What a week!
Action Utah members have been busy engaging state and national issues by speaking out to press and legislators during the State Legislative Session and reaching the Utah delegation via phone calls and town halls. You are making a difference!
The Chaffetz Town Hall was a particularly noteworthy event for the national attention it received and the strong, unified voice of constituents letting Chaffetz know how unhappy they are with the job he is doing.
Thanks to all the AU members who joined our team at the Town Hall meeting — both inside and outside the venue! We had a large presence at the event and were featured on KUTV news! Check out the segment with AU co-founders Katie Lieberman and Andrea Himoff here.
On our Calendar this week:
Week 4 of the State Legislative Session – Stay tuned for more calls to action throughout the week, such as those listed below, on good policy and bad as we continue to track social, health, environmental and government/voter rights policy at the state level.
Hinkley Institute Campus-Community Dialogue Series: Understanding Our Differences, Shaping Our Future –Thursday, Feb 16, 12:30-1:30p, Hinkley Caucus Room, Building 73, University of Utah. The first discussion of this series will focus on “Health Care in America”, covering questions like: What public values should animate our approach to health care reform in America? What are the best ways to balance costs, quality, and access in health insurance?
State Legislative Session
It was another big week at the State Legislative Session as Action Utah Members continue to take actions to impact state policy!
Social Policy: Rep. Becky Edwards’ Affordable Housing bill (HB 36) was placed on a budget priority list last Monday at a senate appropriations meeting and is well poised to get funded during the last week of the session. Several Action Utah members attended the Housing Matters for Everyone rally to garner support for this important cause. Special thanks to AU member Krista Moore for speaking to reporters about the dire problem of homelessness!
Environmental policy: Rep. Steve Handy’s clean-fuel school buses resolution (HCR 5) passed the House last week with flying colors. His energy efficient vehicle tax credit bill (HB 29) is poised to come out of a House committee hearing smoothly today. Soon it will be time to switch gears from supporting good clean air bills like these to opposing the bad Bear River development bill, which threatens to make the air quality in the Salt Lake air shed even worse. Stay tuned for actions you can take to help block it!
Health policy: Our health team met with Rep. Shiozawa last week to discuss his Emergency Administration of Epinephrine Amendments (SB 108) and Helmet Requirement Amendments (SB 159), both of which will get a vote on the Senate floor this week. Action Utah members also called, wrote letters to the editor, and showed up at the public hearings in support of Rep. King’s HB 215: Reproductive Health Education and Services Amendments and Rep. Duckworth’s HB 71: Hygiene Tax Amendments. Though both of these bills were effectively killed in committees this week, they are part of a long term strategy, and your actions and enthusiasm allow Action Utah to continue to pursue them long after the session is over. Our efforts on HB 66: Opiate Overdose Amendments have helped this bill pass the House and move on to the Senate.
Government/Voter Rights policy: Last week we called you to action to support a good bill, HB 159: Amendments to Voter Registration to help make it easier for Utahns to vote. The bill was held for minor technical changes in committee, but the sponsor is optimistic that it will pass early this week. We also called on you to oppose bad bill HB 11: State Boards and Commissions, which removes the bipartisan requirement for appointees to state boards and commissions, effectively creating one-party rule in these boards. Because of your calls, the bill was stalled and amended prior to reaching the Senate.
At the hearing on Friday, Sen. Iwamoto admitted “I’ve never gotten so many calls and emails” and joined other committee members in voicing strong opposition on behalf of constituents. AU co-founder Andrea Himoff testified at the senate hearing about the importance of bipartisanship for good policy making and advocated against the extremist bill. Unfortunately the bill passed committee. But we still have a chance to oppose this bad bill as it moves to the Senate for a vote, and we will hold our legislators accountable for supporting bad legislation.
If you would like to join our Government/Voter Rights Action Team to make a bigger impact during the last few weeks of the State Legislative Session, please contact us!
1. Defend Immigrants – As we went into the weekend, reports from across the nation came pouring in about ICE roundups of undocumented people in dozens of cities for deportation. Though roundups have not yet begun in Utah, they are expected to begin very soon, particularly in Tooele County, where agents can more easily bring deportees across state lines to detention centers in NV. Despite the rhetoric, these roundups are different from raids during the Obama era in that they detain not only convicted criminals, but also any undocumented people near those targeted criminals and any undocumented person who has been accused of, but not convicted of, a crime. Immigrants need legal citizens to stand up for them. Here are a few ways you can help.
- Commit to supporting and protecting people at risk of deportation through United We Dream (click here) or Our Revolution (click here).
- Join the #ToImmigrantsWithLove project by writing public statements on social media, etc, in support of immigrants using the hashtag #ToImmigrantsWithLove.
- Support the NILC – The National Immigrant Legal Center’s mission is to defend and advance the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members. They are also helping lead the legal push against the immigrant ban.
2. Keep the pressure on around Trump’s conflicts of interest – Do something about Trump’s tax returns and Trump’s ties to Russia.
- Sign this MoveOn petition to the members of the House Judiciary Committee to support Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s Feb. 9th “resolution of inquiry” in the U.S. House by voting in favor of a House investigation into Donald Trump’s financial conflicts of interest and ties to the Russian government. Visit our Petitions, Petitions! for more great petitions.
- Ask Senator Orrin Hatch to request Trump’s tax returns – Per the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, Senator Hatch is one of the few people who can (as the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) request Trump’s tax returns from the Secretary of the Treasury for review without Trump’s consent.
- Contact Senators Hatch and Lee to support the bi-partisan Russia Sanctions Review Act, proposed last week by Republican Senators McCain, Graham and Rubio along with Democratic Senators Brown, McCaskill and Cardin, which would bolster Congressional oversight before Trump could lift sanctions on Russia or Ukraine.
3. Speak up about the Affordable Care Act. Here are two ways to get your voice heard about defending the ACA.
- Get your story heard in the NY Times. Are you a Utahn affected by the possibility that the Affordable Care Act could be repealed and replaced? Then the NY Times wants to hear from you! Click here to fill out this easy NY Times survey to help with their reporting on the ACA.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about the ACA repeal using OFA’s easy tips, tools and facts here and facts about health care in Utah here.
- Contact your state senator to oppose HB 11: State Boards and Commissions for eliminating the bi-partisan requirement and effectively creating one-party rule on a large group of state boards and commissions. Find talking points here. Click here to find your state senator. You can also contact Senators Escamilla, Iwamoto and Knudsen to applaud their opposition to HB 11 in the committee hearing last Friday.
- Send a customized email to your legislator to support mandatory rape kit testing (HB 200) through the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault by clicking here. It’s fast and easy!
- Tell legislators how you feel about the disregard for women’s issues (HB 71) after legislators failed to give the Hygiene Tax Amendment enough consideration to even vote on it. More info here.
- Look for more calls to action this week on bills to put baby changing tables in men’s bathrooms, helping convicted felons get the housing options they need to rejoin society on the right foot, opposing the elimination of diversity in the state judiciary and more!
Tell us what you’ve done!
We thank you for every single action you take — it all adds up to make a big difference! Help us track our impact and keep our members informed by always reporting back to us about what you’ve done. We love hearing from our members via website and social media comments or through our “Report an action” buttons.!
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah