Great opportunities for community engagement!
Action Utah leaders and members gathered at the State Capitol last Wednesday to learn about how our legislature works and witness it in action. Then members attended Interim Session committee meetings with our Issue Captains to hear about issues like accountability assessments in public schools, the public mental health system, family planning, affordable housing, SITLA land exchange opportunities, food tax, and public lands management. In the afternoon they attended the Special Session called by the Governor as legislators voted on funding and details around Operation Rio Grande.
Attending Interim Session is one of the best ways to learn how to impact policymaking at the State Legislative Session. Missed it this month? Don’t worry — we’re doing it again. Join us next month on October 18th. Find out more here.
On Saturday, the Better Boundaries ballot initiative held a training session for volunteers who want to collect petition signatures. Many of you attended or have expressed interest in getting involved. Check the website for information and volunteer opportunities.
It’s Your Vote, Make it Count – Sat. October 7th, 12:00p, Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. This nonpartisan civic outreach event is a “one-stop-shop” of local non-partisan organizations bringing voters of all political affiliations together to learn about the common causes they can support through votes that count. Includes Utah League of Women Voters, Better Boundaries, Ranked Choice Voting, Represent Me Utah and National Popular Vote all working toward voters choosing their politicians – not politicians choosing their voters. More info and RSVP here.
ACTION UTAH AND REAL WOMEN RUN PRESENT:
How Our Political System Works and How To Engage It: Utah Politics 101 For Ordinary People – Wed, October 18th, 7:00-8:30p, Director’s Suite at the Thanksgiving Point Megaplex Theater, 2935 North Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, UT 84043 (venue 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 actually be up your alley. Guest speakers include PAT JONES, former state legislator and Executive Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute, and HOLLY RICHARDSON, former state legislator, Salt Lake Tribune columnist and advocate. RSVP here.
ACTION UTAH PRESENTS:
Workshop: How To Write An Effective Letter to the Editor – Wed, November 8, 7:00-8:30p, Salt Lake Public Library Marmalade Branch, Conference Room B. Get practical tips on how to write and submit a good letter to the editor (LTE) 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 the spot so you can leave with a letter that’s ready to submit. RSVP here.
1. Get important curriculum reinstated in Utah middle schools. We called you to a public hearing with the Utah School Board last week about the decision to eliminate credit requirements for arts, PE, health and careers in our middle schools. Be proud that a packed house addressed the School Board on September 20th to share many of the talking points Action Utah members e-mailed to their school board representatives. But we need to do more to make our voices heard before the School Board convenes to review the issue at their next monthly meeting.
- Submit an additional letter to the school board to oppose the rules change: firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is close of business TOMORROW (9/26). Use our talking points here.
- E-mail or call your state school board representative. Find your state school board rep by inputting your address here and clicking on “Elected Officials”.
- Keep signing and sharing the Utah Cultural Alliance petition here. With thousands of signatures this document is compelling.
- BONUS: part of the driver for this rule change is parents who homeschool and desire flexibility. In addition to using our talking points you can mention there are solutions for families who homeschool outside of eliminating requirements. If you are a parent who homeschools and still believes all four curricular areas are desirable in a whole education, add your voice to the mix!
2. Write a public comment on the Medicaid Expansion Waiver in Utah. The State Health Department already took our comments, now the federal government needs to hear from us about why the Medicaid Expansion passed by the state legislature should finally get the waiver it needs to bring care to Utah patients, and why that waiver should NOT include amendments decided outside of the legislative system. This action only takes a minute. Find out more here.
3. Support Dreamers right here in Utah. Are you wondering how you can help some of the nearly 10,000 DACA recipients here in Utah?
- For lawyers: Action Utah is in connected with a non-profit immigration attorney who can offer training and instruction on DACA renewals to attorneys in southern, eastern, central, or northern Utah. Contact Action Utah’s Immigration and Refugee Issue Captain Laura Bandara for more information.
- For K-12 teachers and college professors: AU is working with the Enriching Utah Coalition to promote the DREAM Act, and we are in search of K-12 teachers and college professors willing to devote a few hours of their time to advocating for students with DACA and lending their support to the DREAM Act. We’ve scheduled a meeting in central Salt Lake City on Friday, September 29 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss options for advocacy. Contact Action Utah’s Immigration and Refugee Issue Captain Laura Bandara for more information.
- Not a lawyer or educator? Consider donating to the following organizations working hard for Dreamers here in Utah: Catholic Community Services, Holy Cross Ministries, Comunidades Unidas and Red de Solidaridad (send donations via Paypal to: email@example.com).
1. Oppose the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill. Health care continues to be the issue of the week, with the sponsors of the Graham-Cassidy bill madly negotiating with potential holdouts like Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Rand Paul. Yesterday Sen. Ted Cruz announced he doesn’t currently support the bill and said our own Sen. Mike Lee is currently opposed as well. Sen. John McCain has voiced opposition to proceeding without bipartisan support or CBO figures on premium prices or number of Americans who will lose their health care. With insurers, GOP senators, GOP governors, insurers, hospitals, doctors all opposing and only 33% of voters supporting the current bill, there are plenty of reasons for our senators to come out against it and vote NO.
- Call on our senators to oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill. Commend Senator Lee for thinking about opposing and ask him to speak out publicly about this bad bill. Ask Senator Hatch to support bipartisan legislation to fix our healthcare system and shore up insurance markets. Remind them both that only 33% of voters support the Graham-Cassidy bill while 71% of Americans prefer to see a bipartisan solution over any Obamacare repeal or replacement. Find talking points here.
- Call Hatch’s Senate Finance Committee, which will hold a hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill today at 2pm ET. Comments will be accepted until NOON Mountain time via email at GCHcomments@finance.senate.gov or by phone at (202) 224-4515. You may watch the hearing live here.
- Watch the Health Care Debate live on CNN tonight at 9pm ET.
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
Do you know where Utahns stand on the issues? How about our delegates? Did you know there is a large moderate majority of voters in Utah? What would happen if they got civically engaged? It is both easy and extremely impactful to take meaningful actions that sway policy decisions. Action Utah wants to show you how. That’s why we’re having “Living Room Conversations” across the state with small groups of friends, family, employees, students, seniors, book clubs, action groups, etc. We’d love to come talk to you and show you how you can have a voice in the upcoming State Legislative Session and beyond! Contact us to schedule a Living Room Conversation for your group.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah