- After announcing its plan to decriminalize gay sex, Singapore is now considering laws against cancel culture to protect citizens’ freedom of expression.
- However, emphasis is placed on religious groups, who “feel very put upon because they feel whenever they express their views they are attacked as homophobes,” Law Minister K Shanmugam told Bloomberg.
- Shanmugam, who also serves as minister of Home Affairs, said there is a line between expressing one’s religion and engaging in hate speech.
- No official date has been set for the repeal of Section 377A, which criminalizes sex between men but not between women and other genders.
Weeks after announcing its plan to decriminalize gay sex, Singapore is considering legislation against cancel culture to protect citizens expressing their views from online backlash.
While LGBTQ-plus supporters celebrate the move to repeal the colonial-era Section 377A, opponents reportedly fear obstruction of religious freedom, or “reverse discrimination” if they choose to publish dissenting opinions.
- On Friday, North Korean state media reported the passing of new legislation permitting the launching of nuclear weapons.
- In the official report released by KCNA, the nuclear forces are a “powerful means of defending the sovereignty, territorial integrity and fundamental interests of the state.”
- In his speech at the Thursday SPA meeting, Kim Jong-un emphasized his will to “never give up nuclear weapons” and accused the U.S. of attempting to weaken the country.
- North Korea’s response came soon after the 2022 Seoul Defense Dialogue and a Tokyo trilateral meeting between the United States, South Korea and Japan.
North Korea has passed an “irreversible” law declaring itself a nuclear weapons state.
On Friday, North Korean state media reported the passing of new legislation permitting the preemptive launching of nuclear weapons when the leadership is threatened. The new law updated the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) previous stance of maintaining their nuclear weapons until other countries also denuclearized and not using them preemptively against non-nuclear powers.
- Rhode Island State Rep. Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R-15) introduced a bill that would require Asian American history be taught in public elementary and high schools.
- The curriculum would cover Asian American contributions in various fields, including the advancement of civil rights, as well as the history of AAPI communities in Rhode Island and the Northeast.
- Fenton-Fung has also advocated for multilingual community resources to reach non-English speaking communities amid the state’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.
A Republican legislator in Rhode Island has introduced a bill that would require Asian American history be taught in public elementary and high schools starting next fall.
State Rep. Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, who represents District 15, says she wants students to learn about the achievements of Asian Americans, as well as the struggles they have faced as a community throughout history.
- Congress has introduced bipartisan bills to rename the embassy currently known in Washington as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office as Taiwan.
- The pair of bills will direct the State Secretary to negotiate with TECRO to rename itself “Taiwan Representative Office.”
- The legislation is expected to create further tensions with China, which has ramped up its military presence in the Taiwan Strait in recent months.
Bipartisan sponsored bills seeking to rename Taipei’s de facto embassy in Washington, D.C. were introduced in the Senate and House on Thursday.
Under the proposed legislation, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) will become known as the “Taiwan Representative Office,” reported Reuters.
- Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) has introduced a new bill that would add Lunar New Year to the list of 11 recognized federal holidays in the United States.
- Meng also introduced another resolution, “Recognizing the cultural and historical significance of Lunar New Year in 2022,” alongside the new bill on Friday.
- “My bill, coupled with my resolution, would demonstrate that the holiday celebrated by millions is also valued by their government,” Meng, a Taiwanese American born in Queens, said.
After helping make Lunar New Year a school holiday in New York, Queens Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) is now pushing to make it a federal holiday through new legislation.
Introduced on Friday, the Lunar New Year Day Act bill, co-sponsored by 44 other individuals, would add Lunar New Year to the list of 11 federally recognized holidays, according to a press release published on Monday.
The Thai government is closer than ever to removing cannabis from its list of illegal drugs.
Announced on Tuesday, the new rule will officially take effect 120 days after Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul formally signs off on the changes and publishes the new rule in the official Royal Gazette, according to Reuters.
- Two Wisconsin bills would amend state law to include the history of Hmong and Asian Pacific Island Desi Americans to the public school curriculum.
- If passed, Wisconsin will become the third state to require Asian American history to be taught in public schools, while New Jersey, following Illinois’ lead, became the second state to do so with the passing of the NJ AAPI Curriculum Bill on Tuesday.
A pair of Wisconsin bills could make it mandatory to include the history of Hmong and Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans to the state public school curriculum.
Senate Bill 379 and Assembly Bill 381 would amend state law to require, “at all grade levels, an understanding of human relations, particularly with regard to American Indians, Black Americans and, Hispanics, Hmong Americans, and Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans.”
Thailand to decriminalize marijuana possession, paving the way for legal recreational use and cultivation
- Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration has proposed to exclude marijuana from the narcotics control board’s list of controlled drugs.
- It is now awaiting the approval of Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, a vocal medical marijuana advocate.
- Once approved, the proposal will pave the way for recreational cannabis use in the country.
Thailand is set to fully decriminalize cannabis, paving the way for recreational marijuana use in the country.
Thailand, which became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical marijuana in 2018, is moving to allow full cannabis access with a new proposal from its Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reported Bloomberg.
- Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed a new bill on Tuesday that requires K-12 schools in New Jersey to teach Asian American and Pacific Islander history as part of their curricula.
- The recent move made New Jersey the second state to pass this type of bill after Illinois in July 2021.
New Jersey has become the second state that will require K-12 schools to teach Asian American and Pacific Islander history as part of their curricula starting in the 2022-2023 school year.
The bill, also known as the NJ AAPI Curriculum Bill (S4021/A6100), aims to create a “more tolerant and knowledgeable future for New Jersey,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said after signing the legislation on Tuesday.
- A married same-sex couple became the first LGBTQ couple to legally adopt a child together in Taiwan this week.
- Taiwan’s law on same-sex marriage, passed in 2019, allowed one of the spouses to adopt the other’s biological child or a non-biologically related child as an unmarried individual, but the law did not permit same-sex couples to adopt a child together.
- The couple, who have been together for 16 years, prolonged their engagement and married after their paperwork to adopt their daughter was finalized before taking their case to court to have Chen equally recognized as a parent.
Wang Chen-wei and Chen Chun-ju are the first LGBTQ plus couple in Taiwan to legally adopt a non-biologically related child together.
LGBTQ plus activists have advocated to amend the 2019 law that legalized same-sex marriage to allow more freedoms for the marginalized community in the country, according to Taiwan News. Until late December, only one of the spouses in a same-sex marriage could adopt the other’s biological child, but the law prevented same-sex couples from adopting a child together who is not related to either of them biologically.
NY governor Kathy Hochul says racism is a ‘public health crisis’ after signing 6 anti-hate legislations
- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed six legislation to address racial discrimination and injustice in the state.
- The legislation will declare racism a public health crisis, enact the hate crimes analysis and review act, require the collection of certain demographic data, require a health equity assessment to accompany any project that will affect a hospital's health care services, require the New York State Office of Technology Services to advise all state agencies in the implementation of language translation technology and expand the list of diseases for which a newborn can be screened in order to include conditions more prevalent in newborns from the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed six anti-hate legislation on Dec. 23 to address discrimination and racial injustice.
Six steps towards a more equitable New York
- Historically, Asian Americans have been viewed and treated by many as a monolith.
- A newly enacted New York bill creates separate categories for Asian ethnic groups in data collection, which would guide policymakers in addressing each community’s unique needs.
- Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the bill as part of a package of legislation that tackle racism and discrimination.
In hopes of better serving Asian communities, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) has signed a package of legislation that tackles racism and discrimination, with one of the bills aimed at disaggregating Asian American data by ethnic group.