Call Your State Legislators · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality

Urge Your State Legislators to Protect Your Privacy on the Internet

Call and email your state legislators and ask them to create laws that will protect your privacy on the Internet.

Earlier, we urged you to call your house reps and ask them to vote against H.R. Res 86, which, if passed, would gut consumer privacy protections online. (We’re sure you won’t be surprised to know the bill was entirely sponsored by Republicans.) Well, it passed, and Trump signed it.

Now we must turn to our state legislators to protect us from those who would harvest our data and sell it.

 

Some state legislatures are already on the case. Illinois is working on a European-style “right to know” law that would tell customers what information search engines and social media platforms are gathering on them, and who they’re selling it to. Minnesota is mulling a law that would stop Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from selling consumer information without written permission. Massachusetts state senators just introduced a bill similar to Minnesota’s.

The first step in asking your state legislators to pass laws protecting your online privacy is knowing who they are.

Find your state senator and house rep here, as well as your state attorney general:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org/

 

 

Then call or email them and ask them to pass laws that protect consumer privacy online, assuming they aren’t already doing that. If they are, tell them that you support their efforts, and ask what you can do to help make them law.

 

Sample script: “Hello, I am <Firstname Lastname from town, zip code>. I am contacting you to ask you to write, support, and pass laws that will protect <state name> consumers’ online privacy. As you know, Trump recently signed a law that allows Internet Service Providers to harvest information about their users’ online movements and sell it to third parties. I would like you and your colleagues to consider bills like those being discussed in Minnesota and Massachusetts, which would not let ISPs sell someone’s data without their written permission. Illinois is also considering a bill that would force search engines and social media platforms to tell consumers what data they’re gathering, and who they’re selling it to. Laws like these would do much to protect our privacy online. Thank you.”

 

Read about the states’ reaction to the passage of HR Res 86:

 

Read about the efforts in the Illinois and Minnesota state legislatures to protect their residents’ online privacy:

Now that the US federal government doesn’t care about internet privacy, states are stepping in

 

Read about Massachusetts state senators’ reaction to the federal law:

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/business/article143518559.html

Call Your State Legislators · Community Activism · Elections · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Learn If Your State Is Passing Laws That Restrict Voting, and Fight Back

Is your state trying to pass laws that make it harder to vote? Consult the Brennan Center’s info and maps, and if the answer is yes, fight back.

Voting restrictions are a scourge on democracy, but as long as they benefit Republicans, Republicans will try to pass them. We feel that if you are eligible to vote, and you want to vote, you should be able to vote, and you should be given many options for doing so to let you choose the means that works best for your schedule.

The Brennan Center for Justice, located at the New York University School of Law, tracks state bills that intend or have the effect of making it harder to vote.

 

First, read the Brennan Center’s Voting Laws Roundup for 2017, and see if your state is mentioned:

https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/voting-laws-roundup-2017?utm_content=bufferba0df&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Also see the Brennan Center’s interactive map of New Voting Restrictions in America:

https://www.brennancenter.org/new-voting-restrictions-america

 

Once you know what’s going on in your state, call your state-level reps to speak out against laws that restrict voting.

Don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are? Plug your address and zip code into this search tool (note–the address is key. If you only give your zip code, you won’t get the two names you most need):

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

Then click on the names of your state house rep and state senator. Their contact info will come up.

Here’s a sample script that you can modify accordingly:

“Dear (State Senator/House Rep Lastname), I ask you to oppose (House/Senate bill ####), which will have the effect of making it harder to cast a vote. Everyone who is eligible to vote, and wants to, should have the opportunity to do so. Bills and laws that make it harder to vote are inherently anti-democratic. Please do not sponsor, co-sponsor, or support bills that stop people from voting. Thank you.”

Call Your State Legislators · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

GOOD UPDATE: Tell the New Hampshire Legislature to Boot a State Rep Who Founded the Woman-Hating Red Pill Forum on Reddit

Update: Good news! On May 17, Robert Fisher resigned from the New Hampshire legislature. This was after some sideeye-worthy shens by the legislature itself (see the Time story below), but he is out of power and gone.

http://time.com/4782902/new-hampshire-robert-fisher-red-pill-reddit/

Original text follows.

Yes, you read the headline right. If you live in New Hampshire, call your state legislators and ask them to demand the resignation of state representative Robert Fisher, who has been revealed to be the founder of the misogynistic Red Pill forum on Reddit. If you live elsewhere, send postcards asking for Fisher’s resignation.

With any luck this post will be obsolete by the morning of April 28, but we’re writing it just in case.

On Tuesday, the Daily Beast web site revealed Fisher as the founder of Reddit’s infamous Red Pill forum, a cesspool of anti-feminism frequented by about 200,000 subscribers. According to the Daily Beast piece, Fisher launched the forum in October 2012 and has since stepped down as its lead moderator but still appears occasionally.

Fisher is also the New Hampshire state representative for Belknap County, District 9. (He’s a Republican, but he has run before, unsuccessfully, as a Democrat.) He was first elected in 2014 and won reelection last year.

The Red Pill forum paints men as the victims of feminism, and encourages thoughts and posts along those lines. If you want to get a clearer notion of how that can play out, and what Fisher has said about women and feminism, scroll down to click through to the Daily Beast piece. (Fisher has since claimed that several quotes in that article are taken out of context, or are otherwise untrue.)

Several New Hampshire legislators, including the current governor, have publicly urged Fisher to resign. (He has declined to do so.)

If you live in New Hampshire, please call your state legislators and ask them to urge Fisher to resign. If you don’t know who your state representatives are, plug your zip code into the web site below:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

It is extra-important to pursue this now because New Hampshire legislators are currently mulling whether and how to strengthen the state’s rape-shield laws.

Sample script: “Dear State (Representative/Senator Lastname,) I am (calling/emailing) to ask you to join your colleagues in urging state representative Robert Fisher, the Republican from Laconia, to resign. Earlier this week he was revealed as the founder of the Red Pill, a woman-hating forum on Reddit. Governor Chris Sununu has said his resignation “is certainly in order,” and Shawn Jasper, the New Hampshire house speaker, has said his resignation would be appropriate. Please join them in asking Fisher to depart his post.”

Sample script if your state rep is Robert Fisher: “Dear State Representative Fisher, I am disgusted by the fact that you founded the Red Pill forum on Reddit, and I am disgusted by your comments about women, feminism, and rape. Your words and actions prove you are unfit to serve as a state legislator. I urge you to resign and refrain from running for public office in any capacity ever again.”

Sample script for contacting New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper: “Dear House Speaker Jasper, thank you for saying that you wish that state representative Robert Fisher would resign in light of the news of his connections to the woman-hating Reddit forum, The Red Pill. Thank you also for adding later that his words and actions rise to the level of conduct unbecoming a legislator. I appreciate your having made this statement and I support it.”

 

If you live outside New Hampshire, you can email or mail postcards to Robert Fisher, asking him to resign (sure, be forceful, but be unfailingly polite!):

Robert Fisher
92 Bowman Street
Laconia, NH 03246-3678

robert.fisher@leg.state.nh.us

And again, if you live outside New Hampshire, you can email or send postcards to state house speaker Shawn Jasper, thanking him for calling on Fisher to resign but perhaps urging him to find a way to do more (he says that it’s up to Fisher’s constituents to fire him by voting him out in the next election; he says nothing about encouraging constituents to ask Fisher to resign. Again, it’s ok to be forceful when phrasing your postcards, but always be impeccably polite).

 

House Speaker Shawn Jasper

83 Old Derry Road
Hudson, NH 03051-3017

shawn.jasper@leg.state.nh.us

 

Read the Daily Beast piece about Fisher:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/25/the-republican-lawmaker-who-secretly-created-reddit-s-women-hating-red-pill

 

Read the Snopes piece on the stories about Fisher and the Red Pill Forum:

http://www.snopes.com/2017/04/25/legislator-reddit-redpill-forum/

 

Read a Time piece that quotes Fisher’s refusal to resign, in which he said, “I am not disappearing. I will continue to stand strong for men’s rights and the rights of all.”

http://time.com/4756308/robert-fisher-new-hampshire-mens-rights/

 

Read a piece from Slate that talks about Fisher, and about how New Hampshire’s unusually structured state legislature is something of a double-edged sword:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/04/27/how_did_robert_fischer_of_men_s_rights_reddit_the_red_pill_end_up_in_new.html

