Week of 02.11.18
Issue: Pennsylvania Republicans have drawn a new congressional map that is just as gerrymandered as the old one
From the Washington Post: Last month the Pennsylvania Supreme Court instructed the state's Republican-led legislature to draw a new congressional map after finding the existing one was an illegal partisan gerrymander that violated voters' right to participate in “free and equal elections.”
On Friday, Republican leaders in the legislature submitted their new map for the governor's approval. As directed by the Supreme Court, the new map is much more compact than the old one. Gone are the infamous convolutions that characterized the old map, earning nicknames such as “Goofy kicking Donald Duck.”
The new districts generally respect county and municipal boundaries and don't “wander seemingly arbitrarily across Pennsylvania,” as the state's Supreme Court wrote. Unfortunately for Pennsylvania voters, the new districts show just as much partisan bias as the old ones.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has until Thursday to review the new Republican-drawn map. If Wolf rejects it, the Supreme Court will instruct independent redistricting expert Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University to draw a new map from scratch.
Week of 02.04.18
Issue: Request for Public Meeting on Shell Falcon Pipeline application
The “Falcon” pipeline designed to feed the Shell Ethane Cracker in Beaver County with 107,000 barrels of highly explosive ethane daily is now up forpermit review by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and we need residents to call/write with their concerns! A powerfully revealing article and series of reports released last night by the FracTracker Alliance highlights the extensive risk to local communities posed by the pipeline project.
Shell has applied to build a 97-mile Falcon pipeline to feed the Shell Petrochemical Plant. It will traverse 22 townships in Pa., WV and Ohio. In Beaver County, this pipeline will come dangerously close to 550 family homes, 20 businesses, 240 groundwater wells, 12 public parks, 5 schools, 6 daycare centers, major hiking and biking trails and the watershed of the Ambridge Reservoir.
Given the fact that the DEP needed to halt construction on the Mariner East 2 Pipeline because of poor pipeline construction practices and some inadequate permitting, it would be in the DEP’s interest to allow for a greater degree of public input and oversight of the proposals in this application. We are therefore requesting DEP to extend the public comment period for this permit application to sixty days and to hold a public Q&A session/ meeting on the permit applications near the location of the Ambridge Water Authority, which will be impacted by the construction of the pipeline.
Special Election January 23, 2018
35TH HOUSE DISTRICT
PA House District 35 includes: Clairton, Duquesne, Lincoln, McKeesport, Munhall, South Versailles, Versailles, West Mifflin (only districts 3, 4, 12, 15, and 16), Whitaker, and White Oak
If you live in the districts listed above (or have friends and family), make sure to get out and cast your ballot or encourage those that live there to go vote for Austin Davis! If you need help finding your polling place, please give the Democratic Committee office a call at (412) 481-5646. Let's send Austin Davis to Harrisburg!
Week of 01.22.18
Issue: Urge The House to End the Shutdown and Pass CHIP and DACA
The Senate may have come to a deal, but it still has to go to the House and then President Trump. See CNN article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/22/politics/senate-shutdown-vote-congress/index.html
Donald Trump and the Republicans rejected multiple attempts at compromise from Senate Democrats and allowed the Federal government to shut down at midnight on the one year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration. Rather than considering proposals that would protect thousands of Dreamers from the immediate risk of deportation, fund essential services such as the Children's Health Insurance Program and providing relief for communities still without clean drinking water after natural disasters, negotiations have become a blame game. Children kept alive by CHIP coverage, Dreamers fearing for their future, and thousands of federal workers are paying the price for the failure to negotiate in good faith.
Over the past few weeks, bipartisan proposals have been derailed by Trump's ever-changing mind, racist outbursts, and demands for a costly and unpopular border wall. Complicating this dynamic is the fact that Republicans have abandoned sensible bipartisan proposals in favor of appeasing anti-immigration hardliners in the Republican party. It is clear that this dynamic must be disrupted and order and good faith negotiations must resume.
Write or call your representatives to urge them to work now to protect the Dreamers, fund CHIP, provide disaster relief funding and reopen the government so our nation can begin to function for everyone.
Week of 12.10.17
Issue: Urge Preservation of Employer-Provided Education Assistance During the Tax Debate
Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) allows an employee to exclude from income up to $5,250 per year in educational assistance provided by their employer for courses at the associate, undergraduate and graduate level. Although Section 127 assistance is a voluntary benefit offered by employers, an employer that chooses to provide these benefits to his/her employees must do so on a nondiscriminatory basis that does not favor highly compensated employees. Congress extended Section 127 nine times since it was created in 1978, and finally made the provision permanent with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (Pub.L. 112–240) on January 1, 2013.
Preserving Section 127 is imperative because it:
- Addresses the Skills Shortage: HR professionals use training of existing employees to fill open positions. By investing in their existing talent pool, employers have seen an ROI of more than 100 percent.
- Ensures Global Competitiveness: According to SHRM's 2017 Benefits Report, 61 percent of employers with 100 or more employees provide undergraduate tuition assistance, and 59 percent offer graduate assistance. This benefit facilitates investment in the workforce and ensures a talent pipeline as employers look to innovate and compete globally.
- Supports Public Policy Priorities on Worker Training: State governments and the federal government are currently exploring ways to create employer apprenticeship programs for employers and encourage investments in training of employees.
- Promotes Upward Mobility for Employees: Employees who take advantage of employer-provided education assistance improve their opportunities for upward mobility and wage growth.
Currently, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate versions of their respective tax bills will need to be reconciled via a conference committee. Members of each chamber have begun meeting to work out differences between the two bills. Once there is a final bill produced by the committee, each chamber will need to vote again on the legislation before it can advance to President Trump to be passed into law.
Week of 12.03.17
Issue: Net Neutrality
Earlier this year we completed a net neutrality task, but our work is not done! As we learned from a previous task, policy goes through many levels before being enacted and this is the final step in net neutrality's travels and we need to RESIST!
Net-Neutrality is fundamental to free-speech, freedom of information, and social and economic justice. It’s undermining could be the first step toward full-fledged censorship and state media. Neutrality assures that content isn’t censored by internet providers, and that all content is available to all subscribers at the same price, rather than through tiered access pricing schemes. Read more about why net-neutrality is critical from Save the Internet and the ACLU.
The public comment period on this proposal, a process that was riddled with fraud and scandal, is ended on July 17th. It’s now up to Congress and the FCC itself to stop the attacks from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (a former Verizon attorney) on Net Neutrality. The FCC will be voting on December 14th on the fate of an open and fair internet. We must speak out before then to stop Trump’s crony Pai.
Week of 11.19.17
Issue: Close the Boyfriend Loophole for Domestic Violence Gun Bans
As we piece together the terrible personal histories of the mass shooters in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, once again we are reminded that the majority of mass shooters have a history of intimate partner violence and domestic abuse. Extensive data have shown that people who abuse and threaten partners and family members are even more dangerous when they have access to firearms. In fact, abused women are 5 times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser has access to a gun.Although keeping guns out of abusers' hands reduces gun violence, major loopholes in federal gun safety laws allow users to readily access firearms. For example, federal law does not consider an assault domestic violence if the abuser and victim were in a dating relationship without living together or having a child together. This so-called "boyfriend loophole" leaves thousands of abusers able to legally purchase guns to use against their victims.
Also, although it is well known that stalking is a reliable predictor of future violent behavior (76% of women murdered and 85% who survived a murder attempt by a current or former intimate partner experienced stalking according to one study), federal law does not consider misdemeanor stalking as a serious enough crime to limit an abuser’s access to guns.
Furthermore, federal law does nothing to restrict an abuser’s access to guns during the most dangerous time for victims of domestic violence, the period when a victim has left their abuser and filed for a Temporary Restraining Order. Until the restraining order is permanent, violent abusers can easily buy and use a firearm.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate have proposed several bills to close the boyfriend loophole, protect victims of stalking, and limit abusers' access to deadly weapons. Congress must act now to prevent perpetrators of domestic abuse from accessing deadly firearms.
Week of 11.12.17
Issue: Oppose the #TrumpTaxScam
Details of the GOP tax plan are out, and it’s clear that the Trump and the GOP have nothing in mind but supporting corporations and the 1%. Since they failed to repeal the ACA, Republicans feel a great deal of pressure to pass their tax scam. Their millionaire and billionaire donors are begging for it. But we can stop them.
The goal of the House Republicans' tax reform plan, dubbed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is clear: to provide corporations and the ultra-wealthy as many tax breaks as possible. The bill would permanently lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, gradually phase out the estate tax (which only applies to estates with greater than $5.6 million in assets), and eliminate the alternative minimum tax (AMT) immediately. The AMT only applies to people who make more than roughly $130,000 a year; Trump paid an additional $31 million in taxes solely because of the AMT in 2005. Meanwhile, this plans offers no tax breaks to the bottom 35% of Americans and will increase the deficit by a whopping $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
To pay for these tax cuts for the wealthy and big businesses, the GOP plans to eliminate a multitude of itemized tax deductions that typically offer relief to middle-class consumers, including deductions for student loan interest, adoption costs, moving expenses, alimony payments, and extremely high medical costs. Additionally, it would eliminate exemptions for dependent children and personal exemptions. I even read where teachers would no longer receive deductions for buying supplies for their students out of their own pockets! While the bill would increase the standard deduction to make up for the elimination of itemized deductions, the increase is only about 15% when accounting for the loss of the dependent and personal exemptions. The larger standard deduction also means that middle-class consumers have less of an incentive to donate to charity, hurting non-profit charitable organizations in the process.
The GOP claims that their plan is designed to cut taxes for the middle class, but it is clear that their primary goal is helping the wealthy avoid paying their fair share in taxes. If implemented, these changes would result in the transfer of wealth from the working class to the rich and will continue to exacerbate income inequality in this country.
Week of 11.05.17
Issue: Conflicted Regulators
Trump has been appointing people to head government agencies or judgeships who are directly opposed to or have conflicted interests with the aim or mission of their appointed agency/court For example, he is trying to confirm lawyer Eric Dreiband as head of the DOJ Civil Rights Division has no relevant experience but throughout his career has consistently fought to support employer discrimination against women, mothers, Muslims, the elderly, and people with criminal records. He has even attacked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over their attempts to ensure racial justice and famously defended the University of North Carolina transgender bathroom ban.
Dreiband’s nomination has been widely condemned by civil rights organizations. “Mr. Dreiband is not simply unqualified for the extraordinary responsibility of leading the nation’s civil rights enforcement: he is morally unfit for the job,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement following his nomination. However, his confirmation only requires 51 votes and none of the 52 Republican Senators have voiced any opposition. All our Senators need to hear that their constituents oppose the confirmation of this unqualified and dangerous individual to the DOJ Civil Rights Division.
Trump also has several other appointees waiting to be confirmed who are totally unqualified, have major conflicts with the industries they come from and the agencies they are meant to head, or their ideology makes them totally unable to be unbiased or to make effective decisions as a leader of a government agency/Federal Court.
Go to 5calls.org and choose from any of the appointees (or choose all of them!) and send a PPW postcard, letter, email, fax, or call Casey and Toomey.
On 5calls.org, click on “view all active issues” and then you will immediately see a heading entitled “Appointees” which will give you a list of all pending conflicted regulators. There is already a script prepared (that can be formed into an email, fax, or letter) and all of the information you will need to contact Sen. Casey and Sen. Toomey about this issue for each person.
Week of 10.29.17
Issue: Need to Impeach
A multi-millionaire named Tom Steyer (from Wikipedia: Tom Steyer is an American hedge fund manager, philanthropist, environmentalist, progressive, activist, and fundraiser) is spending $10 million of his own money to get the impeachment of Donald Trump ball rolling. It is wonderful that this principled American is standing up for our values, our Constitution, and our democracy. Let's help him!
Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, a co-author of the Federalist Papers — and an immigrant himself — argued that "high crimes and misdemeanors" could be defined as "abuse or violation of some public trust." This president has clearly already exceeded these standards. Congress has impeached past presidents for far less. -Tom Steyer, Oct 18, 2017
All you have to do is go to www.needtoimpeach.com and sign the petition. There is more information on the website. In addition, I recommend that you watch the short video on his website which is the same as the TV commercial he is currently running.
Week of 10.22.17
Issue: Supporting or Opposing a Bill
I have learned so much from attending Ceasefire training with Rob Conway and becoming a part of their advocacy efforts. Please learn as much as you can about Ceasefire PA and support this fantastic organization.
Part of what I’ve learned is how to keep track of proposed bills. Many of us ask ourselves, “why are there so many “Call to Action” requests for the same bill? It seems I’m doing the same thing repeatedly.” You are. It is a multi-year marathon not a sprint. Making a bill a law takes time, persistence and insistence. Advocacy organizations, like Fair Districts, Ceasefire, Sierra Club, etc., closely monitor bills that affect them as they move through the House and Senate to the Governor. They call on constituents to let their legislator know the level of support or opposition there is for a bill. The best way to pressure or influence a legislator is through their constituents.
Although there is never a bad time to advocate for a bill, as bills make their way through our legislative process, there are times when the peoples’ voice is most effective.
To track a bill: Use HB 671 which specifies state gun laws that supersede local ordinances as an example.
- Go to this page: http://www.house.state.pa.us
- On that page type “HB 671” in the legislative quick search field in the upper right-hand corner and click “Search”
- You will get to this page: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2017&sInd=0&body=S&type=B&bn=0383 To see the full text of the bill, click the printer’s number link towards the bottom left that has the little “*” after it. That will always indicate the most recent version.
- To see who is currently cosponsoring the bill or where the bill is in the process, Click the “history” button. The cosponsors will be right below the bill number, and there will be a list of actions taken below that.
- To find out who voted for the bill, click on the “Votes” button. Clicking on the “Vote” button under “Floor Roll Call” will take you to the different links that you need.
Week of 10.15.17
Issue: Pat Toomey's Lack of Compassion for Children in PA
The Task this week is super easy but will hopefully have a big impact! Congress failed to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by the deadline of September 30th. This program serves over 9 million children nationwide, and without federal funding, states will be forced to make cuts!
Last week, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to rescue the program. Senator Toomey was the only Senator of either party that voted against the bill, calling CHIP a "slush fund."
Please sign the petition below (by clicking on the first link) from Pennsylvania Health Access Network to let Senator Toomey know we can't afford to play games with our children's health.
Also, please SHARE this petition with as many friends and family members as you possibly can! Our kids deserve it!
Week of 10.8.17
Issue: Gun safety and control, now!
The horrifying mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, which left nearly 60 people dead and hundreds injured, has once again illustrated the need for comprehensive legislation to address gun violence. The United States has more guns per capita than any other peer nation; Americans constitute about 4% of the world's population but own 42% of all civilian firearms. There is a mass shooting, on average, almost every day of the year in the United States, and the nation has far higher rates of gun homicides than any other developed nation. Firearm suicides in the US are also dismally common, with suicides actually comprising the majority of gun-related deaths. However, thanks to continued lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA), Congress has repeatedly failed to take meaningful action and curb gun violence.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have expressed support for banning bump stocks. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), a gun owner himself, endorsed measures to ban bump stocks, stating, "There's no reason for a typical gun owner to own anything that converts a semi-automatic to something that behaves like an automatic." Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) agreed, noting, "You can't buy a chain-fed machine gun in the United States today. There's a reason for that. I'd want to make sure nobody had access to that, if that's the law of the land." Even Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) has assigned staff to research bump stocks and stated he would consider hearings on the issue.
Democrats have introduced House and Senate bills to ban bump stocks, and Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL) has introduced a bipartisan bill in the House as well. As Dianne Feinstein, lead sponsor of the Senate bump stock ban bill, commented, "The only reason to modify a gun is to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible." Congress must act quickly to close the bump stock loophole.
Also, on a broader level, gun violence prevention experts have recommended a number of policy approaches to reduce gun violence:
- Congress can close legal loopholes that allow people to buy guns without background checks from private sellers, websites, or gun shows. A move that over 80% of gun owners support.
- Congress can institute universal background checks for both gun and ammo purchasers and require gun licenses, all measures supported by the vast majority of Americans.
- Congress can appropriate funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research gun violence and effective interventions to prevent it. The CDC is currently prohibited by law from conducting any research that could theoretically "advocate or promote gun control" thanks to a partisan budget provision passed each year since 1996 called the "Dickey Rider."
- Congress can adequately fund community-based interventions such as the nearly 20-year-old Ceasefire program, an underfunded effort that has helped to reduce gun violence in cities through education and public health crisis strategies.
America's disproportionately high rates of gun-related deaths are both tragic and shameful. Congress can save lives by passing common sense legislation to reduce gun violence.
Please use the letter below on a PPW postcard, formal letter, fax, email, or use as a script to call your Representatives in Congress.
Week of 10.1.17
Issue: Attack on access to women's health
We scored an incredible victory by defeating the Graham-Cassidy bill in September. But unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the end of attacks on our reproductive rights. An attack on women’s health could come at any moment.
This fall, devastating anti-women policies are just as likely to come from a governor or the White House as they are to come from Congress. That’s why we need to be prepared to fight back at any moment in the coming months.
Here are the three threats we could be facing this fall:
- Attacks from Congress
- Attacks from the Trump Administration
- Attacks from governments
Please write a message on a PPW postcard, in an email, as a fax, or make a call to your local PA State Rep, Reps in Congress, and Gov Wolf.
Week of 9.24.17
Issue: Oppose newest Healthcare bill
Please use the script below to call, write, email, or fax your representatives or any undecided US representatives and urge them to vote NO on the GOP Graham/Cassidy healthcare bill. We only have a few days left! There is an article attached that gives the most up to date information possible on which Senators are still undecided and those that have said they are close to voting no.
"I'm calling to demand your vote against the Cassidy-Graham ACA repeal bill. It's appalling the Senate GOP is pushing through a bill without a CBO score instead of working to strengthen the ACA's individual markets. The American people want a bipartisan approach to repairing the ACA, not a repeal of it. (Optional personal healthcare story here.)"
Week of 9.17.17
Issue: Register (you, friends, family) to Vote by OCTOBER 10th!
The deadline to register to vote for the November election is October 10. If anyone has moved, or has a new neighbor or a friend who has just moved (and a progressive voter! lol) remind them and/or help them to register to vote by October 10.
Week of 9.10.17
Issue: Support a new CLEAN Dream Act
Public outcry played a big role in defeating the American Health Care Act, and we need the same level of involvement for the Dreamers. Call your member of Congress and ask them to support a clean Dream Act (not tied to other immigration reform measures). Many MOCs will claim to support the dreamers while voting against the bill because they want to use the Dreamers as leverage to get wall funding or other changes in immigration law. But DREAMERs are people and should not be used as pawns in a bigger political game. Below is a website with lots of info.
Instructions from the Medium.com article:
Make Noise: Call your Attorney General and ask them to publicly support the DACA program. You can connect to your Attorney General by calling 1–832–610–3896.
Speak Out: The only reason we won DACA in the first place was because thousands of us courageously spoke out and shared our story. We must continue doing this to protect it. Share why DACA is important to you, how has it helped you, why you support it. Do it through a tweet or an instagram video using the hashtag #HereToStay.
Let Them Know: Tell your state Attorney General to publicly defend DACA with a statement about how it benefits your state. We need to get as many Attorneys General and elected officials as possible to speak up on behalf of DACA.
Week of 8.27.17
Issue: Tell PA State representatives to REJECT Senate passed budget and support SB555-The People's Budget
Yes, Trump has had another crazy week between increasing troops in Afghanistan and his campaign rally in Phoenix. However, Trump's antics cannot distract us from what is happening in our own backyard. Pennsylvania is again in a position where we have a budget that has not passed and what has been voted on in the Senate IS. NOT. GOOD.
The PA budget is STILL not approved and Mike Turzai has no plans on reconvening the House earlier from their recess (to return September 11th). The current budget that passed the Senate will increase taxes on utilities (natural gas, phone and electric bills) while making it easier for natural gas companies to obtain permits. SB555 supports reforming the PA tax code to one that more evenly distributes taxes based on income.
Write, email, fax, call PA House and Senate representatives.
Week of 8.20.17
Issue: Stop Undermining DEP's Authority!
On July 27th the PA Senate passed a series of amended House bills that would complete implementation of the state budget. These bills now go back to the House for additional consideration, and further possible amendment, before a concurrence vote occurs.
Unfortunately, a number of riders have been attached to these bills that dramatically affect environmental permitting and protection in Pennsylvania, as well as create the potential of diversion of conservation and recreation funding, in particular House Bill 542, P.N. 2259. This bill calls for a third party permitting program with complete disregard of safeguards against self-dealing and calls for public comment, allowing permitting officials to essentially be bought and sold! See link below for additional information from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
Week of 8.13.17
Issue: Rothfus Needs to Condemn White Supremacy
The 'Unite The Right' rally turned violent after a car intentionally drove into a group of counter-protestors, leaving one dead and 19 others injured. We must stand up against this violence and hate.
On August 11th in Charlottesville, Virginia, a group of white protesters (mostly men) marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches and chanting “White Lives Matter” and “Jews Will Not Replace Us." As disturbing as this modern day kkk rally was, it was only a preview of the next day’s larger event in Emancipation Park: the "Unite the Right” rally and march. No longer expecting consequences, these extremists did not bother to conceal their faces behind white hoods as in years past. Instead, they proudly raised their hands in Nazi salutes and used other anti-LGBT, anti-black, anti-Muslim chants and symbols. Attended by openly racist leaders like David Duke and Richard Spencer, there were multiple skirmishes between those carrying Nazi and Confederate flags and those counter protestings. Millions around the nation and world watch as American society is pummeled yet again by the destructive forces of hate.
Although speech of all kinds is protected by the 1st Amendment, that protection does not require silence on the part of those who disagree. The American people need and deserve leadership that affirms the values of acceptance and inclusion that our country was founded upon and that we have struggled to extend to all people over the past 240+ years. The American people deserve leaders that stand up to hate and promote unity at a time when our President employs multiple openly racist advisors like Sebastian Gorka, Steven Miller, Steven Bannon, and appointed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Both the Governor of Virginia and Mayor of Charlottesville were quick to denounce these gatherings, as were some other members of Congress, but Trump only tweeted 3 vague and generic sentences about unspecified "hate." All elected officials in our government must join what should be a deafening chorus of denunciation against this kind of racist and hate-fueled speech.
Locally, many of our Reps from both sides of the aisle have publicly denounced these groups. Surprise, surprise (please note the sarcasm) there has been radio silence from Rep. Keith Rothfus. Let's demand that he speak up on this horrible scourge on our Nation.
Week of 7.30.17
Issue 1: Local Clean Water
There is a proposed injection well to be installed in my area of Plum Boro but it is not just a Plum Boro issue. It can and will effect all neighboring communities. I went to the hearing and learned a lot of the information. This well can and no doubt will leak and contaminate our drinking water. There is the potential that it could leak into the Allegheny River. This potentially could affect the drinking water of 80,000 people. It also has the possibility of causing seismic shifts in the earth especially considering Plum Borough is built mostly over mines. This will cause earthquake effects that could be reached for miles from this area. There are many other reasons why this is a just terrible idea - traffic, noise, air pollution from the trucks, possibility of accidents of these trucks carrying chemical water and oh so many more. No matter what you think of the fracking industry, this isn't good. The waste water will need to be disposed of somewhere but it doesn't need to be in a residential area. They say that this is the 11th well in Western Pennsylvania and there are zero Wells placed anywhere in Eastern Pennsylvania. If we allow this to happen, it will only be the first of many. It will lower our home values, it can potentially make us, our children, and our grandchildren sick, and the Damage that it can do is irreversible. Think Erin Brokovich!
The deadline to comment on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed permit for an injection well has been extended to August 9, 2017. The proposed injection well is to be located on Old Leechburg Road in Plum Borough.
Issue 2: Thank You to Senators who voted NO to ACA Repeal
It is so important to take a moment to thank the Republican senators who voted NO on the ACA Repeal. Please take a few moments to do so!
Week of 7.16.17
Issue: Civil Asset Forfeiture
This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department would revive a federal policy that would allow state and local law enforcement to seize the personal property of people suspected, but not charged, of crimes. The policy, called civil asset forfeiture, was restricted in 2015 by the Obama administration after reported abuse by police. Under the policy, local law enforcement can circumvent more restrictive state laws to seize assets like cars, property, cash or personal items. Then the profits from those assets are shared with federal authorities. Sessions and the DOJ say it’s necessary to defund organized crime, but civil rights activists argue the policy has a disproportionate impact on innocent people rather than criminals.
The measure has drawn bipartisan skepticism in the past. US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said:
“The system - where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use - has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses...These forfeiture operations frequently target the poor and other groups least able to defend their interests in forfeiture proceedings.”
With the revival of the policy, the DOJ has outlined more rules for law enforcement to follow in order to seize property, but the issue of incentive remains. Sessions has demonstrated his eagerness to drag policy back into the past, with disregard to popular opinion. If a policy has been proven to unfairly affect those it claims to be protect, it should be ended.
Week of 7.9.17
Issue: Volunteer and Donation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area
Many of us joined PPW to respect, reform, reunite....and make a difference in our Pittsburgh community! Our phone calls, post cards to senators/legislators,and presence at various protests/marches, has shown our concern over issues of importance.
Government financial support for many local programs has been diminished or is in danger of being eliminated. What can we do? Monetary donations are appreciated....and volunteer opportunities abound!
Listed below are a few of many local groups who welcome volunteers to help in supporting their cause.
Women's Center/Shelter - www.wcspittsburgh.org
Emergency shelter for women/children experiencing domestic violence. 24 hr hotline/support groups.
Global Pittsburgh - www.globalpittsburgh.org
Global Pittsburgh brings together globally minded people in the Pittsburgh region-leadership, support programs, student exchange.
Center for Lesbian/Gay Civil Rights - http://equalitypa.org
This center advocates equality for LGBT Pennsylvanians through direct services, education, policy reform.
Life's work - Pr@LifesWorkwpa.org
Life'sWorks mission is to increase the quality of life of persons with disabilities and others with barriers to employment through productive employment opportunities.
Citizens Climate Lobbyfirstname.lastname@example.org
Works with concerned Pennsylvanians to slow the effects of Climate Change.
Planned Parenthood of Western Pa - www.plannedparenthood.org
Provides comprehensive,complimentary health care to those in need of services.
Not sure where you would like to offer your time and talents?! Look for Volunteermatch.org - type in your interest and this site will put you in touch with a program/non profit that needs YOU!
Week of 6.25.17
Issue: Stop Trumpcare
One of the important issues for me is the future of theAffordable Care Act. I feel this letter encompasses everything I want to say. We must keep the pressure on! So, for the third week in a row, here is a task concerning the AHCA. IT'S THAT IMPORTANT!!
Week of 6.18.17
Issue: Nutritional School Food & Continue Pressure on Senators Regarding AHCA
1. Healthy food for kids isn't a game. It isn’t a partisan or a political issue. It's the right thing to do. The healthy school meal standards have been successful, any way you slice it. Yet USDA Secretary Perdue has proposed rolling back or delaying important standards around sodium and whole grains. It just doesn't add up. Speak out to defend healthy kids and schools!
2. This week it is critical to continue messages to our senators regarding a possible vote on the AHCA. Please call/fax/email Senators Casey and Toomey to voice your concern.
Week of 6.11.17
Issue: Lack of Public Hearing for Repeal of the ACA & Repeal of Dodd-Frank
While Americans are riveted and in shock over the Comey testimony and all of the rest of Trump's treasonous involvement with Russia, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the greedy members of the GOP are happy to capitalize on the public's total and utter distraction. Two important issues that are currently being deviously positioned by the GOP to pass the Senate are the repeal of the ACA which would then be replaced with Trumpcare and the repeal of Dodd-Frank. Both of these would spell disaster for millions of Americans. We need to contact our Senators ASAP to let them know that we will not allow them to pull a "fast one" on us and that we are fully aware of their plans and the consequences of those plans to the American people.
Week of 5.28.17
Issue: Thank you Gov. Wolf!
We’ve done a lot of protesting and pushing back, which of course is great! However, for this week, I thought we would focus on the positive. We are fortunate in Pennsylvania to have an outspoken progressive governor. Let’s show him that members of PROACTIVE Pittsburgh Women are on his side!
Week of 5.21.17
Issue: Russia Investigation: Part 2
This is a continuation of last week’s task. Write to the Department of Justice and your Reps acknowledging the appointment of Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller but also urging them to stay vigilant and mindful of the fact that the American people demand answers and Trump’s full compliance with Mueller’s investigation.
Week of 5.14.17
Issue: Russia Investigation: Part 1
Next week’s PPW task is time sensitive as action on appointing an independent investigation is being debated right now.
We all need to contact:
1. Representatives to vote on H.R.Bill 356 to force a vote
2. Contact the Department of Justice to appoint an Independent Special Prosecutor
3. Contact our senators to urge the Department of Justice to do so.
Postcards need to be sent today or tomorrow, emails and calls need to be done before the Senate recess on May 16.
Week of 5.7.17
Issue: Prepare to Vote on May 16th
My task for this week is to PREPARE TO VOTE! It can be hard to track down useful information on local races, and on judicial races. I’ve done some of the work for you, but you’ll need to investigate your own local races, since there are probably 20 or more different ballots represented in the group.
STEP 1: Find your sample ballot at this site: http://apps.alleghenycounty.us/website/ElectPollPlace.aspx You will need to know some specific district and ward information, which is printed on your voter registration card, or can be found by following the links on this site and entering your address. If you can’t find it, email me your street address, and I’ll send you a copy of your ballot.
STEP 2: Make your choices for the statewide judicial races and the county sheriff. This will be the same for all of us in Allegheny County. I have given links to some other resources, including a surprisingly detailed post in the Daily Kos, and the campaign sites of the the three recommended candidates for Commonwealth Court. This is the only race with a tough choice to make. There are 3 strong, progressive candidates, but you can only choose two. The candidates on this part of the Democratic primary ballot are all Democrats. The goal is to get the best slate on the ballot for the fall.
