Ordinary people are doing great things!
Ordinary Utahns are making a difference everywhere we turn — attending press conferences and community meetings, writing letters to the editor, building relationships with their elected officials, signing petitions, educating themselves about the issues and speaking up when it matters.
SHOUT OUTS: Congratulations to Action Utah Issue Captain, Laura Bandara, for her letter to the editor about Dreamers, to AU member Kate Ferguson for her letter to the editor on public lands and to AU member David Billings for his letter to the editor on the food tax — all published in the Salt Lake Tribune! Special thanks to Denise Lash of the Salt Lake Policy Action Group for hosting another terrific Living Room Conversation last weekend. We love meeting with small groups of community members interested in learning more about our political system and how to impact it!
You don’t need to have experience to make a difference, but learning a little bit about our political system in Utah can help your actions be more meaningful. That’s why Action Utah takes small groups of people on tours of the State Capitol each month at Interim Session. Join us this Wednesday to learn how state laws are made and how to impact them!
INTERIM SESSION SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20TH
7:45-8:15a – Action Utah’s Interim Session Tour of the State Capitol. Meet in the cafeteria promptly at 7:45a and let Action Utah leaders guide you through the basics about Interim, the state legislature and the Capitol Campus.
NOTE: A Special Session was called for Wednesday at 2:00p. Therefore, most morning committee meetings have been rescheduled for an 8:00am start instead of 8:30am. Afternoon committee meetings have been rescheduled for 10:30am.
8:00am – Interim Committee Meetings (open to the public): Education (agenda); Government Operations (agenda); Health and Human Services (agenda); Public Subdivisions (agenda); Public Utilities, Energy and Technology (agenda)
8:30am – Interim Committee Meeting (open to the public): Business and Labor (agenda)
10:30am – Interim Committee Meetings (open to the public): Economic Development and Workforce Services (agenda), Judiciary (agenda); Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (agenda); Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment (agenda); Revenue and Taxation (agenda); Transportation (agenda)
2:00pm – Special Session: Governor Herbert called a special session on Friday. This means that floor sessions in the House and Senate will be held for legislators to debate and vote on issues around transportation and Operation Rio Grande. Find the agenda here.
* Want to know what gets discussed at Interim? Click on the agendas for meetings that may interest you, or check out these Interim Highlights from the August Interim Session.
Action Utah and Real Women Run present:
How Our Political System Works and How To Engage It: Utah Politics 101 For Ordinary People – October 18th,7:00-8:30p, Director’s Suite at the Thanksgiving Point Megaplex Theater, 2935 North Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, UT 84043. 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.
Mark your calendar:
Workshop: How To Write An Effective Letter to the Editor (LTE) – November 8, 7:00-8:30p, Salt Lake City (venue TBD). Get practical tips on how to write and submit LTEs 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 a few examples written by the group. Email us to RSVP.
Medicaid Expansion Waiver Public Forum – TONIGHT 6:30-8:00p, Salt Lake Public Library. Learn all about Utah’s Medicaid Expansion waiver from experts and advocates. The public is invited to come ask questions and air concerns about pending changes to our healthcare system. Have you submitted a public comment on this issue yet? Learn why comments are needed and how to submit here.
Action Utah’s Interim Session Tour at the State Capitol – Wed, September 20th, 7:45-8:15a at the State Capitol. 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. No experience necessary. This is a great window into how our legislative branch works and how to impact it. Interested members may choose to stay and sit in on a public committee meeting of their choice (we highly recommend this!). RSVP here.
Better Boundaries: Kickoff and Volunteer Training – Sat, September 23, 1:00p at the Marmalade Library in Salt Lake. Brief training and packet pickup. Bring proof of residency (a Utah drivers license or 2 pieces of mail). You will need this to check out a packet.
Cultural Heritage Events – Sat, September 23rd. Want to learn more about the cultural diversity of our communities? Check out the Muslim Heritage Festival in Holladay (1-5p), Hispanic Heritage Parade and Street Festival in Salt Lake (10:00a-2:30p) or Norse Fest at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake.
1. Join Action Utah at Interim Session this Wednesday. Join our team for an Interim Session Tour to learn what Interim Session is and how our legislative branch works. Then stay to sit in on a public committee meeting of your choice to hear our legislators discuss the issues facing Utah today. Coming to the Capitol is both empowering and fun!
2. Advocate for improvements to public education for Utah children – Sometimes small actions can make a big difference. Check out our posts 3 Easy but meaningful actions to impact education and Education needs you right in here in Utah for small but meaningful actions you can take this week to benefit your community.
3. 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. Click here to take action.
4. Calling Utah lawyers: Help Dreamers renew DACA status. Are you a lawyer outside of the Salt Lake City, Provo or Ogden areas looking to help some of the 10,000 DACA recipients right here in Utah? Your help is needed to respond to clients that cannot afford to travel to greater Salt Lake (where renewal services are readily available)! Action Utah is connecting lawyers with a non-profit immigration attorney who can offer training and instruction on DACA renewals to attorneys in southern, eastern, central, or northern Utah. In addition, the Mexican consulate also has some satellite offices that may need lawyers to help folks who cannot travel to the greater Salt Lake City area. Contact Action Utah’s Immigration and Refugee Issue Captain, Laura Bandara, for more information.
1. Oppose the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill. Over the weekend legislators on both sides of the aisle worked hard to spin arguments about this last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare before the window for passing healthcare reform under budget reconciliatory measures (which require only a simple majority to pass versus the usual 60 votes) closes on September 30th. Senator Rand Paul is the only GOP senator to come out in opposition to the new proposal so far, and conservative groups that opposed prior repeal legislation have been relatively quiet. Senator McCain has expressed general support, but has warned against ramming this proposal through without bipartisan support. But bipartisan support it does not have. Why not? One reason is because this bill block grants and caps Medicaid funding, causing dramatic changes to state budgets that would negatively impact cities, counties, and especially K-12 schools and higher learning institutions. But Senators are taking this bill seriously, and so should you.
- Ask our senators to oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill. Obamacare may have its problems, but rushing to repeal it is irresponsible and would hurt Utah cities and schools. Ask senators to work towards bipartisan solutions to healthcare reform instead.
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) // Email // Twitter: @senorrinhatch // Facebook: @senatororrinhatch
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden) // Email // Twitter: @SenMikeLee // Facebook: @senatormikelee
2. Be good stewards to the environment so it will be a good steward to us. While we may dislike the term “regulation” we at the same time value clean air to breath, safe buildings to live and work in and clean water to drink. In the face of hurricanes, wildfires, chemical plant explosions, and toxic drinking water discoveries (including right here in Utah schools), there is great need to advocate for common sense environmental regulations that protect human health and safety. Even the White House is recognizing the need for these regulations by walking back Trump’s executive order to remove flood safety building regulations and coming under fire for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s delay of the Chemical Disaster Rule.
- Sign petitions. Impact human health and safety by signing these great petitions, all listed on our Petitions, Petitions! page, which we update daily with great petitions on a large range of issues. (Bookmark the page for easy reference.) Sign this petition to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to reinstate the Chemical Disaster Rule, this petition to Congress to stop Trump from cutting forest fire protections, this petition to Congress to reject the Pearce Amendment and allow the Dept of the Interior to collect money owed to taxpayers for the wasting of publicly owned natural gas, this comment form to the EPA not to repeal the Clean Water Rule, this petition to Congress to ban the toxic chemical chlorpyrifos, this petition to Trump to restore the flood safety rule after Harvey’s devastation, and this petition to the EPA not to repeal the Clean Water Rule and to keep drinking water safe for our kids and families.
3. Ask our senators to take a stand on immigration policy reform – Last week the House passed H.R.3697 – Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, a bill that masquerades as a public safety effort, but provides such a broad definition of “criminal gangs” and what it means to associate with a “criminal gang,” that both vulnerable communities and those that serve them are put at risk. The bill was introduced in the House and passed in just a week, yet there are good immigration reform policies introduced as early as January that have made little movement in Congress.
- Call on our Senators to reject the Criminal Alien Gang Act. This bill defines criminal affiliation so broadly that it creates “guilt by association”, creating overly broad and wrongful targeting that fails to make our communities safer.
- Ask Senator Hatch to co-sponsor the DREAM Act. Remind Senator Hatch that he originally co-sponsored this bill in 2001 and ask him to co-sponsor it once again. This bill is bipartisan and represents the will of the 78% of Americans who want to see Dreamers given a legal path to citizenship.
- Call on Senator Lee and your Representative to support the DREAM Act (S. 1615 and H.R. 3440). Already called your members of Congress to support the DREAM Act? Great! Now please call again. Our congressional reps need to continue to hear from constituents until they take decisive action on immigration policy reform.
- Directly help DREAMers renew their DACA status. 154,000 Dreamers qualify to renew their DACA status on October 5th, and were given sudden notice that they must pay $495 to renew or face deportation. For many of these young people and students coming up with $500 with little notice is impossible. That’s why United We Dream set up the DACA Renewal Fund to collect donations to pay for DACA fees on behalf of these Dreamers. Consider making a contribution today.
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.
Do what you can, but make sure to do something
We realize this week’s list of Weekly Actions is jam-packed with opportunities for community engagement. You don’t have to do everything on this list. But we encourage you to pick your top priorities and address them during regularly-scheduled times you have parceled out for civic engagement each week. Making engagement a regular part of your routine (like exercise, reading or social events) means that you are more likely to take actions that matter on a regular basis and that those actions will feel more and more effortless over time. Don’t feel bad if you can’t do every action you want to. But make sure you do something, because every action counts!
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah