Mon – 1/7: It’s starting! Thank our legislators for supporting basic democracy with H.R. 1 and remind both houses that we’re watching…

Action – Thank our legislators for their support of H.R. 1 – “For the People Act”. 

From Indivisible National “…a big, bold, progressive vision for the future”

From Julia Brownley:  “H.R. 1, the first bill introduced by the Democratic caucus, will improve federal ethics laws to fight special interests, fix our broken campaign finance system to get big money out of politics, and make other improvements to strengthen our democracy….(it) includes legislation I co-authored to require all states to end partisan gerrymandering by adopting a citizen redistricting commission similar to what we have in California. This critical component will help make politicians more accountable to the voters.”

Minimal script (or email) for representatives: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Rep. [___] for cosponsoring  H.R.- 1 -“For the People Act”.

Minimal script for senators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to encourage Senator [___] to cosponsor Sen. Tom Udall’s Senate companion version of H.R.- 1 -“For the People Act”.

Contact
Rep. Julia Brownley: email, (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email. (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com 

Background

H.R.- 1 -“For the People Act” is huge (you can read it here), but it’s divided into four political problem areas: voting, campaign finance, redistricting and ethics. It is expected to move through several House committees over the coming weeks, with hopes of reaching the floor by late winter. Here’s a sampling…

Voting and election laws

If you have to stop people from voting to win…you’re not doing it right. – IV

  • Registration: Voting becomes an “opt-out” instead of an “opt – in” activity with easier access to register, including online registration, automatic registration via data from driver’s licenses or other government sources.
  • Include college students: Make campuses voter registration agencies, like the DMV.
  • Same- day Registration: For federal elections, states would have to provide same-day registration and at least 15 days of early voting. Brownley introduced H.R.93 – To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require states to provide for same day registration.
  • Make it accessible: Election Day would be a federal holiday for federal workers. Private employers would be encouraged to participate. Early voting would also be encouraged.
  • Keeping voters: The bill would crack down on efforts, like “non-forwardable mail” voter-caging campaigns, that are designed to knock voters off the rolls or prevent them from casting ballots. Failing to vote would no longer be grounds for taking away a person’s voter registration.
  • Felons re-enfranchised: Felons could regain their voting rights after finishing their sentences.
  • Safer, more secure elections: Federal elections would require paper ballots to prevent computer tampering. Paper ballots also stop faulty equipment and missing power cords from interfering with voting. Involve the Director of National Intelligence to monitor threats to our systems.
  • Remove conflicts-of-interest: State chief election officials couldn’t get involved or otherwise interfere in federal campaigns.
  • Stop discrimination: Reinstates core anti-discrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were effectively removed by the Supreme Court six years ago.
  • Better poll worker training/ more workers: In CA, we get about 3 hours of training. And there needs to be more of us to keep lines shorter.

Campaign finance

“All Citizens United did was to level the playing field for corporate speech…. We now have, I think, the most free and open system we’ve had in modern times.”
Mitch McConnell

  • Dancing with dark money: The bill would include provisions from the DISCLOSE Act to expand the prohibition on foreign political money and mandates the disclosure of the big donors behind politically active 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, government contractors and superPACS.
  • Colluding IS a crime: The bill would stop coordination between candidates and superPacs. (NRA, we’re looking at you…)
  • Who are you?:  The law requiring politicians to state that they “approve this message” during campaign advertisements will be expanded to cover the leaders of corporations, unions and other organizations when they broadcast their ads.
  • Pulling in the net: The bill would include provisions from S.1989 – Honest Ads Act, requiring that digital companies, like Facebook and Google,  to set up public databases cataloging political ad purchase requests of $500 or more and create new measures to block ad buys by foreign nationals.
  • Hey, how much did that cost?: Presidential inaugural committees would have to disclose expenditures, in addition to the existing requirements for donor disclosure. Right now, federal prosecutors are looking into a record $107 million in donations “spent” for Trump’s big night.
  • Small donations matching: A new matching-fund program would support candidates who agree to raise only small-dollar contributions. It would provide a 6-1 match for contributions up to $200. The public financing system for presidential candidates, largely irrelevant since 2012, would be updated.
  • Adding a commissioner: Breaking the gridlock on the 4-person Federal Election Commission.

Redistricting

“We’ve got to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around. Let a bipartisan group do it.” – President Barack Obama (D)

  • The end of gerrymandering: States will be required to use independent redistricting commissions to draw their congressional districts, rather than letting the winners or the outgoing losers draw the lines.

Ethics

The worst disease in the world today is corruption. And there is a cure: transparency. – Bono

  • The 10-year plan: Presidents and vice presidents would have to release 10 years of their tax returns. Done.
  • Actual real transition plans: Presidents-elect would need ethics plans for their transition teams and would have to file financial disclosures within 30 days of taking office. The bill would tell presidents and vice presidents they should act as if they are covered by the conflict-of-interest law, which actually exempts them…now.
  • Concentrate on your real job: House members would be barred from serving on for-profit corporate boards. (Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., is under indictment for allegedly using inside information he gained as a corporate board member.)
  • Pay for your own bad behavior: House members will no longer have access to taxpayer money to pay penalties for employment discrimination. (Oh, Blake, you still owe us $84,000) Congress passed a bipartisan measure in December requiring members to pay out of their own pocket for some settlements and court judgments in sexual misconduct cases.
  • No free ride for SCOTOS: The Supreme Court would have to get a code of ethics, something it has never had.
  • You need to wait: 2-year ban on lawmakers becoming lobbyists.

Reading:

  • Ballot Security and Voter Suppression (Brennan)
  • A closer look at Ethics in HR1, the “For the People Act” (POGO)
  • House Democrats introduce Anti-corruption Bill as symbolic 1st Act. (NPR)

One thought on “Mon – 1/7: It’s starting! Thank our legislators for supporting basic democracy with H.R. 1 and remind both houses that we’re watching…

  1. HR 1 is hugely exciting and I’m over the moon that the Democrats showcased their values with this first piece of legislation. Furthermore, it’s important to note those Republicans who voted against reforms that a clear majority of Americans want.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s