Senator Josh Hawley, R-MO, sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday asking him to investigate state leaders for allegedly violating the religious freedoms of Americans, while allowing protests to continue across the country.
“In the past few weeks, state officials across the country have blatantly violated the
free exercise and free speech rights of religious Americans,” Hawley wrote. “Under the First Amendment, state officials must not treat religious persons and groups worse than others, and they must not favor one kind of speech over another. State officials have violated the free speech and free exercise rights of religious Americans by treating religious gatherings and speech differently than the speech and mass gatherings of protests. I urge you to launch a full civil rights investigation.”
The letter comes as protests continue nationwide in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, which Hawley recognized as the public’s constitutional right to do so peacefully. Although thousands are able to take to the streets, Hawley explained that many state and local leaders are still keeping religious Americans away from their faith gatherings.
Hawley noted, “Now, after two weeks of nationwide protests, no uncertainty remains. Many jurisdictions across the nation are imposing extraordinarily strict caps on religious gatherings—such as restricting religious gatherings to 10 or fewer people—even as those jurisdictions allow thousands of people to gather closely in protests. States cannot allow one but prohibit the other.”
“These actions also violate free speech. The First Amendment prohibits state officials from banning meetings based on the ideas that will be expressed. State officials have determined that the message behind the current protests is worth saying. But state officials cannot block religious speech while allowing protests simply because the states think the protest speech is more valuable.”
AG Barr has been outspoken about the issue since the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down many cities and states. Moreover, he’s put many states on notice for violating religious rights, while allowing certain “essential” places to remain open for business.
Read the full letter below:
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Health Industry Distributors’ Association: Supply Chain Delays ‘A Healthcare Issue’
The Health Industry Distributors’ Association (HIDA) released harrowing data stating “Transportation Delays Are A Healthcare Issue.” HIDA’s December release states, “research estimates that approximately 8,000-12,000 containers of critical medical supplies are delayed an average of up to 37 days throughout the transportation system.”
The statement continues, “The West Coast port with the greatest number of delayed medical containers are the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The most congested East Coast port is the Port of Savannah.”
An infographic is accompanied with the statement which breaks down the crisis further. 17 is the average number of days the shipments are delayed at the Port. There’s an 11 day average delay by rail, and a 9 day average delay by truck.
In those shipping containers, the infographic states 187,000 gowns, 360,000 syringes and 3.5 million surgical gloves are held. The ports with the most medical delayed supplies are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Savannah, New York/New Jersey, Charleston, Seattle, Oakland, Boston, Baltimore and Houston.
Axios reports under a “Why it matters” headline, that “Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won’t be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022.”
As a result, “that could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.”
Additionally, “The supply chain problems can compound, starting with medical supplies languishing in U.S. ports for an average of 17 days, officials said.”
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