[VIDEO] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Securing America’s Elections Act to Ensure Integrity of 2018 Elections

March 1, 2018 Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today introduced legislation to protect the country’s election infrastructure from cyber-hackers by requiring the use of voter-verified paper ballots or a paper ballot backup in federal elections. It authorizes emergency funding to empower every state to use voter-verified paper ballots that produce an auditable paper trail, beginning with the 2018 elections. It also addresses the need to ensure safe and secure software is utilized in voting machines on Election Day.

The Securing America’s Elections Act expands on progress made in Hawai‘i and 14 other states that currently produce voter-verified paper ballots to provide the American people with a secure, reliable, and independent record of their votes.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, 21 U.S. states’ electoral systems faced attempted hacking in the 2016 election. Shortly after, at the world’s longest-running and largest hacking conference, DEFCON revealed startling cyber vulnerabilities in US election infrastructure: hackers easily breached every piece of election equipment, some in mere minutes. Participants with limited prior hacking knowledge and few tools and resources were able to undermine and manipulate the privacy, integrity, and accessibility of election equipment – most of which is still widely used in state and local elections today. Following these revelations from DEFCON, states like Virginia took action and switched to a voter-verified paper ballot system in their 2017 election to ensure voter integrity and confidence in their elections infrastructure. They produced the highest voter turnout in two decades.  However, serious vulnerabilities remain in most states.

Video of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Speech on the House Floor is Available Here

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard questioned top homeland security, cybersecurity, and Virginia elections officers on the integrity of the nation’s voting machines.

 

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“The Department of Homeland Security reported that 21 state electoral systems were targeted in the 2016 election, revealing serious vulnerabilities and threatening the integrity of our elections. Soon after, at DEFCON, the world’s largest hacking conference, hackers breached every piece of election equipment, some within mere minutes. We cannot ignore these vulnerabilities that erode voter confidence and expose our election’s infrastructure to manipulation by adversaries. With 2018 elections quickly approaching, Congress must act now and work with states to safeguard our electoral infrastructure and ensure that each and every American vote is counted faithfully and accurately.

“The Securing America’s Elections Act will ensure our elections are hack-proof by providing the American people with an auditable, reliable, paper record of their votes in time for the 2018 elections. It will also begin to address the effectiveness and security of our voting machine software. This is critical to renew our citizens’ faith in the electoral process.”

Brian Fox, Board Member, National Association of Voting Officials, said, “We are pleased to see Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard leading the country toward safe and secure election systems. The open source software language in her legislation, in addition to the necessary paper ballot component, will give appropriate security direction to the nation’s election officials. Congresswoman Gabbard is appreciated as a  pioneer advocating the science of protecting our democracy.”  

 

Background:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Securing America’s Elections Act would ensure an auditable and secure record of every American’s vote by:

  • Requiring the use of voter-verified paper ballots or a paper ballot backup in federal elections that if needed, can be audited and counted by hand, optical scanner, or similar device.  

  • Allowing voters to verify their ballot and correct any errors before their permanent paper ballot is preserved for official records.  

  • Establishing voter-verified paper ballots as the correct record of the total votes cast, in the event of any inconsistencies or irregularities between electronic and paper vote tallies.

  • Authorizing emergency funding for states to meet the costs of ensuring paper ballots/paper ballot backups by the 2018 federal elections.

  • Studying the effectiveness and security of using open-source electronic voting software, which could potentially provide additional security and lower costs of upgrading our nation’s election infrastructure.

In an Oversight and Government Reform Hearing, Edgardo Cortés, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, confirmed the lack of public confidence and vulnerabilities of existing voting systems in the state of Virginia and across the country. Following these revelations of vulnerable election equipment at DEFCON, Virginia switched to a voter-verified paper ballot system before the 2017 election. The Virginia Department of Elections didn’t receive a single complaint questioning the integrity of the 2017 election and produced the highest voter turnout in two decades.

Asked by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard about the decision to transition to a voter-verified paper ballot election system, Edgardo Cortés, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections said, “When it came down to the final decision about what to do with the equipment, our biggest consideration was if there was some issue reported on Election Day, would we have the confidence to go out and tell our voters that the results from the machines were accurate and that we could confirm that. I think that ultimately, we determined, in consultation with our wonderful staff at the state IT agency and their assessment, that we wouldn’t be in a position to do that with the equipment that we were using. Without that independent verification, that paper ballot, there would be no way to do that. I think that ultimately was the moment that decertification moved forward, and we decided to have paper ballots state-wide for this past November.”

 

Bill to Provide Hawaiʻi with Funding for Floriculture Research introduced by Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa

– Editors note : The funding is for plant breeding, not for GMO’s.–

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) have introduced the State Assistance for Tropical Floriculture Research Act of 2018 (H.R. 5066) to support floriculture research and development in Hawaiʻi and across the United States. The bill would authorize grants of a minimum of $250,000 annually for selected states to research and develop new and disease resistant varieties of tropical flowers. Hawaiʻi’s floriculture and nursery productsincluding cut flowers, orchids, lei flowers, potted flowering plants, and moreare estimated to be valued at $74.5 million.  

“Floriculture remains one of our most profitable agricultural sectors in Hawaiʻi, supporting hundreds of growers and processors across our islands. The global floriculture market is becoming increasingly competitive, and we must support and empower our local growers.  We also must ensure that our unique flora is protected from invasive species, diseases, and other threats. Our legislation will create opportunities for Hawaiʻi to lead the nation in floriculture research and development now, and for years to come,” 
said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“The floriculture and nursery community in Hawaiʻi is an important part of our agriculture industry and serves a global marketplace. The variety and colors of the flowers grown here coupled with the reliable supply created by our hard working growers attracts foreign and domestic customers, helping to showcase Hawaiʻi to the world,” said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. “We need to support and help diversify our agriculture industry and this bill would help finance important floriculture research. The University of Hawaiʻi’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) regularly works with the Hawaiʻi Floriculture and Nursery Association and the State Department of Agriculture on research and programs and it is important to support that type of collaboration in Hawaiʻi and around the country.”

“The Hawaiʻi Floriculture and Nursery Association (HFNA) appreciates Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s effort to establish a grant program for research and development of disease resistant varieties of tropical flowers and plants. By directing the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants to State departments of agriculture for this purpose will allow our industry to be more competitive and resilient in the global marketplace,” said Eric Tanouye, Hawaiʻi Floriculture and Nursery Association president.

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Backs Bipartisan Legislation to Address Hawai‘i, Nationwide Nursing Shortage

February 22, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, today announced support for bipartisan legislation to address the severe shortage of nurses in Hawai’i and across the country. The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R.5052) would direct Medicare-participating hospitals to develop nurse staffing plans that ensure an adequate number of nurses to meet patient needs and improve patient safety. Without adequate registered nurse staffing, patients are at higher risk for prolonged hospital stays, increased infections, avoidable medication errors, falls, injuries, and even death. Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

“Nurses are the driving force of our healthcare system, providing top-notch healthcare while ensuring patient safety and comfort,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “Unfortunately too many hospitals, especially in our rural and under-served communities, face a nursing shortageputting patient lives and health at risk and driving up hospital costs. Adding nurses to hospital staffing plans would help to dramatically prevent hospital deaths, reduce infections and hospital re-admissions, and save hospitals nearly $3 billion. Our bipartisan legislation will support and empower nurses in Hawai‘i and across the country to deliver quality healthcare for all.”

“As a husband of a nurse, I have experienced first-hand the many challenges and responsibilities nurses face on a day to day basis,” said Congressman David Joyce. “Ensuring patient safety and care has always been a priority but has faced many challenges when nurses are over worked and hospitals are under staffed. As Co-Chair of the House Nursing Caucus, I am proud to introduce legislation that addresses the issue and protects our patients and nurses.”

“RN staffing makes a critical difference for patients and the quality of their care,” said Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association. “Appropriate nurse staffing keeps patients safe and protects them from preventable complications, even lowering the risk of death. Nursing care is like medication—we would never withhold a medication when we know its lifesaving effects. The Safe Staffing for Nurse and Patient Safety Act empowers direct care nurses to determine the unique and variable needs of their patients to ensure the safety and quality outcomes of care.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus with Rep. David Joyce (OH-14). The congresswoman joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce H.R.959, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act in February of 2017. The bipartisan legislation would reauthorize federal funding for nursing workforce and education programs to help grow and support nurses across the United States. The congresswoman has also hosted a congressional briefing focused on the severe shortage of nurses in Hawai‘i and across the country. She also supports HR676 Improved Medicare For All.

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes Against Bill that Undermines Civil Rights Protections for Americans with Disabilities

Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted against legislation that unravels civil rights protections for millions of individuals with disabilities in Hawai‘i and across the country. H.R. 620 undermines the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by placing burdensome requirements on individuals with disabilities, making it more difficult for them to access equal rights protections. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 225-192.

According to the Hawaii Disability Rights Center, 15 percent of Hawai‘i residents are disabled – higher than the national average. The National Federation for the Blind of Hawai‘i also reported that Hawai‘i is home to roughly 22,700 people with a visual disability, who would be disproportionately burdened by the hurdles enacted by H.R. 620.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “For more than 25 years, the ADA has been instrumental in expanding and protecting fair, equal opportunities for disabled Americans. H.R. 620 unravels this progress, making it easier for employers to skirt around discrimination laws and requiring people with disabilities to jump through hoops for the equal access protections to which they are entitled. I’ve heard from many community organizations in Hawai‘i that shared how this legislation would hurt our more than 210,000 disabled residents. I stand with them in strong opposition to this harmful legislation.”

National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii said, “The leaders and members of the National Federation of the Blind of Hawaii strongly oppose H. R. 620, the so-called ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Education and Reform Act.  If this bill becomes law, it will diminish the rights of blind people by eroding the foundation of the ADA. Passed with strong bi-partisan support and signed into law by president George H. W. Bush in 1990, the ADA assures that all Americans with disabilities have the right to live free from exclusion and discrimination in any way in American society.  The ADA ensures that anyone with a disability can enjoy the benefits of living in our free and open state and country alongside all other citizens.  In short, the ADA is the persons with disabilities equality act, which must not be diminished in either its force or effect.  We call upon everyone in Hawai‘i and throughout the U. S. to join us in opposing H.R. 620, which is a deceptive attempt to repeal the ADA.” 

Aloha State Association of the Deaf said, “Aloha State Association of the Deaf strongly opposes this bill because it will affect Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing citizens of Hawai‘i.”

Special Olympics Hawaii said, “Special Olympics strongly supports legislation that guarantees the rights, full participation, and integration of people with intellectual disabilities (ID). We appreciate the progress that has been made towards eliminating the stigma, stereotypes, isolation, and discrimination that people with intellectual disabilities face – most importantly around access to sport, health, and education. We ask Congress to remain vigilant against any erosion of any provisions that have made a substantial difference in the lives of people with disabilities.”

H.R. 620 is opposed by numerous civil rights, disability rights, and other organizations including AARP, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP,  Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Association of Justice (AAJ), ACLU, AFSCME, National Disability Rights Network, American Association of People with Disabilities, National Council of Disability, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Easterseals, National Foundation of the Blind, and United Cerebral Palsy.

Background:

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has long called for expanding federal protections against discrimination on the basis of national origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, gender, or race. She is a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would add sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity to the list of protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. H.R. 2282 would expand federal protections to end discrimination in public accommodations, state and local government services, public education, federal financial assistance, employment, housing, credit, and federal jury service.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is also a cosponsor of H.R.1734 and H.R. 1772, which will increase access to technology, education, and employment opportunities for blind individuals, and H.R. 1377, which phases out subminimum wages for workers with disabilities.

 

Follow Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on social media:

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Supports Bill to Fund Veteran Treatment Courts in Hawai’i, Nationwide

“This legislation is an example of some of the long overdue reforms needed in our criminal justice system, and honors our veterans and their sacrifice by providing them with the care and treatment they need”

Hilo Veterans Day Parade Participants. Pictured above are some team members of the Big Island Veteran’s Treatment Court

February 13, 2018 Press Release
Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the Congressional Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus, announced support today for bipartisan legislation to authorize federal funding for veteran treatment courts in Hawai‘i and across the United States. The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act (H.R. 4345) would provide federal grants to state, local, and tribal governments to establish new veteran treatment courts and maintain current programs, like the Big Island Veterans Treatment Court. More than 15,000 veterans nationwide have received support through veteran treatment courts.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:
“In Hawai‘i and across the country, veteran treatment courts are helping veterans who are dealing with substance addiction and have committed nonviolent crimes get treatment and get their lives back on track. Through high-intensity supervision and a network of support that includes veteran-to-veteran mentorship, job and housing support, employment assistance, treatment and counseling, and more, veteran treatment courts are ensuring that they get the care and services needed to heal, and putting them on a path to success. I’ve met veterans in Hawai’i who have graduated from this program, and who tearfully share how this program has literally saved their lives. This legislation is an example of some of the long overdue reforms needed in our criminal justice system, and honors our veterans and their sacrifice by providing them with the care and treatment they need.”

Background:

The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2017 establishes a program within the Department of Justice to provide grants, training, and technical assistance to help state, local, and tribal governments maintain existing veterans treatment courts. The bipartisan legislation also provides federal resources for the establishment of new treatment courts.

H.R. 4345, the Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2017 is endorsed by numerous servicemembers and veterans organizations including American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, National Military & Veterans Alliance, American Logistics Association, American Military Retirees Association, American Military Society, American and Navy Union of the USA, American Retiree Association, Association of the US Navy, Military Order of Foreign Wars Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Order of World Wars, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, The Flag and General Officers Network, The Independence Fund, The Retired Enlisted Association, Society of Military Widows, Vietnam Veterans of America.

 
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