, 53% of schools with participating principals saw their school grade increase by at least one letter grade. the next year, 60% saw grades improve in their first year. associate superintendent arsenio romero of roswell and principal robin cook of cloud croft are here today. this mentorship program, an
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educator helping an educator, has helped cloud croft middle school quickly improve its "a." what a difference that makes for students! when we choose to reform and commit to reform, we see results. thank you, arsenio and robin, for all that you have done. principals need additional tools like the ability to use adjunct teachers in our classrooms. why not make it easier for retired scientists from sandia to teach math at a high school. and we must continue offering stipends to teachers who agree to teach difficult subjects like math, science or special education, in areas where recruiting these teachers is so challenging.
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fourth, we must increase parental involvement. make it easier for parents to be engaged in their child's education. in state government, we're now granting leave so employees can attend parent-teacher conferences. and i hope local governments and the private sector will follow suit. and finally, we need to graduate more of our kids from high school. ready for the workforce or college. truancy is a key impediment to this. but now we have an early warning dropout prevention system that identifies at-risk students. that lets us put more social workers in middle schools to help these kids and dropout prevention coaches in high schools. but we need to get their attention. with consequences they care about. if a kid stops going to school,
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they shouldn't get a license to drive a car. you know, contrary to what the status quo might say, improving education isn't about money alone. we're spending more on education than ever before and we've also redumced time spent on state-mandated testing, and it will go down further this year. what matters is whether our kids are learning. we have to measure success, and if they're struggling, get them early help. what could possibly be more important, if they can learn in school, opportunities will follow in life. reading skills are formed early on. as a result, if children are passed along in early grades when they cannot read, the likelihood of them being able to
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learn in later grades plummets. and people wonder why a large number of students in new mexico don't graduate. if we accept failure early, if we implicitly tell a child they can't learn, why would we expect otherwise? and why would we allow ourselves to be shocked if these discouraged, frustrated students choose to drop out or turn to crime. it's not an excuse by any means. but they weren't required to have the most important tool in life, the ability to read. this is reality. some want to ignore it, sacrificing the future opportunities of these kids, pretending that we're building their self-esteem. but let's be honest, it does nothing to help them feel better
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when they're called on to read in front of class or when they take the s.a.t. and can't read the questions. or when they can't fill out an application for a job. what do you think their self-esteem is like then? this is one of those moments. we have to confront reality or punt. must -- we must end the practice of passing our students from grade to grade when they cannot read. simply opposing this education agenda is not in and of itself an agenda. saying we should stop grading schools, stop evaluating
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teachers, stop raising standards at colleges of education, stop targeting education dollars on reading coaches and school turnaround efforts. that's not an agenda. it's an endorsement of the status quo. and it props up mediocrity. if our children aren't learning, we are compelled to change, to be better, to set a higher standard. why? so that our kids can succeed in life. of course, it's also our responsibility to ensure there are jobs for our kids when they graduate, because we want them to work in new mexico and raise their families here. this means attracting new jobs and businesses from elsewhere, while creating conditions that encourage new mexico companies to expand. we must never be so arrogant or naive to forget that businesses can locate anywhere in the
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world. whether we like it or not, whether it makes us comfortable or not, we are in a high-stakes daily come tes competition with other states and other countries. it's our job to make new mexico more welcoming, more predictable for job creators. and we've come a long way in doing so. largely by focusing on the fundamentals to better compete. working together we've put state government on firm fiscal ground. balancing our budget each year, without raising taxes. we've -- we've restrained government growth and built up a strong savings account. it hasn't been easy. i know. we had to overcome the largest structural deficit in state history. federal budget cuts. a federal government shutdown. and the steepest oil and gas
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price crash in decades. energy prices continue to pose very real and concerning challenges. but our bipartisan work has sent a loud message to any business owner looking at new mexico that we will not bail out government on the backs of hardworking families and job creators. we've also changed our regulatory attitude. said it's possible to grow our economy and protect our environment and public health. we have assessed and collected more in fines against polluters than any other administration in state history. at the same time, we are
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increasing predictability and encouraging commerce. drilling permits are issued in eight days or less. nurses who come to new mexico are licensed in five days or less. we extended the overweight cargo zone at our border so that trucks can make fewer trips. and we now have independent hearing officers outside of the tax department to handle tax disputes, so people can be confident they're getting a fair shake. with respect to building a stronger workforce, we are making important changes in higher education. in order to graduate more students on time in the workforce areas our economy needs. because a 14%, 4-year graduation rate is unacceptable.
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so is a 47%, 6-year graduation rate. especially when the national average is 69%. as experts have told us, our kids are taking too much time, taking too many credits, spending too much money, and ultimately not graduating. consequently, entry into the workforce is delayed. students' debt is high, and we have too few college graduates. that's why universities are adopting tuition incentives for any student who graduates in four years, and working to limit all degree programs to 120 credit hours. after all, if we expect students to graduate in four years, it has to be possible to do so. we're improving how credits transfer among institutions, providing better counseling,
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changing how majors are selected so that students don't waste time and don't waste money on unnecessary credits. where these reforms have been adopted, we find incredible success. a 17-point jump in the 4-year graduate rate at florida state university and a 20-point jump at georgia state. and as we graduate students more quickly, we have to ensure we are producing the degrees our businesses need. so, we don't end up exporting our college graduates or having to import workers from elsewhere. that's why i'm calling on the legislature to support the students work internship portal, which would allow any new mexico business to post internships online through a shared website
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that our colleges and universities would use to connect students to these positions. so that our students learn how to be a good employee, explore career paths, and so they stay right here in new mexico when they graduate and get a job. right here in our state. together, we've also worked to develop key sectors of new mexico's economy, like tourism, which benefits every corner of our state. our new mexico true advertising campaign is achieving tremendous results. we're seeing a record number of visitors and increased tourism spending. or our high-tech sector, where we've passed legislation to encourage research and development of cutting-edge products and expanded access to
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capital that so many start-ups need. for example, we just enacted last week a new effort to deploy up to $40 million in new early stage investment capital in the partnership with state investment council to help new mexico companies get off the ground and grow. we put forth the state's first energy plan since 1991. calling for the increased development of every kind of energy we can produce in new mexico. and we continued to make new mexico a key corridor for international trade by building up our port at santa teresa and maintaining our place as a growing leader in exports and
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export-represent e export-related jobs. take all of this together -- a stable state budget, workforce development reforms, a welcoming regulatory attitude, the development of key economic sectors, we're making great progress in these areas will also fundamentally changing our tax and incentive environment. five years ago, we had a poorly managed closing fund to recruit new companies. with hardly any money in the account. we now require clawbacks to protect this money and have increased the size of our closing fund to $50 million. our job training program helps businesses, large and small, urban and rural, expand and hire new workers. we've increased funding for this program and expanded the types of businesses that can access it. we cut our business tax rate by
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22%, made it easier for exporting manufacturers to produce their goods in our state. curbed the double and triple taxation of goods and services in construction and manufacturing. our tax rate on manufacturing has been cut by 60% to the lowest in the region. and our taxpayer friendliness score has soared from a "d" to a "b," and we're nearing an "a"! my friends, the fundamentals are changing. companies are taking note. our recruitment pipeline is filling up as these reforms begin to take hold. new mexico makes the final cut for larger and more projects than ever before. take a company like scorpios.
