Action Alerts · Call Your House Rep · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality · Uncategorized

Call Your House Reps and Ask Them to Support Net Neutrality BEFORE June 11, 2018

Call your House Reps and ask them to support Net Neutrality before June 11, 2018, when the FCC can roll it back. Also, call your state legislators and ask them to pass legislation protect net neutrality, too.

 

After much struggle, the Senate voted 52-47 in May 2018 to overturn the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and preserve rules upholding net neutrality, which prevent internet service providers from charging more for faster Internet speeds, and prevent them from blocking access to websites.

 

Unfortunately, the fight isn’t over. The future of net neutrality now rests with the House of Representatives, where it has less support.

 

That’s where you come in. You need to call your House Rep and make it clear that you want him or her to uphold net neutrality.

 

Celeste Pewter has been all over this for months now. Here’s her script on the topic. Remember: Congressfolk are back in their home districts until June 5, 2018.

 

 

Pewter also points out that it’s important to ask your state legislators to pass legislation that protects and enshrines net neutrality, as Oregon did in April 2018. Here’s her script on that:

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In addition to following Pewter on Twitter (again, her handle is @Celeste_Pewter) you can support her in other ways.

 

After you call your elected representatives on these two topics, tweet about the experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.

 

Pewter founded The Road to 2018, an organization devoted to defending Democratic Senators who are vulnerable and up for re-election this year. See our post on it:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/25/support-the-road-to-2018-which-defends-democratic-senators/

 

Subscribe to Pewter’s peerless newsletter, It’s Time To Fight:

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

More background on net neutrality:

 

Read stories on the Senate’s vote to uphold net neutrality:

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/387985-senate-votes-to-save-net-neutrality-rules

 

Here also is the I Called My Reps rundown on net neutrality and why we need it:

http://icalledmyreps.weebly.com/net-neutrality.html

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Check Out These Bills That Would Loosen Marijuana Laws, and Call Your MoCs to Support Them

Call your MoCs to support bills that would loosen marijuana regulations, such as H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, and S. 1689, the Marijuana Justice Act.

 

As intoxicants go, marijuana is pretty tame. It’s nowhere near as addictive as opioids or meth. Alcohol probably has a worse impact on society, all told, than marijuana does. But our laws don’t reflect reality. It’s classified as a Schedule I drug, which means it’s considered dangerous, with no medical use.

 

Worse still, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is convinced that marijuana is a scourge and wants to go back to a more punitive approach on the federal level just as the states are legalizing medical and recreational use.

 

A law in the House of Representatives could change things for the better. Republican Tom Garrett, who represents Virginia’s 5th District, introduced H.R. 1227 in late February, 2017.

 

Dubbed the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, it would amend the Controlled Substances Act to remove most penalties associated with the drug. Knowingly shipping or moving marijuana to a state where it’s illegal would still be a crime punishable by a fine, a prison term of one year at most, or both. It would also remove marijuana and related psychoactive chemicals from schedule one.

 

According to GovTrack, the bill has a Skopos Labs rating of a 15 percent chance of passage. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone anywhere since Garrett introduced it early in his first term in Congress.

 

A note: Since we prepped this post, you might have heard about Congressfolk introducing or gaining coverage for more bills that loosen regulations on marijuana.

 

On April 19, New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced he’s preparing a bill that would take marijuana off the federal schedule of controlled substances. This is one of the things that H.R. 1227 would do if passed.

 

The other bill is the Marijuana Justice Act, which was introduced in the Senate (S. 1689) last year by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and in the House (as H.R. 4815) in January by California Representative Barbara Lee.

 

The Marijuana Justice Act would not only take the substance off the federal schedule, it would attempt to address how non-whites have been disproportionately affected by marijuana laws. (Scroll down to read about it.)

 

Among other things, the bill would allow judges to review sentences for marijuana-related crimes in the interest of making things fairer and more just.

 

Skopos considers H.R. 1485/S.1689 a longer shot than H.R. 1227, giving it a two percent chance of passage. FWIW we at OTYCD would prefer a law that addresses the historic injustices inflicted on people of color.

 

Sample script: “Dear [House Rep/Senator Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname, from town, state.] I am calling to ask you to support and think about supporting bills that would loosen regulations on marijuana. One is H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017. Another is H.R. 1485/S.1689, the Marijuana Justice Act. Both would remove marijuana from the federal schedule of controlled substances. The Marijuana Justice Act would go further and address the ways in which marijuana laws have disproportionately punished people of color. Regardless of which you prefer, our marijuana laws are antiquated and do not reflect reality. We cannot go back to the wrong-headed outlook of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who favors a punitive approach. I hope you will look into these bills and consider supporting or cosponsoring one or more of them. Thank you.”

 

 

See the GovTrack page on H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1227

 

 

See the GovTrack pages on S. 1689 and H.R. 4815, the Marijuana Justice Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s1689

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr4815

 

 

Visit the GovTrack homepage:

https://www.govtrack.us

 

 

Become a GovTrack Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/govtrack

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

See a March 2017 Forbes blog post on Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2017/03/13/a-house-republican-has-revived-bernies-bill-to-end-federal-ban-on-weed/#7803cb30559e

 

 

Read about Democrats’ renewed interest in loosening federal laws on marijuana:

http://www.businessinsider.com/marijuana-justice-act-marijuana-legalization-bill-introduced-in-house-2018-1

 

 

Read about the Marijuana Justice Act in particular:

http://www.businessinsider.com/cory-booker-introduced-a-bill-to-end-the-federal-ban-on-marijuana-2017-8

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Support the MAR-A-LAGO Act, Which Would Require Trump to Disclose the Visitor Logs of the White House and Mar-A-Lago

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

Call your members of Congress to express support for the Make Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act, aka the MAR-A-LAGO Act, which would require Trump to release the names in the visitor logs of the White House and Mar-a-Lago after 90 to 120 days.

It is making its way through both sides of Congress now, as H.R. 1711 in the House of Representatives and as S. 721 in the Senate.

President Obama adopted a policy of releasing the names of most of the people who visited the White House within 90 to 120 days. The only exceptions Obama made were for people deemed “politically sensitive.” This was not a formal rule from Congress; Obama’s administration came up with it and chose to abide by it.

The Trump administration has yet to pass the 90-day mark as we draft this blog post. But he and his minions have shown a proclivity for secrecy and concealment. Trump has also done a fair amount of presidential work at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he charges new members $200,000 to join–a price that doubled since he took office.

The MAR-A-LAGO Act would promote transparency by requiring Trump to release visitor logs for the White House, Mar-a-Lago, and any other place where he might conduct presidential business, such as Trump Tower and his network of hotels and golf courses.

Sample script: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I am calling to ask House Rep/Senator (Lastname) to support H.R. 1711/ S. 721, the MAR-A-LAGO act. The MAR-A-LAGO act would promote transparency by requiring Trump to routinely release visitor logs for the White House, Mar-a-Lago, and other venues where he conducts presidential business. Given the Trump administration’s penchant for secrecy, a law like this one would be a good idea. Thank you.”

 

Read a GovTrack Insider article about the MAR-A-LAGO Act:

https://govtrackinsider.com/mar-a-lago-act-would-mandate-trump-release-visitor-logs-from-his-white-house-and-florida-club-3731b9a00966

 

See GovTrack’s page on the senate version of the bill, S. 721:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s721

 

See GovTrack’s page on the house version of the bill, H.R. 1711:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1711/details

 

 

 

 

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Call Your MoCs and Support S. 1342, the Eliminating Federal Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.

 

Support S. 1342, the Eliminating Federal Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act, which would do just that–close a loophole that unwittingly encourages the use of tax dollars to fund sports stadium construction.

 

An article on GovTrack Insider alerted us to this and oh yes, we were all over it. The bill was introduced on June 12. It has a house counterpart in the form of H.R. 811, the No Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act.

 

We’re going to quote the ‘Context’ section of the story because it’s a case study in unintended consequences:

 

“It all stems from a provision in a 1986 tax reform bill, which accidentally created a loophole which allowed tax avoidance for many bonds used to finance sports stadiums.

 

The provision stated that such bonds could be tax-exempt if they were used for more than 90 percent of a stadium’s construction, under the logic that this would almost never happen. After all, most sports teams were owned by billionaires or multi-millionaires who would help front much of the costs.

 

However, the opposite happened, as taxpayers started paying for way more of stadium costs than they had before. In the 21st century, that taxpayer money has included $431 million towards Yankee Stadium, $205 million for the Chicago Bears, $185 million for the New York Mets, and $164 million for the Cincinnati Bengals.”

 

Talk about perverse incentives, right? Though passing this bill might feel like closing the barn door after team after team of horses have escaped, and GovTrack admits the odds are long even though the bill should get serious public support, it’s worth the fight.

 

A note before giving the sample script: First off, if New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker is your senator, and if Oklahoma Republican Steve Russell is your House rep, call and thank them for sponsoring these bills.

 

Now, the sample script: “Dear (Senator/House Rep Lastname,) I am (Firstname Lastname, of town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to support (S. 1342/ H.R. 811), which would close a loophole that perversely encourages using tax dollars to fund sports stadium construction. Sports team owners are wealthy–some are billionaires. They can, and should, pay to build or improve their own stadiums. The law, as currently written, encourages team owners to chase precious tax dollars that should go to municipal and state needs instead of wants. The bills moving through Congress now will take away that perverse incentive.”

 

 

Read the GovTrack story on the bills that close the stadium funding loophole:

https://govtrackinsider.com/eliminating-taxpayer-subsidies-for-stadiums-act-would-end-taxpayer-tax-support-for-sports-stadiums-94a7ec189c8c

 

 

Read a Brookings Institution story on why the government should stop funding sports stadiums:

https://www.brookings.edu/research/why-the-federal-government-should-stop-spending-billions-on-private-sports-stadiums/#federal-subsidy

 

 

See the GovTrack page on S. 1342, the Eliminating Federal Tax Subsidies for Stadium Act of 2017:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s1342

 

 

See the GovTrack page on H.R. 811, the No Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr811

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Like GovTrack on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/govtrack

 

 

Follow GovTrack on Twitter:

@govtrack

 

 

Donate to GovTrack:

https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?c=350193

 

 

 

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Save This Tool for Keeping Tabs on Bills That Concern You: GovTrack

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

Bookmark Govtrack.us, a nifty tool for learning about and tracking bills that concern you.

 

Govtrack debuted in 2004 as a hobby project and blossomed into what you see today. It helps you find federal legislation on issues that you care about, and lets you track them as they work their way through Congress.

 

It can also show you the bills most tracked by the site’s users, trending bills, and other useful information, such as the total amount of legislation passed by Congress in the current session. And it offers good longer reads in the form of GovTrackInsider, which offers detailed examinations of hot bills and contested issues.

 

 

Start using GovTrack:

https://www.govtrack.us

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Like its Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/govtrack/

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@govtrack

 

 

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Never Stop Demanding That Congress Investigate Trump’s Ties to Russia and His Violations of the Constitution

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

Trump and his minions have done, or tried to do, any number of horrible things. Most of them demanded an immediate answer. Others demanded ongoing attention.

 

Several people are speaking up to say the daily shenanigans are distracting us from focusing on the two issues that have the power to force Trump from office: His financial conflicts of interest, and the Russian hacking scandal, which should shed light on Trump’s curious connections to Putin.

 

To be fair, these issues have not been forgotten, just overshadowed. A team of lawyers from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is suing Trump over his violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments clause. Jerry Nadler, a house rep from New York who sits on the house judiciary committee, recently filed a resolution of inquiry into Trump, an early step on the road to impeachment. Members of Congress are pursuing bipartisan investigations into the Russian hacking scandal, despite Republican attempts to keep such queries under its party’s control (which would let them soft-pedal the findings).

 

But the blogger behind The Liberal Yell rightly points out that it’s on us, the citizens, to keep pressing Congress to stay on the two issues that could end Trump’s presidency, and we should support their efforts to do so.

 

See the blog below.

 

http://theliberalyell.com/focus-people-there-are-only-two-things-to-demand-of-congress-in-regards-to-trump/

 

To summarize: TLY asks us to stay firmly on these two issues, regardless of what other evils Trump looses. No matter what happens, do not lose sight of the need to look into Trump’s Emoluments clause violations and the importance of getting to the bottom of the Russian hacking.

 

Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post for a great tool–a custom postcard demanding investigations into both issues, which you can download and print and mail and hand out to others.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read about bipartisan efforts to investigate the Russian hacking scandal, and Republican resistance to it:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/02/02/senate-panel-investigate-russian-election-interference/97411482/

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/10/14220484/house-dems-bipartisan-probe-russian-hacking

http://www.snopes.com/mitch-mcconnell-blocked-investigating-russian-hacks/

 

 

Learn about New York House Representative Jerry Nadler’s filing of a resolution of inquiry into Trump, and its implications:

https://www.countable.us/articles/237-preliminary-impeachment-inquiry-filed-president-trump

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Save This Tool for Tracking MoC Appearances Near You

This OTYCD entry originally posted in February 2017.

You know how important it is to attend Town Hall meetings, public forums, and other events where your members of Congress appear in person to speak with their constituents and take questions.

Some clever, determined, energetic people have created the Town Hall Project 2018. It evolved from a spreadsheet of all the events scheduled by MoCs, be they Town Hall meetings, district office hours, ticketed events, or conference call-Town Halls. Now all you have to do is plug in your zip code and voila! It’ll show you all the relevant events happening within 75 miles.

Save this tool for tracking events where your members of Congress will take your questions and meet with you:

https://townhallproject.com

 

Like the Town Hall Project 2018 Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/TownHallProject/?hc_ref=SEARCH

 

Follow the Town Hall Project 2018 on Twitter at the handle below and the #TownHallProject2018 hashtag:

@townhallproject