A note about tragedy.
After the worst massacre on U.S. soil in modern history, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge last night’s tragic mass shooting at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. In times like these, we can’t help but count the blessings we have in our own lives and feel grateful for the health and safety of our loved ones.
Unfortunately, Americans across the country struggle with loss and hardship for a number of reasons and from a variety of causes every day, including the victims of the three hurricanes that recently roared through the Southeastern United States. We would also like to acknowledge the suffering of American citizens in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida who have yet to find the luxury of focusing on rebuilding and are still struggling every day simply to survive.
Although the government cannot always be trusted to come through with aid to stop the suffering and preventative policies to prevent future tragedies, the American people can always be counted on for an outpouring of support for fellow human beings in need.
So this week while we call you to continue taking action on important issues in our state and in our country, we also ask that you also continue to express your support for and give as generously as you can to victims of tragedy.
It’s Your Voice, Make It Count – Sat. October 7th, 12-3:00p,Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. A nonpartisan civic engagement event aiming to bring voters of all political affiliations together to learn about the common causes they can support through votes that count. Includes League of Women Voters, Represent Me Utah, Better Boundaries, Ranked Choice Voting and National Popular Vote.
Action Utah presents…
Interim Session Tour at the State Capitol – Wed. October 18th, 7:45a. 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. Open to all community members — no experience necessary!
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, Lehi. Featuring former state legislators Pat Jones and Holly Richardson, cosponsored by Real Women Run.
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. 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.
1. Get involved with state ballot initiatives. There have been very few ballot measures in the past 40 years for Utah voters to decide directly. But this year at least 5 ballot initiatives have been proposed, all of which propose laws favored by a majority of Utahns, and all of which must collect the requisite signatures to land on the ballot in November 2018. You can help by volunteering to collect signatures and attending public hearings for each measure. The most recent ballot initiatives to be filed are:
- County My Vote – CMV is a ballot proposal initiative that would eliminate the convention system for candidates to receive their political party’s nomination. The proposal was filed last Wednesday with the Lt Governors office and has widespread support on both sides of the aisle. Utah has the most restrictive voting system in the country and CMV aims to change this reality by allowing all Utah voters (not just delegates) a voice in choosing candidates. In places of conventions, candidates would gather signatures (clearing a 1% threshold) and voters would pick via candidates direct-primary election. This effort is simply good for representative democracy. Find out how to volunteer here.
- Utah Decides Healthcare – Utahns support expanding Medicaid by a margin of 2 to 1. That’s why after years of failed attempts for large-scale Medicaid expansion through the Utah Legislature, health care advocates are turning to voters to give approximately 120,000 Utahns health care coverage. Utah Decides Healthcare, a bipartisan coalition, is expected to file a proposed ballot initiative for Medicaid expansion in Utah to the lieutenant governor’s office early this week. The measure would fully close the coverage gap by expanding Medicaid to low-income individuals and families that currently earn too much to qualify yet not enough to afford other coverage under the Affordable Care Act without caps on enrollment. Interested in volunteering to help collect signatures? Contact us.
2. Join sportsmen in speaking up for national public lands! September 23rd was National Hunting and Fishing Day and many of our nation’s sportsmen and women used the opportunity to speak up on public lands after leaked information suggests Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke supports a reduction of many national monuments. Myths abound about the impact of national monuments on hunting and fishing, but the truth remains that protected land offers better access to sportsmen than unprotected land, which can be sold and leased to private interests, permanently cutting off access to the public and harming the wildlife populations sportsmen rely on to hunt and fish. 22 out of 27 national monuments, including both Both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, do and will continue to allow hunting and fishing, while also protecting wildlife to be hunted and fished.
- Share your support for sportsmen and public lands on social media by posting and tweeting the following articles. Make sure to tag @SecretaryZinke on Twitter and @SecretaryRyanZinke and #MonumentsForAll, #StandWithBearsEars or #SaveGrandStaircase.
– Medium: “The simple truth about sportsmen, public lands and the Trump administration” – Debunking myths in the public lands debate around sportsmen, hunting and fishing.
– The Hill oped: “No, sportsmen don’t support erasing national monuments” – Sportsmen from NM show their support for national monuments and describe how monuments enhance hunting for sportsmen.
