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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!

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

This OTYCD entry originally posted in May 2017.

 

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

 

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!

 

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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Learn Whether and When to Freak Out Over Bills Moving Through Congress

This OTYCD entry originally posted in February 2017.

Learn whether and when to freak out over bills moving through Congress.

A while back, various corners of the internet whipped themselves into a minor freakout over H.R. 193, a bill that, if passed, would withdraw the United States from the United Nations.

In this Medium post, former Congressional aide Emily Ellsworth explains why H.R. 193 won’t go anywhere, and shows you how to spot the bills that could become laws.

To summarize her points:

No more than three percent of all bills became laws during the last four Congressional sessions.

Members of Congress introduce bills for lots of reasons, and making law isn’t necessarily one of them. They’re just as likely to offer a bill to:

 

Look productive

Roust their base

Please activists

Generate headlines back home

 

She offers three tools for following legislation that matters to you, and schooling yourself on them before you call your members of Congress about them:

https://www.govtrack.us

https://www.countable.us

https://www.popvox.com

 

Also, when looking at a bill’s prospects to become law, keep these thoughts in mind:

How many times has the bill been introduced before without going anywhere? If the answer is “a whole honking lot,” it’ll probably stall this time too.

Bills get referred to relevant Congressional committees. Do the bill’s sponsors and cosponsors actually sit on the right committee? If not, its chances aren’t that great.

Is the timing right? A bill that has to do with Standing Rock and the pipeline under construction will probably get more traction now than a general environmental bill.

How well does the bill suit the broader plans of the majority party? Congressional leaders will likely prioritize those.

 

…And this is where we at OTYCD feel compelled to admit a possible mistake.

About 10 days ago we wrote a blog post asking you to oppose H.R. 490, a bill that would ban abortion upon detection of a heartbeat. Its sponsor, Iowa Republican Steve King, dubbed it the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017.

While it is a legitimate bill and King evidently hasn’t introduced something like it in previous sessions of Congress, it’s likely to wither and die. As of February 4, the Govtrack.com site says it has yet to be referred to a committee, and the Govtrack summary of the bill cites Predictgov odds of passage at 4 percent.

We will continue to watch this house bill and other bills of interest, but we admit (and, frankly, hope) H.R. 490 may well go nowhere.

See the Govtrack.com summary of H.R. 490:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr490

See the OTYCD post on H.R. 490:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/01/23/call-your-house-rep-and-oppose-h-r-490-an-abortion-ban-bill/

 

 

 

Escape Your Bubble

Learn What the Other Side is Reading on Facebook

 

Check out this startling tool that shows what’s trending on liberal and conservative Facebook pages.

Offered by the Wall Street Journal, carrying Jon Keegan’s byline, and launched in May 2016, it shows just how intractably divided we are. On the left, you see the “liberal” feed on a variety of topics you can choose from: Trump, the ACA, abortion, immigration, protests, guns, ISIS, and executive orders. The “conservative” feed is on the right.

It’s an eye-opener, and not necessarily a good or uplifting way. Don’t go here on days when you need to believe that everything will work out eventually, and brace yourself before clicking. The feeds are updated hourly.

http://graphics.wsj.com/blue-feed-red-feed/#/president-trump