 

Read a local newspaper piece on Fisher and the revelations :

 

http://www.concordmonitor.com/rep-fisher-red-pill-reddit-thread-9491637

 

Read an NHPR web site story that explains why the state legislature has few options for removing Fisher:

http://nhpr.org/post/despite-uproar-over-lawmakers-comments-house-leaders-lack-leverage-oust-him#stream/0

 

Read a story from the web site of WMUR, a New Hampshire television station, in which the governor, the state Republican party chair, and the state house speaker all denounce Fisher and encourage him to resign, and Fisher declines to do so:

http://www.wmur.com/article/state-lawmaker-admits-saying-some-injudicious-things-about-women/9562347

Call Your State Legislators · Elections · Ethics · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Ask Your State Legislators to Pass a Bill Requiring Presidential Candidates to Release Their Tax Returns Or Else

Have a look at this bill that Massachusetts State Senator Michael Barrett proposed that would require all presidential and vice presidential candidates to release five years’ worth of tax returns, and ask your own state legislators to pass a similar bill. 

When the feds are asleep at the wheel, we citizens have to turn to state and local government to step in and steer as best they can. Trump promised to release his tax returns when he was a presidential candidate, but has consistently refused to honor his pledge. Enter Massachusetts state senator Mike Barrett, who’s doing his best to make sure no one else can pull the same move without consequences.

In January he proposed Bill S.365, titled An Act Restoring Financial Transparency in Presidential Elections. If passed, it would require all presidential and vice presidential candidates to release five years’ worth of tax returns if they want to appear on the state’s ballot. Candidates who fail to comply lose the right to appear on the ballot; they could only compete as a write-in.

Brendan Berger, who handles communications for Barrett, says the state senator consulted constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe, on the bill, and reports that Tribe believes it will pass muster.

Could your state pass something similar?

First, check and make sure your state legislators aren’t already on the case. A handful of states, all heavily Democratic, are pursuing similar measures.

If your state legislators aren’t mulling a bill like this one yet, call or email them and ask them to consider it.

To find your state legislators, plug your address and zip code into this web site:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

Once you have the two names you need, go to the web site for your state legislature and find the contact information for your state senator and state house rep.

Contacting your state house rep and state senator is different from contacting your federal-level reps. Calls and emails are equally effective, and you’re far more likely to get through to the actual elected official. It might be best to start with your state senator, seeing as Barrett is a state senator.

Sample email: Dear State Senator (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname), and I live in (town, zip code). I am emailing to ask if you would consider introducing a bill that would require all presidential and vice presidential candidates to release five years’ worth of tax returns in order to appear on our state’s ballot. Having a law like this in place would prevent future candidates from refusing to release their returns, as Trump has. I have (attached/included a link) to a Massachusetts bill now under consideration that is designed to address this issue. Thanks for considering my request. Sincerely, (Firstname Lastname).

 

Read the text of Massachusetts State Senator Mike Barrett’s bill:

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S365/Senate/Bill/Text

 

Read Barrett’s statement about his bill, S.365, which explains it in plainer language:

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Mass–law-can-compel-presidential-candidates-to-release-their-tax-returns—So-let-s-do-it—The-Barrett-Report–December–2016-.html?soid=1110058483636&aid=dXsAzV6_NRA

 

Read stories from Massachusetts newspapers on Barrett’s bill:

https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2016/12/15/this-massachusetts-bill-could-block-donald-trump-from-the-ballot-in-2020

http://lexington.wickedlocal.com/news/20161214/senator-mike-barret-d-lexington-wants-presidential-candidates-tax-returns-to-run-for-office-in-massachusetts

 

This Politico article contains references to efforts in Illinois and New Mexico to pass state bills that are similar to that of Barrett’s (scroll down a good bit):

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/state-legislators-trump-trolling-234919

 

Special thanks to Brendan Berger for answering OTYCD‘s questions about Mike Barrett’s bill via DM on Twitter. Please follow him: @brendanberger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call Your State Legislators · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Fight Back If Your State Wants to Pass A Law That Lets Drivers Escape Liability for Hitting Protestors

Is your state working on a law that would lighten or lift punishments for drivers who hit protestors with their cars? Call your state legislators and tell them to vote no or stop progress on that bill. 

Months ago, in the depths of winter 2017, we at OTYCD were grossed out enough to ask readers who live in North Dakota to oppose HB 1203, a bill that would lessen legal penalties for drivers who hit protestors with their cars:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/04/21/oppose-a-north-dakota-state-bill-that-would-cheapen-the-lives-of-protesters/

It failed to pass the North Dakota house by a too-close-for-comfort margin of 50 to 41. But apparently some sick individuals who got elected to state office elsewhere in the country thought that HB 1203 was a good idea and introduced their own versions in their home legislatures. (You get one guess as to what their party affiliations are.)

According to a CNN story linked below, these five states have joined North Dakota in pursuing bills that would make it easier for drivers to hurt or kill protestors with their vehicles and escape punishment or receive what amounts to a slap on the wrist. The bill numbers are included:

 

Rhode Island, HB 5690. Introduced in March but has since been held, per the state’s House Judiciary Committee, for more study.

 

North Carolina, HB 330. Introduced in March. It passed the house in April on a 67-48 vote and is now with the state’s Senate Committee on Rules and Operations. It could proceed from there to broader consideration in the state senate.

 

Tennessee, SB 944 and HB 668. The house version is dead, but the Senate version is still alive, sitting with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

And so you’re aware:

Florida‘s senate and house introduced bills along these lines in February and March, respectively. Both have since died.

The Texas house introduced HB 250 last month during its legislative special session. It was referred to the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee and was still there when the session ended on Aug 15.

 

So, what should you do?

If you live in any of the four states where the bills are not-quite-dead, call your state legislators and make it damn clear that you expect them to let these bills die in committee or vote against them if they come up. If your reps happen to be sponsors of one of these bills, ask them to remove their support. If you live in one of the two states where bills were introduced, but died, call and make it clear that you expect the bills to stay dead. And if you live anywhere else? Call your state reps, mention these bills, and make it clear that you want them to stop any such bill before it starts.

Here’s how to find your state legislators. You have a state senator and a state house rep. Plug your street address into this search engine to find them:

whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

Sample script for state legislators who are from the four states that have not-quite-dead-yet bills: “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I am asking state senator/house representative (Lastname) to oppose (Bill ID goes here), which would shield drivers from the consequences of accidentally hitting protesters who block a roadway. It was a sick idea before that guy attacked those protestors in Charlottesville, and it’s an even worse idea now. Please do everything you can to stop its progress. If you are a sponsor, please remove your support, thank you.”

 

Sample script for state legislators from the two states where bills were introduced, but died: “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I realize that (Bill ID goes here) has essentially died and can’t become law in the current session, but I am asking state senator/house representative (Lastname) to make sure it stays dead and is not revived in a future session. The bill would have shielded drivers from the consequences of accidentally hitting protesters who block a roadway. It was a sick idea before that guy attacked those protestors in Charlottesville, and it’s an even worse idea now. Please do everything you can to stop its progress. If (State Senator/House Rep Lastname) co-sponsored the bill, I am asking (him/her) to please withdraw support. Thank you.”

 

Sample script for those of us in the 44 other states: “I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). In the wake of the horrifying car attack on protestors in Charlottesville, I learned that six states had been pursuing bills that would lessen or remove penalties on drivers who hit or killed protestors with their cars. I realize there is no such bill moving through our state legislature now but I am asking State Senator/House Rep (Lastname) to oppose such a bill if anyone tries to introduce one. Thank you.”

 

See the CNN story from August 19, 2017 on states’ efforts to lessen penalties on drivers who injure protestors:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/18/us/legislation-protects-drivers-injure-protesters/index.html

 

See a similar story from a British paper (warning: It includes a graphic image from the Charlottesville attack):

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/charlottesville-states-introduced-bills-laws-protect-drivers-run-protesters-texas-florida-tennessee-a7902546.html

 

Read about backlash to these bills after the terrorist incident in Charlottesville that killed Heather Heyer and injured 19:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/backlash-gop-bills-shield-drivers-hit-protesters-49234719

 

Read state-level coverage of various laws (warning–some of these stories include links to eyewitness videos taken of the attack in Charlottesville):

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/10/bill-would-make-drivers-immune-civil-liability-protests/97743390/

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article167065952.html

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-bills-protest-criminal-20170201-story.html