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Contact Federal Government Officials

Find senator’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/RLiotu

Find representative’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/5i7SXC

Fax legislators for free:  Reps:  https://faxzero.com/fax_congress.php


********************************
Many newspapers, including New York Times and Washington Post require subscriptions, but without one we can see a few articles each month.  We can also check with our local libraries to find out how to get online access through them.

1.       On Monday, The Washington Post brought a nauseating quotation to light from a White House official – that the Parkland shootings were a “reprieve” from the prior week at the White House: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-the-weary-white-house-florida-shooting-offered-a-reprieve-from-scandals/2018/02/19/04293442-158a-11e8-92c9-376b4fe57ff7_story.html?utm_term=.92006e638175 Let’s let the White House know that we can walk and chew gum at the same time and that we will fight for better gun control while still finding Rob Porter’s domestic violence amid fast and loose security practices, Pruitt and Shulkin’s unethical use of taxpayer funds, and Michael Cohen’s “fixer” payments to porn stars abhorrent

2.      David Frum penned this piece in the Atlantic titled “America is Under Attack and the President Doesn’t Care” https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/america-is-under-attack-and-the-president-doesnt-care/553667/ Let’s share it with our MoC and ask what their plans are for sanctions and future elections.

3.      It seems like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is hoping that the judicial stays will take the heat off the March DACA deadline (and perhaps that our short-attention spans will turn elsewhere): http://thehill.com/latino/374322-whats-next-for-daca-recipients Let’s stay connected with our own MoC to let them know that these young Americans need a reprieve from uncertainty and deserve a thorough legislative solution to Trump’s self-inflicted wound. Let’s also let Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell know that we expect them to follow through on their promises: on Twitter @SpeakerRyan and @SenateMajLdr or https://www.speaker.gov and https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/

4.      Thwarted by legal issues from purchasing beer, lottery tickets, racy magazines, and cigarettes, this 13-year-old easily and legally purchases a gun:  http://www.businessinsider.com/this-13-year-old-couldnt-buy-cigarettes-but-he-could-buy-a-gun-2016-6  Let’s tell our MoCs that we think that a weapon is more dangerous for a child to buy than lottery tickets. 

5.      Trump's budget proposal includes the elimination of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Project (LIHEAP), which helps low-income families, individuals with disabilities, and older individuals pay their heating bills http://bit.ly/2ByG5ml The program has already seen a decrease in funding, even while the price of utilities has increased. Let's call our MoC and ask that they support full funding for LIHEAP.

6.      The NRA has been accused of illegally conducting political spending while reaping the tax benefits of being a non-profit: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/21/nra-illegal-political-spending-lobbying-pac and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint (http://crew.3cdn.net/9d9bdeceea844c1be0_fam6yx6ix.pdf) with the IRS in 2015 and updated its findings in 2016 that "the NRA has failed to disclose $60 million in political spending since 2008." (https://www.csgv.org/action/tell-fec-irs-investigate-nra-violations-federal-law/)  Let’s tell IRS Commissioner David J. Kautter to launch investigations into the NRA’s fraudulent activities immediately:  1111 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20224-0002 or (202) 622-9511 or Fax: (202) 622-5756  We can also send information that raises questions about an exempt organization’s compliance with the Internal Revenue Code by submitting Form 13909, Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f13909.pdf  Form 13909 and any supporting documentation may be submitted via: mail to IRS EO Classification, Mail Code 4910DAL, 1100 Commerce St., Dallas, TX 75242-1198, fax to 214-413-5415, or email to eoclass@irs.gov

7.      “The Trump administration wants to allow insurance companies to offer more policies that have limited health benefits and that can reject customers if they have pre-existing medical conditions. Short-term plans don't have to include the minimum essential health benefits – such as mental health care or prescription coverage – that have to be included in an ACA compliant policy. And insurance companies can refuse to offer coverage to someone with a pre-existing medical condition, or charge people more money if they're likely to need more care. “The expansion of short-term health insurance plans is part of a strategy to create a parallel insurance market that does not comply with the ACA's rules," said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, on Twitter. “  https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/20/587244292/trump-administration-wants-to-let-insurers-offer-plans-with-fewer-benefits  Comments are currently open and we can add ours comment here. https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=CMS-2018-0015-0001

8.     Eager to know what we can do to help protect our state voting systems from Russian hacking the future?  Let’s learn from The Loyal Opposition and follow their calls-to-action:  https://www.theloyalopposition.net/daily-ctas/must-act-now-protect-russian-cyberattacks-state-voting-systems-2018/

9.      Yesterday, Trump notified the Dept. of Justice to look into more regulations of bump stocks:  http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/374722-trump-to-take-steps-to-ban-bump-stocks  Let’s not forget that the NRA gave this go-ahead after the Las Vegas shooting:  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nra-says-bump-stocks-devices-used-by-las-vegas-shooter-should-be-regulated/  Let’s tell our MoCs that we want THEM, not the NRA, making decisions about gun safety and reform.

Election 2018 – General

1.       We’re less than a week away from a February 27th special election for a New Hampshire state rep seat, and the Democratic nominee needs our help. Phil Spagnuolo would be a champion for Medicaid at a time when it’s under threat, someone who can personally make the case for how important it is. (http://www.wmur.com/article/nh-primary-source-substance-misuse-recovery-coach-spagnuolo-plans-run-for-nh-house/13095593). Let’s give him a hand! We can find instructions on how to phone bank (from anywhere) voters for him at http://tinyurl.com/codebluenh.

2.      Democrats have Connecticut’s congressional delegation locked up, but the state legislature is a different story, with only a seven-seat Democratic majority in the House and 18 senators from each party. On February 27th, we have a chance to pick up a House seat Republicans have held for 44 years in a special election (https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Hopefuls-hunt-for-voters-12604272.php). Let’s help get out the vote for Democrat and former Stratford town council member Phil Young! We can help phone bank (from anywhere) for him at this link.

3.      The children who were in grade seven and above when the massacre at Sandy Hook occurred, are pretty much all going to be voting age in November.  They remember, and they’ve seen the continued lack of gun reform. Let’s help make sure they get registered.  Their voices are important.  https://vote.gov/

Election 2018 – By State

1.       ALL:  VoteLocal has created a spreadsheet that shows us all of their vetted candidates for 2018 arranged by state:  
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gVTxDYgGNgzvCgUveNvHfwHvTG4pFuxSIRSmTBJStIE/edit#gid=0  If we have additions to make or see changes that should be made, we can email:  Equal2018@gmail.com

Other Actions

1.       Shannon Watts Monday evening: “Typical turn out for a @MomsDemand meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina: 20 people…..Tonight: So far, we’re counting 500. We had to start a spill room.”  The tide is turning.  Let’s find and join our local Mom’s Demand Action group and help turn gun reform into a groundswell:  https://momsdemandaction.org/

2.      At a fundraiser in Broward County two days after the shooting, House Speaker Paul Ryan told a Florida school-teacher he “didn’t want to talk politics” when she brought up the issue of gun control. http://www.newsweek.com/paul-ryan-challenger-florida-gun-control-810286. Ryan has also rejected a request to convene a special committee on gun violence https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/15/ryan-rejects-call-special-committee-gun-violence-calls-shooting-pure-evilsays-shooter-may-have-slipp/341223002/ and claims that the bill the House recently passed closes up some of the loopholes that allow people with a mental health history to obtain a gun. However, this bill--currently stalled in the Senate for good reason--would allow people from states where concealed carry is legal to carry guns in any state, essentially nullifying the state’s own gun laws. Let’s tell Speaker Ryan that (1) we are on to his duplicity, (2) we want to see a special committee studying gun violence, and (3) we want action on gun laws that does NOT allow concealed carry reciprocity. And let’s tell our Senators to make sure to vote NO on H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

3.      “High school and college students from across the country are teaming up with Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to launch a new initiative – Students Demand Action”.  Join here:  http://act.everytown.org/sign/join-students-demand-action or students can text Student to 64433

4.      Dallas officials have asked the NRA to find a new location for their 2018 annual meeting scheduled there for May. “Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said Monday the NRA would be "met with opposition" if they continue with the planned event from May 4-6 in downtown Dallas.”  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/02/20/florida-school-shooting-nra-addresses-criticism-holding-convention-dallas/353989002/  Let’s thank him:  http://dallascityhall.com/government/citycouncil/district4/pages/contacts.aspx  While we are at it, let’s add some pressure to the mayor of Indianapolis where it is scheduled for next year:  http://www.indy.gov/eGov/mayor/Pages/home.aspx

5.      "Can you help us with a *5-second survey*? A national group we work with, Action Together Network (http://actiontogethernetwork.org), is taking a nationwide temperature check to see how members of groups like ours primarily identify themselves politically. The survey will be live for 1 week, until February 27th. The results will be shared on March 13th - and we will share them with you then.  Survey link: http://bit.ly/ATNsurvey

6.      Let’s help the students in Florida fund the March for Our Lives by donating to their GoFundMe account:  https://www.gofundme.com/8psm8-march-for-our-lives

7.      As part of their Electoral Justice Project, Movement for Black Lives has launched Wakanda the Vote https://ejp.m4bl.org/ This campaign focuses on getting individuals across the country registered to vote as they attend the movie Black Panther. Organizations can create registration events by texting PANTHER to 91990, and individuals can register to vote by texting WAKANDA to 91990. 

8.     From Drain the NRA: “By partnering with the NRA, these public and privately held companies are taking a political stance by aligning themselves with the nation’s most deadly and divisive lobbying organization.  By association, these companies are endorsing the gun lobby's practices of halting sensible gun safety legislation, such as universal background checks and a ban on bump stocks, that would ultimately make our communities safer. As shareholders, customers and citizens, we're demanding these corporations end their advertising and corporate partnerships with the NRA and stand for safer communities, not the gun lobby.”  Let’s join in this effort:   https://www.drainthenra.com/company-information-1

9.      “A raffle item at a Cameron Park Fire Department crab feed Saturday night made some attendees so uncomfortable that they left the event. Firefighters were auctioning off an AR-15 rifle, the type of weapon allegedly used Wednesday by Nikolas Cruz in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead. Cameron Park’s crab feed is not the only event featuring an AR-style gun that is receiving criticism. In Michigan, a high school booster club canceled a fundraising dinner that would have featured a gun raffle including an AR-15. In Missouri, third graders are selling raffle tickets for an AR-15 to benefit their traveling baseball team.  http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article200867469.html  This makes no sense at all, first responders and third graders selling raffle tickets for automatic weapons. Please don’t participate in these disgusting raffles and file a complaint with any group that is doing this. 

10.  On Monday, the NY Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin floated an idea worth our taking up; if Congress won’t curb the sales of guns, how about the banks? 
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/business/banks-gun-sales.html  Apparently, PayPal, Square, Stripe, and Apple Pay will not allow their services to be used for the sale of firearms.  Why not Visa, Mastercard, and American Express?  This kind of restriction is not unprecedented; just this month, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America barred the use of their cards to buy cryptocurrencies. Let’s point out to the credit card companies that they need us and we don’t want them to facilitate gun sales: Visa 1-800-847-2911; Mastercard 1-800-307-7309; American Express 1-800-528-4800

11.   Many of us who are fortunate enough to have retirement savings or other investments may be funding firearms manufacturers and retailers without our even being aware of it. We can look into where our money is being invested and look to divest from firearms manufacturing companies and retailers who sell guns (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/your-money/the-gun-makers-in-your-fund-portfolio.html). Goodbye Gun Stocks (https://goodbyegunstocks.com/) can help you see if your fund is investing in firearms manufacturers and retailers, as well as help you find gun-free funds. We can also see if our local or state pension funds are culprits and demand that they divest (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/15/business/dealbook/new-york-city-pension-fund-to-divest-itself-of-gun-retailer-stock.html).

12.  One Vote at A Time started after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016. Their goal: to make free-of-charge campaign ads for candidates who believe in gun safety.  In 2017, they made over 30 ads for 19 candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates[SR1] .  In 2018, they are going to 10 states to work with hundreds of candidates. If we are or know of a Gun Safety Candidate interested in their support, we can contact them here:  https://www.onevoteatatime.us/contact/  We can learn more about them here:

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.       February 24:  On February 26th, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about Janus vs AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), a case which asks whether public employees who choose not to join their designated union may nevertheless be charged “agency fees” to support the collective bargaining from which they benefit.  While the conservatives pretend this is a first amendment issue, if the Court bans “agency fees” it will—as no doubt the conservatives hope—deal a huge financial blow to the American labor movement:  https://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2018/02/getting-their-dues We can join with teachers, firefighters, and police to show our opposition to this effort to undermine public unions on February 24th at the Working People’s Day of Action all over the country: http://www.itsaboutfreedom.org

2.      March 24: The surviving students in Florida are organizing the “March for Our Lives in Washington, DC.  Supporting them are Moms Demand Action  and Giffords:  Courage to Fight Gun Violence.  Let’s check out their website and add (scroll down to “March with Us”) our local march information, too:   https://www.marchforourlives.com/

3.      March 25:  NJ Grassroots Organizing Conference 2018, a networking and training forum for advocacy organizations, community groups, and student groups.  Registration and other info here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/158938258241976   We can also like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/marchforourlives/ and follow them on Twitter here: @AMarch4OurLives and here: @NeverAgainMSD

States

1.       MI:  There are currently nine states, as well as Washington, D.C., which have banned conversion therapy from being practiced against minors http://bit.ly/1n6TFT1 On February 13th, State Representative Adam Zemke introduced House Bill 5550, which would prohibit mental health professionals from attempting to change a minor's gender identity or sexual orientation http://on.freep.com/2EEQT4Z Let's be sure to call our state reps and ask that they support House Bill 5550 to make Michigan #The10thstate

Reading/Watching

1.       This blog (with a salty title quoting a comedian) has gained a lot of traction on social media and goes a long way in cutting through the noise: https://agingmillennialengineer.com/2018/02/15/fuck-you-i-like-guns-2/


3.      “Do Protests Matter? What the Tea Party Movement Can Teach the Trump Resistance” - http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/do-protests-matter-what-the-tea-party-movement-can-teach-the-trump-resistance-20180129





 [SR1]



2/20/18


Contact Federal Government Officials

Find senator’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/RLiotu

Find representative’s contact info here: https://goo.gl/5i7SXC

Fax legislators for free:  Reps:  https://faxzero.com/fax_congress.php


********************************
Many newspapers, including New York Times and Washington Post require subscriptions, but without one we can see a few articles each month.  We can also check with our local libraries to find out how to get online access through them.

1.       Out of respect for the Parkland shooting victims, Trump was apparently counseled to stay off the golf course this weekend while in Florida. He took to Twitter instead and made it even more obvious that he is not going to defend our nation against the Russian attacks:  https://apnews.com/8f6e1fd141da4efdb1efc880d03aae1e  Trumps refusal to enact the Russian sanctions will only encourage the Russians.  Let’s be in touch with our senators to express outrage about the lack of appropriate response to the indictments and encourage them to co-sponsor  the DETER Act (S. 2313) which would automatically impose severe sanctions on Russia if Putin interferes in our elections.

2.      In 1996, the NRA goaded Congress into effectively blocking gun violence research.  “Infuriated by CDC-funded research suggesting that having firearms in the home sharply increased the risks of homicide, the NRA goaded Congress in 1996 into stripping the injury center's funding for gun violence research – $2.6 million. Congress then passed a measure drafted by then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) forbidding the CDC to spend funds "to advocate or promote gun control." http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-gun-research-funding-20160614-snap-story.html  Imagine if this were to happen with any other cause of death. Let’s contact our MoCs and insist that the Dickey Amendment be repealed.  We have a right to know what is happening. 

3.      While the House passed H.R. 620: ADA Education and Reform Act, a rollback on the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is not clear whether there would be enough support in the Senate to clear the 60 votes needed to pass the bill http://bit.ly/2EFiUJX Still, let's be sure to call our senators and make sure that they oppose the ADA Education and Reform Act. Disability and civil rights groups fear the bill will weaken incentives for businesses to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which mandates equal access to public accommodations.  We can use the call script available at 5calls:  https://5calls.org/issue/americans-with-disabilities-act-ada

4.      EPA Chief Scott Pruitt claimed in a recent article in Time Magazine that he has to fly first class because people in coach have been mean to him. http://time.com/5158661/scott-pruitt-first-class/. Recently, Pruitt spent $1,641 on a first-class seat from Washington to New York, and a total of $58,000 on non-commercial flights. Meanwhile, the President wants to decimate the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology and slash funds for prosecuting environmental crimes and administering clean air and water programs. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/02/12/trump-budget-seeks-23-percent-cut-at-epa-would-eliminate-dozens-of-programs/?utm_term=.934782030355. Perhaps this is why people are being mean. Let’s tell Mr. Pruitt that we want him to spend our taxpayer money on protecting the environment, not on his wasteful transportation habits.(202) 564-4700; Pruitt.Scott@epa.gov; Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20460; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EPAScottPruitt Twitter: @EPAScottPruitt.

5.      According to Federal Judicial Court nominee Gordon Giampietro, criminals come from public schools, birth control is an assault on nature and gay marriage opens the doors to polygamy. Let's read more about him at Urban Milwaukee then contact our Senators to let them know we oppose this extremist anti-LGBTQ candidate. 

6.      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has cleared the regulatory path for Sinclair Broadcasting, a giant television conglomerate and vocal Trump mouthpiece, to buy Tribune Media. This deal would put Sinclair into 72% of US households, but thanks to the hard work and diligence of US Representative Frank Pallone, the FCC's Inspector General has agreed to investigate Pai's close connections with Sinclair and any favorable treatment Pai may have provided. http://www.tvtechnology.com/news/0002/fcc-ig-agreed-to-investigate-pai-handling-of-sinclairtribune/282776   Let's send a word of thanks to Congressman Pallone for pushing the FCC to take a much-needed second look at this sweetheart deal:  https://palloneforms.house.gov/contact/

7.      ultraviolet has prepared a February Congressional Recess toolkit for us called “Women Grab Back:  Fighting for Justice in the Trump Era”.  https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.weareultraviolet.com/images/20180214-UV-recess-toolkit-web.pdf Let’s use it!

8.     From one of our own:  These are the 80 bills currently in Congress. All of them propose commonsense gun safety reforms. Not a single one is being acted on by our GOP- and NRA-controlled Congress. Your task: use this doc to Resistbot and tweet the names of the bills to GOP members of Congress. Going further, at the marches this month, make 80 signs with the names of the bills. List names of victims on the back. Shame Congress for not doing more when the legislation's just sitting there waiting to be passed.  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IrXrSlA-OR6hPCDZCt93UHGAa-75omkdPkEOmrCeONg/edit#gid=859455503  Please share with your groups!

9.      The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is making what’s been dubbed an unofficial visit to India to promote his family’s real estate projects. But he’s also planning to deliver a foreign policy speech on Indo-Pacific relations at an event with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian newspapers have been running full-page, glossy advertisements hyping his arrival and the latest Trump Tower project under the headline: “Trump is here — Are You Invited?” The ads also invited home buyers to plunk down a booking fee (about $38,000) to “join Mr. Donald Trump Jr. for a conversation and dinner.” News that the Trump Organization would be offering buyers in the Trump Tower the chance to meet the president’s son sparked criticism of potential conflict of interest, and the fact that Trump Jr. will be giving a foreign policy speech while on a private business trip complicates the matter further, ethics expert said.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/trump-jr-to-give-foreign-policy-speech-while-on-unofficial-business-trip-to-india/2018/02/19/37d00c37-d9e8-40c4-934b-0a26b8160dcd_story.html?utm_term=.c5f07864066e   Jr. is peddling the trump business on our tax dollars. Secret service dollars will be used to protect him while he sells condos in India for his dad and delivers a foreign policy speech. He’s not part of the WH staff. Let’s contact the White House and tell Trump to stop mixing his family business with government. Stop wasting our tax dollars and filling your pockets.

10.  Redlining was outlawed years ago.  “Fifty years after the federal Fair Housing Act banned racial discrimination in lending, African Americans and Latinos continue to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts.”  https://apnews.com/ae4b40a720b74ad8a9b0bfe65f7a9c29 Time to let our MoCs know that this needs to be addressed and fixed.

11.   “Hundreds of federal political ads — including those from major players such as the Democratic National Committee and the Donald Trump 2020 campaign — are running on Facebook without adequate disclaimer language, likely violating Federal Election Commission rules, a review by ProPublica has found.”  https://www.propublica.org/article/i-approved-this-facebook-message-but-you-dont-know-that  Let’s tell our senators to get behind the Honest Ads Act (S. 1989).  It’s been sitting in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee since October.  Let’s scroll down this page to see the committee members we also need to contact:  https://www.rules.senate.gov/

Election 2018 – General

1.       State election officials, including many secretaries of state, have just been briefed by national intelligence agencies about the ongoing threat of interference in US elections by foreign powers. https://www.npr.org/2018/02/19/586968070/election-heads-straddle-the-line-between-sounding-the-alarm-and-being-alarmist One election official commented that he feels obligated to "straddle the line between sounding the alarm on the issue and being alarmist," for fear of eroding public trust in elections. Well, preserving trust in the voting process assumes that the process itself is free & fair, so with the White House recklessly ignoring the proven problem of foreign meddling, let's tell our election officials that they need to keep pushing the intelligence community to provide them with the information they need to safeguard the linchpin of our democracy. http://www.e-secretaryofstate.com

2.      We know that voting for MoCs who do not receive funds from the NRA is important, but so is how they vote on gun-related legislation which we can see here: 
https://www.npr.org/2018/02/19/566731477/chart-how-have-your-members-of-congress-voted-on-gun-bills  Let’s use this information to make good choices during our upcoming elections.


Election 2018 – By State

Other Actions

1.       Feeling moved and lifted up by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida like David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, and Emma Gonzalez? https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/19/florida-shooting-students-push-gun-control  Let’s send notes of gratitude and encouragement to them: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 5901 Pine Island Rd, Parkland, FL 33076 and then let’s follow their lead! Here are some ways we can get connected to gun violence social actions upcoming on March 14th, March 24th, and April 20th: 

2.      Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group is looking for “seasoned organizers to support the courageous youth organizing of this event as coaches. Each coach will join a coaches training call and be paired with at least two youth organizers to support.”  If we can help, let’s sign up here:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1msLHioGyr6dRtKihV5IEE34__bhDyeO7Z41ByDAkcds/viewform?edit_requested=true

3.      State attorneys general have been on the front lines of the legal fight against the Trump administration, and this November we have an opportunity to add to their ranks. Governing Magazine considers nine attorney general seats to be in play this fall – seven of which are currently held by Republicans (http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-2018-attorneys-general-races-states.html). Let’s help elect more Democrats to this crucial and under-publicized position. We can donate to the Democratic Attorneys General Association here: https://democraticags.org/

4.      For far too long, the NRA has seemed like an all-powerful, unstoppable force, stopping all efforts at gun control, but Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, tells us that thinking that way is part of the problem. She recommends that we read this twitter thread, by ProPublica reporter Alec MacGillis, on liberal fatalism to see how we can begin to think and the act differently to enact effective gun control in our country: https://twitter.com/AlecMacGillis/status/964984035628986368

5.      The NRA has a well-stocked supply of arguments and talking points to deflect serious discussion of meaningful Gun control, but people are starting to answer back. A veteran and gun owner gives a powerful, strongly supported point-by point-refutation of many of their claims in this Facebook post by his sister, Calista Kline. We can read this and draw from these arguments in our gun control discussions: 

6.      On February 14th, a coalition of organizations coordinated their efforts to provide a month of Bail Outs, in observance of Black History Month and International Women's Month. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people are incarcerated, without convictions, because they cannot afford bail. Black Love Bail Out works to provide bail money for those who cannot afford it. We can help bring Black Love Bail Out to our local communities; let's check out the toolkit available at https://nomoremoneybail.org/#top 

7.      In solidarity with their Florida counterparts, high schoolers in Kalamazoo, MI have created a petition asking for gun reform:  http://michiganradio.org/post/65000-and-counting-sign-kalamazoo-students-petition-responsible-gun-control Let’s sign it:  https://www.change.org/p/students-fighting-guns-since-adults-won-t

8.     From Suit Up Maine:  Good, practical steps we can take so we do not contribute to false information:  https://www.suitupmaine.org/not-stop-spread-false-information-social-media/

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.       On Wednesday, February 21st at 12 PM, there will be a rally to support Gun Safety Reforms in front of the Old Florida Capitol. Yet another assault weapon has been used as a tool of destruction in order to commit mass murder. We want these weapons and large capacity magazines banned in the state of Florida. Senate Bill 196 and 1476 are sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee and has yet to be heard. We call to place these, and other Gun Reform Bills on the agenda and give it a fair hearing! #HeartheBills Parkland students and State Representatives will speak. We can find out more about the event, and how to join in here:

2.      After years of hard work by a broad coalition of activists, late last month Washington’s governor Jay Inslee rejected an application to build North America’s largest oil train terminal in Vancouver (http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/371254-washington-gov-rejects-proposed-oil-by-rail-train-station). Now STAND.earth and the folks who helped earn this victory are coming together to host a webinar on the lessons they learned we can apply to future fights with Big Oil and big corporations. The event will be held at 3pm Eastern on February 21st, and we can sign register to take part at this link.

3.      We can sign up to attend the February 27th “Until Freedom Comes: A Comprehensive Bail Out Toolkit Webinar” here:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/167d0c71442e1989c5b9141539e44ee6

4.      March 3rd, Black Lives Matter: Houston and Houston Rising are hosting March for Black Women in Houston, TX.  Details here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/314975859009519


States

1.       ALL: “There have been more than 290 shootings on school campuses in the U.S. since 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012 according to Everytown For Gun Safety, an advocacy group. Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on campus, as documented in news accounts. This includes events that did not target students or teachers, like suicides, misfires and other activity.”  http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-na-school-shootings-since-newtown/ Guns don’t belong in elementary schools, colleges or universities. Take a look at the map and see how many of these school shootings were in your state, then call your Reps and ask for sensible gun laws.

2.      MOST:  While gun advocates might like you to believe otherwise, facts have shown that gun violence is lowest in states with strict gun laws. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/nyregion/florida-shooting-parkland-gun-control-connecticut.html  Only five states (CA, CT, OR, WA, and IN) have a “red flag” law that allows the courts to confiscate people’s guns if they are deemed to be a threat. http://time.com/5165221/gun-control-law-states-florida-shooting/. Let’s contact our state legislators and ask them to introduce “red flag” legislation in our state. We can find our legislators’ contact information here: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

3.      FL: Florida's Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) has put forth two proposals in particular that would strip away significant religious freedom protections that have been a vital part of Florida’s constitution for more than 130 years. 1) Proposal 4 would fully repeal the No-Aid Provision of the Florida Constitution, which ensures that taxpayer dollars do not fund religion. 2) Proposal 45 would effectively repeal the Uniform Public Education Provision, which ensures that public dollars fund public schools that serve all our students and are not funneled into private and religious schools. Let's read more at Americans United. Though the CRC is likely to pass these proposals when it convenes for a final vote in May, it is enormously important for commissioners and members of the media to know that there is strong and coordinated opposition to these proposals. Let's take a look at the list of public hearings here and make a plan to attend if we are able.

4.      MD: A state bill, HB0511, in the Maryland House of Delegates would require all institutions of higher education in the state to form “hate-bias” prevention programs and reporting systems that would be tracked by the state legislature. We can read more about it at The College Fix.  If we are Maryland residents, let's contact our own delegates to let them know we support HB0511.  If we are in other states, we can contact our own state representatives to ask how they are addressing hate-bias at state colleges and universities and point to Maryland's bill as one part of the solution.

Reading/Watching


1.       Yesterday, we had a piece from the NY Times on how Russian bots and trolls work: https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000005414346/how-russian-bots-and-trolls-invade-our-lives-and-elections.html. Here's a new exclusive piece on how these bots and trolls ACTUALLY tried to interfere in state-level politics. We hope this investigative piece by Denver Post reporter John Frank is followed up by journalists in other states: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/02/19/colorado-russian-trolls-twitter-new-analysis/ 

2.      Suit Up Maine has come out with a “Victories and Good News Roundup” to show us that we are getting things done!   https://www.suitupmaine.org/victories-good-news-roundup