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Save This Tool That Shows What Laws Your State Is Making Right Now in Six Key Areas

Bookmark a tool by OurStates that shows you what new laws your state might be making in six key areas: immigration, policing and protest, reproductive justice, voting rights, LGBTQ equality, and economic justice.

State legislators aren’t just the equivalent of the farm teams for the Democratic and Republican parties–they’re the farm teams for federal laws, too. Well-funded right-wing activist groups have attempted to pass weird, extreme laws on the state level before trying to get Congress to bite.

While there are web-based tools that show what your state legislature is doing overall right now, and tools that show what bills the states are considering on a single issue, there aren’t many that show what all 50 states are doing on more than one issue. In fact, what OurStates built might stand alone. It’s a project of StayWoke, a 501(c)4 organization devoted to pursuing justice and equality. Its planning team includes DeRay Mckesson, Samuel Sinyangwe, Brittany Packnett, and a whole host of smart, perceptive people who you’d be smart to follow on Twitter.

When you click on a category, it colors the U.S. map accordingly: States colored red are working on harmful laws; blue states are creating good laws; and grey states are not currently chasing anything on that topic.

Click on your state, and you’ll open a window that shows you everything it is doing on all six topics. It will describe the law and tell you if the bills are good or bad, as well as which party controls the legislature, what the law would do, and how close the bill is to becoming law.

If you scroll down, the OurStates page will give you a link through which you can find your state legislators’ contact information, as well as advice on how to speak with them.

 

See and use the nifty tool built by OurStates:

https://www.ourstates.org/#ourstates

 

Meet the StayWoke planning team and follow them all on Twitter:

https://www.staywoke.org/about/

 

Donate to StayWoke:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/staywoke-1

 

 

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

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).

https://www.prochoiceamerica.org/laws-policy/state-government/

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.

https://www.prochoiceamerica.org/about/state-affiliates/

 

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’:

https://www.ourstates.org/#ourstates

 

Like NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/naralprochoiceamerica

 

Follow NARAL Pro-Choice on Twitter:

@NARAL

 

Donate to NARAL Pro-Choice America:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/homepage_maindonate/?refcode=mainbutton

 

 

Call Your State Legislators · Community Activism

Urge Your State Legislators To Pass Laws That Stop Police Forces From Accepting Surplus Military Equipment

Contact your state legislators–your state senator and state house rep–and urge them to pass laws that prevent your state’s police departments from accepting surplus military combat gear that the federal government might offer to their forces. 

In August 2017, Trump issued an executive order that reversed a 2015 executive order of President Obama’s which had barred American police forces from accepting castoff military gear. Before Obama’s order, the police had access to some heavy-duty stuff: armored vehicles, grenade launchers, bayonets, and more.

Obama had issued his order partly in response to concerns about how the local police had handled protests in Ferguson, Missouri after a white police officer killed Michael Brown. In explaining why Trump was lifting the ban, U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions stated, “Those restrictions went too far. We will not put superficial concerns above public safety.”

We can’t stop the feds from offering the military gear to state police departments. But we can ask state legislators to pass laws that stop police departments from accepting it.

Back in March 2015, Montana state legislator Nicholas Schwaderer, a Republican, wrote just such a bill. It passed with bipartisan support, and Montana’s governor, Democrat Steve Bullock, signed it into law.

First, find the contact information for your state representatives. If you don’t know who they are, plug your address into this search engine, and it’ll tell you:

http://www.whoaremyrepresentatives.org

State representatives are far easier to reach directly than federal representatives, though some do have an intern or a staffer. State reps are also far less likely to be stratified in their views–conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans still exist on the state level.

Here is a suggested script for calling or writing your state reps:

“Dear (Senator/House Rep Lastname,) I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I am (calling/emailing) to ask you to write a bill that would prevent state police departments from receiving castoff military gear, such as bayonets, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers. I believe that the state’s police departments should not have the opportunity to use equipment designed for warfare against the citizens they are supposed to protect and serve. Writing a bill that prevents the police from accepting military gear from the federal government will keep us all safer. Thank you.”

Read more about Trump’s executive order on castoff military gear:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41078158

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/28/546743742/trump-administration-lifts-limits-on-military-hardware-for-police

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/08/28/cops_can_already_get_military_gear_trump_s_new_policy_ensures_they_can_use.html

Read about the Montana bill and its success:

https://newrepublic.com/article/144600/trump-wants-re-militarize-police-montana-none-it

http://mtpr.org/post/bill-would-stop-montana-police-using-military-surplus

http://mtpr.org/post/montana-republican-praises-presidents-restrictions-military-surplus-police

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.”

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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:

https://notonepenny.org/take-action/#events

 

Moveon.org 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:

https://act.moveon.org/survey/taxscamdropby/

 

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:

@Celeste_Pewter

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.

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/363214-ryan-picks-his-negotiating-team-for-tax-cut-bill

 

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:

https://onethingyoucando.com/the-most-important-thing-you-can-do/

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:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/house-republicans-already-shooting-down-tax-bills-promises

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:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/06/fight-the-gop-tax-bill-december-6-edition/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/05/fight-the-gop-tax-bill-december-5-edition/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/04/emergency-update-post-fight-the-gop-tax-bill-still-december-4-edition/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/03/emergency-update-post-fight-the-gop-tax-bill-december-3-edition/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/emergency-update-post-fight-the-gop-tax-bill-still-over-the-dec-2-3-weekend/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/03/commit-now-to-put-any-tax-benefits-you-might-get-from-the-gop-tax-bill-to-fighting-its-effects/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/refresh-review-and-prep-for-2018-gop-tax-bill-related-briefing/

 

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):

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/support-doug-jones-the-democratic-candidate-for-alabamas-u-s-senate-seat/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/support-gop4jones-a-movement-by-independents-and-republicans-to-vote-for-democrat-doug-jones-for-alabamas-next-senator/

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:

https://www.gofundme.com/eliminateroymoore

 

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.