Call Your State Legislators · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality

Urge Your State Legislators to Protect Your Privacy on the Internet

This OTYCD entry originally posted in May 2017.


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:



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.”



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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



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Find Out If Your State Has Abortion Trigger Laws and Make Sure They’re Pro-Choice

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

Does your state have abortion trigger laws–laws that instantly go into effect if Roe vs Wade is overturned? Find out, and urge your state legislators to pass pro-choice laws if need be. 

Trump and the Republicans are hell-bent on overturning Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision that ensured that women will have safe, reliable access to abortion on demand. Trump announced his intention to appoint anti-choice SCOTUS judges and, well, just look at the nonsense that so many Republicans have pursued lately on this front.

If Roe vs Wade is overturned, the power to regulate abortion access goes back to the states. It makes eminent sense, then, to see what laws your state has on its books. Many have put so-called ‘trigger laws’ in place–laws that will ban legal abortion instantly should Roe vs Wade disappear.

Is your state one of them?

First, you should learn how accessible abortion services are in your state right now. NARAL Pro-choice America has created an interactive map that will show you (scroll down a bit to find the map).

Mouse over your state to see if it offers strongly restricted access (red); restricted access (pinkish); some access (purple-pink); protected access (purple); or strongly protected access (blue).

Once you have learned how things are now, while abortion is legal on the federal level, go to the link below, find your local chapter of NARAL, ask whether your state has anti-choice trigger laws on the books, and ask what you can do to get them overturned.


You can also use a nifty tool created by the Our States web site that shows you at a glance whether your state is considering anti-choice legislation right now. Click the link below and click on ‘Reproductive Justice’:


Like NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Facebook page:


Follow NARAL Pro-Choice on Twitter:



Donate to NARAL Pro-Choice America:



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

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

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 what 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:


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


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.”


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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

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

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:


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:



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:



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



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



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


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Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Call Your State Legislators · House Bills, Federal · Senate Bills, Federal · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Fight the GOP Tax Bill, December 7 Edition (Now With the Names of the Senate Tax Conference Committee)

Keep fighting the GOP tax bill, as you have been doing for the past several weeks. This post contains actions that will work for Thursday, December 7. (Much of this worked the past few days, too. If you saw those posts, you will notice there are updates but not many changes here. Keep calling, keep fighting, recruit your friends and family to do the same, and also do something to assist Doug Jones’s Alabama Senate campaign. Thanks)

First, let’s talk about where we are. If the bill hasn’t traveled to the Rose Garden, we still have time to stop it.

It’s not there yet. We can still stop it.

Now, fighting back.


There might be a GOP Tax Scam protest near you. Check this link to find out: is leading an effort to encourage constituents to drop by the offices of their members of Congress to speak to them directly about the effects of the GOP tax bill. Learn more at this link:


The Senate has chosen its lineup for the Tax Conference Committee. They will represent the Senate when trying to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the GOP tax bill.

If any of these Republicans are your senators, it is super-extra-important for you to call and make your opposition known.

Orrin Hatch of Utah

Mike Enzi of Wyoming

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

John Cornyn of Texas

John Thune of South Dakota

Rob Portman of Ohio

Tim Scott of South Carolina

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania


In her December 6 update on fighting the GOP tax bill, Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) offered talking points that you can use with friends, family, and co-workers:

8. Here are talking points you can include in any contact you share w/ friends/family/colleagues. Key point is that the impact on the deficit could eventually result in cuts in entitlement programs.


Andy Slavitt (@aslavitt) tweeted the following updated analysis of the tax bill situation on December 5:

Here’s what I’ve picked up on tax bill…. 2/

House has named their conference. Tomorrow [December 6] the Senate will name their members. Heard they are deadset on finishing the tax bill by 12/18.3/

Collins gave her vote in good faith for a lot of promises from WH/Ryan/McConnell.4/

The House is now saying no 2 Murray-Alexander, no to reinsurance & maybe to stopping the automatic Medicare cuts.5/

But they want the conference report out and voted on before the CR and all its complexity (DACA, CHIP) needs to be passed (with 60).6/

The current plan is to adopt the Senate approach to the ACA— leave in ending the mandate: see if Collins blinks & one more joins her.7/

One thing I’ve learned is never give up until it’s over and then make them drag you off the field. Then get back on as soon as possible.


Celeste Pewter, as always, will have news and actions faster than anyone.

We’ve been telling you for weeks and weeks and weeks to follow her. If for some odd reason you haven’t yet, best get on that:


She has the best instructions on what to do today. We’re going to cut and paste her December 4 tweets below. Again, all credit goes to @Celeste_Pewter for this.


Names of conference committee members for the slowly coming out. If you’re repped by: Kevin Brady (TX) Devin Nunes (CA) Peter Roskam (IL) Diane Black (TN) Kristi Noem (SD) Take note.


Yes, I rolled my eyes at this list too. It’s a pretty awful one. But if you’re repped by them, you’re now in a unique position to sound off on GOP House’s efforts for this bill. Take. advantage. of. it.

[Note from us: In other words, Pewter means that if any of these folks named in the tweet or in the Hill story are your House reps, it’s extra-important that you call and make your voice heard.]

Interrupting this string of Celeste Pewter tweets to insert a tweet from Scott Wong that gives the full list of nine House reps chosen for the task. Again, if they represent you, CALL CALL CALL:

NEWS: expected to name the following GOP conferees for tax negotiations: 1. Chairman Kevin Brady (TX) 2. Devin Nunes (CA) 3. Peter Roskam (IL) 4. Diane Black (TN) 5. Kristi Noem (SD) 6. Rob Bishop (UT) 7. Don Young (AK) 8. Greg Walden (OR) 9. John Shimkus (IL)

[Back to Pewter. At 7:30 pm EST she tweeted:]

In other words, yes – the House voted to go to conference. The Senate is expected to vote on the same this week. Your job: continue calling electeds from both chambers on why this tax bill harms you, and push them to strip as many of the egregious amendments as possible.


I realize it feels like we’re doing the same thing over and over, but GOP leadership in both chambers are counting on: 1. All the other ongoing issues (e.g. CR demands/potential shutdown), 2. the holidays, distracting you. Keep it up, and let them feel our fury.


This last tweet of Pewter’s brings up a good point. 2017 has been exhausting, and it has demanded a lot of you. If you’re feeling frayed, get rest. Coming up with and sticking to a self-care routine is one of the most important things you can do. Literally. We say so right here:

Don’t skip on rest breaks, folks. We need you here to carry on the fight. Every last one of you. For serious.


Another point, just for our friends in Maine: Senator Susan Collins says she voted yes in exchange for specific conditions.

Well, Topher Spiro (@topherspiro) tweeted on December 4:

BREAKING: The 3 big promises got will NOT be done before the final vote on the tax bill. The bill to keep the govt open does NOT include Alexander-Murray, reinsurance, or waiver of Medicare cuts.

And also see this piece from the Daily Beast, which notes that Mitch McConnell gave his colleague Jeff Flake promises that the House of Representatives might torpedo:

If you are a constituent of Collins’s or Flake’s, now is the time to melt their phone lines with requests to ultimately vote no on this sorry mess of a bill.


And here also is a string of tweets that the aforementioned Andy Slavitt (@aslavitt) sent on the night of December 4 that sheds light on things:

What’s going on with the tax bill and ACA repeal component? I will catch you up on what I’m hearing shortly. Follow if interested.

Will also include update on CHIP. In I Hiram today where they are preparing to send out cancellation notices. 2/

House & Senate will go into conference (after some drama) to reconcile their bills. For all the other important issues, on health care…3/

The House bill doesn’t touch the ACA, Senate bill does. Two Senators can stop the ACA part from being added. 4/

With Collins promised the [sun], the [moon], and the [stars], all eyes turn from the tax bill to the C.R. 5/

Collins believes she will get all those things in the end of year CR (presuming it is extended from Friday). 6/

The CR is also where there needs to be a clean CHIP for Ds to back. And potentially DACA & a number of other things. 7/

Word is that conference/CR is complicated, entangled with lots of players & could take longer than Trump hopes. Specifically…8/

The Freedom Caucus is unlikely to give Collins her astronomy set and will still want her to vote for ACA mandate repeal. No way. 9/

The tax deal is not done. There’s a good chance this all sees January w right pressure. The ballgame (& Senate) could be different then. end


…Yes, folks, you read that right. This could stretch into January. We know, we know, we can sense your muscles tensing from here, but every extra day this gets dragged out is an extra day we have to fight.


Here also are several other folks aside from @Celeste_Pewter, @TopherSpiro, and @aslavitt who you should be following on Twitter to stay on top of the GOP tax bill, which is morphing constantly, like a suspect science experiment in a horror movie. Some of these people are old friends from the Trumpcare fights. Some are tax experts.

Ben Wikler @benwikler

Michael Linden @michaelslinden

Seth Hanlon @sethhanlon

Sunjeev Bery @sunjeevbery

Lily Batchelder @lilybatch

Greg Leiserson @gregleiserson

Chad Bolt @chadderr


Also, you might want to check the posts we put up over the weekend and make sure you’ve already done everything they recommend. For instance, if you haven’t called your governor yet and asked him or her to make a statement about the GOP tax bill, please do.


Links to our recent posts:


Also consider helping Democrat Doug Jones in his run for a seat in the Alabama Senate. There’s no guarantee that Jones will win but if he does, it will reduce the GOP’s numbers in the Senate from 52-48 to 51-49 and create more headaches for McConnell.

Posts on ways to help Doug Jones (we’ve deleted the link to our post on the GOTV postcard campaign because its deadline has passed):

You can also donate to a GoFundMe that will pay for buses, vans, and gas for getting Alabama voters to the polls on December 12. As of 9 pm EST on December 6, it had raised more than $18,500 toward its $20,000 goal:


One last note, which we’ve stated before: Even if this bill ultimately implodes and never becomes law, we still need to vote out every Republican that we can in 2018. This whole process has been nothing less than legislative malpractice. They should be punished for aiding and abetting it. Period.