Melissa Action Plan for Week of July 31

Issue: Transgender Troops

Trump announced in a series of tweets on July 27th that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the US Military. Three Colorado Republicans went on record against Trump’s decision: Cory Gardner, Ken Buck, and Mike Coffman.

Source: The Denver Post

Action: Thank Cory Gardner, Ken Buck, and Mike Coffman for standing against Trump’s decision to ban transgender troops.

Issue: Redistricting Process in Colorado

Currently, Congressional districts are drawn by the state legislature and subject to gubernatorial veto. The Governor also chooses three of the members of the politician commission in charge of drawing state legislative lines. Check out this website that explains the redistricting process in Colorado.

More Sources and Details:

See this website for Unrig the System with action items for Colorado concerning gerrymandering.

See this website with a little more background and information on bills that will be introduced by an organization called Fair Districts = Fair Elections.  FDFE is trying to get Colorado to move to an independent commission with balanced representation from all parties.

Action: Support progressive candidates. If we want the redistricting to go well in 2020, the best course of action is to work for a Democratic Governor and state legislature.  Keep this in mind as a good talking point when getting out the vote.  Keep an eye out for the two bills from Fair Districts = Fair Elections.

Issue: WOTUS (Waters of the United States)

We knew it was coming, but now it is official. On July 27th Scott Pruitt proposed the repeal of the WOTUS rule, the rule that gives the EPA broad control over water pollution in wetlands and tributaries. If this rule is repealed, it would be a victory for developers and land owners and a defeat for the environment.

Source: Washington Post

Action: Call your senators and tell them to protect the WOTUS rule that preserves important wetland habitat and protects our drinking water.

Issue: Preserve the Johnson Amendment

Nonprofits aren’t allowed to endorse or fund political candidates because of the Johnson Amendment. If they do, they risk losing their nonprofit status. The House Appropriations Committee, with the support of Trump, introduced a spending bill with a rider that would make it much harder for the IRS to investigate religious institutions when they do engage in partisan politics in violation of the Johnson Amendment. It is now before the House. If it passes, it would seriously weaken the Johnson Amendment, paving the way for its repeal.

Sources:

Give Voice

Tracking Bills

Details: Some possible effects of the repeal of the Johnson Amendment

  1. Nonprofits being polarized into “Democratic nonprofits” and “Republican nonprofits.”
  2. Nonprofit staff getting hounded by political candidates and their operatives who hope to sway nonprofits to endorse them.
  3. Boards of directors being torn apart over which candidates their nonprofit should endorse.
  4. Foundations becoming partisan and pressuring nonprofits to align, potentially withholding funding from nonprofits that don’t.
  5. Donors trying to sway nonprofits to endorse their friends, family members, or colleagues who are running for office, using their donations as a subtle or not-so-subtle means of persuasion.
  6. Larger nonprofits getting more funding and influence as political candidates “buy” their brand in the form of endorsements.
  7. Churches becoming a means to funnel political funds, since churches—unlike political organizations—don’t have to disclose who their donors are.

Action: Call or write your legislators and tell them to protect the Johnson Amendment and to ensure nonprofits remain nonpartisan. For your Representative in the House, ask him/her to vote against H.R. 3280 (Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2018) or at least demand that the rider weakening the IRS oversight of non-profit spending for political purposes be removed.

Issue: Student Loan Refinancing Act

Many people are crippled financially because of student loan debt. There is a bill in the House (H.R. 1614) that would help by allowing people to refinance.  Currently H.R. 1614 has a 1% chance of being enacted.  It was introduced on March 17 ad has not yet been sent to committee.  Getting co-sponsors for the bill would help.

Action: Ask your Representative to join Mark Pocan (D – WI) and co-sponsor the bill. This should be a bi-partisan issue since allowing people to re-finance at lower interest rates may keep them from defaulting.

Some General Actions Suggested by Common Cause

Sign up for your representative’s e-newsletter or postal mailing to receive regular updates, invites to local events, and information about their activities.

Find out where your representative stands (and who they stand for).

Review their voting histories: VoteSmart.org

Research their biggest campaign contributors: OpenSecrets.org

Set up a Google News Alert — for example, “Rep. Bob Smith” — to receive an email whenever your representative is in the news.