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a tech firm that is using foe en to revolutionize the way communication is stored. they didn't have to choose to manufacture the technology in new mexico to hire 3 00 workers over the next five years with good, well-paying jobs. we had to compete for that. it's just a reality. in fact, scorpio's founder, steven crosilc said we beat out pennsylvania and texas. we couldn't be happier that you chose new mexico. we pray that your company will be a success and make a greater impact on the world than you
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could ever imagine before. thank you. and then there's risk sense, which has also committed to growing in new mexico. they're on the cutting edge of cybersecurity services, a global problem. they didn't have to choose new mexico either. but thanks to the work we've done to improve our tax and incentive climate, both of these companies are here to stay. thank you, and mark fidel risk sense president and ceo also are with us today. thank you for putting your faith in our state.
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of course, there's always more we can do and should do. like maintaining our $50 million closing fund. or adopting tax reforms to encourage small business growth and attract veterans who want to open new companies or build a second career or creating rapid workforce development fund which would help us close recruitment deals that require a significant number of highly specialized, trained workers. investing in main street projects. encouraging new development in key economic corridors of our cities and towns. and finally, ending the practice of requiring new mexicans to join a union or give money to one just to have a job.
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these are all important, and they can help us maintain the momentum we've established as we fight for jobs and new investments. we shouldn't fear competition with other states. we should embrace it. i'm committed to winning that fight. and i hope you will stand with me to help create more new mexico jobs. that's what we need to be working on. though this is a short session, there are other important realities we face. other vital problems we should choose to address and not avoid.
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like fixing the way we spend infrastructure money, because the way projects are funded now leads to unmet regional needs and state needs. and a string of projects that haven't been vetted and can't be completed. we should improve campaign finance reporting processes. close the revolving door between legislators and lobbyists. and require the disclosure of capital outlay allocations and any private clients served by public officials in new mexico. and the legislature should finally listen to the people of new mexico. let's end the dangerous practice of giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants from all over the world.
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you know, new mexicans have been concerned about this years and years. long before contractors and workers faced extra hurdles trying to get into our federal facilities. new mexico's been a target for human traffickers and smugglers seeking to take advantage of our laws. and now the federal government has confirmed its plan to stop accepting new mexico driver's licenses to board airplanes. these are realities. our license is not secure. and new mexicans have repeatedly demanded a change in this law. some have advocated just kicking the can down the road. that's getting much harder to do. others want to continue giving
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preferential treatment to illegal immigrants at the expense of united states citizens. that's not common sense. it's not acceptable. and it ignores the will of the people who elected us. our compromise is the same as surrounding states. it stops giving licenses to illegal immigrants from around the world, and it ensures our i.d. is secure. we've talked about it year after year, and the discussion had been had. it's time to solve this problem and vote. before i close, i'd like to recognize a few extraordinary
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new mexicans who embody what it means to serve and sacrifice for one another. just a few weeks ago, we endured a massive statewide snowstorm, with snowdrifts that reached 12 feet high, shutting down movement throughout much of new mexico. it was dangerous, and conditions were life threatening. ty gonzer and bill sheer live and work in clovis. ty grew up being taught that when snowdrifts cover large objects, the drift can turn a blue color. so, imagine white snow as far as the eye can see, no movement, no sound, and just happening to notice what looks like something slightly darker in the snow and wondering if something or someone might be underneath. that's what ty did. he and bill used heavy equipment
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to attack their hunch, and a 12-foot snowdrift to uncover a car that had a couple in it who had been trapped for 20 hours. ty says, we saw their faces after we pushed the snow away, and it's something i'll never forget. ty and bill. ty and bill, i promise, they won't forget how they felt when they saw your faces either. helping one another, that's what new mexico's about.
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thank you for your instincts, your courage and your sacrifice. and state police sergeant jason knapp, he rescue ed francine johnson whose car went off the road and she was trapped in the snow. she was exhausted, had been traveling from washington, d.c. francine called aaa, but they told her it would be hours before they'd be able to help. she was hungry and scared. you can imagine her sense of relief when sergeant knapp arrived. he spent a long time with francine, even enlisting the help of volunteers as he personally drove her vehicle back to a safe place. francine said that it was only by god's grace and sergeant knapp's gracious strength and encouragement that she made it.
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sergeant knapp, you volunteered to be a police officer, and part of that job is running toward the situations none of us want to be a part of. thank you for the kindness and help you provided to help francine. job well done. these individuals exemplify the fighting spirit in our state, the desire to help people overcome and succeed. i think of the thousands who have attended vigils this year in mourning, following senseless tragedies, or those who have given us -- given of their time or money to help kids learn, to help victims make their way through suffering or otherwise help those in need. we see the challenges around us.
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our neighborhoods, our families, our communities. we want to solve the problems and realities that face us. i believe we are capable of pulling together to prevent horrific loss in the hands of heinous criminals. we are capable of pulling together to ensure that every child gets a quality education and none are left without opportunities and hope. we are capable of pulling together to compete for jobs and new investment in every corner of our diverse state. because we have to do these things. our -- or the brighter tomorrow we all want for our kids is at risk of growing dimmer instead. i'm confident we can confront and overcome these realities together if we choose not to put them off a moment more. new mexico's future depends on
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it and depends on us. god bless you, god bless all of new mexicans and new mexico. thank you so much for all that you do for our citizens. homeland security secretary jeh johnson is speaking today on the state of the nation's security and his agency's achievements and expected challenges for the new year. he'll also take questions from people at the wilson center. see his comments tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span.
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then at 9:00 eastern on c-span today's house foreign affairs committee hearing on the implementation of the iran nuclear agreement. witnesses include the state department's lead coordinator for implementation of the deal and the treasury department's head of sanctions oversight. every weekend on american history tv on c-span3 we feature programs that tell the american story. here are>ylq some of the highl for this presidents day weekend. saturday afternoon at 5:00 eastern margaret oppenheimer talks about her book, born into poverty and became one of the richest women in 19th century new york. her unusual life including a second marriage to former vice president aaron burr. >> what brought these two celebrities together. on burr's side of the altar, the undoubted attraction was jumel's
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money. a marriage to jumel will give him a big pot of money to spend. jumel had her own motivations for the marriage. on the one hand, she would soon have to begin settling her first husband's estate. burr, with his knowledge of the law, could help her protect her assets. but the main attraction of the marriage for her was the opportunity to enter social circles that had been previously closed to her. >> at 6:00 on the civil war, historian dennis frye on the reactions of southerners and northerners to john brown's 1859 raid on the federal arm morey at harper's ferry, his subsequent execution and the divided sentiments. sunday afternoon at 2:00 historians explore the history of the death penalty in america,
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including the 1976 greg v georgia u.s. supreme court case that affirmed the constitutionality of capital unpiche meu punishment. and james swanson compares the assassinations of abraham lincoln in 1865 and john f. kennedy in 1963. their personal similarities and differences in their terms in office, the backgrounds of the assassins and the state of the country at the time. he also talks about the experience and reactions of the two widows mary lincoln and jacqueline kennedy. >> jackie was very conscious of history. jfk was very interested in lincoln and knew a lot about lincoln and jackie did have very much in mind the lincoln precedent for the funeral. >> for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to every election cycle we're reminded how important it is for citizens to be informed. >> to me c-span is a them for
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political junkies and the way to track the government as it happens. >> i think it's a great way for us to stay informed. >> there are a lot of c-span fans on the hill. my colleagues will say i saw you on c-span. >> there's so much more that c-span does to make sure that people outside the belt way know what's going on inside it. massachusetts governor charlie baker says his state must address the opioid addiction epidemic. this is just one of the many priorities he outlined in his state of the commonwealth address. other issues included the need for quality k-12 education and the state's energy needs. this is about a half hour. >> thank you very much. thank you. thank you. thank you. please, please, you should sit. thank you.
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thank you. thank you. mr. speaker, mr. president, members of the house and senate, fellow constitutional officers, mr. chief justice, members of the judiciary, members of the governor's council, members of congress, senator warren, senator markey, mayors, sheriffs, district attorneys, distinguished local officials, reverend clergy, distinguished guests. members of my administration and fellow citizens. i want to begin by expressing my gratitude to some special people for the support and encouragement
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they've extended to karen and me over the past year. to my cabinet and staff, for their willingness to serve and their collaborative brilliance, thank you. [ applause ] to the thousands of front line employees in state and local government who make a real difference every day. the lives of our citizens here in massachusetts thank you. and for the people i've met, maybe even taken a selfie with, thank you for sharing your stories, your dreams, your passion, and your encouragement. now, tonight, we're also joined by corporate john dawsons, parents and tom sullivan's parents. last year, both lost their sons in service to our country. every man and woman who serves
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in combat is special. and their families serve right alongside them. your presence reminds us what service, sacrifice and loss is really all about. [ applause ] >> we are who we are as a commonwealth and a country because of families like yours. and i know i speak for everyone
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here tonight and everyone across the commonwealth when i say thank you and god bless. [ applause ] to the speaker and the senate president and members of this legislature, i want to thank you for putting partisanship aside and for engaging with us in good faith and in good humor as we work to solve some challenging problems. and dad, you and mom and to my brothers who made me who i am today, thank you. [ applause ] to my wife and to our children,
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thanks for the support and love, because i certainly couldn't do this without you, and i still believe that the 40,000 voters who put karen and me over the top in 2014 were actually voting for lauren. [ applause ] >> now, if i had to sum up the past year in just one phrase, it would be the following. don't be surprised when you get surprised. because stuff just happens. some good and some bad. 12 days after we took office, we determined there was a $765 million budget deficit to deal with, but that i think thankfully it was 40 degrees out and winter was almost over. six days after that, it started
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to snow and nine feet of snowmageddon later, we had a new term i had never heard before -- snow farm. welcome to your new job, governor, where your time may or may not involve the things you thought you would be working on. now, with respect to the t, some say in the chinese language, word crisis is composed of two character, one representing danger and the other, opportunity. the t's failures last winter became a crisis. and i'm proud to say that by working together, we found and we seized opportunities. we passed -- [ applause ] >> we passed meaningful reforms, including the creation of a fiscal and management control board. and today for the first time ever we're having a transparent reality-based discussion about how to improve the performance of this vital transportation system.
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turning around the system with the troubles and problems that t has won't be easy or quick, and there will be missteps along the way, but we are determined to do it. a million people ride the system every day to get to work, school, the grocery store and back home. they need the t to work and they need it to work well. that's why we're doubling our capital investment to the system's core infrastructure to $1 billion, and that's why $90 million was invested on strategies and equipment that will allow the t to battle whatever the curveballs are that are thrown this winter by mother nature. and to the taxpayers who may never ride the t, but will write a $1 billion check to the system every year, i say you deserve to know that your support is delivering a reliable, affordable, transparent and efficient service.
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but 2015 wasn't all surprises caused by mother nature. at this time last year, our constituent services office was taking about 500 calls a week from people who couldn't get through to the health connector. for more than two years, getting and keeping health insurance had been a complete disaster for hundreds of thousands of massachusetts citizens. many ended up on mass health and the state had no ability to determine whether or not they were actually eligible. this jeopardized hundreds of millions of dollars of federal reimbursements. make no mistake, fixing the connector was a top priority. and today, open enrollment is mostly complete. more than a million people will redetermine for mass health eligibility. the federal government has recognized our work and constituents services received virtually no calls. [ applause ]
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>> thank you. we were all aware of the systemic problems at the department of children and families which put massachusetts at the bottom of most national rankings of child welfare agencies. the problems were laid out in great detail by the child welfare league of america's report in 2014. the report's author is now the commissioner of dcf. and thanks to her leadership we are making progress. they're developing intake, investigation, supervisory, foster care and in home service reforms. some of which haven't been updated in years.
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and some of which never existed at all. i want to thank you for your leadership of this critical organization. thank you. [ applause ] now, this is all being done in partnership with local 509 leadership with represents dcf social workers. these workers often haven't had the playbook or the support in the top to do their work and to do it well. tonight, i want to thank peter mckinnon and all of our social workers for your hard work on our behalf and on behalf of the kids of the commonwealth. [ applause ] the children served by dcs are
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just like everybody else's kids, except they're among the most vulnerable. they need the support, love and sense of security that most other kids have. because let's face it, when you're a kid, there's really nothing more important than that. now, over at the registry of motor vehicles -- segue -- long waits and long lines have been a frustrating, costly, and unacceptable experience for everyone. if you're paid for the hour, it's lost time and lost wages. i never expected we would fix this quickly because it didn't get this way overnight. but creating a more customer friendly registry has been a big deal for us. while i'll spare you all the details of cueing theory, it's
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helped to essentially eliminated the hidden wait to get into the door and is allowing three-quarters of customers to get in and out in 30 minutes or less and we're just getting started. [ applause ] >> working collaboratively with the legislature, we closed more than $1 billion in deficits without raising fees or taxes. instead, we tightened our belts, got creative and reduced spending, taking what was an unsustainable path and setting a healthy responsible course. and working together, we've made investments in school aid and local aid. no longer will beacon hill balance its budget on the backs of local communities. [ applause ] that's for the guys upstairs. [ cheers and applause ]
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we focused on transportation, investing $300 million and hundreds of local and bridge projects across the commonwealth. we increased investment made in higher education and invested $37 million in climate change and energy resiliency projects. we boosted support for mass works economic development program by $10 million, and launched a $3 million grant program as part of our urban initiatives. these projects breathe new life into downtowns, setting communities up for success. and we've signed community compact agreements with more than 100 communities across the commonwealth building on best practices and successful reforms. in cooperation with public sector unions, we reduced our own head count by more than 2,000, making federal government more efficient without skipping a beat. [ applause ]
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>> and together we're poised to make progress on a number of additional mischaracterization. -- issues. the first is energy. over the next few year, the region stands to lose about 10,000 megawatts of power as older generation plants come off line. that represents enough energy to supply maine, vermont, rhode island and new hampshire combined. meeting our future energy needs requires cooperation with the other new england states. because the region's energy infrastructure and supply is closely linked. our administration has outlined ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions and we have a plan to meet those goals through a diversified, sustainable and affordable approach. but meeting our energy needs with renewable resources requires us to act now. massachusetts leads the nation in energy efficiency.
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but that will never be enough. we have a growing solar energy industry which we should continue to support, but not a price two to three times more than every other option. cost competitive wind options are already available to us, and if advances in offshore wind technology bring a competitive price, we should embrace them too. but if we're serious about reducing our carbon footprint while maintaining reliable energy grid and approving our competitive position, then we must significantly increase the supply of clean and affordable hydro power. governors across new england -- [ applause ] governors across new england, democrats and republicans have made clear to me that they are ready to go. what they're waiting on is us. and any solution will take time to implement. i urge us all to act quickly to
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move on this critical legislation to the state and this region's future, economically and environmentally. [ applause ] second issue is the epidemic of heroin and opioid use. all of us have talked about it before. the statistics are terrifying. prescribers in this state wrote more than 4 million opioid prescriptions and these numbers have been climbing for a decade. the rise of deaths have gone up hand in hand with the rise in growth in prescriptions. this is a real human tragedy. moms, dads, brothers, sisters and friends all tell hauntingly
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similar stories. it starts small. fill this prescription or try this pill. but once someone gets too close to the flame, everything changes. it becomes the only thing that matters. people under the spell of opioids and heroin will do anything to get their next hit. families and friendships are torn apart. trust vanishes. patience is overwhelmed and tragedy is always inches away and more often than not it comes to stay. because people die. now you all know, i'm a health care guy. and i will stand with my former colleagues when their clinical judgment is being improperly maligned. but not this time. prescribers in massachusetts and across this country are far too casual about the addictive
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consequences of these medications. parents, teachers and coaches don't know enough about opioids to protect their kids. and kids are mostly completely in the dark when someone says try this. now, we're close on legislation to enhance our ongoing efforts to improve prevention and to build on our intervention work and to strengthen our treatment and recovery programs. breaking the back of this beast will take time, and a ing willingness will be disruptive. of course we've got to be thoughtful, let's get this done and let's not rest until we do. [ applause ] thank you.
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thank you. i also urge you to be bold on k through 12 education. now, i know for some, expanding the availability of public charter schools is controversial. but giving parents in underperforming school districts more opportunity to choose a better school is nothing less than any of us would demand for our own children. more than 40,000 kids, most from communities of color, are excelling in public charter schools. 37,000 more, mostly the neighbors of those kids remain on a waiting list. their parents struggle to understand why they don't deserve the same education their neighbor's kids get.
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they cry when they talk to me about the hopes and dreams they have for their children. and as a parent, i feel their pain. parents want their kids to have a shot, a better shot than the one they had. and they see it right in front of them but they can't make it happen. these are families that can't afford to move, and they can't afford to send their kids to private schools. this is their chance, and it's a good one. in massachusetts, we're home to some of the highest performing public schools in the country. many of which are public charter schools serving low income families and communities of color. students attending the brooke academy charter schools had higher scores on the english and math parc exams than students in carlisle, belmont, sudbury, sharon, concord, wayland, weston and newton.
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in fact, they had higher scores than students from every k through 8 school in massachusetts. now, we're willing to discuss and we're willing to hear both sides. but a state that places such a high value on education should not place arbitrary limits on parents access to high quality schools. and we should not sit idly by while so many parents feel the pain of missed opportunity for their kids. [ applause ]
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>> i get the energy, opioids and education by thursday, please. they're challenging and complex issues. but i believe we can successfully take them on. over the past year, we expanded the tax credit for 400,000 low income families. [ applause ] executed an early retirement program that will save $125 million every year and enacted those dramatic reforms at the mbta, solved deficits without raising taxes and fees and provided a $28 million down payment to enhance education prevention and treatment services to beat down our opioid epidemic. and today with your help, we are delivering on a promise that has eluded state leaders for more
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than 30 years. we will no longer send women who are invary committed -- involuntarily committed because of a substance abuse disorder to prison. [ applause ] they will access medical sha shattuck and taunton state hospitals. bravo. later this month, we will file a budget for fiscal 2017, and in keeping with previous efforts, it will increase local and education aid, continue our generous support for public transportation and offer a number of important reforms in
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the way we operate. it won't raise taxes or fees. the people of this state live within their means and we should, too. [ applause ] we'll also be filing legislation that makes a modest adjustment to the film tax credit. [ applause ] we respect the legislature's desire to retain the credit. [ laughter ] mr. speaker, message delivered. but we believe it would be more cost effective to return to its original structure and believe the savings from this adjustment could be directed to creating more affordable housing and an improved tax climate for massachusetts businesses that sell products and services in other states. now in addition, too many jobs, good paying jobs that people can build a career with are going unfilled.
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we all know that. that's why our economic development bill will invest $75 million in our career and technical schools. [ applause ] our proposal will make it possible for these schools to build more partnerships with local businesses and higher education institutions and most important of all, serve more students. these schools are a path way to a bright future. the skills they teach are widely in demand and many of them are already well plugged into the job creators in their communities. and at an age when too many people are struggling to find work that pays well, these schools have so much to offer. and we should help them make that happen. [ applause ]
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now, as we end our first term, some have lamented how boring we are. i must admit that makes me smile. no fights, no yelling, no partisan scrums. i had a basketball coach in high school who was fond of saying, don't confuse effort with results. work hard but work smart. too often in government, we confuse how much money we spend on something or how much we yell at each other about it with whether or not we're actually achieving any positive results. the guy who became the receiver of the warren school system four years ago isn't a big talker, he's a doer. jeff riley cut his central office budget by 30% and put the money he saved back into the classroom. he renegotiated collective bargaining agreements to lengthen the school day and focus more on student performance and he brought charter schools and traditional schools together to focus on the
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kids. he didn't get more money, he just did the work. it's an amazing story. the teachers, the kids and the entire community are writing in lawrence. and jeff, i want to thank you and your team for everything you're doing on behalf of the kids. [ cheers and applause ] in reality, the citizens care about what we say, but what they really care about is what we do and what they see in their own daily lives. if they have a good job, their schools work, their local community is safe and thriving and they can pay their bills, then they feel pretty good about where they are and where they're going. the reverse is also true.
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they can't find or keep a job or get to one. if their kids attend an underperforming school, if they can't afford to pay their bills, if their streets aren't safe and their downtown is a wasteland, then no amount of good intentions or we're number one talk is going to mean anything to them. that's the reason why this administration is so focused on the blocking and tackling of government. it's where we can have the most impact on people's everyday lives. all of us here get that campaigns are competitions. but governing is about the work. when karen and i talked about a bipartisan approach to governing, we meant it. and when we talked about building strong communities and rebuilding the relationship between state government and cities and towns, we meant it. and when we talk about focusing on what works and what doesn't and doing the more of the former and less of the latter, you know what, we mean that, too. every day the people expect
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their state government to work. they work hard. they have to sweat the deltas. and they have to perform. so should we. [ applause ] >> i have a plaque on my desk that includes the piece of scripture i brought to the interfaith service we attended just before we took office. it says, do nothing out of the selfish ambition for vain conceit. rather, in humility, value others above yourselves. not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of others. we live in a glorious place. karen and i both say that all the time. and we marvel at the collective spirit, intelligence and drive of the people of this great state. they are the reason massachusetts is truly a leader in so many fields.
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now just last week, ge, one of the world's largest and most respected technology and advanced manufacturing companies decided to relocate its headquarters here in boston, massachusetts. [ applause ] the competition was stiff and everyone wanted ge as part of their economy, but we were successful for a couple of reasons. first, there wasn't an inch of daylight between the republican governor and the democrat mayor and the folks at ge could see we were in this together. second, and most importantly, they saw who the people of
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massachusetts are. what we do, and how the ecosystem we developed can propel ge into the future. now, massachusetts didn't get here overnight. we got here over time. we looked at the big pictures and we crushed the details. for decades, the people of this state have set the bar high and followed through. and because of all that, i can stand here tonight and say with certainty that the state of our commonwealth is strong. [ cheers and applause ] but we still have work to do and we always will.
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as my dad always said, success is never final. but i believe we have the will to collaborate, the shared sense of purpose, the deep belief that we can and should always do better, and the relentless spirit that says we must. god bless the commonwealth of mass and god bless the united states of america. thank you very much. [ cheers and applause ]
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homeland security secretary jeh johnson is speaking today on the state of the nation's security and the state of achievements and expected challenges for the new year. he'll take questions from people at the wilson center. see his comments tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. at 9:00 p.m., implementation of the iran nuclear agreement. witnesses include the state department's lead coordinator for implementation of the deal and the treasury department's head of sanctions oversight. american history tv on c-span3 features programs that tell the american story. this weekend we kick off a
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three-week special series on the 1966 vietnam war hearings, 50 years later. donald richie. >> the vietnam hearings were probably some of the most extraordinary hearings ever held by congress. they were hearings, an investigation into a war that was still being fought, that the congress and particularly the senate wanted to know why we were in vietnam, what the administration's policies were, and they wanted to hear from opponents of the war. they gave equal status to critics of the war as they did to supporters of the war. it was a real debate. >> this weekend, two witnesses who opposed president johnson's vietnam policies. first, a february 1966 abc news special report that includes the testimony of former ambassador to the soviet union, george kennon, followed by questions from senator including chairman jay william fulbright.
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>> in korea we learned that air and naval power cannot win a war and inadequate ground forces cannot win one either. it's incredible to me that we are on the verge of making that same tragic error. general, as far as you know, are the conditions in indo-china any different today than they were at that time? >> next weekend we'll hear from special consultant to president johnson, general maxwell taylor. on saturday, february 27th, secretary of state dean rusk gives his testimony defending johnson's vietnam policies. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to the reality is the best presidents, the greatest presidents have been willing to recognize they weren't the smartest person in the room, and to surround themselves with people they thought were smarter
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than themselves. >> sunday night on "q&a," former secretary of defense and former director of the cia robert gates discusses his book "a passion for leadership: lessons on change and reform." mr. gates has served under several presidents, most recently presidents george w. bush and barack obama. >> at the end of the cold war when i was director of central intelligence, i came to believe very strongly that the american people had given cia a pass on a lot of things because of this existential conflict with the soviet union. and i believe that after the end of the cold war, we were going to have to be more open about what we did and why we did it and even to an extent how we did it, to help the american people better understand why intelligence was important to the government and to presidents and why presidents valid it. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a."
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the fourth circuit court of appeals heard oral argument recently over how schools across the country deal with transgender students and what bathrooms they're allowed to use. it's the case of a 16-year-old who was born female but identifies as male and was allowed to use the boys' restroom until parents complained. the oral argument is about 40 minutes. >> thank you, your honors. may it please the court, my name is joshua block, and i represent the plaintiff g.g. over the past 15 years the vast majority of courts have recognized that discriminating against someone because they're transgender is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex. under title 9 that means it's perfectly fine for school to have separate rest rooms for boys and girls, but they need to let
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transgender students use those restrooms, too. the only way that can happen is if they're allowed to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity just like every other school. the school has said that g. can use the girl's room, but it's impossible to take it seriously. if makes no sense whatsoever for the board to say it's going to protect student privacy by taking a transgender boy who is on testosterone and has facial hair and a male i.d. card from the state and place him in the girl's restroom. the record shows that even before g. transitioned girls objected to his presence in the restroom because they accurately perceived him to be a boy. no one seriously thinks that having g. used -- >> the boys object when he goes to the boys' restroom. the girls objected and you're pointing out that's significant but apparently the boys obtained when he went to the boys' restroom. is that allowed to be taken into account, too? >> i'm saying the school board's own arguments are inconsistent here.
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if the rationale is privacy. >> no. i'm taking a point that you made in your brief is that he can't go into the women's restroom because he doesn't feel welcome there, and the women ostracize him and don't want him there. they basically some in the text said they didn't want him in the restroom. my question is if that is a meaningful fact, is it also a meaningful fact that the boys say the same thing in their restroom? >> your honor, it is a meaningful fact and that privacy interest can certainly be taken into account, but there are right ways to do that and there are wrong ways to do this. schools can and should have privacy protections for everyone like urinal stall dividers and privacy strips on stalls and schools can and should have private restrooms for anyone to use if they want to, but what schools can't do is banish transgender students from the restrooms entirely because students object to their presence.
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>> if we don't recognize our -- i think that's the way you said in your case, our deference, can you prevail on your title 9 claim? >> absolutely, your honor. >> how? >> the plain text of title 9 is extremely broad. it covers all sex entirely and congress recognizes that plain text would prohibit separate restrooms and separate dormitories and that's why they had an exception in the text permitting separate dormitories. >> well, the thing that concerns me a little bit is the argument between ambiguity and not being ambiguous. let me give you a line of questions. which restroom would an intersex individual use under your argument? >> well, your honor, i think that's a great question for the department of education to weigh in on. >> we'd like to hear your answer. because if the thing is
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ambiguous, the decision goes one way. if it's not ambiguous, it goes the other way. >> well, your honor, i think it would depend on that person's intersex condition and what gender identity they lived their lives in accordance with. but it is a very accurate point that there there is an article about the uterus transplants for women born without uteruses. but their gender identity is female and they live all their lives as women. it's not like the categories of male and female always correspond to everyone's internal reproductive organs or chromosomes. >> which restroom would a person who suddenly undergone a sex change use? >> well, your honor, i think they would use the restroom consistent with their gender identity which is whatever gender they live in accordance with in all aspects of their lives. but again, your honor, i think it is important to remember that the structure of title 9 is that
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congress wanted the agency to make these distinctions. there is no bfoq exception in title 9 like there is in title 7 and that's because the sponsor said that would be too big a loophole. when people ask what about rest rooms, senator bayh said the agency can address those questions at its discretion. the entire stature is structure so the agency draws these distinctions about what sports teams can women try out for, what conditions do you need to have separate sex segregated restrooms. the courts don't weigh on their own. oh, is the volleyball team different than the football team. these are agency policy making questions and the agency is the democratically accountable branch and congress can overrule the agency and has done so in the past. but even if no deference applies, the decision in mercer
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versus duke is extremely important here. the plain text of a different exception was noted that allows schools to block women for trying out for all-male contact sports. the school argued that means that contact sports are exempt and the judge said no, you have to interpret that regulation narrowly. he said it allows women to be prohibited from trying out but once you are on the team, the school can't discriminate against you then. he said the baseline here is all forms of disparate treatment are prohibited unless there's affirmative permission for it. what the regulation passed said you can have separate restrooms. you can have rest rooms for one sex if they're equivalent to restrooms for another sex. there are two things that doesn't address. it doesn't say you can have sex segregated restrooms but then not let transgender people use them. they have to be able to use one of those restrooms and it didn't say where a transgender person should go if their identity
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conflicts with their sex assigned at birth. the reality is until recently -- >> let me ask you to relate this to a locker room situation. i know a locker room is not at issue in this case but it is in the policy and it is in the regulation. and the regulation says that you can have separate locker rooms based on sex. where would the intersex person go when school has a men's locker room and a women's locker room. >> an intersex person or transgender person? >> take either one, if you want. >> they would go to the locker room consistent with their gender identity and the department of education -- >> so if they're anatomically male and they identify as a female, they would go to the female locker room even though they have the genitalia of a male? is that your answer? >> yes, it is, your honor.
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but that's also because, it is important to understand, there's a lot of privacy protections in locker rooms, too, and it is important -- >> well, i don't know when the -- i've been in locker rooms my whole life. you have open showers and you have open spaces and it is a much more exposed environment. >> not at gloucester high school. at gloucester high school you have separate shower and changing areas for all the schools. and that's actually part of the virginia department of schools guidelines for how locker rooms should be set up. it is important when we talk about these policy making questions that locker rooms are different than when i went to school. they're different from when my parents went to school, and these issues can and are addressed on the ground in different ways and it is -- >> this -- these are logically difficult questions but sticking with the locker room
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hypothetical, which raises the point a little more clearly, you said that if the person had male genitalia but identified as a female, that person should be allowed in the female locker room. that's because an aspect of sex is psychological. there's the physical, and the psychological, and they both make up a person's sex or gender. and in most people, the person identifies with is an anatomical arrangement but in some people that's not so, so we have this disparity. you picked, in order to give your answer, you picked the psychological identification of the person going into the women's locker room. could the school, instead of picking the psychological, pick the anatomical criteria as the
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reason for separating locker rooms and saying, well, since he's anatomically male, he should go to the male locker room? under the regulation. >> well, if the department of education hadn't given its own interpretation -- >> no, no, i want you to read the regulation. >> well, your honor, i think on its face, the regulation doesn't answer that. >> what it tells us for us selecting the psychological criteria as opposed to the physical criteria for determining which locker room the student goes to? >> with respect, i think under our deference, the question isn't what the court would select. >> still, we need to know, don't we? i mean if the district court got it totally wrong, we can't make that assessment unless we have some ideas which weigh where
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we're supposed to go. >> well, your honor, i think the reality is that across the country, transgender students use locker rooms consistent with their identity. no one knows they're transgender in many circumstances. a person who is a male to female transgender person often views male anatomy as deeply shameful. it's not something that trans kids are going to want to -- they have a sense of privacy, too. you didn't draw this die come my between psychological and physical -- >> they're linked. there is a divergent in a transgender child who finds himself or herself with one gender or one sex, physical apparatus, so to speak, reproduction organs, et cetera, and identifies with the other. that divergence creates a problem. now your answers say the school should be focusing on the
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psychological, what the person identifies with as opposed to what the person's physical anatomy is. i'm just wondering what gives you the basis to make that interpretation under the statute, as opposed to the school's interpretation to use the anatomical difference? >> well, to address this dichotomy though, as a result of hormones, there are real physiological differences between g. and non-transgender women. >> you're not taking my clear question which is somebody who is physically one sex and identifies with the other. >> yes, i understand. >> the definition as the psychological definition of this -- >> well, yeah. all i'm saying is what someone's physical body is also very much affected by their hormones and that is a real live physical component. but on this what gives me the right to say they should use gender identity instead of sex
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assigned at birth, what basis do i have for saying that, that's what the department of education says based on its expert agency status. it is the one that is the policy-making entity, that is the democratically accountable branch. if anyone -- if the school disagrees with them they can file a rule making petition. congress can overrule them. >> i don't believe that is the rule. i've got the rule right before me. it says a recipient made provide separate toilet, locker room and shower facilities on the basis of sex. with such facilities provided for students of one sex shall be comparable to such facilities provided to students of the other sex. that's the regulation. so the regulation says the school can make decision based on sex and have separate facilities. now your argument, i gather, is
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that here we have -- sex is a complex word and includes both the physical and psychological. when you have it different, then the question is what does the statute say, i don't think the statute addressed that. >> i think that's exactly right. the statute doesn't address that. i think as you said, at best, there are two equally viable alternatives. but if the statute -- >> you can make a distinction based on sex, so now if you're going to take both the psychological and the physical, we have a third category which that's divergent. so the argument would be you could provide a separate facility for that third category, like a unisex bathroom. how about a unisex locker room or intersex locker room. but i'm not sure that's what you're arguing. >> your honor, if the regulation doesn't actually address it, then the default is it's
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prohibited, that that's the inertia is in favor of the person enforcing title 9. you need an affirmative exception. the fact that a regulation is silent cuts against the school board. it doesn't cut against our side. >> you didn't argue for transgender status to be suspect classification. why not? >> i see my time has expired. >> you can answer that question. >> we didn't because transgender status is also discrimination on the basis of sex and there's a big body of precedent saying it gets heightened scrutiny. we don't disagree that it is also a suspect class, but i don't think you need to find an independent suspect class status. >> all right, thank you, mr. block. you have some time on rebuttal.
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mr. corrigan. >> may it please the court. i'm david corrigan. along with my partner, jeremy katz, primary author of the brief, we represent the gloucester county school board. we are here to argue for affirming the dismissal of the title 9 claim, ordering the dismissal of the equal protection claim and affirm ing the decision to deny the preliminary injunction. our position is that there was no discrimination. >> just as a practical point on that, the district court explicitly said it wanted to hear more on the equal protection claim and preserve that for trial. you're asking us to make a ruling before the district court analyzes that, i guess based on -- >> defendant jurisdiction. >> well, i'm not thinking of the jurisdiction.
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i'm thinking of the wisdom of us doing the equal protection analysis. i guess your argument is we can do it just as well as the district court? >> because it is all intertwined. >> another issue is whether it is, i think your title 9 case is pretty clearly but the injunction, isn't it based on that, the injunction, title 9? >> the injunction is, seems to me, the trial judge based on it on both the fact that the title 9 was dismissed and he got into the balancing of the hardships in deciding that there the plaintiff had not carried their burden in balancing the establishment of the hardships. i read the court as eliminating the preliminary injunction. >> i didn't mean to put in the interruption. >> yes, sir. >> on the question the balance, i'm a little puzzled by the district court's decision
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because things were proceeding -- the status quo ante was changed by the policy. correct? >> we -- it was a prohibitory injunction. we agree that's what it was. >> i'm not clear why the balance of hardships favors your client rather than the plaintiff. >> well, in -- under either scenario with the preliminary injunction, you're looking at abuse of discretion standard, clear error on the facts and de novo on the law. if we talk -- our argument primarily at the lower level was that we should win as a matter of law both on title 9 and on equal protection. but in getting into the balance of hardships, what i understood the court to say and this is
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what's on the record is that this plaintiff is a female who has a gender dysphoria, identifies as a male, and had significant distress well before anything having to do with rest rooms came up, and continued to have that distress. there was -- or the facts in support of the plaintiff's side of that amounted to three paragraphs in the psychologist's report and the self-serving declaration of the plaintiff about the concerns that he had. on the other hand, on the other side was -- >> but the denial of the preliminary injunction changed the status quo, did it not? >> i don't know that it changed the status quo. i think that the -- >> well, surely you must know. >> the young man -- or the "g,"
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the plaintiff, had been using the restroom. >> that's the status quo. >> after they passed the resolution, he was no longer allowed to use the restroom. >> so the denial of the preliminary injunction changed the status quo. >> it did. >> okay. >> i don't quite understand that. i thought -- this is just on the facts. i thought that the school adopted a policy which is not -- which is challenged here. >> yes. >> and built three unisex restrooms. >> correct. >> and that the policy is status quo -- they changed earlier, they had him use the men's restroom, then because of complaints, they conducted meetings and adopted the policy which is at issue here and the policy says the person using the common restrooms will
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follow their biological makeup and anybody can use the unisex restrooms. >> correct. >> and that's challenged. judge davis is right that the ante before the policy was he was using the bathroom but the policy was not prompted by the lawsuit. was it? that was changed before the lawsuit? >> right. the policy existed before the lawsuit but the policy -- what occurred with the policy is this. the policy is a statement of existing situation which is we have two sets of restrooms. we have female restrooms to be used by people of the female sex, we have male restrooms used by male individuals of the male sex. then we have a third alternative that we have developed that is available for all students. that's one of the important facts in the case is, the policy itself doesn't say that but the plaintiff has pled -- >> that g.g. be allowed to use the
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boy's restroom. >> right. >> that's the full scope of the injunction request. >> which is what the state of affairs was before the policy and before the lawsuit. correct? >> g.g. was using the boys restroom up until the policy was passed. g.g. is now not using the boys restroom. >> well, what harm occurred during the seven weeks that he used the boy's restroom? >> on this record, the concerns that were raised -- and we go to a precedent in this court in terms of dealing with the right to bodily privacy. that's the concern. because the question is, did the policy in any way discriminate. and the answer is it did not, and it did not because it put people in the same situation they'd always been in, which was males go into the male restroom, females go into the female restroom and here is a third alternative for anyone, including g.g. >> again, what was the harm?
