Get ready for 2018!
2018 may seem like a long way away, but legislators, lobbyists and advocates are already hard at work writing and lobbying for next year’s policies. Action Utah leaders have been busy identifying good policy that fits the beliefs and needs of a majority of Utahns, strategies for ordinary people like you to have a voice in seeing them through and tools and resources to help you make a difference. The opportunities for ordinary Utahns to impact policy are HUGE! But it’s ultimately up to you to take action and make your voice heard.
Let Action Utah get you ready to weigh in on policies around health care, addiction, education, air quality, redistricting, immigration, women and families, voting policy, water policy and more!
Scroll down to learn more.
Action Utah presents…
Interim Session Tour at the State Capitol – September 20th, 7:45a at the State Capitol. Join Action Utah leaders and members for a tour of the State Capitol and explanation of Interim Session, the state legislature and community lobbying at the Capitol. No experience necessary. This is a great window into how our legislative branch works and how to impact it. Interested members may choose to stay and sit in on a public committee meeting of their choice (we highly recommend this!). RSVP here.
How Our Political System Works and How To Impact It – October (date TBD). Learn about our legislative branch, delegates, candidates and elections, including how you can impact policy decisions, how to become a delegate and why running for office may be up your ally. Guest speakers include former state legislator and Executive Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute, Pat Jones, and former state legislator, Salt Lake Tribune columnist and advocate, Holly Richardson. Stay tuned for details!
Workshop: How To Write Effective Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor (LTEs) – November (date TBD). Get practical tips on how to write and submit LTEs to your local papers to draw attention to the issues you care about, plus talking points on 2-3 current issues that need community member support. Participants will draft LTEs on site and receive critique on a few examples written by the group. Interested in participating? Email us to add your name to our list.
The 2018 State Legislative Session runs for 45 days from late January through early March. It is during this short window that our part-time state legislators must propose, debate and decide on over 1200 bills to create state laws and balance our budget. Community advocacy is essential in helping our legislators understand where their constituents stand on the issues and even providing crucial data and personal stories that impact decision-making. Let us help you get ready.
1. Find out who represents you. Each Utahn has one state senator and one state representative. We will be asking community members to email and text their representatives about legislation in process leading up to and during the State Legislative Session, so it is important to have their contact information at the ready.
- Get a head start by looking up your reps and their contact information here and adding them to the contacts on your phone now for easy access later.
2. Attend Interim Session with Action Utah. Ordinary community members are amazed at how easy it is to take part in the legislative process. Come to the Capitol with us to see how our state legislature works and how to impact it. We attend Interim Sessions on the third Wednesday every month.
- RSVP to join us on September 20th.
- Not able to make it to the State Capitol? That’s okay! You can listen in on all public Interim Committee meetings online! Simply go to the legislative Calendar and select the committee you want to listen in on from the Sept 20th lineup (or any other day). Audio is made available shortly after the committee meeting ends.
3. Join an Action Team. Eager to make a bigger impact? Step up your community advocacy by joining one of our Action Teams. Our Issue Captains will be in touch about actions you can take, like attending press conferences and rallies, writing letters to the editor, meeting with your legislator, lobbying at the State Capitol, and more. Plus, we will provide you with the information and resources you will need to make your actions most successful. Join as many or as few Action Teams as you like. Encourage your friends to join too!
- Join one of our Action Teams to impact issues in Healthcare (including Addiction), Education, Immigration, Poverty/Homelessness, Women/Families, Air Quality, Public Lands, Water, Energy Policy, Redistricting and/or Voting Policy. Simply email us to join.
4. Utah County immigrant allies: advocate for better ethics around U-visas. The Utah County Attorney’s Office (UCAO) has been to allow police departments to sign U-Visa applications for immigrants who have been victims of a crime. U-Visas allow immigrants to report to the police without fear of deportation and offers them an eventual pathway to legal permanent residence (green cards). In many cases, these visas are provided to women who are victims of domestic violence or human trafficking whose current immigration status is dependent on the good will of their abusers. Currently, the UCAO has forbidden Utah County police departments to sign U-Visa applications without approval, which they will only grant in very specific circumstances. While the UCAO does have discretion over whether to sign U-Visa applications, the role of the office in the visa process is simply to certify that a crime was committed (basically, checking a box on the visa application form). It is up to the immigration courts to decide whether the individual case merits a U-Visa, not the UCAO.
- Join AU Issue Captain Laura Bandara and a team of other Utah County residents to meet with the Utah County Attorney’s Office and advocate for better practices around U-Visas that don’t potentially force women to remain with abusive partners, victims of human trafficking to be left without a path to escape, and immigrant and other communities exposed to a broad range of unreported crimes that make our communities less safe. Sign up to join the meeting by emailing us here. Join our Immigrant Allies Team to participate in more great actions around this issue and many others by clicking here.
This week Congress is getting back to work with tax reform high on their agenda. But tax reform is dependent on passing a budget that contains multiple highly controversial cuts and sneaky methods of undermining existing programs and laws. Meanwhile, Trump announced plans to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program today, but with a 6 month delay in enforcement to allow Congress to come up with a legislative solution to allow Dreamers to stay in the U.S. legally. And a new bipartisan healthcare proposal was revealed late last week.
1. Defend Dreamers. Trump has announced that he will eliminate the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which has provided deportation relief and work permits for over 800,000 young people who create billions of dollars worth of annual GDP to our country and hundreds of millions each year to Utah. Even Republican leaders around the country and right here in Utah have urged Trump not to end the program, or at least to wait until Congress can reach a legislative solution. That means it will be up to Congress to protect these innocent and hard-working contributors to our society.
- Call on our senators and representative to co-sponsor the Dream Act. 78% of Americans (including 73% of Trump supporters) want to provide a legal path to citizenship for Dreamers. Thank Senator Hatch for his advocacy for Dreamers and ask both our senators to become co-sponsors of the bipartisan Dream Act. Not sure they will co-sponsor? Ask them to at least pledge to support the bill. Call every day — our senators can’t hear from us too often about this.
- Write a letter to your congressional reps through StampsLicked.org, an affiliate partner of Herd on the Hill who will hand deliver your letter for you in Washington to make sure it gets read. Include your personal story and even a picture.
- Learn more about where the push to end DACA comes from by reading up about this new initiative from the Center for New Community. Spoiler alert: one of the most prominent anti-immigrant groups, FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper using this handy tool from MomsRising.org.
- Sign this petition, this petition and this petition, all listed on our Petitions, Petitions! page, which we update daily.
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
Rep. Rob Bishop (Congressional District 1): 202-225-0453 (DC) // 801-625-0107 (Ogden)
Rep. Chris Stewart (Congressional District 2): 202-225-9730 (DC) // 801-364-5550 (SLC) // 435-627-1500 (St. George)
Rep. Mia Love (Congressional District 4): (202) 225-3011 (DC) // 801-996-8729 (West Jordan)
Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Check here.
2. Advocate for good disaster response after Harvey. Harvey has devastated Houston with an expected 10 year rebuilding time frame that will cost billions. Yet Trump has called for massive cuts to FEMA, the coast guard, and other programs that are essential to prepare for and respond to disasters like Harvey. He has also proposed cuts of 82% for the Regional Climate Centers, which collects and distributes data to help the government agencies mitigate wildfires, droughts and floods. In the meantime, the National Flood Insurance Program is up for renewal by Congress and must be maintained or even strengthened, not weakened.
- Call on your congressional representatives to pass a relief bill to help rebuild Houston immediately.
- Ask your congressional reps to stand up for FEMA and Regional Climate Centers funding to allow government agencies to prepare for and respond to disasters. For more information about the Regional Climate Centers, click here.
Let’s power into Fall!
Labor Day is over, school is in session and Utahns have returned from vacation. Action Utah is here to help you kick into gear, rev up your engines and power into advocacy at any level, from either side of the aisle. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram for Daily and Urgent Actions during the week.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah
PS – New to Action Utah? Join us here.