Indivisible Houston Weekly Call to Action!
For the week of July 3, 2017
There is a lot going on – even more than we’ve seen lately. Your calls, emails, and rallies pushed the Senate GOP to delay a vote on their healthcare bill. That’s a HUGE win in the fight to protect health care for Americans. So remember, when we work together, we can make positive changes!
If you’re like me, you may be facing this week’s news with some anxiety. Take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other, and let’s get to work! And for a laugh and some motivation watch James Cordon’s Donald: The Musical. Cause if it’s not right, you have to set it right! Now go celebrate America’s independence, then roll up your sleeves, and get to work!
Useful resource for finding your elected officials (save the numbers in your phone!!): myreps.datamade.us
Tips on effective communication with elected officials, see Chapter 4 Opportunity 4: Indivisible Guide: Local Advocacy Tactics that Work
1. Keep calling your Senators to tell them to oppose BCRA – the Senate version of the AHCA
It’s huge that the Senate postponed voting on BCRA until after the July 4 recess. Our work isn’t done yet though. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been working on modifications to the bill so he can get all Senate Republicans’ votes. Make sure your Senator knows that you oppose the BCRA, and make sure your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers understand what’s at stake with this bill. Their lives may literally be on the line.
Script: For Republican Senators For Democrat Senators
Listen: NPR: Kaiser CEO Grapples with Potential Impact of Senate GOP Health Care Bill
Read: NBC News: Here’s How Wealthy Gain from GOP Health Care Bill
2. Call your State’s Secretary of State and Governor to demand that your state refuse to comply with the “election integrity” commission
We hate to sound alarmist, but…this development is very alarming. Despite absolutely zero evidence of widespread voter fraud, the President’s set up an “election integrity” commission lead by Kris Kobach who has a disturbing history of voter suppression. The commission has requested that states turn over sensitive voter information and records which will be used as a pretext for federal legislation to make it harder for people to register & vote, just as Texas has already been doing for years with unconstitutional voter ID laws and intentionally racist gerrymandering.
The Kobach commission will use this public, rudimentary data–first and last names–to generate thousands of false matches, leading to misleading claims about the prevalence of double voting. That results in hundreds of legitimate voters being removed from the rolls. This is a crisis.
Contact info for Texas: Secretary of State, Elections Division: 512-463-5650; Governor’s office 512-463-2000; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other states: 5calls.org – enter your zip code and your states’ SoS name and number will show up
Say: “Hi, I’m a resident of [your state] and I’m calling to demand that the Secretary of State/Governor refuse to comply with Donald Trump’s “election integrity” commission. There is absolutely no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud, and I worry that it’s a pretext to pass federal legislation to massively suppress votes, especially after looking into vice Chair Kris Kobach’s history in Kansas. The data request is illegal, un-American, unconstitutional, and a brazen overreach of federal powers. The great state of [your state] MUST refuse to participate.”
3. Call the State Department at 202-647-6575 to expand the list of accepted family members
Last week, the Supreme Court lifted some of the lower courts’ injunctions on the “travel ban.” They said that the travel ban could go into effect, but that it couldn’t apply to individuals with credible claims of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Instead of holding to that definition, the Trump administration has considerably narrowed who will be allowed into the country – grandparents don’t even qualify for an exemption. When the travel ban was instated, it was to be in effect for 90 days (120 for refugees) while “more thorough vetting” was developed. That was January 27 and it is now July 3, a full 157 days later. Shouldn’t those improved vetting processes be complete by now?
Read: Washington Post Opinion: Trump Administration Tries to Circumvent Supreme Court Travel Ban Ruling
For more: NY Mag: Trump May Already be in Contempt of Court for his Travel Ban
Say: “Hi, I live in [your town], and I’m calling to urge the state department to expand the definition of “close family” exceptions for the travel ban. Barring grandparents from seeing their grandkids does nothing to protect American’s safety, and is more likely to lead to even more resentment, and anti-American sentiment abroad. And not a single terrorist attack has occurred on American soil from any of these countries in the last 20 years! Not even 9/11! The ban is cruel and discriminatory and should be changed or removed. Thank you.”
4. Attend a town hall
Congress is in recess for the 4th of July break. You know the drill. Show up at their town hall and make sure your voice is heard. If they aren’t hosting a town hall, host your own, or show up at their closest district office or at an event they’re attending.
Find a town hall near you: townhallproject
Read: Indivisible Guide: July Recess Action Plan
Texans: Ted Cruz is hosting town halls in McKinney July 5, Austin July 6, and Houston July 8. All are sold out, but you can still show up outside! The events are hosted by Concerned Veterans for America (a Koch group), so make sure you dress patriotically, and have posters that are compassionate and support our troops and veterans. “Support our vets. Let them keep their healthcare!”
5. Celebrate America!
Go out and enjoy this great country that you’ve been working so hard for! Enjoy being able to shout your political beliefs in public without fear of violence or jail! Enjoy a book you’ve checked out from a local library! Enjoy a public park! Thank a police officer for helping to control crowds at 4th of July celebrations! Enjoy the clean water you have coming out of your tap (unless you’re in Flint), and the roads you’re driving on. Enjoy all of the things you love about America, and remember how important they are to you, and how fragile they may be, to motivate you into action the rest of the week and the rest of this year!
1. Start calling your State MoCs to oppose bad legislation on the special session agenda
We won’t know what exactly’s in the bills during the special session until the special session starts. But we do know roughly what some of the bills are about, and you already know what’s important to you. So pick an issue to call your state MoCs (1 Rep and 1 Senator) and make sure they hear your voice.
Summary of bills: Texas Tribune: Gov Abbott Calls Special Session on Bathrooms, Abortion, School Finance
Read: New Yorker: America’s Future is Texas
2. Call Houston Mayor Sylvester 713-837-0311 and Houston City members to appeal Texas’s ruling that spousal benefits are not required to the US Supreme Court
This week, the Texas State Supreme Court ruled that same sex married couples should not be guaranteed spousal benefits. They stated that while gay marriage is now legal, the “reach and ramifications” of what that means is yet to be determined. The case: two Houston tax payers sued the city in 2013 when then-mayor Annise Parker extended spousal benefits to same sex couples. Even more troubling: the court initially refused to take up the case, but did after being pressured by Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton, and Dan Patrick. So much for separate branches of government…
Read: Dallas News: Texas Supreme Court Rules Gay Couples Not Guaranteed Spousal Benefits
Fore more: Time: Gay Spouses May not be Entitled to Workplace Benefits in Texas
City Council Directory: Houston City Council Members
Say: “Hi, I’m a resident of Texas, and I am urging you to appeal the Texas State Supreme Court’s recent decision that legally married same sex spouses should not be guaranteed spousal benefits. This is state-sponsored discrimination coming from our judicial branch, and the people of Texas demand better.”
3. Mark your calendar to show up for the special session July 18th
Governor Greg Abbott and the Republican lead state legislature are hoping to get all 20 agenda items passed quickly, and under the radar to make sure they can pass all 20. If you can make it to Austin that day, show your support for the people of Texas by standing with us at the Capitol to help us gain the media attention we need to make sure all Texans understand what our legislature wants to do.
Can’t make it to Austin? Plan an event or district office visit near you!
That’s it for this week. Keep up the great work and have a safe and happy 4th!