Happy Tuesday, Activists!
We hope you made it to last week’s meeting with Senator Casey, along with hundreds of other Indivisibles and people online. You can see the recording from the Facebook live stream at this link. (The first several minutes are the intro music and the meeting starts at about the 12-minute mark.)
We asked the Senator about his position on eliminating the filibuster rule, and not long after our meeting he sent out this tweet. The thread says in part: "The right to vote is under a kind of assault we haven’t seen since the Jim Crow era… and it’s going to get worse unless the Senate acts. This isn’t about Democrats vs. Republicans – it’s about the soul of America.
The filibuster was not a part of the Founder’s original design. I was elected to serve the people, not an arcane Senate procedure. If the choice comes down to the filibuster or democracy, I know which side I'm on.”
Woo-hoo! Congratulations to us all – I think we made a difference here!
Senator Casey also told us how much some counties will receive from the American Rescue Plan. You can see an interactive map for more information at this link.
Check out our new blog post! Our data guru, Sandy, has posted a recap post entitled The 2020 Election: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Scary from our review of Philadelphia voter turnout in 2020. We know you’re interested in all this so check it out at this link. And this detail will set up our strategy for the rest of this year and 2022, which we’ll be rolling out shortly. More soon!
CALL TO ACTION
Sen. Toomey – Phila offices: 215-241-1090; D.C. 202-224-4254; email link
Sen. Casey – Phila office 215-405-9660; D.C. 202-224-6324 email link.
For outside PA – Find your Senators’ phone numbers and emails at this link.
We’ve all had our fill of calling Toomey’s office and hearing he won’t do anything we want. But we can call Senator Casey’s office, talk to a friendly person, thank the senator for his good work, and then ask for him to move further on an issue.
At last week’s meeting he said he’s considering signing onto the THRIVE agenda. So now, call and say something like: “I was at the meeting last week with the senator. He said he is not sure about signing onto the THRIVE agenda (SB43). I care a lot about [e.g. expanded job creation, farming sector green incentives, more help to disadvantaged communities] and I want Senator Casey to sign on to THRIVE so we can ensure that these benefits are expanded in the jobs/infrastructure legislation.”
We’ve covered why D.C. Statehood should happen (see it at links here and here) and this is a big week for the legislation. There’s a hearing on H.R. 51 in the House tomorrow, and Friday is Emancipation Day, the day when Abraham Lincoln signed the bill that ended slavery in D.C. Senator Casey is already a co-sponsor of the Senate bill – yay! But . . . Senator Toomey needs work to get on board.
Call Senator Toomey and tell him you want him to vote for D.C. Statehood, S.B. 51.
OUR UPCOMING MEETINGS
NEW! Next week we’ll meet with Democratic candidate for PA Supreme Court, Judge Maria McLaughlin. Judge McLaughlin is from Philadelphia and has served on the Superior Court since 2017. She is the only Democrat running for the Supreme Court. She began her legal career as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, before serving in the family division of the city’s Court of Common Pleas.
Bring your questions and learn Judge McLaughlin’s judicial philosophy.
When: Wednesday, April 21 at 5:00 pm.
City Controller – On Thursday, May 6th at 3:30 pm we are meeting with City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart. Find out what the Controller’s office is all about and bring your questions! She is running unopposed in the primary.
When: Thursday, May 6 at 3;30 pm.
ON THE BALLOT
There are so many issues on the May 18 ballot. Here are some resources to learn about them.
Judicial Elections –
* First, sign up for our meeting next Wednesday with PA Supreme Court Democratic candidate Maria McLaughlin at this link.
* Read a good article summarizing PA’s highest court and more on the candidates who are running at this link.
* Read a comprehensive guide about PA judicial elections on the Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts website at this link.
* Attend the Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts forum for PA Commonwealth Court candidates on April 19. Get more info on the candidates and sign up for the forum here.
* Read this comprehensive guide, including the Bar Association ratings and the local Municipal Court candidates, from our friends at Better Civics with Philadelphia Citizen at this link.
* Want more? Check out last week’s newsletter too at this link.
Ballot Questions --
In the May 18 election there are FOUR questions on the ballot – three to amend the PA Constitution and one that is a statewide referendum.
1. The Statewide Referendum. This would allow municipal fire and emergency services companies to be eligible to take out loans from an already existing state loan program. The money is already allocated to this loan program and this resolution would expand the entities that would be eligible to apply for the loans out of this pot of money.
2. Constitutional Amendment to Article III, Section 9. This amendment would allow the legislature to terminate or extend the Governor’s disaster emergency declaration without the Governor’s approval. We recommend voting NO on this amendment.
3. Constitutional Amendment to Article IV. This question pairs with the previous one. This amendment would transfer certain of the Governor’s existing authority to respond to and manage disaster emergencies to the General Assembly. The Governor would retain the authority to issue an initial disaster emergency declaration but the declaration’s permissible length would be reduced from 90 to 21 days. The sole authority to extend a declaration would lie with the General Assembly; currently, this power rests with the Governor. We recommend voting NO to this Amendment.
4. Constitutional Amendment to Article I. This Amendment would add a new section to Article I of the Pennsylvania Constitution. It creates a constitutional prohibition against restricting or denying an individual’s equal rights under Pennsylvania law because of race or ethnicity. Most sources recommend voting YES on this amendment.
For more –
Read the Progressive Voters Guide advisory for Constitutional Amendments at this link.
Read the state website with the descriptions of the ballot questions at this link.
Elections Ins and Outs --
In a phone call today the City Commissioner’s office said they plan to send out ballots to mail-in voters starting sometime next week.
You can sign up for a mail-in ballot on the state website here.
Primary Election Deadlines –
· Monday, May 3: Last day to register to vote
· Tuesday, May 11, at 5 pm: Last day to request an absentee or mail-in ballot
· Tuesday, May 18: Primary Election Day
· Tuesday, May 18, at 8 pm: Completed mail-in ballots must be received by your county election office. Postmarked is not enough.
Polling places –
Find the City’s current list of Philadelphia polling places at this link.
MATCHING FUNDRAISING PROGRAM!
Good news! Indivisible has announced a matching grant for our fundraising now through May 30. The match is for a total of $500 in donations. So your donations will be matched dollar for dollar! You can donate here. Your donations help fund our programs, like buying signs, handouts, supplies for postcard projects, meeting platform fees (e.g. Zoom), and other communications tools. Donate here and thank you!
Join us to write the last of the Virginia postcards “together” this Thursday. This is only if you already signed up and have your postcards for this small project. We’ll have more to write soon!
Cards & Cocktails – This Thursday, April 15
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Sign up here.