Weekly Actions: July 18, 2017

Click on each action for details and scripts:

ACTION 1: Celebrate the momentary collapse of Trumpcare!

ACTION 2: Speak out against gerrymandering and advocate for reinstatement of the Voting Rights Act

ACTION 3: Support the “Do No Harm Act” in exercising religious freedom and respecting civil liberties.


Our first action this week was going to be calling on key swing senators to oppose Trumpcare, but luckily – thanks to all your hard work – the fight is won! For now, that is.
 


 

So take a moment to rejoice – you deserve it. But do stay vigilant. Be ready to call your MoCs again the moment a new iteration of Trumpcare surfaces – we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, let’s continue to be vocal in our communities as we seek to win the battle of ideas.

 

Thanks to your calls and a massive upswell of protests across the country, including a lawsuit by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the so-called “Election Integrity Commission,” which had a not-so-hidden agenda to make it harder for people to vote, is holding off on asking states to provide voter-roll information! [Read more of our past coverage here.]
 

However, another insidious way to disenfranchise voters is through highly politically motivated redistricting, or gerrymandering.
 


 

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law has excellent resources on explaining the ins and outs of gerrymandering. Read 7 Things to Know About Redistricting and check out their redistricting landing page for the latest research, commentary, and litigation on redistricting.
 

The reason this matters is because, as recent research from the Brennan Center states: This decade’s congressional maps are consistently biased in favor of Republicans. In the 26 states that account for 85 percent of congressional districts, Republicans derive a net benefit of at least 16-17 congressional seats in the current Congress from partisan bias. This advantage represents a significant portion of the 24 seats Democrats would need to pick up to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.
 

In short, this is a major roadblock in taking back control of the House in 2018 and the White House in 2020.

 
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
 

Note: We were going to have you submit a comment about voter privacy and gerrymandering to the Election Integrity Commission but can no longer advise leaving direct comments because it was reported by the Washington Post that the administration made commenter’s sensitive information public without redaction. (Yes, this is moral corruptness and/or incompetency of the current administration in full effect.)

 

Freedom of religion is one of the pillars of our American system. Indeed, it’s the first line of the first amendment to the constitution. But what are we as a society to do when a fundamentalist baker, citing his religion, refuses to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple?
 

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) have introduced the Do No Harm Act, which is an amendment to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
 

Bills: H.R. 3222: To amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to protect civil rights and otherwise prevent meaningful harm to third parties, and for other purposes.

 

As stated by the press release: The Do No Harm Act would clarify that no one can seek religious exemption from laws guaranteeing fundamental civil and legal rights. It comes in response to continued efforts across the country to cite religious belief as grounds to undermine Civil Rights Act protections, limit access to healthcare, and refuse service to minority populations.
 

According to Protect Thy Neighbor, a project of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (another longstanding American tradition enshrined in the first amendment), the Do No Harm Act has support from over 80 groups, including the ACLU, Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, and various health, LGBTQ, and religious groups.

 
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
 

  • Call your Rep: Ask him/her to cosponsor HR 3222 and to work hard for its passage. If your rep is already a cosponsor, call to say thanks. A full list of current cosponsors can be found here.

SCRIPT: Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____ . I’m calling to ask Congressperson _____ to cosponsor and support HR 3222, the Do No Harm Act, which amends the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to ensure that no one’s civil rights are infringed upon in the name of religion. The United States is a wonderful, pluralistic and diverse country, where everyone’s rights need to be respected. Religious freedom is not a rationalization to discriminate.