Progress on the Hill!

Action Utah members are making an impact!

For the past two weeks, Action Utah members have been engaging the state legislative session — many people for the first time ever. Our members have been busy calling their legislators and committee members, attending town halls, signing petitions, appearing at public hearings, testifying before legislators, getting news coverage, attending community lobby training workshops and writing letters to the editor and op-eds.

Remember, our members are just ordinary community members trying to make a difference — and their efforts are already starting to paying off!

Thanks to all you engaged Utahns out there, our actions have begun influencing a number of state bills, and we’re just getting started! If you haven’t yet had a chance to participate in actions that impact state policy, don’t worry — there are many more opportunities to come, starting today! Just scroll down to find our weekly calls to action. We encourage you to take a step out of your comfort zone and try it out — engaging the state legislative session can be easier than you may think, and it feels great to make a difference!

 

Lots of events in Utah this week! Here are a few we recommend from our Calendar:

  • Monday, February 6, 6:00p MST – Tele-townhall with Sen. Mike Lee. You must sign up to participate by clicking here.
  • Monday, Feb 6, 7:00p – Celebrate and Stand With Bears Ears National Monument, University of Utah, Department of Film & Media Arts, 375 S 1530 E, Rm 270, Salt Lake City. Join Utah Diné Bikéyah and elected tribal officials of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition in supporting the national monument in the face of political pressure to rescind the monument designation.
  • Thursday, Feb 9, 8:30-10:00a – Utah Housing Coalition’s “Housing Matters” rally, Capitol Rotunda, State Capitol, Salt Lake City. Calling on caring community members, families, developers, investors and consumers to join Action Utah in support of Rep. Becky Edwards’ Affordable Housing Amendments bill.
  • Thursday, Feb 9, 6:00-8:00p – Rep. Jason Chaffetz Town Hall Meeting, Brighton High School auditorium, 2220 Bengal Blvd., Cottonwood Heights. Please contact us to join the Action Utah team attending the meeting.
  • Sunday, Feb 12, 1:00p – SUWA rally for Bears Ears, Capitol Rotunda, State Capitol, Salt Lake City. Come support Bears Ears NM and help set the record straight about how the monument came to be and how a majority of Utahns support it.

 

State Legislative Session Update

Our Action Teams have been busy mobilizing community members to take actions on a number of state policies from Democrats and Republicans alike. Here’s the latest on what AU members have been up to at the state level.

  

Social Policy Team members met with Rep. Becky Edwards, Rep. Brian King and Rep. Angela Romero. They called legislators and attended the public hearings for HB 200: Mandatory Rape Kit Testing and HB 178: Good Landlord Amendments, both of which passed committee will get a vote on the House floor.

Health Policy Team members spent the week writing letters to the editor and op-eds to help advance three bills: HB 66: Opiate Overdose Response Act Amendments, which passed committee and will get voted on by the House, HB 76: End of Life Options, which awaits a standing committee hearing, and HB 215: Reproductive Health and Healthy Relationships Education, which will go before a standing committee TODAY AT 3:40p. Please support this bill by attending the hearing and even offering up your testimony! Details below.

Environmental Policy Team members met with several legislators in person this week on a number of environmental issues. They also contacted representatives to support legislation for clean-fuel school buses (HCR 5) and tax incentives for electric vehicles (HB 29), which both passed committee and will move on for a full House vote.

After the House voted last week to break the rules and force two resolutions opposing Bears Ears and Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monuments (HRCs 11 & 12) through to the Senate without public hearings, our members voiced their concerns to their legislators about disregard for government process. Two of our members who testified in opposition to the resolutions were highlighted in this article in the Salt Lake Tribune.

  

This week we also began tracking some Government & Voter Rights bills and did a calling campaign to oppose HB 11: State Boards and Commissions, which removes the bipartisan requirement for governor appointments to a list of state boards and commissions. Because of our calls, the bill was stalled for two days in the House, a failed effort to reach a compromise amendment was revived and an amended bill was passed in the House. The bill now moves on to Senate. Though we are happy to claim some victory with the amendments, we still oppose this bill and the idea of removing a diverse range of perspectives from policy making. Look for more actions to come on these issues.

 

Weekly Actions

National Issues

1. Call on our Senators not to use the CRA to strip clean air, clean water, health and safety regulations – Last week the House of Representatives radically abused the Congressional Reform Act (CRA) to strip away protections against methane pollution. Using the CRA to dismantle these climate standards would also prevent similar protections from being passed indefinitely.

Senator Orrin Hatch – D.C. (202) 224-5251, UT (435) 586-8435
Senator Mike Lee – D.C. (202) 224-5444, UT (801) 392-9633

2. Attend a town hall!  Some of our national representatives have been making themselves available for town hall meetings with their constituents. Last week Rep. Chris Stewart offered a town hall in St. George about Obamacare which became heated over the ACA repeal. Action Utah Issue Captain Miriah Elliott attended and was interviewed by the St. George News.

Last week Action Utah called on members to sign a non-partisan petition requesting a town hall with Senator Orrin Hatch, which was delivered to the Senator’s office on Friday afternoon. In the meantime there are two more chances this week to attend town hall meetings with our congressional representatives:

  • Join Sen. Lee’s tele-townhall this evening at 6p by clicking here to sign up. Please note that tele-townhalls are less effective for creating real dialogues with constituents than in-person meetings.
  • Attend Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ town hall in Cottonwood Heights on Thursday evening. Action Utah has a team of interested community members from all districts planning to attend the meeting. We will provide all team members with tips and a list of researched questions in order to help facilitate the most productive meeting possible. Please contact us if you would like to join our town hall team.

3. Call on Senator Mike Lee to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education – If you have not called Senator Lee already, please call right away to ask him to oppose Betsy Devos.

Sen. Mike Lee’s offices:
Washington D.C.: (202) 224-5444
Ogden: tel: (801) 392-9633
Salt Lake City: tel: (801) 524-5933
St. George: tel: (435) 628-5514

State Issues

1. Get involved in the state legislative session by following our daily and urgent calls to action on a number of bills in social, health, environmental and government policy, including:

  • Attend a public hearing at the State Capitol this afternoon to support HB 215: Reproductive Health and Services Amendments and oppose HB 137: Public Education Curriculum Requirements in order to create good reproductive health education in Utah at long last.
  • Can’t attend the hearing? That’s okay! You can still contact the committee members to ask them to support HB 215 and oppose HB 137 in order to teach our children how to stay safe and healthy.

2. Attend a rally – express your support for a good cause by showing up and bringing family and friends too.

  • Join one or both of the two rallies this week focussing on Bears Ears National Monument to stand with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal coalition, businesses and conservationists to protect the monument and to help set the record straight about the monument’s popular support and history leading up to its designation.
  • Come support affordable housing legislation by Rep. Becky Edwards at the Utah Housing Coalition’s rally “Housing Matters” this Thursday at the State Capitol, Salt Lake City.

3. Support Utah youth who are standing up for climate action in Utah by signing this Change.org petition by Utah students to the state legislature to support a Climate Change Joint Resolution this legislative session to acknowledge climate change and base policy decisions on science and quantifiable facts — trending right now on our Petitions! Petitions! page.

Marching ever onward!

It is exciting to see Action Utah members across the state making a tangible impact with their actions. We don’t expect that everyone can do every action we generate. But every action you take makes a difference. Let’s keep it up, Utah!

Andrea & Katie,
Action Utah Co-Founders


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