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Here’s your news for today.

Pence to organize coronavirus response with weakened support

Donald Trump has named Vice President Mike Pence to be the point person to coordinate U.S. efforts to battle the coronavirus. As governor of Indiana, Pence was blamed for exacerbating an AIDS outbreak by denying access to medical supplies. The coronavirus hits the U.S. at a vulnerable time, as officials juggle budget cuts to health programs and the elimination of a pandemic response coordinator on the National Security Council. Trump’s proposed budget request for the fiscal year that begins in October would cut the Center for Disease Control’s budget by almost 16% and the Department of Health and Human Services’ by almost 10%. 

Congress makes lynching a hate crime, 65 years after Emmett Till

In a belated gesture for the 4,000 African-American men, women, and children murdered at the hands of their neighbors, the House of Representatives passed almost unanimous legislation Wednesday to designate lynching a federal crime. The bill was named for Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Chicagoan who was tortured and slain on a family trip to Mississippi in 1955 after a white woman said he whistled at her. Till’s death shocked the nation and made international news because his mother insisted on an open casket at the funeral to show the world what had been done to her son. Decades later, the white woman admitted she lied. Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, whose district includes Till’s former home, introduced the bill, which was co-sponsored by Sens. Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, and Tim Scott, the Senate’s only Black members. Three Republicans and an Independent lawmaker voted against the bill, which now goes to the Senate, and then the president. 

Ex-Amazon employee says retail giant used social media to learn applicants’ race

A former Amazon manager is suing for discriminatory practices, saying she was directed to research job applicants online to determine their race and gender. According to the lawsuit filed this week, she was fired after she submitted a complaint about the practice, even though she received only positive reviews up to that point. She also alleges that male co-workers were paid significantly more, and was told that happens “all the time” at Amazon. The lawsuit is just the latest in a string of controversies within the company, such as bad worker conditions, union-busting, and Alexa surveillance.

Record number of immigrants eligible to vote in presidential election

The number of eligible immigrant voters has nearly doubled since 2000, according to a report released Wednesday from the Pew Research Center. The immigrant electorate makes up 1 in 10 eligible voters for the 2020 presidential election and is increasing fastest in North Carolina, Georgia, and Minnesota. “All three have seen their numbers of immigrant eligible voters nearly triple between 2000 and 2018,” the Pew report said. Even as their numbers have increased and immigration issues have received more attention, the population has lagged behind U.S.-born voters in terms of registration and showing up to the polls.