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August 28th, 2017|Action of the Week|0 Comments

What is Interim Session?

I’m so glad you asked! Interim Sessions are held once a month throughout the year, bringing state legislators together at the State Capitol in Interim committee meetings to study, debate and discuss policy issues and possible legislative solutions. These committee meetings are open to the public so that ordinary people may learn about some of the issues facing our state and how our elected officials are talking about them and working to address them. It is one of the best ways to see our state legislative branch in action.

Last week, Action Utah members and leaders met at the Capitol to hear about health policy, criminal justice, air quality, renewable energy, minimum wage, workplace discrimination and more. Why? Because we are busy finding good policies that a majority of Utahns from both sides of the aisle can come together and support in the next State Legislative Session coming up January-March, 2018.

Action Utah members at a committee meeting during Interim Session last week

You can make a difference

Action Utah Issue Captains are developing legislative initiatives for community lobbyists like you so you can help support good policy that represents the beliefs and needs of Utahns. You don’t need to have experience to make a difference. Just a willingness to take the easy actions we provide every week and even to stand up for an issue you believe in by engaging in next-level community lobbying (meeting with your legislators, writing op-eds and letters to the editor, etc). Action Utah believes that by building bridges ordinary people can have real say in the policymaking of our state. Why? Because we see our members doing it. You can too.

Start by joining us at the next Interim Session, Wednesday, September 20th. Witness our legislative branch in action and learn how to impact it.

Mark your calendar for Interim Session – Wednesday, September 20th

Every month, Action Utah leaders and members attend Interim Session to participate in policymaking. Learn how our legislative branch works and how to impact us by coming along. No experience necessary. We invite community members from either side of the aisle to join us at the State Capitol and take part in:
  • Community Lobbying Training
  • Tour of the Capitol
  • Sit in on a public interim committee meeting
WHEN: Meet up at 7:45a in the cafeteria (ground floor of the Senate Building on the East side of the Capitol Campus) for training and orientation. Committee meetings begin at 8:30a. Contact us if you plan to join.

Weekly Actions

State Issues

1. STAND WITH DACA IN UTAH – Recent polls show strong support for DREAMers, or immigrants who were brought to this country by their parents as children: 78% of American voters support providing DREAMers with a path to citizenship, including 73% of Trump voters. But now DACA is under attack. In late June, 10 State Attorneys General (led by Texas) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatening to sue the Trump Administration if it did not terminate the DACA program by September. Just last Friday, Trump pardoned anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio — who was found guilting of violating the constitutional rights of Latino Arizonans — and some are speculating that he will soon call for the termination of DACA soon. Ending DACA would cost the U.S. $460.3 billion in lost GDP over the next decade and would cost Utah $473 million in annual GDP losses.

  • Contact Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, and ask him to show his support for young immigrants by sending a letter to President Trump urging him to defend and maintain the DACA program, and posting the letter publicly.

Utah AG Sean Reyes: 1-800-244-4636 or uag@utah.gov

  • Ask elected officials, law enforcement and civic leaders to sign this “We Are With Dreamers” letter. Find all of your elected officials and law enforcement by inputting your home address here.

2. DEFEND BEARS EARS AND GRAND STAIRCASE NATIONAL MONUMENTS – After completing his national monuments review, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued his recommendations to Trump on which should be drastically cut in size. In a stunning lack of transparency, Zinke’s report has not been made public, adding fuel to criticisms about the unbalanced and arbitrary review process. However, as the NY Times reported last week, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments are on the short list of 4 monuments being recommended for gutting. However, 60% of Utahns want to see our monuments kept just as they are. 84% want improved access to public lands, which is necessarily diminished when land is not protected and may be sold or leased to private interests, as would happen in both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase. 99.2% of public comments to the DOI opposed any proposal to weaken protections on national monuments.

  • Keep pressure on Trump and Zinke by voicing your support of Utah’s national monuments far and wide on social media and sharing the articles and video below. Call on the White House, Trump and Zinke to make Zinke’s report public and to stay true to their claims of listening to local people, improving access, respecting Tribes and protecting public land from privatization.

– Patagonia advocacy video
– LA Times Editorial: “Zinke’s plan for shrinking national monuments belongs in the recycling bin
– Salt Lake Tribune OpEd: “Zinke leaves San Juan County in Economic Limbo
– Salt Lake Tribune OpEd: “Utah may be trading a dinosaur wonder for a coal mine

3. CALL ON STATE REP. MIKE NOEL TO APOLOGIZE – The NY Times quotes Mr. Noel as stating, “When you turn the management over to the tree-huggers, the bird and bunny lovers and the rock lickers, you turn your heritage over.” Mr. Noel’s name-calling is offensive, divisive, demeaning and unworthy of the people and politics of Utah. Remind Mr. Noel that national monument supporters include everyday Utahns of both parties, veterans, religious leaders, scientists, archaeologists, hunters and children as well as outdoor recreationalists, tribes and environmentalists. Pigeon-holing these people as “rock lickers” is inaccurate and belittling. Let Rep. Noel know we expect our politicians to be above name-calling. We should all be able to engage in civil discourse, even when we disagree.

  • Contact Rep. Noel to let him know that public lands belong to all Americans, and protecting them protects not only our American heritage but also our history, spirituality, economic opportunity, and ability to access the land we jointly own. Ask Mr. Noel to apologize for his offensive remarks and to use civility when talking about his fellow Utahns, even if he disagrees with them. Be sure to mention if you are a constituent.

State Rep. Mike Noe (R-District 73, Kanab): 435-616-5603 or mnoel@kanab.net

4. BUILD BETTER SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY – Despite increased parent skepticism about the values of testing, and studies showing their lack of effectiveness, Utah schools continue to be evaluated by SAGE tests and school grades. However, educators, school administrators and researchers know that we can look at other measures that would improve the experience of public school students. In 2017 state legislators ran two bills attempting to change the way we assess our schools, but failed to make meaningful progress. Action Utah is working to find solutions that improve accountability metrics to better serve Utah schools and students.
  • Share your SAGE Score or school grades story. Send an e-mail to our education Issue Captain here about how SAGE scores or school grades have impacted your student, home, or classroom. Please include your school district and zip code. Your story will be compiled with other narrative experiences from ordinary community members.
  • Write to your House Representative and Senator (le.utah.gov) and say “I supported House Representative Marie Poulson’s School Accountability Bill. It passed through most readings and I was disappointed to hear it was tabled. In the next session what will you do to support changes for School Accountability Standards? Standardized tests alone are not helping kids or schools especially in a time of a massive teacher shortage.”
  • Say thank you to Sen. Millner (amillner@le.utah.gov) and Rep. Paulson (marie.poulson@le.utah.gov) for their work on amending School Accountability Standards in 2017. Let them know you support the changes which passed and are hopeful changes will continue to happen in future bills.
  • Join our Education Action Team to promote good policy in education. Take easy actions from home or join Action Utah leaders in community lobbying efforts to impact policymaking. Simply contact us here to join the team.

National Issues

1. TELL THE EPA NOT TO ROLL BACK EMISSIONS STANDARDS – In mid-August the EPA and Transportation Department jointly announced that they would review current fuel emissions standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025. This review is the first step in rolling back emissions standards that protect air quality across the country to prevent not only contributions to global warming but also the health, vitality and health care costs of millions of Americans who suffer from air quality-related illnesses and diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, COPD, asthma and more. The EPA has opened a 45-day public comment period. According to the EPA, they are “reopening the regulatory docket for the best available information from the public, such as consumer behavior, feedback on modeling approaches, and assessing advanced fuels technologies.” Now is the time to speak up about the importance of emissions standards and clean air.
  • Write a public comment to the EPA and DOT. Be sure to share any personal stories about how emissions reductions impact you, your family or your community. Are you an expert in air quality or fuel technology? Offer your insights to add to the data already collected by the EPA that led to their Final Determination in January.  Remind the EPA and DOT that the Final Determination on emissions standards reached in January was in the best interest of Americans and their health and survival and was based on a careful collection and consideration of scientific data. Comments must be received on or before October 5, 2017. Comments may be submitted at www.regulations.gov to Docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0827.
2. HELP STOP A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN OVER TRUMP’S WALL – At his now infamous Phoenix rally, Trump doubled down on his threat to shut down the government if Congressional Republicans refused to fund his border wall. Attacking his own party is a new low for Trump that has engendered ill-will among Congressional leaders and possibly hog-ties Congress’ ability to pass Trump’s tax reform when they return to D.C. next week. In addition, Trump’s threats of a government shut down completely disregard the millions of Americans and their families who would feel the direct impact of a petulant standoff. Furthermore, a growing majority of Americans oppose the wall.
  • Call your Members of Congress and ask them to work in a bi-partisan way to pass a budget that prevents a shutdown but does not include any funding for Trump’s wall.
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.Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see additional Daily and Urgent Actions we post throughout the week. 

Actions speak volumes

People on both sides of the aisle in Utah feel like they’ve lost a voice in policymaking. As our nation faces one of the most chaotic times in political history, many Utahns feel helpless about what to do. That’s why Action Utah was created — to bring you the information you need to take actions that truly impact policymaking. Your voice can be heard in state and federal issues if you choose to use it. Channel your frustration into action and watch the impact you can make on the issues that matter to you most. Let us show you how.

Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah

PS — Share this email with other Utahns who want to learn how to make a difference. New members may join us by clicking here.

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