Thurs 1/21: In the beginning, there was H.R.1.

H.R.1/S.1 – For the People Act of 2021: The most important bill for our democracy is still the first one.

HR 1, first introducted in 2019, is a collection of reforms to campaign finance, voting rights, and government ethics for all three branches of government. After Trump’s real-time master class in corruption, we need this bill’s stronger guardrails more than ever.
(This helpful video, from 2019, is a great conversation with the bill’s author, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD-3). More videos from him on this bill here.)

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep./Sen. [___] to cosponsor [House: H.R. 1/Senate: S. 1], the For the People Act and urge [him/her] to work to swiftly pass this legislation.

More script if you want it: Addressing corruption, protecting voting rights, and reforming campaign finance should be bipartisan priorities to make our democracy better for all Americans, regardless of their political affiliation.

(Here are its supporters in the House. So far, only Zoe Lofgren and Nancy Pelosi are listed for the current version, so we need to contact our representative, Brownley or Carbajal, and both our senators, Feinstein and Padilla and get them to sign up.)

Contacts

  • 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 Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884 (Updated contacts still in-progress.)
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Deeper Dive

Update explainer from Heather Cox Ricardson, 2/25/21: The For the People Act, numbered in Congress as H.R. 1 and S. 1, would provide for automatic voter registration across the country and would require paper ballots. It would require that early voting be made available, and would expand mail-in voting. It would authorize $1 billion for upgrades to state voting systems.

Polling by Data for Progress and Vote Save America shows that the principles in H.R. 1 are very popular, across parties. Sixty-eight percent of Americans approve of the reforms in the bill. Sixteen percent oppose the measure. The items within the bill are also popular. Eighty-six percent of Americans support a plan to prevent foreign interference in our elections; 7% oppose it. Eighty-five percent of us want to limit the amount of politics; 8% oppose that idea. Eighty-four percent of us want more election security; 8 percent do not.

Seventy-four percent of us want to see nonpartisan redistricting; 11% do not. Sixty-eight percent want to see 15 days of early voting; 19% do not. Sixty percent want same-day voter registration; 29% do not. Fifty-nine percent want automatic voter registration; 29% do not. Even with the Republican attacks on mail-in voting, fifty-eight percent of us want to be able to vote by mail; 35% do not.

This is a very long bill, so here are some ways to approach it. Here’s the bill itself, a quick overview, an easy-to-read section-by-section breakdown, great explainers by the Brennan Center for Justice and the ACLU, and an illustrated version we did when it first came out for then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to bring it to the floor. More videos and information from Sarbanes office here.

The legislation contains provisions to fight voter suppression, including national automatic voter registration, prohibitions on voter roll purging and federal partisan gerrymandering, and improved election security measures. It also strengthens ethics standards for all three branches of government, e.g. by requiring presidential candidates to disclose 10 years of tax returns and prohibiting members of Congress from using taxpayer dollars to settle sexual harassment cases. Furthermore, the bill aims to curb corporate influence in politics by forcing Super PACs to disclose their donors, requiring government contractors to disclose political spending, and prohibiting coordination between candidates and Super PACs, among other reforms. 

Do you have more time?

  • ACTIONS!
    • 3 QUICK ACTIONS: AMERICAN RELIEF PLAN, DE-FANG DEJOY, PUBLIC CHARGE Here.
    • SENATORS – THE GOP IS GASLIGHTING US. CONVICT TRUMP NOW! Here.
    • GET READY TO FLUSH THE FILIBUSTERHere.
    • IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS H.R. 1Here.
    • THERE IS NO MORE TIME TO WAIT! D.C. STATEHOOD NOW! here.
    • TICK, TOCK, WE’RE WAITING FOR RESIGNATIONS Here.
    • REMOVE THE WHOLE ECO-SYSTEM OF SEDITION/PASS THE COUP ACT – (3) actions here.
    • SIGN the NAACP’s “IMPEACH TRUMP” PETITION here.
    • DISBAR SEDITIOUS LAWYER/LEGISLATORS: here.

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