Civic engagement is a terrific form of patriotism.
As the July 4th holiday approaches, recall how our ancestors fought for the great democracy we have today, which is fortified every day and in every election by the people of the United States of America through our civic engagement. Participation in our democracy is not required, but it is a right and a privilege. There are many ways to be civically engaged — from community lobbying to voting to running for office.
Action Utah is dedicated to giving ordinary community members from either side of the aisle a voice in our democracy to promote better long-term policies that represent the beliefs and needs of more people in Utah. How? By bringing you vetted information about the issues and easy actions you can take to impact them. Know someone who’d like to understand the issues better or be more engaged? Forward this email! Friends and family can join Action Utah by clicking here.
RECAP: LAST WEEK
Last week was another rollercoaster for health care, with continual threats of a Senate floor vote for the controversial Senate bill. Shadowy deals were negotiated out of public view to try to gain more GOP support in hopes of passing before the July 4th recess, and they certainly will continue throughout the July recess in hopes of getting the measure to a vote quickly after July 9th. One reason for the rush is undoubtedly because of pressure on legislators from major donors like the Koch Brothers, whose representatives say their $300-$400 million of contributions to elected officials is contingent on passage of an ACA repeal and tax reform, regardless of the dramatic unpopularity of the ACA repeal bills among voters in all 50 states.
As the nation is skewered to a debate that could determine essential health care and the very survival of many Americans, let’s not divert our attention from other important issues as well:
- The Supreme Court removed injunctions against parts of Trump’s travel Ban while promising to take up the case, offering Trump his first victory on his controversial executive order. The travel ban went into effect Thursday evening for immigrants and refugees with no connections or relations in the United States.
- A Pentagon memo revealed that it may cancel contracts of 1000 foreign-born recruits promised citizenship for their service, knowingly exposing them to deportation instead. This includes a Brazilian-born man in Sandy.
- A FBI investigation revealed that 120 federal agencies and thousands of local law enforcement agencies are failing to report hate crimes. This violation of the law significantly skews the data on hate crimes over the past several years.
- Jason Chaffetz finished his last day in Congress, leaving Utah’s District 3 without a representative until the November election. Fox News officially announced Chaffetz’ new job as a political analyst starting July 1.
1. Call on Governor Herbert and our Senators to stop Trumpcare and move on to fixing ACA instead of repealing it. Our senators are on recess through July 9th. This is a perfect time to engage them and their staff on the importance of including stakeholder input in healthcare reform legislation and reminding them about our personal stories and real data that shows how the AHCA and Senate bill are bad for Utah.
- Ask Governor Herbert to sign a bipartisan letter opposing Trumpcare for the best interests of Utahns and our great state. More info here.
- Learn how to talk to our senators about health care over the July recess by clicking here.
2. Help fix hate crime reporting by our local law enforcement agencies. An FBI investigation revealed that 120 federal agencies and thousands of local law enforcement agencies are failing to report hate crimes. This violation of the law significantly skews the data on hate crimes over the past several years and means we might be dramatically underestimating the true scope of hate crimes in the United States. Let’s help fix the problem.
- Contact your own city and county elected officials and ask them to determine if our local law enforcement agencies are submitting their data to the hate crimes database and to determine how to change that if they aren’t. Find your local elected officials here.
- Call on your members of Congress to request hearings on this problem at the federal level so they can understand its causes, and then move forward a legislative solution.
- Ask your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor Rep. Don Beyer’s NO HATE Act (H.R. 1566), which would help address the local law enforcement side by giving out grants to police forces to upgrade their computer systems in exchange for departments uploading their hate crime data.
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)
3. Defend our national monuments on social media with your #Utahlocal voice. Now through July 10th Utahns are speaking up about Bears Ears and Grand Staircase by sharing important articles on social media to tell Secretary Zinke and the Department of the Interior that reductions in our national monuments are against the will of the majority in our state, offend and diminish sovereign Tribes and their rights, and remove valuable protections for irreplaceable ancient historical artifacts and sacred spaces for the benefit of documented drilling and mining interests.
- Join our #Utahlocal social media campaign by sharing great articles on Bears Ears, Grand Staircase and national monuments every day through July 10th. Just click here to get started.
1. Try another way to speak up about the healthcare bill. The Senate Committee on Finance has jurisdiction over “health programs under the Social Security Act, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and other health and human services programs financed by a specific tax or trust fund.” The committee, chaired by our very own Senator Hatch, is taking messages and passing them on to senators regarding the healthcare bill. Let’s help their phone ring off the hook!
- Call the Senate Finance Committee at (202) 224-4515.
- If the voicemail box is full, try calling 1) for Orin Hatch: Amelia Breinig, 202-224-4515, firstname.lastname@example.org and 2) for Ron Wyden, the head Democrat on the Committee: Keith Chu, 202-224-0537, email@example.com
2. Defend important regulatory protections. As the Trump administration seeks to slash environmental and safety regulations across the federal government via the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (RAA), the burning of London’s Grenfell Tower provides a tragic object lesson. Severe deregulation is blamed for the fire that has killed more than 100 people and left hundreds homeless. Let’s not make the same mistake in the U.S. The RAA has passed the House and will be voted on soon by the Senate. While it’s being sold as friendly to small business, the flip side is really serious, as the bill would drastically change how government agencies issue federal regulations that are responsible for creating clean air to breathe, protecting us from financial malfeasance and fighting the spread of communicable disease, to give just a few examples.
- Tell Senators to oppose the Regulatory Accountability Act in order to keep American workers and families safe. Don’t let the RAA prioritize corporate profits over public protections. Click here for more talking points.
- Remind our MoCs that keeping our water safe and clean is important to us. Ask them to keep the Clean Water Rule in tact on behalf of Utahns and their families.
Happy 4th of July!
Wishing you and your family a happy 4th of July and a wonderful celebration of the great democracy that we have the privilege to live in.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah