Join Us for our MLK Day of Action
Happy Friday, Activists! We hope you're still staying healthy, safe and warm. You can see our Call To Action and 35 Doors Project news in Tuesday’s newsletter here. See our Messaging and Postcard campaigns in last week’s newsletter here. The full archive of our newsletters is at this link. Now, on to voting rights. After Senator Schumer used a few arcane maneuvers to allow public debate, it looks like debate and a vote on filibuster reform and the legislation will happen next Tuesday, January 18. This could change, so stay tuned. :) This weekend we will mark MLK Jr. Day, as are communities across the country, and raise our voices to demand our elected officials pass voting rights legislation, and modify the filibuster to do it.
VOTING RIGHTS – TWO ACTIONS 1. MLK Virtual Day of Action – This Sunday, January 16, at 2:00 pm – on Zoom BIG NEWS! Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon will join our event! She will be on Zoom with us for the first half hour of the event. She’ll offer some remarks and then take our questions. During the rest of the event, as you know, each of us will record a video message to Senator Casey, thanking him for his strong support of the voting rights legislation and modifying the filibuster. Plus we’ll ask him to encourage his colleagues to vote the same way. Then we'll send him the video with the compilation of everyone's messages. Don’t worry, we’ll give you some message ideas and all the tools to create your video. Sign up here. 2. Today - Call Senator Casey We’re coming down to the wire on the voting rights bill and we can’t stop now. So call Senator Casey again and show how much you care. Tell him you expect him to not just vote for voting rights and abolish the filibuster to do it, but to put pressure on his colleagues to do the same. We need to leave it all on the field! Sen. Casey – Phila office 215-405-9660; D.C. 202-224-6324t email link. For outside PA: Find your Senators’ phone numbers and emails at this link.
AND NOW, STATE GERRYMANDERING NEWS PA Legislative Shenanigans that We Must Stop The Republicans in Harrisburg are at it again. First, they want to bring up the Judicial Gerrymandering bill again that they introduced and passed last year - House Bill 38. This bill threatens to undermine the independence of the Judicial Branch of our Commonwealth. It will effectively allow legislative leaders to gerrymander our courts. You may remember our meeting that explained all of this with folks from Fair Districts PA and Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts. Here is the video of that meeting. We also have a great summary here. This bill is required to be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions and then go before voters at the ballot – and it’s already passed once. It cannot be vetoed by the Governor. If it passes by early to mid February it could be on the ballot as soon as May of this year. The other proposed constitutional amendment is House Bill 2207, which would replace the Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC) we have now with a sham citizens commission. HB 2207 is clearly designed to push back against the LRC's preliminary new House map. It turns out the new proposed map is far less distorted than maps of the past few decades, which were made to give incumbents "safe" districts. It will tend to reduce the locked-in majority Republicans have had in the House for most of the last twenty years. Having a chance that legislators will be more accountable to voters is a good thing, so of course Republicans are not happy about it. You can read more on the Fair District website here. The good news is that contrary to what the Republicans indicated they would do, no further action was taken on those bills this week. The House is in recess until January 24, so we must make calls now and speak strongly against both bills. Find your State House Representative here. If they are a Democrat (and assuming they are opposed to these bills), thank them for opposing HB 38 and HB 2207. Ask them to try to convince their colleagues to oppose it too. These are terrible bills for PA voters. Increase your impact and also call state House leadership. --> Speaker, Bryan Cutler 717-783-6424 --> House Majority Leader, Kerry Benninghoff 717-783-1918 Tell them you are opposed to HB 38 and HB 2207 and they must not take them up for a vote. These bills are bad for PA voters and our democracy!
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Want to add to your messaging repertoire? Don’t forget, we can help you write letters to the editor. These letters are widely read and have an impact. So if you’ve always wanted to write and show how you feel, this is your chance! We can help you and make it easy for you. In fact, our own Meg Berlin had a letter published this week. Read it here. If you want to learn more, simply email Meg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUR MEETING WITH A.G. JOSH SHAPIRO Join our one-hour virtual meeting with Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running for PA Governor this year. We’ll have a lot to ask him about why he’s running and his vision for the state. Bring your questions too! When: Monday, January 24, 7:30 pm Where: Zoom Sign up here.