Back in September, Democratic Party leaders made a “side deal” (which we call the “Dirty Deal”) with Senator Manchin to support fossil fuel-friendly legislation that Manchin demanded in order to secure his vote for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with its significant climate-emergency provisions. At the time, the deal was described as legislative support for completing a gas pipeline in West Virginia, later it was learned that it significantly weakened the permitting process nationwide to facilitate oil, gas, and coal extraction, transportation, and processing – and make it far more difficult for local communities and environment organizations to amend or block filthy and climate-endangering projects.
We fought the Dirty Deal attachment to the Continuing Resolution back in September and won! However, now The Washington Post and environment defense organizations report that Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer want to attach Manchin’s permitting bill to the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.
We again ask that you join the 750 groups opposing this proposal and letting your representatives know that they should spend time ending the debt ceiling instead of adding anti-environment legislation to the NDAA.
Contact your Members of Congress and tell them: do not attach climate-destroying “dirty deals” to must-pass legislation.
Note: since Rep. Pelosi is still currently Speaker of the House, you should contact her as well in her capacity as Speaker.
Here’s what Congress should pass: the Electoral Count Reform Act
We defeated many right wing extremists and Republican Big Liars in the midterm elections, including anti-democracy Secretary of State candidates, but our constitutional republic is still in danger from overwhelmingly anti-democratic forces in the Republican party. During the next ~25 days (known as the “lame duck” session), Congress must take a critical step to protect the future of our democracy.
The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022 would put in writing that the vice president has no power to alter the electoral vote count. It would also raise the threshold for how many House and Senate members are needed to object to a slate of electors — currently, it is just one person from each house. It would also ensure a judicial remedy if a state government unlawfully refuses to certify election results. Finally, it would prevent state governments from changing rules after an election has been held.
Contact your senators to pass the Electoral Count Reform Act.
Democracy on the docket in Moore v. Harper
In addition to the victories we mentioned above, it was encouraging to see voters reject many MAGA Republicans in state legislatures. However, in gerrymandered districts in FL, GA, TN, TX, AL, and LA, Republicans picked up eight House seats. Partisan redistricting (gerrymandering) probably cost Democrats their House majority.
Today, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will hear Moore v. Harper, generated from a congressional redistricting case in North Carolina: another effort by MAGA Republicans to seize power using the discredited “Independent State Legislature” (ISL) theory. The ISL theory, which has been dismissed by our courts as fringe and untenable so far, argues that state legislatures have special authority to throw out voters’ choices and substitute their own chosen outcomes—i.e., to declare themselves and their preferred federal candidates the winners, regardless of what the voters want.
North Carolina’s Republican-dominated state legislature passed an extremely partisan gerrymander to lock in a supermajority of the state’s 14 congressional seats. It was more favorable to Republicans than 99.99% of all possible maps and was rejected by the North Carolina Supreme Court, which led to a Special Master drawing up a less partisan map for the 2022 election. Republicans applied for emergency relief via SCOTUS’ shadow docket, which was rejected at that time in an unsigned order with no explanation. However, over the summer, SCOTUS granted the Moore parties’ request to review the full case, with four Justices believing the debunked ISL theory deserved a hearing.
Read more about how SCOTUS’ ruling in Moore v. Harper could shape state legislatures’ power to regulate federal elections, and checks and balances on that power, for years to come.
Organizing gets the goods: The #KillerRobots proposal has hit a speed bump
Last week, the Board of Supervisors advanced a proposal that would have allowed the San Francisco Police Department to use robots to kill people.
No credible justification was given last week—only fantasies of turning SFPD robots into IEDs. But, shockingly, the Board actually passed it on first reading, 8 to 3.
A coalition of 44 organizations including ACLU of Northern California, the EFF, the Asian Law Caucus, AROC, and us sprang into action and began ringing the alarm bells about this horrific proposal, and submitted an opposition letter. Supervisors Preston and Ronen and Board President Walton spoke at a rally on the steps of City Hall Monday morning.
Today was the second reading of the proposed ordinance—and this time, the Board rejected it. In its place, they passed an ordinance—also 8 to 3—that continues to prohibit the SFPD from killing people with robots.
This fight is not over. The ordinance passed today has to go for a second vote next week. More importantly, the Rules Committee will continue to consider the SFPD’s #KillerRobots proposal next week.
So, we need to keep up our opposition. We need to tell the Rules Committee—whose members are Supervisors Peskin, Mandelman, and Chan—to stop indulging the police’s war fantasies. Don’t let the police blow people up with robots in our City.
The Rules Committee meets Monday mornings at 10 AM. We’ll be watching, and we encourage you to contact your Supervisor and let them know what you think.
Got COVID-19? You’re not alone—and there’s supplemental sick leave available for you
If you get COVID-19, California has a program that will provide you up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. But you must claim it no later than December 31, as the program expires at the end of the year. KQED has more details.
If you don’t yet have COVID-19, the CDC recomments that you wear a mask in shared indoor spaces, including retail environments, restaurants, and other people’s homes. Masks can help reduce your risk of getting and spreading a variety of respiratory viruses, including the COVID-19 virus, flu, and RSV—all three of which have been surging across the country since Thanksgiving. When you do gather, you can reduce the risk by cleaning the air with ventilation and filtration.
You also should keep up on your vaccinations. These will reduce the chances of you getting severely ill or dying if you do get COVID-19 or the flu. If you haven’t already, get your 2022 bivalent COVID-19 booster and your flu shot. Both shots are free through the end of the year and available at any pharmacy, and the COVID-19 boosters are available at community vaccination sites. You are eligible: kids 6 months and older are eligible to get vaccinated, and kids 5 and older and all adults are eligible for the new booster.
If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens. Our next meeting is Thursday, Dec. 8.
Indivisible SF Federal Working Group: Thursday, Dec. 8, 7:30-9 PM Planning meeting where we discuss strategy to influence our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to enact a progressive agenda. Meeting starts promptly at 7:30 PM. All are welcome. Register here!
About this week’s photo
If you’ve seen our newsletter posts on Twitter and Facebook, you might have noticed that we include a photo or graphic with each issue.
Today’s image is a photo of the oil-covered hands of a member of the Maryland Water Resources Administration cleaning up an oil spill. The photo was taken by Jim Pickerell and is available at the National Archives.
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