This week in wins: Congress declares it's high time to help marijuana industry


New York will encourage more voters to participate in the 2020 primaries and Maine pledges to be carbon neutral in 25 years.

Congress has decided it is high time to help the legal marijuana industry and voters in New York will have more time to register to vote before the 2020 primaries.

And for the second week in a row, young people around the globe took to the streets to demand action on climate change.

Those are just some of the wins this week. Here's some more good news from across the country.

House puff puff passes a bill to help the marijuana industry


On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to ensure banks can serve the legal marijuana industry. In a joint effort to bolster the budding industry, a bipartisan majority in the House passed legislation allowing banks to cater to the marijuana industry in states where it is legal.

While selling weed is still a no-go according to federal law, the bill would shield banks that service the industry from federal prosecution.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) has been in the weeds on this legislation since he first introduced it 2013. The bill now moves to the Senate, where supporters hope Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not blunt its progress.

New York gives voters until February to register for 2020 primaries

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Thursday giving voters until Feb. 14 to change their party registration ahead of the 2020 presidential primaries. The previous deadline was Oct. 11.

The legislation is part of "monumental changes to break down more barriers to the ballot box and encourage more people to exercise this fundamental right," Cuomo said in a statement. New York's primary is scheduled for April 28, 2020.

New York is a closed primary state, meaning voters must be registered with a party in order to vote in that party's primary. Other states, such as Georgia, have an open primary, meaning voters choose which primary to vote in on the day of the election.

Federal judge upholds Maryland law banning anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy

Maryland's law prohibiting minors from facing so-called conversion therapy will stay on the books after a federal judge tossed out a complaint from a psychotherapist last Friday.

The law was signed into law in May 2018 and challenged by a Christian therapist who argued the ban violated his free speech and religious freedom. The judge determined the law does neither.

"No child should ever be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy," Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said when the bill was signed into law. "This dangerous and ​inhumane form of child abuse has no basis in science and is ​uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare ​organization."

Young people march for climate for second week in a row

Determined to make politicians listen, young people across the world took to the streets for the second Friday in a row to draw attention to the climate crisis. Last week's climate marches in cities and towns across the globe drew some 4 million participants.

Earlier this week, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, spoke at the United Nations Climate Action Summit demanding global leaders do more to address climate change.

On Friday, Thunberg spoke again at a rally in Montreal. "To once again stand together, people from all around the world, for one common cause, that is very empowering," she said.

California cities have new authority to build homeless shelters

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 13 laws on Thursday aimed at addressing the state's growing homelessness crisis. The main thrust of the legislation is to give cities more tools to address the issue, as well as build shelters more quickly.

"Supportive housing and shelters aren't being built quickly enough and as long as Californians are struggling to survive in our streets, we have a moral responsibility to do everything in our power to provide the shelter and assistance they need to get back on their feet," Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Los Angeles Democrat, said earlier this month about the legislation.

The laws allow cities to bypass some California environmental laws when building shelters, and make it easier to use hotels as homeless shelters.

Maine vows to be carbon neutral by 2045

At the United Nations Climate Action Summit, Maine Gov. Janet Mills told world leaders that her state will be carbon neutral in about 25 years.

"We’ve got to unite to preserve our precious common ground, for our common planet, in uncommon ways for this imperative common purpose," Mills said on Monday. "Maine won't wait. Will you?"

Mills said that the commitment to eliminate the state's carbon footprint will help the economy at the same time it helps the planet.

Come back next week for more good news.