Helping you impact policy!
Did you know that Action Utah has been busy since March identifying and working on legislation for 2018? Our Issue Captains regularly attend community, issue-specific and legislative meetings to identify and work directly on good policy with legislators, lobbyists and advocates in order to bring you community lobbying opportunities on the issues you care about most. Even ordinary Utahns with no policy or advocacy experience can help pass good policy!
In the next few months we will begin introducing you to some of the great legislative bills that will be voted on in the 2018 State Legislative Session from January through March. Some of these bills need your help right away. Some will need help only during the Session. Action Utah follows a coordinated and careful strategy dictated by the bill sponsors to bring you specific actions needed and the timing for those actions so that we community members can meaningfully help these legislative measures (and not inadvertently harm them).
Stay tuned for updates on our favorite bills!
2017 Third Congressional District Special Election Debate – Fri. October 13th, 6:30-8:00p, Eastmont Middle School Auditorium, Sandy. Live debate with all four CD-3 candidates using voter-submitted questions. This is a unique opportunity for Utahns to ask their own questions and find out more about the candidates vying to replace Jason Chaffetz in the U.S. House of Representatives. This event is the only CD-3 debate that will be held in the Salt Lake County portion of the 3rd District, an area covering over 100,000 registered voters. Get FREE tickets here today. Submit your debate question here.
Action Utah and Real Women Run present:
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, 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 and former state legislators PAT JONES (Executive Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute) and HOLLY RICHARDSON (Salt Lake Tribune columnist, advocate and Real Women Run member) will give us their insider’s perspective and tips. RSVP here.
Can’t make Wednesday night? Join us at Interim Session during the day instead! We’d love to show you around at our Interim Session Tour of the State Capitol at 7:45a and take you with us to public legislative hearings throughout the day so you can see how our legislative branch works and how to impact it. More info and RSVP here.
1. Tackle racism in Davis schools – By now, many of you will have seen the heartbreaking video in which Woods Cross High students chanted “Build the Wall! Build the Wall!” to goad the opposing team at a football game. For children who come from immigrant communities, and in the context of increased hate crimes, this rhetoric is terrorizing. When we see these expressions of hate in our school system, it means that Utah is failing its children, and that we must step up and our communities have to work overtime to be role models of compassion. We cannot dismiss hate speech as “youthful hijinks,” and we have to tell school kids we know that they are better than that, and that they can do better. And then we need to give them resources so that they truly can do better.
- Ask Davis School District officials to help our kids by being good role models and responding adequately to this sad display of hatred and racism by school children. Any response should include a full, public apology by the school to the community and participants at the football game AND implementation of anti-racism education in all classrooms K-12. Let them know there are educators across Utah able to provide this important curriculum. Point them to curriculum resources at Teaching Tolerance or Courageous Conversations for more information.
Woods Cross High School Principal John Haning: firstname.lastname@example.org
Davis School District Superintendent Reid Newey: email@example.com
2. Call for a School Trust Land exchange in Bears Ears for Utah schools – Regardless of what happens with the national monument designation, the School Trust Lands within Bears Ears are not usable and will fail to produce money for Utah schools unless they are exchanged with more profitable lands elsewhere in the state. Precedent for this type of exchange was set in Grand Staircase, where a SITLA exchange in the 90’s produced a whopping $300 million for schools that is still the single largest contributor to School Trust Land Fund that schools draw upon every year. Doing a land exchange in Bears Ears has nothing to do with the controversy around monument status, would benefit rural and urban schools alike and is a nonpartisan issue where all Utah leaders can find common ground. All it requires is asking our leaders to trade sensitive lands captured within Bears Ears for other Utah lands more suited to development. Click here for more info.
- Call and email Rep. Chris Stewart to say thanks for supporting a Trust Land Exchange in Bears Ears. An exchange would be an important boon to the public school system, especially during a teacher shortage. Ask him to press officials to make an exchange happen.
- Not in Congressional District 2? Call on your own congressional representative to ask for a land exchange to make an impact on Utah schools, regardless of the status of Bears Ears National Monument. Let them know that Rep. Stewart has told constituents he will support a Trust Land Exchange in Bears Ears, and ask them to do the same. Our school system is already underfunded and experiencing a teacher shortage, and additional funding would help all public schools in Utah.
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.
3. Help end homelessness in Utah and across the nation. Senator Hatch is leading the charge to resolve the housing crisis. Thank you, Senator Hatch! There are 2 bipartisan bills in Congress that will expand our Low Income Housing Tax Credit & will promote new affordable housing. S. 548 The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 is sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and co-sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). H.R. 1661 The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 is sponsored by Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Richard Neal (D-MA) and would also enact provisions to strengthen our most successful tool for encouraging private investments in the production and preservation of affordable rental housing. Utah currently needs at least 47,180 homes for low income families. Senior citizens are on a 6 to 9 month waiting list to obtain affordable senior housing. Housing is as essential to our nation’s infrastructure as transportation, energy, and water systems, and these two bills are critical not only across our country but in helping us right here in Utah.
- Contact our senators. Thank Senator Hatch for his commitment to solving our housing crisis in Utah. Call on Senator Lee to publicly commit to support Senator Hatch’s S. 548 Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017.
- Call on your representative to co-sponsor the bipartisan H.R. 1661 The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 and join Senator Hatch in facing the housing crisis in our state and across the nation. Although HR 1661 has over 100 co-sponsors, none are from Utah.
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
1. Speak up about clean water and clean air. Air Quality is the second most important issue to Utahns, which is no surprise given our high asthma rates and incidences of other serious air-related health issues such as lung illness and disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Clean water is Utah’s 6th top issue according to a survey done by the Utah Foundation last year even before schools started popping up around the state with toxic levels of lead in their drinking water. In fact, a recent study shows that nationwide 81% of Americans believe that clean air is our single most important natural resource in our daily lives, second only to clean water (87%). But when significant majorities of Americans believe their air and water are at risk, what can and should be done by government to protect their health? Too often these questions pull Americans into partisan camps when in truth people from all parties want to protect our children’s developing lungs from dirty air and to ensure they are drinking safe water. But it’s not just for our children — we want the same for ourselves. Why then is the Trump administration repealing the Clean Water Rule and Clean Power Plan? The answer comes down to partisan rhetoric and the words we use to describe and defend the causes that matter to us. Let us not get caught up in the often polarizing terms like climate, regulation and job creation. Let us focus on solutions to the issues nearly every American cares about.
- Ask MOCs to take action to protect the top natural resources we rely on for our survival and health daily. Let them know that clean air and clean water matter. If the Clean Water Rule and Clean Power Plan are repealed, what will they do to ensure that American families can stay healthy enough to continue to work and go to school?Ask them to work in a bipartisan way for real solutions for clean air and clean water that benefit the well-being of America and its people.
- Sign petitions to tell Scott Pruitt and the EPA to back down from repealing the Clean Power Plan, like this petition and this petition, and ask Congress to keep the Clean Water Rule by signing this petition.
2. Ask Congress to pass emergency relief for Hurricane Maria NOW – The situation is dire. Americans are experiencing what has been described as a full-blown humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Families are in desperate need of help. Some experts estimate that the damage could cost in the tens of billions of dollars and the recovery could last over a year.
- Ask your Members of Congress to propose and pass a relief package for Americans suffering in crisis now. Ask them to waive or repeal the Jones Act entirely, as 10 days of temporary relief is simply not enough for Puerto Ricans to rebuild or even recover from a state of crisis.
- Sign petitions. Sign this petition, this petition, this petition, and this petition to implore Congress to take immediate action.
3. Ask Senators to approve CHIP funding – Due to Senate inaction, funding for the well-loved and bipartisan CHIP expired on September 30th. Our voices are urgently needed to get Congress to act. Nearly 9 million children, including 20,000 children here in Utah, rely on CHIP to meet their health care needs. An extension of—and stability for—the program is critically important. Sen. Orrin Hatch originally created this program in 1997 with bipartisan support because it was a low-cost way to cut the uninsured rate for children by nearly 68%. Hatch has repeatedly promised that Congress will reauthorize CHIP, but the funding plan has not yet gone to a floor vote in the Senate.
- Call on our Senators to pass funding for CHIP immediately. Thank Senator Hatch for his work pushing CHIP funding through the Senate Finance Committee, and ask him to get a Senate vote immediately to save this vital program. Ask Senator Lee to declare his support for this bipartisan measure as well.
Not sure how you can impact the State Legislature?
Be sure to attend one of our educational community events! We exist to help ordinary folks — even those of you who have no community advocacy or political experience — become engaged and get your voice heard. Action Utah is here to help you every step of the way by giving you the education, tools and resources, and meaningful calls to action you need to make a difference on the issues that matter to you most. New to Action Utah? Join us here. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah