This week in wins: California goes all in on making health care available to everyone


Democratic-controlled states expanded health care access, made voting easier, and strengthened protections for victims of hate crimes.

Trump nearly sunk the United States into a military conflict with Iran in perhaps one of the scariest incidents of his presidency yet.

But as he put the world on the brink of World War III, Democratic-controlled states were passing progressive legislation that actually benefits Americans, including making health care more affordable and protecting victims of hate crimes.

Here is some good news for the week.

California legislature beefs up Obamacare

The Golden State's Democratic-controlled legislature passed a budget on Thursday that will make health care more affordable in the state by beefing up Affordable Care Act provisions, Politico reported.

The budget, among other things, carves out insurance subsidies for middle-income earners who make too much to qualify for federal subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans, which would expand subsidies to roughly 190,000 Californians.

The budget also made undocumented immigrants up to age 26 eligible for Medicaid coverage — defying the Trump administration's plans to kick undocumented immigrants off of social safety net programs.

The changes are a step toward Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's goal of passing a single-payer health care system in California, Politico reported.

Supreme Court upholds fairer state legislative districts in Virginia

The Supreme Court on Monday handed proponents of fair elections a win, when they ruled against the Virginia GOP's racially gerrymandered state legislative districts.

The ruling ensures that a fairer map, ordered by a lower court, will be in place for General Assembly elections this November.

The fairer map gives Democrats a good shot at winning control of the lower chamber of the state legislature.

If Democrats took control of the General Assembly, they would control the 2020 redistricting process — allowing them to draw fair maps for both congressional districts and state legislative districts for the next decade.

Rhode Island codifies a woman's right to health care

Rhode Island's Democratic governor, Gina Raimondo, signed the Reproductive Privacy Act on Wednesday, which codifies into state law that women can legally obtain an abortion up until the point when a fetus is viable.

The law also states that abortions are allowed at any time during pregnancy "when necessary to preserve the health or life" of a pregnant woman.

This makes Rhode island the latest Democratic-controlled state to ensure that women living there can legally obtain abortions. It's in stark contrast to moves in GOP-run states like Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri, which have made moves to ban and criminalize abortion.

"It keeps the most personal and difficult decisions of a woman’s life between her and her doctor  where they are today, and where they belong,” Raimondo said in a statement.

Oregon legislature votes to strengthen hate crime protections

Hate crimes are on the rise across the country, and Oregon's Democratic-controlled legislature is doing something about it, passing a bill on Wednesday that strengthens protections for victims of these heinous types of crimes, according to the Oregonian.

The bill makes hate crime offenses felonies, which carry harsher punishments, and it also adds gender identity as a protected class.

The Oregonian reported that these are the first change to Oregon's hate crime laws since 1981.

The state Senate passed the legislation last week, which means it now heads to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s desk, where she is expected to sign it into law.

New York passes stricter sexual harassment laws

New York's Democratic-controlled legislature passed a bill on Wednesday that makes it easier for employees in the state to report sexual harassment, the New York Times reported.

Most notably, it nixed the "severe or pervasive" standard of reporting harassment, which sometimes classified inappropriate comments or groping as not "sufficiently hostile" to amount to harassment, according to the Times.

It also gives victims more time to file complaints of sexual harassment.

A second bill passed on Wednesday also increases the statute of limitations for second- and third-degree rape. Before this bill passed, the statute of limitations for second-degree rape was just five years.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the legislation into law.

Federal judge blocks ICE from making immigration arrests in Massachusetts courthouses

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani on Thursday blocked Immigration and Customs Enforcement from making civil immigration arrests in Massachusetts courthouses, CNN reported.

The ruling is a win for local law enforcement, which has argued that ICE arrests at courthouses has hindered their ability to prosecute criminals, as undocumented immigrants who are victims of or witness to crimes are too afraid to testify in court for fear of deportation.

Come back next week for more good news.