Call Your House Rep · Call Your Members of Congress · Call Your Senators · Community Activism · House Bills, Federal · Senate Bills, Federal

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

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

Like GovTrack on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/govtrack

 

 

Follow GovTrack on Twitter:

@govtrack

 

 

Donate to GovTrack:

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

 

 

 

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 Senators · Senate Bills, Federal · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Tell Your Senators to Reject S 446, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017

This OTYCD entry originally posted in January 2018.

Tell your Senators to vote no on S 446, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would allow gun owners who have a concealed carry permit in one state to carry a concealed weapon in other states that have more restrictive gun laws.

 

We at OTYCD have kept an eye on this bill for a while. Because its counterpart, H.R. 38, passed the House of Representatives on December 6, 2017, we’re devoting a post to it now. Evidently, the Senate intends to tackle the bill in Spring 2018. The bill would also allow concealed carry on federal lands, including national parks.

 

People who support concealed carry reciprocity claim that the law is no different than laws that recognize the validity of state-issued marriage licenses and driver’s licenses. People who oppose concealed carry reciprocity oppose weakening gun laws, and some disagree with how it relies on the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

 

All states offer concealed carry permits, but some states restrict them far more severely than others do. You won’t be surprised to learn that the National Rifle Association is the main booster of the bill.

 

The House of Representatives pressed ahead with the December vote despite the fact that 2017 has been an especially deadly year for mass shootings in America.

 

GovTrack cites numbers from Skopos Labs that rate the odds of the House version passing at 51 percent; the odds of the Senate bill passing are 10 percent. If the Senate fails to pass the bill, it dies there.

 

You can do your bit to make sure it dies in the Senate by calling your two Senators and asking them to vote no on concealed carry reciprocity.

 

Sample script: “Dear (Senator Lastname,) I am (Firstname Lastname of town, zip code), and I’m asking you to vote against S 446, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. Guns are deadly weapons. Concealed carry permits should not get the same treatment we grant to marriage licenses and driver’s licenses because state gun laws vary so widely. Also, passing this bill would threaten public safety at a time when mass shootings are becoming more frequent and deadlier. The House version passed in December 2017. I ask you to stop this bill’s progress and stop it from becoming law. Thank you.”

 

 

Here’s the GovTrack page on S 446:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s446

 

 

Here’s the GovTrack page on the House version of the bill:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr38

 

 

Read a GovTrack Insider piece about the bill and its effects:

https://govtrackinsider.com/the-first-gun-related-bill-passed-since-the-vegas-and-texas-massacres-was-the-concealed-carry-9f023335f6b8

 

 

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 CNN piece on how the law enforcement group Prosecutors Against Violence tried to fight its passage in the House of Representatives:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/29/politics/gun-control-event/index.html

 

 

Read an April 2017 Politico story on how Michael Bloomberg intended to spend $25 million to fight concealed carry reciprocity through his gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/everytown-for-gun-safety-mike-bloomberg-concealed-carry-237056

 

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 restraint 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 · Senate Bills, Federal · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your Senator to Support S. 2095, an Assault Weapons Ban Bill

Call your Senators to support S. 2095, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017 bill.

 

In 1994, Congress passed a law that banned 18 semi-automatic weapons, including the AR-15 rifle. Despite widespread public support for it, Congress let the law expire in 2004.

 

Since then, America has suffered several deadly shootings in which the killers used semi-automatics: Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, the attacks on the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2017, the especially deadly attack on concertgoers in Las Vegas in 2017, the incident a rural Texas church that same year, and most recently, the Valentine’s Day 2018 murders at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In most cases, the killers were legally free to buy the firearms they later used to destroy so many American lives.

 

In November 2017, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California introduced S. 2095, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. It would outlaw ownership of numerous types and brands of semi-automatic firearms, including the AR-15.

 

Statistics show that gun massacres–attacks in which at least six people were killed–fell during the decade that the assault weapons ban was in place.

 

See this Washington Post story about experts’ call to reinstate the ban and scroll down for the graphic supporting this point. It reflects an 183 percent increase in gun massacres and a 239 percent increase in massacre deaths following the expiration of the law:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/02/15/its-time-to-bring-back-the-assault-weapons-ban-gun-violence-experts-say/?utm_term=.ca09501ccec7

 

Feinstein’s bill hasn’t progressed since she introduced it last fall. The GovTrack page on the bill gives it a Skopos prognosis of 11 percent.

 

We at OTYCD recommend that you call your Senators and ask them to move the bill forward (also, scroll down to see our standing note about supporting gun safety laws).

 

Important: Do either of your Senators sit on the Judiciary Committee? Then it’s extra-important for you to call and voice your support for S. 2095. The Judiciary Committee will decide if the bill will proceed to the Senate floor.

 

See the list of Senate Judiciary Committee members (Feinstein is the Ranking Member):

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members

 

Sample call script: “Dear Senator (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname from town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to support S. 2095, which would update and renew the assault weapons ban that Congress allowed to expire in 2004. Since then, the country has suffered most of the bloodiest attacks in its history–Sandy Hook, the Pulse nightclub attack, the Aurora movie theater shooting, the Las Vegas shooting, the church in rural Texas, and the tragedy that killed 17 at the high school in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day. Statistics show that after the ban lapsed, gun massacre events rose by 183 percent, and deaths in gun massacres rose by 239 percent. It’s time we reinstate the ban on these especially deadly weapons. Please look at Feinstein’s bill and support it.”

 

 

See the GovTrack entry on S. 2095, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s2095

 

 

See a New York Times interactive story on how the perpetrators of several shootings obtained their weapons. It has been updated to reflect how the suspect in the Parkland, Florida incident got his weapons:

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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 restraint 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.

 

Call Your Members of Congress · Community Activism · House Bills, Federal · Save These Tools · Senate Bills, Federal · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Save This Tool for Contacting Congress

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

 

Save this convenient web site that shows you how to contact any member of Congress.

 

The very first post on OTYCD was about how to find your three members of Congress. It’s advocacy 101, yes. Even still, this tool is worth saving.

 

It’s really well-designed and gives a handy overview of EVERYONE in Congress, with their photos, contact info, location, district, social media accounts, plus when they were first elected and when they’re due for re-election.

 

http://contactingcongress.org

 

Special thanks to @theonetruebix for the tip and the site.

 

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!

Call Your Members of Congress · Ethics · House Bills, Federal · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Senate Bills, Federal · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Call Your Members of Congress to Support the Presidential Conflicts of Interests Act

This OTYCD entry originally posted in February 2017.

 

Call your members of Congress to support the Presidential Conflicts of Interests Act of 2017.

 

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced it in the senate as S.65; Massachusetts Fifth District representative Katherine Clark introduced it in the house as H.R. 371.

 

If passed, it would reinforce the Emoluments clause of the Constitution by stating that the president and vice president must divest themselves of any assets that could pose a conflict of interest, and place them in a blind trust.

 

The law would also apply to those officials’ spouses and dependent children, but not their grown children or their spouses. It would also impose the same disclosure requirements on the president that are required of members of Congress.

 

In short, it would force Trump to do something that the last several presidents have done voluntarily, because it’s common sense.

 

 

Here is the congress.gov link to S.65, A bill to address financial conflicts of interest of the President and Vice President:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/65

 

 

Here is the congress.gov link to H.R. 371, which has pretty much the same title as the senate version:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/371

 

 

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

 

 

See this New York Times op-ed from Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under the Bush administration from 2005 to 2007, on Trump’s stated plans for complying with the Constitution:

 

See this (not very hopeful) Washington Post article about Warren and Clark’s legislative efforts:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/01/09/democrats-introduce-conflicts-of-interest-act-but-are-unlikely-to-get-a-vote/?utm_term=.e4e1d52a6952

 

 

Here is Senator Elizabeth Warren’s press release on the bill. It names all its co-sponsors in the senate and the house. Do you see your members of Congress listed? If so, call and thank them for supporting these bills.

http://www.warren.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1342

 

 

Action Alerts · Call Your Senators · Health Care · Senate Bills, Federal

Call Your Senators and Tell Them to Vote NO on the 20-Week Abortion Ban Bill

Call your senators and tell them to vote NO on a bill which would ban abortion after 20 weeks. 

 

This per our friend Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter), who urged folks to take action on this matter on January 25, 2018 (the day this post goes live).

 

Called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the bill would make aborting a fetus after 20 weeks punishable by five years in prison, a fine, or both.

 

In the Senate, the bill’s number is S. 2311. The House version is H.R. 36.

 

The GovTrack page on H.R. 36 gives the bill a 34 percent chance of passage, and gives its Senate counterpart a 26 percent chance of passage.

 

The bill needs 60 votes to pass the Senate. It is unlikely to succeed. Even still, Pewter has solid reasoning for raising the alarm now, as she details in these January 24 tweets:

 

Ok, all: remember this? Yeah, red alert time: I CANNOT stress this enough. You need to be bombarding your Senate offices, beginning NOW.

 

Please RT this. This is one of those situations where I was hoping the bill would just die after being introduced, never to be heard from again, but 2018 is apparently deciding to try my patience.

 

Here’s the legislation in question. Yes, it needs sixty votes (thank god). But seriously, bombard your Senate offices with calls. We need to send a clear-cut message that we do not accept the Senate screwing around with this.

 

At some level, this is also McConnell daring Dem Senators in red states to take a stance on this in advance of midterms, which is as exactly as asinine and calculated as it sounds. So. Call and give them the numbers to vote NO.

 

(If I’m swearing a lot, it’s because 2018 has been really trying my patience, and we’re barely three weeks in.)

 

Here’s the link to the Graham version of this bill. Note the 7% Skopos rating: I normally shrug for anything under 15% – 20% – which is why I don’t always mention every bill – but given the repeated attacks on abortion from all sides, important to call.

 

Regarding that last tweet–we found higher Skopos ratings than seven percent on GovTrack for both versions of the bill. And, again, this bill needs 60 votes to move ahead, and it is unlikely to get that many votes.

 

Still, it is important to raise our voices NOW to our Senators and make it clear that we don’t want this, and they should not fiddle around with such nonsense.

 

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 24, 2018 story from The Hill that discusses the impending vote:

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/370613-mcconnell-tees-up-vote-on-20-week-abortion-bill

 

See the Congress.gov page on H.R. 36:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/36

 

Here’s the GovTrack page on H.R. 36 (the Skopos Labs assessment is on this page):

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr36

 

Here also is the GovTrack page on S. 2311 (this page also has a Skopos Labs assessment):

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s2311

 

Follow Celeste Pewter on Twitter:

@Celeste_Pewter

 

Check out The Road to 2018, which Pewter is involved with, and which defends vulnerable Democratic Senators:

http://www.roadto2018.com

 

And check out It’s Time To Fight, an awesome pro-Resistance resource that dispenses daily advice for pushing back against Trump and his ilk:

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com