YOU can impact state policy
The State Legislative Session is a short 4-day period from January 22 through March 8, 2018 when all our state’s laws are made and amended for the year. 2018 is shaping up to be a record year with over 1000 bills already filed. Some of these bills have been studied by the legislators during Interim Sessions since May. Others are being introduced one by one as we approach the Session. Others still will be introduced after the Session begins.
Action Utah leaders have been busy tracking dozens of potential bills and working directly with legislators, lobbyists and advocates to bring you community lobbying opportunities so you can help pass good policies and sometimes oppose bad ones around the issues that matter to you most.
Community advocacy can be both EASY and MEANINGFUL, no matter your experience level. At Action Utah, we’re always working to make policy more accessible to ordinary people like you and me. That’s why we’ve created a number of resources and tools to help you better understand how the State Legislature works and how to impact it. Start here:
- Get a head start by looking up your reps and their contact information here and adding them to the contacts on your phone now for easy access later.
- Use this handy Activism Plan to learn how you can make an impact during the State Legislative Session and get yourself prepared
- Check out all of our State Legislative Session resources and tools as well as our Bill Tracking List here.
- Save the date for our Annual Legislative Preview to hear about a great list of bills and how YOU can impact policymaking at the State Legislative Session.
- Need more hands-on help learning how to make an impact? We’ll come to you! Contact us to schedule a Living Room Conversation for your group of 15 or more people to cover your community lobbying questions and get you prepared to make a difference.
Envision Utah Events: The Point of the Mountain Development Commission public visioning workshops. Please join whichever workshop is most convenient for you. More information about the process can be found here: https://pointofthemountainfuture.org/
- November 29th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Thanksgiving Point’s Ashton Gardens Visitors Center, 3900 North Garden Drive, Lehi, UT 84043
- November 30th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, 12033 Lone Peak Parkway, Draper, UT 84020
Rally Against Trump’s Monumental Mistake – Sat, December 2nd, 1:00-2:30p at the State Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill, SLC. Protest the executive order to reduce our national monuments. There will also be a street protest during the week of December 4th during Trump’s visit to Utah (time and date TBD depending on the President’s schedule — text keyword UTAH to 52886 to get text alerts about this).
Save the date!
Action Utah’s Annual Legislative Preview: How to Impact State Policy – Wed, January 24th, 2018, 7:00-8:30p at the Marmalade Branch Library, Salt Lake City. Legislators will present great bills from Action Utah’s curated list of state legislation that needs community support during the 2018 State Legislative Session. We’ll also include Community Lobbying 101 to help ordinary people like you and me make a meaningful impact on policy decisions at the State Legislature. Advocating for the issues that matter to you most can be fun and easy! Let Action Utah show you how. This event will be streamed live on Facebook for our members around the state. Not in Salt Lake? Host a viewing party!
1. Support the expansion of Primary Care Network (PCN) Services in Utah. Are you a patient relying on PCN but unable to get the all the health care coverage you need? Are you a patient who has used PCN to get medical care during a critical time when you had no other options? Your attendance and even brief testimony in today’s Health Care Task Force meeting at the State Capitol at 1:00p could help advance a great state health care bill!
- Attend today’s Health Care Task Force meeting at 1:00p at the State Capitol, 30 House Building (map). Contact our Policy Director, Carrie Butler, right away if you can attend. Find the agenda for the meeting here.
- Share your PCN story with us. Your story could help sway legislators toward supporting a good health care bill during the upcoming state legislative session. Send us your story by email if you’re willing to share in order to make a difference.
2. Advocate for climate change conversations at the state legislature. According to the latest polling numbers 71% of Utahns believe in climate change and 64% believe humans exacerbate it. If climate is an issue that matters to you, it’s time to ask your legislators to have meaningful conversations about mitigating the health and economic impacts of it on our communities and planning for our safety and security in the future. We’re looking for community members willing to talk with their legislators about this important issue.
- Talk to your legislator. Contact us if you are ready to speak up about the need for conversations around climate action in the Utah State Legislature. We are immediately seeking community members in Lehi (State House Dist 6), Tremonton (Dist 1), Price (Dist 69), Richfield (Dist 70) and Cedar City (Dist 72). Do you live in one of these State House Districts or have friends or family that do? Let us know!
- Write a LTE. Would you rather write than talk? Write a letter to the editor of your local paper using these talking points. Feel free to send us a draft if you need copyediting help. And be sure to let us know if you get published!
3. Stand up for national monuments during Trump’s visit to Utah. Trump has announced his intention to sign an executive order to dramatically reduce four national monuments, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, during his trip to Utah the week of December 4th. Despite the fact that a majority of Utah voters want to keep our existing national monuments in place, the reductions are expected to shrink Bears Ears down to 100-300K acres and Grand Staircase Escalante to 700K-1.2 million acres.