STEP 3: Make your choices for school board positions. In most districts, candidates cross-register so that all candidates appear on both the Democratic and Republican primary ballot. Sometimes it's hard to find out who’s who before voting. The Facebook page, PA12 Votes for Progress, has information on many of the North Hills races.
STEP 4: District Magistrate races: These are local judges who deal with local misdemeanors, DUIs, etc. Candidates are cross listed in many of these races. I’m not sure it matters whether your traffic tickets are handled by one party or the other, but the goal for the primary is to get the Democrat on the Democratic ticket for the fall, and the Republican on the Republican ticket.
STEP 5: Vote for your local borough/township municipal government positions, if any. Your best resource here is your local Democratic Committee. Contact them to see if they’ve endorsed a candidate for the race. Most local Democratic committees have Facebook pages now where they post local election information and can be contacted.
Week of 4.16.17
Issue: Planned Parenthood
This week, President Trump privately signed legislation allowing states the option to deny funding to Planned Parenthood. He reversed an Obama-era rule barring state and local governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services. I'm sure you are all aware that this is not the first time this administration has taken action to limit women's access to preventive health care, contraceptives, testing & screening services, etc. It has been reported that Trump has historically been ambivalent toward Planned Parenthood. He has adopted a pro-life stance since running on the Republican ticket and trying to appeal to conservative Christians.
I am proposing that for this week's task, we target VP Mike Pence. Pence was the tie voter on the Senate floor that got the bill to Trump to sign to begin with. It is also widely known that during his time in public office, Pence has been eroding constitutional protections for women. I firmly believe he is the main driving force behind most of these legislative attacks on Planned Parenthood as he has openly declared that the Trump administration will work to overturn Roe v. Wade. When he was in Congress and then the governor of Indiana, his "lackluster public health efforts" led to a massive HIV outbreak in a small southeastern IN county. While in Congress, the House passed HIS amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. Two years later as governor, Scott County's one Planned Parenthood closed in the wake of his massive spending cuts. Since that particular Planned Parenthood was also the county's only HIV testing center, there was no longer a place for the county's 24,000 residents to get tested.
I've included a few articles below if you are interested:
Week of 3.26.17
Issue: Review of the Democratic Party
List 3 (in your personal opinion) accomplishments of the Democratic Party or things you think we’ve done right/are proud of. What are the hallmarks of the Democrats? What are things we can all agree on? (Examples: The ACA, legalizing Gay Marriage, bringing down the unemployment rate to historically low levels, bringing us safely through one of the worst economic catastrophes since the 1920’s with actual economic prosperity to boot.)
List 3 (in your personal opinion) things we’ve done wrong or where we failed as a party. Why didn’t Hillary Clinton win this election (other than the fact that Russia manipulated our election process)? Why are people that historically voted strictly along Democratic Party lines now voting Republican? (Examples: Losing this election! Losing control of Congress, alienating Bernie Sanders and his supporters, failing to deliver our message in an inspiring/actionable way to people on the fence or 3rd party candidate voters, failing to put strong leadership in place that gets people fired up and behind that person. Why didn’t Sanders and Clinton run together on the same ticket?)
Write a paragraph or two about what you would like to see the future look like. How do we learn from the mistakes and victories of our past? We always chant “this is what democracy looks like” at protest marches. What does our American democracy look like to you? What are some steps we can take toward healing our divided Party at a time like this when it is essential that we fight as a united power force for good?
Week of 3.19.17
Issue: Support HB 189-ensure future Presidents will win by popular vote (see below for details)
A little background from Wikipedia and the National Popular Vote website: The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement among a group of U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The compact is designed to ensure that the candidate who wins the most popular votes is elected president, and it will come into effect only when it will guarantee that outcome. T
he National Popular Vote bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes—61% of the 270 electoral votes necessary to activate it, including four small jurisdictions (RI, VT, HI, DC), three medium- size states (MD, MA, WA), and four big states (NJ, IL, NY, CA).
I've attached a postcard that can be sent to US Senators and House Reps, as well as PA legislators. You can also send the same message via their website or free fax: http://www.national-popular-vote.com/Campaign/PA/WS2?zipCode=15203 https://faxzero.com/