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>> the harm that was expressed, there was concern expressed by parents of students about their privacy interests of their students. that was the privacy interest was the primary concern of the school board in enforcing the existing policy of boys in the boys room, girls in the girls room, then adding the availability of a third option. >> which the children of any of those complaining parents have access to. >> they do. as does g. >> so i come back to the denial of the preliminary injunction changed the status quo in a way that actually ignores your client's effort to address the challenge by creating these unisex, private restrooms. >> i don't see how it ignored
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what the effort of the -- >> well, if your argument is, there were parents of certain students who were concerned, the board addressed that concern by creating these private restrooms. and so any of those students whose parents came to the board seeking redress now have access to the privacy that they claim they need and want. >> the first aspect -- i understand the court's point. the first aspect of the preliminary injunction is whether or not the plaintiffs are likely to win on merits. >> let's address that. how do you assess the district court wanting to hear more about equal protection and yet denying the preliminary injunction? i'm not suggesting definitively that that's inconsistent or
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contradictory, but the judge wants to hear more of this case, and yet by denying the preliminary injunction the judge changed the status quo ante. >> the standard for -- >> at least there's a hint of an inconsistency there. >> i understand what your honor is suggesting. and i understand the inconsistency that you're concerned about. the question is whether or not the plaintiff is likely to succeed. let's just use the equal protection claim since he ruled on the title nine claim. our position was and is that all students are treated the same. there are two choices. restrooms associated with their sex and single stall restrooms. transgender is not a suspect class. none of the case law that plaintiffs rely on from the pricewaterhouse area deals with a situation similar to this. and all that case law deals with is nonconforming behavior and then some type of an employment action primarily undertaken
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against someone who is a male who wasn't acting in a male manner and therefore was punished. so, the likelihood of success on equal protection clause is not strong. and the question is whether the gloucester county school board policy serve policy serves the governmental interest in protecting the safety and privacy of the students. if we get past the initial point there never was any discrimination and there never was any discrimination because the same policy was in existence from the very beginning. the boys in the boys room and the girls in the girls room, and here's a third option. you are too masculine, you can't go in the girls room. that's something we couldn't do. the notion on the other side of the case that you've kept that alive, i don't think the school board had a choice. i think you have to allow this
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individual to use the girls room if he so chooses. >> so, your argument is rooted in this notion that some wise person said biology is destiny. but, in fact, it's neurobiology, isn't it? that's destiny. >> i don't -- have an opinion on that. our belief is that sex equals male and female. >> well, of course, that's your position, but this is 2016. this is 2016. >> yes, sir. >> and so the question is, as judge neimeyer suggested, what is the meaning of sex in the year of 2016. >> our position is that the meaning of sex is the -- based on the person's genitalia. could it change? >> do you have expert evidence in the record? >> no expert evidence in the record. >> the judge didn't even require
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you to come forward with anything. >> well, you've seen the record. the record is pretty sparse on these points and, again -- >> are you going to be able to find a reputable psychologist or neuroscientist or psychiatrist to support your position that in 2016 all sex is, is biology? >> i don't -- >> without regard -- >> i haven't looked into that because we're nowhere near that in this case. i don't think it matters. i think the reason it doesn't matter is the question is whether or not this policy as implemented violates title nine or violates the equal protection clause. >> if we decide the department's regulation is entitled to our difference, does that change the calculus on the likelihood of success on the merits? >> first of all, obviously we would argue that it is not in title to deference that the word "se "sex," is not am big yuls.
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>> the assumption is we might do that. >> i think we still have the chance to win the case even if you give it deference on the basis that the way the ocr has interpreted this is to replace the word "sex" with the word "gender identity" and that's a fair reading and i think that the -- >> pricewaterhouse has largely already done that, hasn't it? and the progeny of pricewaterhouse, i thought we were well past the notion that sex in terms of discrimination law means no more and no less than biology. >> well, again -- >> i thought we were concerned about the stigmatizing effects of stereotypical approaches to gender roles. and if you talk about gender roles, it's impossible to talk about -- not talk about gender identity, isn't it? >> yes. and the point is, though, that those cases, in pricewaterhouse itself and the cases that follow it, what you're dealing with is
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a situation where it's two masculine female or too feminine male and you can't discriminate on that basis. there's no yes aboquestion abou. our situation there's a school board with children k-12 age 6 to age 18, they have a policy of allowing girls in the girls room and boys in the boys room. and in their wisdom provide a third option for anyone who is uncomfortable going to either spot and the question is, does that violate the equal protection clause or does that violate title nine. it does not. and that's our most significant argument is very simply that point. i don't think if you start getting into the complicated where are we today in 2016 i think that's some other case and that's somewhere down the road. the question is today on these facts with this scenario with the concerns -- pricewaterhouse, those are adults in the
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workplace. that's a different scenario. this is children in a school system. and the right of privacy of children in the school system is much more significant than it would be for the bathroom in this courtroom, for instance. and that matters. and so this school system, the question is whether or not what they decided to do violated either title nine or equal protection and our argument very simply that it did not. and that's our best argument. that's our main point coming here before this court today. >> i guess my concern is you may be right. but, again, i'm sort of stuck on the notion that the denial of the preliminary injunction -- in effect the denial of the preliminary injunction here was a grant of an affirmative injunction to the board. i mean, it's kind of -- it's kind of flipped. normally a party coming in to district court seeking a preliminary injunction is seeking to change the status
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quo. >> well, by the time the plaintiff came to court -- >> or to maintain the status quo i should say. >> by the time the plaintiff came to court -- >> but by here the district court's action actually changed the status quo. again, with regard -- i understand the policy was the animating legal action in play here, but down here on the ground the way people were living with each other and the way the school was being operated, without any complaints for a good while at least, and i'm not sure there were any complaints by the students to the school officials. this came from the parents. >> the record is that at the school there was no -- there were no incidents. >> there were no incidents. no disruption. things were proceeding apace. and then everything changed.
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for g.g. certainly. >> for g.g.? for everyone else everything remained the same in the sense there was a boys room and a girls room and you had those two options and g.g. and everyone else then received the third option that's available. i think the court's argument would be stronger if the school had not given the third option because i think that you would be then saying you have to go back -- you have to go to the girls room and they're not saying you have to, they're saying you can go to the girls room but you also have this other option so i think for that reason what remained in place was not really a substantial change from the original situation. >> but there's no stigmatizing impact on anyone but g.g. in using what you refer to as the third option. >> the third option i disagree potentially, if someone went in there could be potentially stigmatizing interest on anyone who went to use that restroom, who knows whether they would
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feel stigmatized in one way, shape or form. >> what would be the source of stigma? >> if suppose people were pro-transgender eyes of the boys room and that was the policy and people started using that, then there might be a stigmatizing interest, oh, you're against transgender people, you're a bigot, you're somebody who is uncomfortable with that. to me that would be a potentially stigmatizing interest. but, again, you know, we're beyond the record talking about those types of things. and our major point is that the question is whether or not what was done is violative of either title nine or equal protection and it simply is not. >> if g.g. had a sex change operation, would you allow him to use the boys restroom? >> my understanding of what the position would be -- and i'm going to read the policy.


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