- Write. Use the latest news as an excuse to write your opinion in a letter to the editor to your local paper. Letters take 15 minutes to write and require no previous experience. Check out our TIPS on How to Write an Effective Letter to the Editor here. Feel free to send us your drafts for copyediting help. And always send us published letters so we can repost them and get them more attention!
- Give. An executive order to reduce national monument size may or may not be legal, but regardless, a slurry of lawsuits is expected to follow. If you oppose the executive order, donate what you can to the lawsuit efforts.
- Protest. If protest is your preferred method, join the Dec 2 Rally Against Trump’s Monumental Mistake (1-2:30p at the State Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill) during Trump’s visit to Utah. There will also be a street protest (time and date TBD depending on the President’s schedule — text keyword UTAH to 52886 to get text alerts about this).
- Share. Care about this issue? Spread the word to others by sharing this action. And continue to spread important op-eds and articles across social media for local and out-of-state audiences alike, such as:
– NY Times oped: “Trump Attacks Teddy Roosevelt’s Grand Legacy”
– SL Tribune: “Southern Utah businesses united in keeping Grand Staircase-Escalante protected”
– High Country News: “What could be lost in a push for mining in monuments”
– LA Times: “Native Americans rewrote the playbook for preserving public lands — and Trump is trying to erase it”
1. Tell senators to do no harm to higher education through their Tax Reform bill. Higher Education can now be added to the list of issues with Senate Tax Reform. With a 1.4% excise tax on private college and university endowments, many institutions will struggle to balance their budget without sacrificing student scholarships. This is problematic because it means fewer low-income individuals will have access to specialized degrees in their chosen fields. Many Senators may think this only impacts schools with enormous endowments but there are many small, private institutions in this country (Westminster being a local example) whose endowments are comparatively small and for whom the tax makes an enormous difference in serving a broad range of students.
- Call Senators Hatch and Lee and let them know that you oppose the 1.4% excise tax on endowments to private colleges and universities in the Senate’s tax bill because it will harm students who need scholarships and will reduce access to higher education opportunities. Be sure to indicate if you are a student, educator, or alum of a private college or university. The Senate can save money in this budget area by instead reducing financial aid to for-profit colleges, given their high dropout rates and limited job prospects for graduates.
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)
2. Tell Senators to do no harm to health care through their Tax Reform bill. The Senate is expected to vote on their comprehensive tax reform bill this week. Not only does the bill increase the national deficit, it undercuts health care by repealing the individual mandate for health insurance. The CBO estimates this will cause 13 million people to lose health care coverage and will increase health insurance premiums by 10% per year for others. It is also expected to throw the insurance markets into chaos. That’s why the American Medical Association, Family Physicians, hospitals and major insurance carriers have all come out strongly against the bill.
- Contact Senators Hatch and Lee – every day this week if you can – and tell them you oppose the tax reform bill.
3. Save Early Childhood Home Visiting to strengthen our communities. The Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program supports voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs all across the county, in our urban, rural and tribal communities, including in Utah. As part of MIECHV programs in Utah, hundreds of at-risk families each year are connected with trained home visitors such as nurses, social workers and educators. These home visiting programs put families on the path to good health, educational success and economic sufficiency – boosting our communities for the good of everyone. Utah is currently spending its LAST disbursement of federal MIECHV (the acronym is pronounced “mick-vee”) funding. Without the security of a reauthorization SOON, Utah home visiting programs will be in jeopardy, leaving families without the support that is keeping them on a positive path. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to reauthorize the MIECHV program. The U.S. Senate is considering a re-authorization right now.
- Call your U.S. Senators today and ask them to fund MIECHV now – without any complicated state match requirements, and for at least two years. When those among us who struggle most and have the least are supported by programs like home visiting, the entire community succeeds.
You are more powerful than you think
We are blessed to live in a small state where our legislators are quite accessible to their constituents and where we ordinary people can sometimes change a legislator’s mind singlehandedly with our personal stories or cumulatively by emailing about our interest in a bill along with 10 or 20 other constituents. Whereas we can often feel like a number on a chalkboard when contacting our federal reps, state legislators can be swayed by the opinions, stories and actions of their constituents. That’s why we like to remind you that EVERY ACTION COUNTS. When it comes to the State Legislative Session, a simple text to your legislator could make the difference on a bill you care about.
So remember, you are more powerful than you may think. And Action Utah is here to help you use your power to advocate at any level, from either side of the aisle, on the issues you care about the most.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah