News you might have missed: Millionaires beg to be taxed to help cover virus relief

941

Also: States join together to fight climate change, and Texas breaks a decades-old voter turnout record.

This week, millionaires told the government to "tax us," three states moved toward implementing police reforms, and a nunchuck-wielding bear entertained millions.

Read on to see what else you might have missed this week in the news.

Millionaires ask for higher taxes to pay for coronavirus relief efforts

More than 80 millionaires have signed an open letter asking the federal government to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to help offset the cost of coronavirus relief efforts, CBS News reported on Monday.

Advertisement
Loading...

"As Covid-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world," the letter stated. "The problems caused by, and revealed by, Covid-19 can't be solved with charity, no matter how generous."

The group wrote that millionaires can help "adequately fund our health systems, schools, and security through a permanent tax increase on the wealthiest people on the planet, people like us."

The letter was signed by Walt Disney descendants Abigail and Tim Disney, as well as Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield.

Due to the passage of the 2017 GOP tax law, the richest 400 families in the United States currently pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families, CBS reported.

"We are not fighting on the frontlines of this emergency and we are much less likely to be its victims," the millionaires wrote. "So please. Tax us. Tax us. Tax us. It is the right choice. It is the only choice."

Federal court hands down pro-choice ruling

Patients no longer need to visit a health care facility to pick up medication used for abortions, a federal court ruled on Monday.

Prior to the ruling, the Food and Drug Administration required people to travel to their health care provider, even during the pandemic, to pick up mifepristone, a drug paired with misoprostol to end early pregnancies. Patients can now receive their prescription medication by mail.

"People should not be forced to risk unnecessary exposure to a deadly virus in order to access essential medication that has a proven track record of safety," Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a group of medical experts that included the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

15 states and DC push for more zero-emission heavy trucks

A coalition of states and the District of Columbia announced on Tuesday that they will work together to bring more medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles to the market.

The states aim to accelerate the market for electric vehicles including vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, school buses, and long-haul trucks, commonly known as big rigs. Trucks and buses account for nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector even though they make up only 4% of vehicles on the road, according to a press release.

"The electric vehicle industry is primed for tremendous growth," D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a press release. "We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to place clean transportation technology and infrastructure at the center of the nation's economic recovery."

California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C., have joined the effort thus far.

Colorado bans gay panic defense

Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation on Monday making Colorado the 11th state in the country to ban the so-called "gay panic" legal defense by those accused of committing crimes against LGBTQ people.

This defense seeks to shift blame for crimes onto LGBTQ individuals, arguing that the knowledge or discovery of someone's sexual orientation or gender identity is sufficient cause to attack a person, according to a report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA Law School.

"We've come a long way here in Colorado since our days as the Hate State," Polis said at the bill signing. He described the gay panic defense as "absurd," "outdated," and "insidious," according to the Denver Post.

Three states take steps on police reform

The governors of Pennsylvania and Vermont have signed police reform legislation into law, in light of nationwide protests calling for an end to racism and police brutality.

The Massachusetts state Senate also passed a police reform bill this week.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf signed two bills into law on Tuesday. One requires more transparency for law enforcement hires, and another requires mental health evaluations for officers.

The Vermont law requires state troopers to wear body cameras and bans police in the state from using chokeholds. In addition, funding for law enforcement agencies is contingent upon the agencies complying with racial data reporting requirements.

The bill in Massachusetts, which passed on Tuesday, would ban chokeholds, as well as educate law enforcement officers on the history of racism. It places limits on the use of tear gas. The bill would also roll back some of the legal immunity given to law enforcement officers.

It still needs to pass the state House and be signed by the governor before becoming law.

Texas Democrats break turnout record in Tuesday election

More than 955,000 Democrats voted in Tuesday's runoff election in Texas, breaking the party's previous turnout record of 747,000 set in 1994.

The surge in turnout "showed that Texas Democrats are fired up and are ready for change," Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a press release the day after the election.

Democrats nominated MJ Hegar, an Air Force veteran, to take on Republican Sen. John Cornyn in November.

Republicans have won every presidential vote in Texas since 1980, and a Democrat has not been elected to the U.S. Senate from the state since 1988. But many election experts wonder if that will change in 2020.

Even before Tuesday's turnout record, CNN polling expert Harry Enten wrote that it was "pretty clear looking at the data that Texas is a swing state in the 2020 election."

Watch: Nunchuck bear takes the internet by storm

A 4-year-old black bear made the rounds on the internet this week, showing off impressive skills with a nunchuck-style weapon.

The undated video is from the Yagiyama Zoological Park in Japan, Tsubasa, according to the Indian Express. The paper noted that the bear is wielding a three-section staff, which is a martial arts weapon similar to nunchucks.

The video has been viewed more than 14 million times on Twitter.