Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
The Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 7321-7326, restricts Federal employee involvement in partisan political activity. Partisan political activity is any activity directed toward the success or failure of a partisan candidate, political party, or partisan political group. Violation of the Hatch Act may result in disciplinary action, to include removal from Federal employment. Employees should consult with the Departmental Ethics Office before engaging in any partisan political activity.
There are three different classes of employees under the Hatch Act:
Career SES, Administrative Law Judges (ALJ), Administrative Appeals Judges (AAJ), Contract Appeals Board Members (CABM), and employees of certain intelligence or enforcement agencies or officies (except PAS) are the most restricted group..
GS, WG, noncareer SES, Schedule C, SL, and ST employees are in the lesser restricted group. This group may participate in certain partisan political activity but only in a purely personal (not official) capacity.
Presidentially appointed, Senate confirmed personnel (PAS) are subject to special Hatch Act rules. They are less constrained in terms of where and when they can engage in political activity because of their 24-hour duty status. They too, however, may only participate in partisan political activity in a purely personal (not official) capacity.
Hatch Act Rules
No Use of Official Authority
A Federal employee may NOT use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to:
Using his or her official title while participating in political activity
Using his or her authority to coerce any person to participate in political activity
Soliciting, accepting, or receiving uncompensated individual volunteer services from a subordinate for any political purpose
An employee who signs a letter seeking uncompensated volunteer services from individuals may not identify himself or herself by using his or her official title. However, the employee may use a general form of address, such as "The Honorable."
An employee may not ask his or her subordinate employees to provide uncompensated individual volunteer services for a political party, partisan political group, or candidate for partisan political office. Moreover, he or she may not accept or receive such services from a subordinate employee who offers to donate them.
A Federal employee may NOT solicit, accept, or receive political contributions.
Asking for donations, e.g., by mail, email, or social media
Working a phone bank (if asking for contributions)
Hosting a fundraiser
Inviting others to a fundraiser
Sharing or liking fundraising posts on social media
No Partisan Political Activity at Work*
A Federal employee may NOT engage in partisan political activity while:
On duty (including when telecommuting or on official time for union duties)
In a Government room or building (including break rooms, conference rooms, and union offices, if inside a Federal building) or any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties
Emailing, blogging, tweeting, posting to social media
Even if using a personal device or email account
Even if sharing or forwarding content authored by others
Even if sharing or forwarding to friends or like-minded coworkers
Even union email if it meets the definition of partisan political activity
*This prohibition does not apply to PAS officials. However, a PAS official may not conduct any of these activities while acting in an official capacity. For example, a PAS official may not wear a political button or display a screen saver, poster, or candidate photograph in his or her office while actually performing the duties of his or her office. PAS officials should contact the Departmental Ethics Office before engaging in any partisan political activity.
Use of Privately Owned Vehicles
You may display a partisan political bumper sticker on your privately owned vehicle and park it in a Federal parking lot. Up to two partisan political bumper stickers (for example, one for candidate A in a Presidential race and one for candidate B in a congressional race) would not violate the Hatch Act. Employees must be cautioned, though, against displaying other partisan political materials, or even bumper stickers, in such a way that makes the vehicle appear to be a campaign mobile. If you use your private vehicle for official purposes, you must cover the bumper sticker(s) while the vehicle is being used for official duties.
Candidacy for Public Office
The Hatch Act and other Government policies may restrict an employee's ability to run for public office. If you are considering running for public office, contact the Departmental Ethics Office and your Bureau Ethics Office for guidance.