Dirty pipeline, #StopCopCity, sick leave, and more!
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- MANCHIN’S DIRTY PIPELINE: IT AIN’T OVER TILL IT’S OVERLate last night the Senate approved the Fiscal Responsibility Act by a bipartisan vote of 63-36. It is now on its way to the president for his signature thereby avoiding a default. Unfortunately, the bill includes provisions that ease the way for the building of the Mountain Valley Pipeline championed by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). The 303-mile, natural gas pipeline will snake through West Virginia, Virginia, and into North Carolina. Environmental groups warn (example) that the pipeline will damage forests and endangering waterways and wetlands, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. There are still ways to oppose it. Let’s support POWHR, an interstate coalition of groups working to stop the pipeline, and let’s tell the Attorneys General of West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina to enforce all laws to protect the people of their states against the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
- DANGEROUS ESCALATIONS IN THE FIGHT TO #STOPCOPCITY
The battle to stop Cop City is approaching a crucial stage, with a vote on city funding for the police training facility expected at the Atlanta City Council meeting on June 5th. Having already killed protester Miguel “Tortuguita” Teran and filed domestic terrorism charges on many more, the police and their supporters are still ramping up their efforts. On Wednesday, the Atlanta PD and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested three activists with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund: Marlon Scott Kautz, Adele Maclean and Savannah Patterson. ASF provides legal support for people who are arrested at protests or for their activism and has done valuable work bailing out Cop City protesters. They’re being accused of “financial crimes” – which the arrest warrant indicates are based on reimbursements from the nonprofit for minor expenses – and are facing a joint prosecution by the DeKalb County District Attorney and the Georgia Attorney General. This represents a dangerous escalation that could threaten bail funds, abortion funds and mutual aid networks nationwide and continues a trend of criminalization of protest. We need to push back. Let’s a) reach out to DeKalb County district attorney Sherry Boston and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to demand they drop the charges immediately on these organizers, along with the 42 activists charged with domestic terrorism and the three charged with felony intimidation for distributing flyers naming the police officers who killed Tortuguita; b) ask our own Democratic elected officials to speak up and condemn this wherever they are to help draw attention to it; c) contact Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond to condemn the arrests and the Cop City project; d) consider a donation to the Atlanta Solidarity Fund at their updated link to help them continue their vital work in defending targeted protesters in Atlanta, e) take action against the Cop City proposal itself by using this script and info via Bringing Our Neighbors Home urging city council members to vote no, along with using this info from Stop Cop City Solidarity to reach out to the donors, contractors, insurance companies and other institutions building it to withdraw their support; f) connect with Defend the Atlanta Forest and Stop Cop City to stay engaged; and g) read up on efforts to crack down on the rights of protesters and commit to opposing them in our states.
- PAID SICK LEAVE IS HEALTHY
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that 40% of restaurant food poisoning outbreaks could be traced to food workers who showed up to work while sick or contagious. One crucial cause of this is many restaurant workers do not have paid sick leave – so if they call out, they might not be able to pay the bills. Almost one in four workers in the private sector don’t have a single paid sick day, including only about half of food service and accommodations workers. The United States has no federal law guaranteeing the right to paid sick time, and only 14 states and Washington DC do. It’s time for a change. Let’s contact our members of Congress and tell them to support the Healthy Families Act (yet unnumbered) introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and let our legislators know we want them to back these efforts at the state level.
- GET CANDIDATE AND CAMPAIGN TRAINING FROM THE NDTCIf we are planning to run for office or work on a campaign, the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC) has a training for us, tomorrow Saturday, June 3 from 12:00 to 5 pm. ET. In their National Candidate Bootcamp, we’ll learn field strategies like which precincts to prioritize and how to manage volunteers effectively. We can check out the training info and register here. If we are running in a Red District, we can also check out their training on June 5, 1-2 pm ET. We’ll learn about the unique challenges and differences of these districts and how to have effective, persuasive conversations. We can click here to find out more about the “Running in a Red District “ training and register here.
- RESTORE ABORTION RIGHTS IN THE SOUTH
While new abortion bans have passed in the Carolinas, the fight to restore reproductive freedom in the South is well under way. Abortion and civil rights groups have launched an effort to put a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights on the ballot in Florida next fall. The process of gathering almost 900,000 signatures has already begun. If we’re in Florida, let’s make sure we sign and start petition gathering ourselves, and if not let’s considering donating and following Floridians Protecting Freedom on social media to spread the word and stay engaged.
- OK – HOLD STATE SUPERINTENDENT WALTERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR MULTIPLE SCANDALS
Ryan Walters, the Republican who once served as the appointed secretary of education for Oklahoma and earlier this year took office as the state superintendent of schools, is building a long record of hate, corruption, abuse of power, attacks on public education and basic failures to do his job. He’s taken money from corporate schools advocates while on the government payroll, called the teachers union “terrorists,” promoted blatant hoaxes, attempted to pull licenses from teachers who criticized censorship in schools, championed an attempt to open the country’s first publicly funded religious charter school, worked to put prayer and history that favors “Judeo-Christian values” in our public schools and has fought for book bans, bathroom bans and bullying trans kids. In recent weeks, a whole new scandal has arisen, with whistleblowers revealing Walters – who promised during his campaign and after to reject some federal education funding with conditions attached to avoid “liberal indoctrination” in Oklahoma schools – failed to apply for millions of dollars in federal grants because they were “too woke” and lied to lawmakers about it. The whistleblower also says Walters has failed to live up to the state’s obligations for previously awarded grants, putting Oklahoma at risk of having to repay them. Walters responded with a “trap” to identify leakers. Now, Walters and his spokesman and political consultant Matt Langston are also facing multiple lawsuits from former state Department of Education employees over their firings. Enough is enough. Let’s contact Walters and tell him it’s time for him to resign and let someone take the job who will focus on improving schools in a state that ranks 49th in education and 47th in spending per student. Let’s also reach out to our state legislators and demand an investigation and impeachment of Walters, along with the passage of a measure in this year’s public education funding that bars the state superintendent from declining federal grants that have previously been accepted without first obtaining agreement from the Senate and House leaders. Finally, let’s contact state Attorney General Gentner Drummond to encourage him to not make the taxpayers foot the bill for Walters and Langston’s defense.
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