Action Plan for Week of March 20

Monday, March 20:  Sign up for the 5 Calls Website

This Web site gives you a summary of issues and also provides the contact information for your elected officials, along with a few talking points. You can choose from a list of issues in a menu on the left side of the page. Click the issue and a summary appears, along with a script and numbers to call.

If any of the issues below do not strike your fancy, visit this Web site and find something that does!

Tuesday, March 21: Increase the minimum distance for oil and gas facilities from Colorado schools

Source: Sierra Club and Colorado HB17-1256, introduced 3/14/2017

Who to Call: Your Representative to the Colorado State House

Script: Please co-sponsor HB17-1256, which would clarify that oil and gas facilities may not be built within 1,000 feet from the property line of schools. This common-sense measure will protect our kids not just in the school building but also on playgrounds and athletic fields.

Details: Next Thursday (March 23), Colorado’s Committee House Committee on Health, Insurance and the Environment will hold a hearing on proposal HB17-1256, which will clarify that the minimum distance for Oil and Gas drilling from a school should be 1,000 feet from its property line.

Current Colorado law states that the minimum mandatory distance for new oil and gas facilities is 1,000 feet from any “high-occupancy building,” which includes schools. However, this measurement starts from the building itself and not the property line. This allows for new drilling bordering school property, including playgrounds, sports fields, and modular classrooms.

Wednesday, March 22: Protest cuts proposed in Trump’s budget blueprint

Sources: KUNC

AAUP (American Association of University Professors)

Who to Call: Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget

House Budget Committee Members   If your representatives are not on this committee, call the committee chair.

Script: Education, creativity, and research lead to the innovations that make America great. I am asking you to resist the cuts to education and the arts proposed in Trump’s budget blueprint.

Details:  From AAUP: President Trump released an initial budget proposal Thursday containing deep cuts that would severely damage scientific research, the arts and humanities, and access to higher education.

The budget proposal includes a cut of nearly 20 percent to National Institutes of Health funding and deep cuts to research programs at the Department of Energy, Department of Education, and other government agencies. It decimates funding for climate change research and programs within the Environmental Protection Agency and completely eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The repercussions of these cuts, if enacted, would be very serious for faculty, our students, and the public.

Cuts to student aid are also severe, and disproportionately affect students of color and working class students. The proposal slashes work-study programs, grants for low-income college students, and programs that prepare disadvantaged students for college. It robs Peter to pay Paul by moving $3.9 billion in surplus Pell Grant funds to non-educational uses.  Information on other proposed cuts to education (more to do with K-12) on KUNC’s website.

Thursday, March 23: Let Colorado Voters decide about Transportation Funding

Sources: Bill Introduced March 8, 2017.

KUNC: Item 1   (this has the wrong bill number. It is HB-1242, not HB-1142)

Item 2   Item 3

Who to call: Your state representatives in the Colorado Senate and the House.

Script: Please co-sponsor HB17-1242. This bill would allow Colorado voters to decide whether or not they want to fund transportation infrastructure through sales tax.

Details:  Democratic and Republican leaders are backing the idea of asking voters this fall if they support a tax increase to address funding transportation. The bill asks voters to increase the state sales tax by 0.62 cents for the next 20 years. Some of these funds will be given directly to cities and counties to address their own specific needs such as roads, bike or pedestrian lanes, and public transportation. Overall, this bill will make our communities more walkable, bikeable, and transit friendly.

If there is going to be a long-term solution to transportation infrastructure it’s going to almost certainly require something that the voters are going to weigh in on,” said Senate President Kevin Grantham, a Republican. He made that comment late last year, prior to the January start of the session, and has kept the promise, backing House Bill 1242, which would add millions of dollars for transportation needs.

House Republicans have pledged to aggressively oppose the measure, saying the state needs to reprioritize the budget before asking for more money from voters. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats worry there’s not enough funding for transit. They also say the tax is regressive. For more info, follow links above.

Friday, March 24: Subscribe to an organization (or three!) that supports investigative journalism.  We all want real news but, increasingly, we are not paying for it. If we don’t support NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post and their ilk, we risk losing the sources we rely on for ethical, honest, factual news based on investigative journalism.