Increase federal funding for special education, public health over incarceration, gun industry accountability, and more!
Contact all members of Congress:
- By phone: (202) 224-3121
- By email: democracy.io
- By US mail: Representatives / Senators
- By fax: Representatives / Senators
- By Resistbot: Resist.bot
Contact White House or other federal agencies:
- FULLY FUND IDEAWhen the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed in 1975, it authorized the federal government to provide 40% of the per-pupil cost for special education services. In the nearly fifty years since IDEA was passed, Congress has never funded more than 20%. This leaves special education severely underfunded across the country, resulting in fewer qualified teachers, not enough support staff, larger classroom sizes, and outdated resources in both special education and general education classrooms. In July, the IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 4519/S. 2217) was introduced in the House and Senate, which would amend the Individuals with Disabilities Act to ensure that public schools receive 40% of per-pupil costs of special education, as originally intended. Let’s contact our members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor and support this bipartisan legislation, and to make sure that those funds are equitably calculated for each state. We can use this action tool from the National Education Association, and edit the message within, to send an email to our MoC.
- SUPPORT PUBLIC HEALTH EFFORTS TO INCREASE COMMUNITY SAFETY AND DECREASE INCARCERATIONThe People’s Response Act, (HR 4699) introduced by Representative Cori Bush (D-MO), would create a more compassionate approach to public safety, especially for people of color. Under the bill, communities would be eligible for first responder money to fund crisis response teams focused on public health rather than incarceration. Let’s ask our MoCs to co-sponsor this important bill and work to get it to the floor for a vote.
- HOLDING THE GUN INDUSTRY ACCOUNTABLE IN COURT
For almost two decades, the gun industry has benefited from special liability protections extended to them by Congress to protect them in the courts: the Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). However, there is a long-underutilized exception in the PLCAA that allows lawsuits when the companies violate state or federal laws applicable to the sale or marketing of firearms – and New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie has been pioneering new model legislation to put those laws on the books for gun violence prevention advocates to use. Illinois recently became the eighth state to pass a new law implementing regulations specific to the firearms industry’ marketing and sales practices and allowing civil action against them if they do not obey them – joining Senator Myrie’s New York, along with California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Washington. These laws are already being put to work by New York Attorney General Letitia James and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester. If our state hasn’t yet done so, let’s reach out to our legislators to urge them to pass legislation like Senator Myrie’s. And let’s all contact our members of Congress and remind them we back repealing the PLCAA.
- LIBRARY BOMB THREATSMost of us are aware of the upswing in book bans around the country, but apparently library bomb threats are becoming a thing as well. Substack’s Literary Activism details the growing problem. Schools and libraries, once both safe spaces, are becoming more and more dangerous as right-wing extremists target them. Let’s contact our MoCs to ask what they are doing to address this. And let’s subscribe to the Literary Activism blog written by former librarian Kelly Jensen (we can also follow Kelly on Instagram @heykellyjensen) so we can be aware of what’s happening, including book bans and censorship, and support our local libraries.
- NAACP WEBINAR ON LABOR POLICYAs part of its Labor Action Week, the NAACP is hosting a webinar titled “The Economic and Policy Fight in Labor,” an hour-long virtual discussion “identifying the policies labor leaders should be watching and advocating for and how these will impact the economy in the days to come.” The panel of experts includes AFL-CIO Policy Director Candace C. Archer, AFT Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram, Global Policy and Impact Senior Vice President Patrice Willoughby, and NAACP Opportunity, Race, and Justice Director Keisha Deonarine. The webinar takes place September 7, 2023, 7PM ET. Let’s sign up and attend!
- MA—NEW ONLINE TOOL FOR ENGAGING WITH THE LEGISLATURE The Massachusetts Platform for Legislative Engagement (MAPLE) is a free public platform for submitting and reading testimony on proposed Massachusetts legislation. Created by the NuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law, MAPLE helps individuals and organizations to learn about proposed legislation and submit written testimony expressing their views and sharing their expertise. The tool helps us craft our testimony, sends it directly to the right legislators, and lets us read the testimony of other MAPLE users. Let’s check out the MAPLE website, consider joining a MAPLE training session, browse bills and testimony, and start engaging with the legislative process!
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