– BHA: “Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Responds to Leaked Interior Report on National Monuments” – Conservative Montana sportsmen who originally backed Zinke for Interior Secretary speak out against his monuments review.
3. Stand with clergy to end child homelessness in Utah. The Coalition of Religious Communities (CORC), a group of religious leaders from 15 different faith communities in Utah, is looking for religious and or clergy members to support their efforts to end child homelessness. In particular, CORC wants to ensure adequate resources are in place before the Road Home shelter is closed, leaving many vulnerable Utahns without shelter.
- Join CORC at their quarterly gathering focused on ending child homelessness in Salt Lake County. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 3, at noon at First Baptist Church (777 S 1300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84102) . Know any clergy members who may want to join the effort? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more here: http://www.crossroadsurbancenter.org/corc.html
1. Support for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. After the passing of the largest Atlantic storm since 1950, Hurricane María, many of the 3.4 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are still without power, running water, or even communication. 80% of agriculture has been wiped out and many villages are without any clean water. Over the weekend, San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulin, tearfully pleaded for more support. Trump criticized her on Saturday morning with a series of Twitter attacks. This unprecedented reaction to a humanitarian crisis on American soil is unacceptable. It’s beyond time to act to ensure relief is offered to American citizens in need.
- Ask MOC’s to immediately take the following 5 steps:
- Direct an emergency spending package immediately to the US territory to assist in provision of additional relief efforts.
- Pass legislation allocating funds to immediately repair broken infrastructure.
- Deploy more military resources to help with search and rescue operations to save lives.
- Double the number of troops on the ground.
- Extend the Jones Act Waiver for longer than the 10 day window to ensure access to support resources for those in need. Better yet, ask them to REPEAL it. Utah Senator Mike Lee is a co-sponsor of Sen. John McCain’s bill to repeal the Jones Act. Ask Senator Hatch to pledge his support as well.
- Donate to hurricane relief efforts such as Center for Popular Democracy, United for Puerto Rico, Puerto Rican National Chamber of Commerce (every dollar matched by the Chamber), Banco Popular Foundation, Caritas Puerto Rico, Ciencia Puerto Rico, Disaster Relief Fund for Puerto Rico, Center for a New Economy, Ricky Martin for Puerto Rico, Solidarity Brigade for Puerto Rico (Amazon wishlist), Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fund, and for wildlife Save a Sato or Save a Gato. For the NY Mayor’s Fund donate at nyc.gov/donate and HispanicFederation.org/donate. You can also text “unidos” to 41444.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
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. Stand up for bipartisan solutions to protect DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). In a rare show of bipartisanship, President Donald Trump has shown recent interest in working with Democrats to support the continuation of DACA. However, reports emerged last week that the Congressional GOP are resisting Trump’s push to salvage DACA via bipartisan cooperation. Instead, a GOP working group formed by Speaker Paul Ryan is currently working to craft a solution that mandates funding for Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico must be part of any discussion about continuation of DACA. On the other side of the aisle, many in the GOP accuse Democratic leaders of pushing the Dream Act too quickly without ample discussion and agreement from the GOP. Bipartisan solutions are crucial given that at least 24 Republicans would have to add their names to pass a vote on the Dream Act. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking as current DACA protections are due to expire in March.
- Encourage MOC’s to end closed-door partisan negotiations on DACA and work together on a collaborative solution immediately. Ask them to support the DREAM Act without a border wall. Remind them that The Dream Act has been introduced ten times — including by Senator Hatch, who originally co-sponsored this bill in 2001. This bill represents the will of the 78% of Americans who want to see Dreamers given a legal path to citizenship. More information here.
Take advantage of great learning opportunities
Ordinary Utahns can be powerful in numbers, especially if they know what’s going on with the issues they care about most. Go to the CD-3 congressional candidate debate next week. Take advantage of Action Utah community education events the following week to learn more about how our political system works and how you can engage it easily and meaningfully. Join one of our Action Teams. We’re here to help you every step of the way! You can also check out our free community lobbying Resources. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for Daily and Urgent Actions during the week. New to Action Utah? Join us here.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah