We bring you advocacy opportunities!
Action Utah elevates the voices of ordinary Utahns by providing education, tools and resources and meaningful calls to action on the issues that matter to you most. But how do we do that?
One way is by bringing you educational events, like last week’s “How Our Political System Works and How to Engage It” with former state legislators and power houses Holly Richardson (R) and Pat Jones (D) on “How Our Political System Works and How to Engage It”. Community members joined us from Utah County and Salt Lake County to boost their knowledge base and learn different ways to make an impact. Did you miss it? Don’t worry! You can still check it out on our FB Live video here.
Another way is by connecting directly with legislators, lobbyists, advocacy organizations, academics and state departments to find out about policy issues and what community members can do about them. Action Utah had the opportunity to meet with Speaker Hughes last week about the complexity of housing issues across the state and what legislative and community initiatives will help move them forward now and in the future.
Take advantage of upcoming opportunities to learn about the difference YOU can make in policy decisions! And take a few minutes each week to take action on one or two issues, because every action counts. We’ve listed several options below of actions you can to take this week, as always.
Workshop: How To Write Effective Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor (LTEs) – Wed, November 8th, 7:00-8:30p, Marmalade Branch Library, Salt Lake City. 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, receive critique and walk away with a letter that’s ready to submit. This event will also stream on Facebook Live @ActionUtah so you can join us from anywhere in the state!
Interim Session Tour of the Capitol – Wed, November 15th, 7:45-8:15am. Action Utah leaders will walk small groups of interested community members on a tour of the Capitol Campus and introduction to our state legislature. We highly recommend that you stay to sit in on Interim Committee meetings, which are open to the public. Meetings run from 8:30a-4:!5p. Meet in the cafeteria on the ground floor of the Senate Building (on the east side of campus, next to the parking lot). NOTE: This is the last Interim Session of the year!
1. Learn how to impact policy at the state level. The 2018 State Legislative Session runs for 45 days from late January through early March. It is during this short window that our part-time state legislators must propose, debate and decide on over 1200 bills to create state laws and balance our budget. Community advocacy is essential in helping our legislators understand where their constituents stand on the issues and even providing crucial data and personal stories that impact decision-making. Let us help you get ready.
- Attend Interim Session with Action Utah. Ordinary community members are amazed at how easy it is to take part in the legislative process. Come to the Capitol with us to see how our state legislature works and how to impact it. The last Interim Session will be held Wednesday, November 15th. RSVP to join us for a tour and/or to sit in on a public committee hearing.
- Find out who represents you. Each Utahn has one state senator and one state representative. We will be asking community members to email and text their representatives about legislation in process leading up to and during the State Legislative Session, so it is important to have their contact information at the ready. Get a head start by looking up your reps and their contact information by entering your address here and selecting “Elected Officials”. Add your state senator and representative to the contacts on your phone now for easy access later.
- Learn about policy issues that are coming up. Legislators have been working since March on new legislation to be considered by the legislature in January through March. Action Utah has been tracking and working directly on some of this legislation and will hold a Legislative Preview at the beginning of the State Legislative Session in late January. But you can start to learn about some of the issues that will be coming up now by reading about them in the papers. Here are some articles on a few issues to get you started:
– Deseret News on family planning: “Utah lawmaker touts bill enhancing Medicaid coverage of IUDs”
- Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Holly Richardson on sexual harassment: “#MeToo”
– Deseret News op-ed by Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck on Ranked Choice Voting: “Ranked Choice Voting Can Help Utah Elections”
– Salt Lake Tribune on food tax: “Utah House Republican will propose bill to cut food tax, though details are unclear”
2. Get ready for Municipal Elections – NOVEMBER 7TH! Municipal elections are nonpartisan elections that happen every two years to select new municipal and special service district representatives such as city mayors, city council, parks & rec, sewer and water officials. This year there will also be a special election in Utah’s Congressional District 3. Voter participation is historically low in Utah across all elections, but particularly in municipal elections. LOW VOTER TURNOUT MEANS YOUR VOTE COUNTS MORE! If you are a qualified voter living within the boundaries of a municipality, be sure to vote on November 7th!
- Register to vote. The deadline to register to vote by mail has already passed. But unregistered voters may still register to vote online or at your local County Clerk’s office up to 7 days before the election. That means you must register by October 31st to be able to vote in this year’s election. Register to vote through online registration here.
- Find out how/where/when to vote. Election procedures may vary county by county. Most (but not all) have mail in ballots. Preview your ballot and find out how, where and when to vote in your municipality by going to vote.utah.gov and entering your address. If you receive the response “No election available for your area” that means you live outside the boundaries of a municipality and are not qualified to participate in the municipal election. You can also contact your local County Clerk for information specific to you.
- Make a plan to vote. Mark your calendar for important election dates, such as mail-in ballot deadlines or in-person voting. Decide when and how you plan to vote, including how you will get to the polls or drop off your ballot.
1. Oppose federal funding of a deportation force. Trump has requested over $6 billion to beef up deportation forces and detention facilities as part of a new set of immigration policies influenced by a group called FAIR, which the SPLC and others have categorized as a hate group. If the funding goes through, new private prisons will be constructed across the country — including outside of Salt Lake City — which are problematic for their notorious abuse, waste of government funds and escalated detention rates due to improper financial incentives to detain and retain prisoners.
- Call on our senators and your US representative to oppose funding of Trump’s deportation force.
- Read the terrific op-ed in the Deseret News by Action Utah Issue Captain, Laura Bandara: “Why are those with ties to white supremacists making our immigration policy?”
- Sign this CREDO petition to the NY Times to stop legitimizing anti-immigrant hate groups like FAIR.
- Sign the pledge “Not one dollar for Trump’s deportation force”.
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.
2. Support a bipartisan deal for ACA subsidies in the Senate. Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray have reached a bipartisan Obamacare deal to fund a key subsidy program through 2019, which Trump cut by executive order. Nearly 70 percent of those benefiting from the cost-sharing subsidies live in states Trump won last November, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found Trump’s executive order will increase premiums by 20%, cost the government $194 billion, increase the deficit, and increase the number of uninsured Americans, leading some to say this form of ACA sabotage is self-sabotage for Trump. The Murray-Alexander deal has the ability to stop certain chaos in the insurance marketplace.
- Call on our US senators and your US representative to support the bipartisan Alexander-Murray legislation to stabilize health insurance markets. According to the CBO, canceling the subsidy payments causes more Americans to lose coverage, increases premiums, destabilizes the markets AND costs taxpayers more than having Congress appropriate money to pay them.
Your vote counts!
Remember, Utah has a historically low voter turnout, particularly in municipal elections. That means YOUR VOTE COUNTS MORE. Be sure to use it on November 7th!
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah