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

This OTYCD entry originally posted in April 2017.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Call Your State Legislators · Community Activism · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Learn How To Get Your State to Rescind A Resolution Calling for a Constitutional Convention

Learn how to get your state to rescind a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention.

 

A cadre of right-wing folks have been agitating for years to call a new Constitutional Convention (also known as a “Con Con”) with the notion of reshaping the U.S. Constitution. They want to pass a balanced budget amendment, evidently to curtail spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

 

See OTYCD‘s past post on how to thwart a Constitutional Convention:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/03/24/thwart-a-constitutional-convention-by-electing-democrats-to-state-legislatures/

 

A minimum of 34 states are required to call a convention, and anything hatched at the convention would need 38 states to pass.

 

Set aside the fact that a Constitutional Convention would bring a heap of chaos–the Constitution does not lay out any procedural rules, and Article V, the part of the Constitution that allows conventions, has never been invoked before.

 

The fact remains that the push for a Constitutional Convention is a right-wing hobby horse, pursued by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other dubious folk.

 

Working to elect Democratic state legislators helps thwart these plans, as we note in the previous post. But there is another step that should be taken.

 

A state that assents to a Constitutional Convention is not locked in. It can rescind its resolution agreeing to the Con Con.

 

Some states have rescinded. In 2017, Nevada, Maryland, and New Mexico all did so.

 

If your state has passed a resolution calling for a Con Con, you can petition your legislature to rescind it.

 

A pro-Con Con group, COS Action, tracks its progress with a map. Yellow states have passed the bill in one chamber. Green states have passed the bill outright. Blue states are those where the bill is “active legislation.” White states are inactive–they have not passed Con Con legislation and don’t appear to be targeted for legislation.

See the map by scrolling down to the header ‘So, Are You Making Any Progress?’ and click on the progress map button:

https://conventionofstates.com

 

 

If you don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are, go to the link below and plug in your address and zip code to get their names:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

 

 

Is your state colored green on the map? Are your state legislative representatives open to sponsoring a bill to rescind a call for a Con Con? If so, ask them to get to work, and check in on them periodically to make sure they’re on it.

 

If your own state legislators would favor this move, do some research and see if there are other legislators in your state who would support it. Recruit friends in that part of the state and ask them to ask their reps for this.

 

 

Is your state colored blue on this map? Call your state legislators, say you oppose calling for a Constitutional Convention, and ask them to fight any state bill that calls for one.

 

 

Yellow states are trickier. The COS map indicates that the bill has passed in one state chamber, but does not say which one. In this case, call your state legislators, say you oppose calling for a Constitutional Convention, and say what you know–a pro-convention interest group indicates that one chamber has passed a bill but you’re not sure which one.

 

Ask for help finding out which state chamber passed the bill. When you have that information, you can take the next step. If the bill passed in the house and is now in the senate, ask your state house rep to prepare a bill to rescind, and ask your state senator to vote no on any state senate counterpart that might be live. If it’s the other way around, act accordingly.

 

And as stated before, continue to work to elect state-level representatives who aren’t on board with a Con Con. In general, that means voting for Democrats, sane Republicans, and sane Independents.

 

 

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 a November 2017 backgrounder on the Con Con from the CBS website:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/will-there-be-a-new-constitutional-convention/

 

 

Read an August 2017 piece from the Bill Moyers site on the right-wing push for a Con Con, led by ALEC:

http://billmoyers.com/story/alec-constitutional-convention/

 

 

Read a May 2017 story from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) website on states that rescinded their calls for a Con Con:

https://www.cbpp.org/blog/nevada-joins-maryland-new-mexico-in-rescinding-calls-for-a-constitutional-convention

 

 

See the language of Nevada’s 2017 state bill rescinding its call for a Con Con:

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Bills/SJR/SJR10.pdf

Call Your State Legislators · Common-sense Gun Laws · Community Activism

Ask Your State Legislators to Require Gun Owners to Report Lost or Stolen Guns

Ask your state legislators to require gun owners to promptly report lost or stolen guns.

 

It seems ridiculous on its face, but it’s true. More than 36 states do not currently require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns.

 

It makes sense to require gun owners to formally report losses and thefts. Timely reporting makes it harder for firearms to fall into dangerous hands. It can also help them get their guns back.

 

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has comprehensive information on how things are now.

 

According to the center, the only states that broadly require gun-owning residents to report losses or thefts to local law enforcement authorities are:

 

California

Connecticut

Delaware

Illinois

Massachusetts

New Jersey

New York

Ohio

Rhode Island

The District of Columbia also has this requirement.

 

A few states have more limited laws.

 

Michigan specifically requires owners to report thefts, but says nothing about losses.

 

Maryland requires reporting losses and thefts, but only for handguns and assault weapons, not other types of firearms.

 

New Jersey is alone in imposing civil liability on owners who fail to report lost or stolen guns that are later used in a crime, and its law focuses on assault weapons only.

 

 

If your state is not listed above, or has laws that could be improved, please call or email your state legislators and ask them to write a bill to address this problem.

 

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, rather than a staffer.

 

 

While cautioning that jurisdictions should consult lawyers when approaching this issue, the Giffords center cites several aspects that make for a good common-sense state law regarding lost or stolen firearms:

 

The owners should be required to raise the alarm as soon as possible once they learn their guns are lost or stolen.

 

The legal duty to report starts once the owner knew, or should have known, about the loss or the theft.

 

Those who lost guns or suffered thefts before the law took effect should be given a reasonable deadline for reporting those losses and thefts.

 

The law on reporting losses and thefts should apply to all firearms, not just assault weapons or handguns.

 

Owners should face civil liabilities for not reporting the loss or theft of a gun that is later used in a crime.

 

Requiring owners to report losses and thefts swiftly should be a condition of receiving a state gun license or registration, and failure to report losses and thefts soon after discovery should be enough to justify yanking those permissions.

 

 

FWIW, federal law does not require individual gun owners to report–but it does require firearms dealers who suffer thefts or losses from their inventories to speak up. Right now, we at OTYCD feel it best to ask you to focus on getting state-level laws passed to fix this problem.

 

 

 

Visit the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

lawcenter.giffords.org

 

 

Donate to the center:

https://giffordslawcenter.networkforgood.com/projects/38759-giffords-law-center-to-prevent-gun-violence

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/giffords/

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@GiffordsCourage

 

 

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

 

 

See a January 2018 PBS Newshour transcript that notes in passing that 39 states do not require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns (scroll down a little):

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/gun-owning-group-in-oregon-advocates-for-firearm-safety

 

 

A note: We at OTYCD intend to nurture and encourage the movement sparked by the Margory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting by devoting one post at least every other week to gun safety-related issues.

 

The reason that the NRA has a death grip on Congress, and in particular, GOP Congressfolk, is that NRA members get off their asses and call if there’s a whisper of a muttering of a hint that a law might pass that could impose even the slightest imposition on ownership of guns in America.

 

That’s what the politicians are afraid of. It’s not just that some of them get metric buttloads of money for their campaigns from the NRA. Those who embrace the NRA’s outlook pounce on their phones and berate their representatives the instant they think their beloved guns are under threat.

 

So, yes, it’s on us to shout back.

 

We have to adopt the tactics of those who support the NRA.

 

We have to call our representatives often to make it damn clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and we want common-sense gun safety laws.

 

OTYCD will start out with one weekday post every two weeks, at minimum, that has to do with improving gun safety and pushing back against the NRA.

 

We do this in honor of the Parkland victims, and all victims of mass shootings in America, and everyone who has been fighting to change our laws on firearms all along.

 

If Trump finally bows to the will of Congress and imposes the sanctions against Russia for messing with the 2016 election, we will switch to devoting one post per week to these issues.

 

Honor the victims of the Parkland shooting, and all other shootings, by stepping up and calling your reps about common-sense gun safety laws, and by supporting politicians who have low grades from the NRA, and voting out those who do the NRA’s bidding.

 

#NeverAgain. For the love of all that is right and good, Never Again.

Action Alerts · Call Your Senators · Call Your State Legislators · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality

Call Your Senators and State Legislators to Defend Net Neutrality TODAY IS THE FCC ROLLBACK DEADLINE, FOLKS

Call your MoCs and defend the principle of net neutrality, which ensures equal access to the Internet for all. The Federal Communications Commission could move to start repeal on April 23, 2018 (TODAY! So! Call if you haven’t called yet, dammit!).

 

We at OTYCD have written about defending net neutrality many times in the past. The current urgency stems from the FCC’s vote to repeal it earlier this year. We have until April 23, 2018, and then the agency can embark on the rollback.

 

Celeste Pewter (who you should be following at @Celeste_Pewter) did a good overview of the situation recently on Twitter. We are reproducing her April 4 tweets here:

 

Let’s continue to make a strong push for at the federal level. I’m alarmed we’ve stopped talking about it. Here’s a recap: A) Markey’s [Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey] petition has 50 supporters. He needs one more. B) Congress returns on the 9th. C) The FCC rollback happens on 04/23.

 

If Markey’s petition passes the Senate, TBD if it can pass the House. However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Script:

 

At the same time, states are trying to think of ways to pass their own laws. IS your state onboard? If you live in a state like CT, are you aware your bill was defeated? Are you calling to protest? (CC: )

 

She included a link to a Gizmodo story on the Connecticut situation: https://gizmodo.com/connecticut-republicans-kill-net-neutrality-bill-throug-1824280826

 

Here’s a script to either ask your state electeds to introduce Net Neutrality legislation, or vote in favor. The world isn’t going to end on April 23rd, but it’s important we encourage our electeds to act on when it’s a fresh political issue.

 

 

We have 19 days before the FCC rolls back . Mark your calendars for April 23rd. Spread the word. Act on both the state and federal level. Let’s make sure Chairman Pai doesn’t get the satisfaction of winning.

 

 

For the reasons Pewter cites, we at OTYCD will devote one weekday post to defending Net Neutrality this week, next week, and on Monday April 23, 2018.

 

Please call your senators. If they’re Dems or Indies, thank them for supporting Markey’s bill. If they’re Rs and they’re not Susan Collins of Maine, ask your Senators to get on board.

 

We only need one Republican senator to join Collins for Markey’s bill to succeed.

 

As for state legislative efforts–An April 4, 2018 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) said that 28 states had introduced legislation requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to uphold net neutrality or aspects of it.

 

The report included an alphabetical list, by state, of net neutrality bills across the country. Find your state by scrolling down:

http://www.ncsl.org/ncsl-in-dc/publications-and-resources/net-neutrality-legislation-in-states.aspx

 

If your state legislature is on the case or has already passed a good bill, call your state senator and state house rep to thank them.

 

If your state has tried and failed, ask your state legislators to try again. If your state hasn’t done anything to protect net neutrality, ask your state legislators to step up.

 

Here also is a February 2018 Ars Technica piece on state efforts to defend net neutrality:

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/02/to-kill-net-neutrality-fcc-might-have-to-fight-more-than-half-of-us-states/

 

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!

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:

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.”

 

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!

Action Alerts · Call Your Senators · Call Your State Legislators · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality · Senate Bills, Federal

Call Your Senators and State Legislators to Defend Net Neutrality (Yes, Again), AND While Talking to Your Senators, Demand They Protect Mueller and Rosenstein (Yes, Again)

Call your senators and state legislators and defend the principle of net neutrality, which ensures equal access to the Internet for all. The Federal Communications Commission could move to start repeal on April 23, 2018.

Also, while talking to your senators, demand that they move to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. 

 

We at OTYCD have written about defending net neutrality many times in the past. The current urgency stems from the FCC’s vote to repeal it earlier this year. We have until April 23, 2018, and then the agency can embark on the rollback.

 

A note: Scroll down a ways if you want to jump to the information about demanding protection for Mueller and Rosenstein.

 

Celeste Pewter (who you should be following at @Celeste_Pewter) did a good overview of the situation recently on Twitter. We are reproducing her April 4 tweets here:

 

Let’s continue to make a strong push for at the federal level. I’m alarmed we’ve stopped talking about it. Here’s a recap: A) Markey’s [Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey] petition has 50 supporters. He needs one more. B) Congress returns on the 9th. C) The FCC rollback happens on 04/23.

 

If Markey’s petition passes the Senate, TBD if it can pass the House. However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Script:

 

At the same time, states are trying to think of ways to pass their own laws. IS your state onboard? If you live in a state like CT, are you aware your bill was defeated? Are you calling to protest? (CC: )

 

She included a link to a Gizmodo story on the Connecticut situation: https://gizmodo.com/connecticut-republicans-kill-net-neutrality-bill-throug-1824280826

 

Here’s a script to either ask your state electeds to introduce Net Neutrality legislation, or vote in favor. The world isn’t going to end on April 23rd, but it’s important we encourage our electeds to act on when it’s a fresh political issue.

 

 

We have just days before the FCC rolls back . Mark your calendars for April 23rd. Spread the word. Act on both the state and federal level. Let’s make sure Chairman Pai doesn’t get the satisfaction of winning.

 

 

For the reasons Pewter cites, we at OTYCD will devote one weekday post to defending Net Neutrality this week, next week, and on Monday April 23, 2018.

 

Please call your senators. If they’re Dems or Indies, thank them for supporting Markey’s bill. If they’re Rs and they’re not Susan Collins of Maine, ask your Senators to get on board.

 

We only need one Republican senator to join Collins for Markey’s bill to succeed.

 

As for state legislative efforts–An April 4, 2018 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) said that 28 states had introduced legislation requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to uphold net neutrality or aspects of it.

 

The report included an alphabetical list, by state, of net neutrality bills across the country. Find your state by scrolling down:

http://www.ncsl.org/ncsl-in-dc/publications-and-resources/net-neutrality-legislation-in-states.aspx

 

If your state legislature is on the case or has already passed a good bill, call your state senator and state house rep to thank them.

 

If your state has tried and failed, ask your state legislators to try again. If your state hasn’t done anything to protect net neutrality, ask your state legislators to step up.

 

Here also is a February 2018 Ars Technica piece on state efforts to defend net neutrality:

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/02/to-kill-net-neutrality-fcc-might-have-to-fight-more-than-half-of-us-states/

 

Now the demand to call your senators and demand protection for Mueller and Rosenstein. Again.

 

This is a reaction to Mitch McConnell’s evident decision to stop the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act from proceeding to the Senate Floor.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter), who is perennially quick on the draw with this stuff, laid out why this is bad and why we need to scream about this, specifically, in a series of April 17 tweets:

 

All, please pay attention to this re: protection for Mueller. Remember, Senate Judiciary is taking up the bill on Thursday. But if this is McConnell’s stance, it’s going to have trouble making it to the floor. Please call your Senators again, particularly GOP ones.

 

Call your Senators and protest. Script in TL. Seriously, all. Not kidding about this. If we don’t have a loud response now, then we’re basically letting the GOP know it’s okay to do this. And they will. Over and over.

 

If we don’t push back now, we’d also be setting the groundwork for the GOP to give a collective shrug, if/when Trump does decide to fire . Let your Senators know in no uncertain terms how NOT okay McConnell’s decision is. Amended script TK.

 

And here is her amended script:

 

 

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!

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:

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

 

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