All of the working groups in the Virginia Grassroots Coalition (VGC) are hard at work advocating for our priority bills. Please support our efforts for a safer, cleaner & more democratic Virginia.
As I mentioned in my last email about Climate and Clean Energy, we know this is exhausting and oftentimes frustrating, yet we must keep up our individual and group advocacy work, if we are to succeed in our goals. We have 2 weeks until “Crossover” when each Chamber send their bills over to the other Chamber to be considered. As we move through the 2022 General Assembly Session, please keep an eye on how your voice can help and please sign up for the Virginia Grassroots Advocacy Power Mapping HERE.
I have included all the VGC Calls To Action below, with the Climate & Clean Energy at the end, for those who took care of them Sunday. Tidbits coming Tuesday.
Below are the Calls To Action for bills that will be considered in committee meetings on Monday and Tuesday. Please ACT NOW
*Ghost Guns – One Click Call to Action CTA – Urgent [Vote YES on SB 310]
The Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering Sen. Adam Ebbin’s SB 310 (Monday January 31st) – that would penalize any person(s) involved in the manufacture, import, sale, transfer, or possession of plastic firearms and unfinished frames or receivers and unserialized firearms. This is a #CommonSense bill and should be supported! Click here to take action. This CTA is from the Virginia Grassroots Coalition Gun Violence Prevention Working Group. Questions: Contact GVP Working Lead, Kathleen Murray, email@example.com
Tell Dem Senators to oppose a bill that would prevent schools from requiring masks to stop the spread of COVID-19 – One Click Call to Action [Vote NO on SB458]
SB 458 would essentially repeal VA legislation enacted last year requiring Virginia school districts to follow federal health guidelines to the ‘maximum extent practicable.’ The CDC recommends masking inside K-12 schools for everyone over age 2, regardless of vaccination status. By preventing schools from requiring masks, SB-458 would cut off the Commonwealth’s ability to follow a science based process for making decisions about Covid-19. Click here to take action. Questions: April Breslaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact members of the House Appropriations Committee and ask them to vote for two good campaign finance bills which have passed through the House P&E committee. One is sponsored by Delegate Tim Anderson (HB86) which calls for the Dept of Elections to set up a publicly accessible and searchable campaign finance database and the other, HB 492, sponsored by Delegate Bulova strengthens the capacity of the Board of Elections to provide campaign finance oversight. Both are considered best practice by the Campaign Legal Center. Click here for emails of members of the House Appropriations Committee and key messages that you can cut and paste into an email. Questions: email Nancy Morgan, email@example.com
*Ask our Senators to Reform the Recall Process in Virginia – [Vote YES on SB495]
We expect this bill to be considered in the Senate P&E committee on Tuesday, 2/1, so please take action TODAY! This bill creates a more transparent and efficient recall process for elected officials in Virginia, returning the power to remove elected officials to voters. The changes recommended are in line with the recall processes in many states, and are a common sense set of reforms to codify a recall process that is both clearly defined and attainable, but not liable to being used frivolously. Click here to take action. Questions: Luisa Boyarski, firstname.lastname@example.org.
*OPPOSE SB695 which would repeal Clean Car legislation. This legislation will provide both cleaner gas-powered vehicles, a greater variety of EVs to Virginia and also: (1) Combat Climate Change. Transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in Virginia. This legislation is expected to reduce emissions by 48 million metric tons by 2040. (2) Improve Public Health. Transition to EVs, by 2050, could result in $1.3 billion in avoided annual health costs in Virginia associated with poor air quality. (3) Provide Greater Consumer Choice. Car manufacturers prioritize sending EVs to other Clean Car states. In Virginia, demand for EVs exceeds availability: 1/3 of registered EVs were bought out of state. (4) Save Consumers Money. The sticker prices of EVs are expected to reach parity with gas cars in the next few years and save drivers between $6,000 and $10,000 over a vehicle’s lifetime due to reduced fuel and maintenance cost. Click to OPPOSE SB695 Questions, contact Sharon Shutler at email@example.com.
Oppose Evisceration of our Citizen Pollution Control Boards – Stop Youngkin from Granting Permits to Major Polluters. One-Click CTA [Vote No on SB657]
SB657 and SB81 would either remove the Boards’ authority to consider health, safety, or suitability of an activity to an area when issuing a permit to a power plant or other facility to emit air toxic air pollution or to erode and pollute our waterways. In the case of SB657, the bill would repeal the Boards’ permitting authorities altogether and transfer them to the Department of Environmental Quality where Youngkin’s appointees would have control. This move would also exclude citizen involvement. Keep permit issuance and enforcement along with citizen involvement with the Citizen Boards by urging Senators to vote no. Click here to take action. Contact Sharon Shutler, firstname.lastname@example.org or Amy Bergner. email@example.com
*Stop Dominion Overcharges. Support HB1288 Ratepayer Protection Act. One-Click CTA [Vote Yes on HB1288]
This bill would restore critical authority to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to ensure that energy bills to ratepayers are just and reasonable. Lowering bills is a kitchen table issue and clean energy issue. Virginians pay the 8th highest energy bills in the country. Republican well-messaged attacks on RGGI and the Virginia Clean Economy Act claim to tie the high costs of electricity bills with clean energy mandates and use this to justify gutting or repealing those laws. However, the 2021 Dominion rate case made clear that high bills are a result of the inability of the SCC to effectively regulate this monopoly. In the rate case SCC staff and the AG’s office successfully demonstrated that Dominion Energy had overcharged ratepayers between $1 and $1.2 billion in excess profits over a 4-year period. Click here to take action. Questions, contact Sharon Shutler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE NOTE – we have added the House Bill – HB71. It requires a second 1-Click
These bills would ban campaign contributions from regulated utilities like Dominion Energy. For years, Dominion has heaped staggering piles of campaign cash upon candidates of both parties and is rewarded with laws that help this monopoly overcharge Virginians by over $1 billion. These overcharges were unequivocally established by the Attorney General and SCC staff in Dominion’s 2021 rate case. As a result, Virginians pay the 8th highest electricity bills in the country. Dominion abuses our lax rules to exploit our political system, drowning out the voices of Virginia families and small businesses. For SB45 and 568, Click here to take action. For HB71, Click here to take action.
Climate and Energy Working Group Report & CTAs
I wanted to pass on some important Climate & Clean Energy advocacy information. The Virginia Grassroots realize there have been many Calls To Action (CTAs) in the last 2 weeks, but we must keep up the momentum as we are just 2 weeks to crossover, February 15. I have included Sharon Shutler’s detailed report from the Climate & Clean Energy Working Group. Many thanks for their monumental efforts. Please take action and sign up for the Virginia Grassroots Advocacy Power Mapping HERE.
“We had a few wins on the climate/clean energy legislative front!
Over 400 of you sent emails opposing the Andrew Wheeler nomination! If you are a constituent of Joe Morrissey, please let us know.
SB 120 – a bill promoting burning waste coal will be amended in favor of a much-needed study. Thanks to all those who sent out our call to action!
SB 575, which would promote the use of electric vehicles in state and local government vehicle fleets, was unanimously approved by a Senate committee. Big Win!
The Climate & Clean Energy Working Group sent a letter to all Dems on the House Commerce & Energy Committee urging them to block 10 bills that would undercut or repeal the Virginia Clean Economy Act.
CALLS TO ACTION: Week of Jan 31.
(The following bills will be heard this week. I say “should” because the dates keep changing.)
- Stop Repeal of Clean Cars Standards – SB695 (Senate Agriculture Committee – Tuesday) New CTA: Oppose SB695
- Protect Citizen Pollution Control Boards – SB657/SB81 (Senate Agriculture Committee – Tuesday) New CTA: OPPOSE SB657/SB1 SB81
- Ban Dominion Donations – HB71 (House Commerce & Energy) This bill is docketed for the house. New CTA: OPPOSE HB71,
- Ban Dominion Donations SB45 and SB568 (Senate Privileges & Elections – Tuesday) SUPPORT SB45
- Ratepayer Protection Act HB1288 (House Commerce & Energy likely Tuesday). SUPPORT HB1288
- Anti-RGGI bills will also be heard before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. While we do not have specific CTAs, we will arrange for members of our working group to testify.
Trackers & Resources:
Dashboard tracker on our Virginia Grassroots Coalition website, along with a home for calls-to-action and resources such as Assembly members’ contact information.
Bill Progress tracker – a calendar viewFact sheets:
Recording Advocacy Tools Training (Passcode: 42g#^7q2)Slides:
Advocacy Training powerpoint includes guides to doing your own legislative research, links to all our trackers, links to sign up to give testimony.
Follow up to Training: Twitter Advocacy training interest form.
Top news articles of the week:
Wheeler set-your-hair-on-fire stories everywhere. Youngkin steps into the DC swamp with Wheeler pick – Virginia Mercury by LCV’s Michael Town.
High hopes from this, but Saslaw says Youngkin will never get a bill to sign https://richmond.com/news/state-and-regional/gop-senator-says-youngkin-is-ready-to-sign-bill-to-ban-dominion-energy-campaign-donations/article_71e3b3dc-c6e3-5a96-8fca-ab36943c20c4.html?
Sarah Vogelsong: Four ways Republicans want to pull Virginia out of RGGI
A super summary : As Republicans threaten two years of climate legislation, Democrats go on defense – Virginia Mercury The Governor also dropped a 14-page PDF of his legislative and budget amendment priorities for this General Assembly session and few will want to read it. (Saved in FactSheet file).
Many publications sharing the report on high household methane leaks, this one not behind a paywall on PopSci Your gas stove could be hurting everyone around you
Thanks to Meredith Haines and Amy Bergner for their tireless commitment and support.
And thanks to all of you for “CLICKING” and SHARING our 1-Click CTAs!
Co-Chair, Climate & Clean Energy Working Group
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