Rest in peace, Senator Feinstein. Welcome to the Senate, Senator Butler.

13 mins read

Rest in peace, Senator Feinstein

Last week, our senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, passed away at the age of ninety. Her death was sudden—she had just voted on a bill the day before—but not entirely unexpected, given the series of health challenges she’s had this year.

She was our supervisor, then our mayor, and for the past thirty years our senator. She got things done, including the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, and more, all while blazing a trail for others to follow. We met regularly with staff in the senator’s SF office and helped move her towards more progressive positions on climate and immigration, among other issues.

We send our thoughts to her family and her staff.

The senator will lie in state in City Hall starting today until Friday from 9 AM to 7 PM. Polk (Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place) is already closed to car traffic and will remain so until Thursday evening.

There will be a public memorial service on Thursday starting at 1 PM, on the steps of City Hall and streamed live online. During the service, the bus routes surrounding City Hall will reroute away from the area. This includes the 5/5R, 19, 21, and 49, and may also include the Golden Gate Transit routes that stop on McAllister.

Welcome to the Senate, Senator Butler

On Sunday, Governor Newsom announced his selection to succeed the late senator: Laphonza Butler, until now the president of EMILY’s List, a PAC that works to get more women who’ll fight for reproductive freedom elected to office.

Prior to joining EMILY’s List, she was the president of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers, SEIU Local 2015. Senator Butler also previously served on the University of California Board of Regents, appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, until she left in 2021 to join EMILY’s List. She is Black, fulfilling the pledge Governor Newsom made two years ago to appoint a Black woman should Senator Feinstein’s seat open up. She is the third Black woman to serve in the US Senate and the first Black lesbian.

Senator Butler was sworn in yesterday, and will serve out the rest of Senator Feinstein’s term, which runs through next year. The Governor’s office said she is free to run again if she so chooses.

TODAY: Cell phones will play an emergency alert on October 4

FEMA and the FCC have planned a nationwide emergency alert test for today starting at 11:20 AM our time and running for approximately half an hour. FEMA has published a preview of what you can expect and a FAQ.

If at that time you need your cell phone to remain quiet, either put the phone into airplane mode until such time as the noise would no longer cause a problem, or turn it off outright for the same duration.

CR Battle Won – Our Fight Against MAGA Extremism Continues 

Democrats and progressives won last week’s Continuing Resolution (CR) fight. But the war against MAGA extremism continues.

The federal government is funded by twelve appropriation bills, each of which covers a different sector (defense, agriculture, housing, etc.). All twelve of those bills were supposed to have been passed by September 30, but because of Republican obstruction not a single one was enacted, which is why we had to have a CR to keep the lights on. Those bills now have to be passed by November 17 or we will face another shutdown crisis and CR fight. 

Republicans want to use those bills to cut more taxes for the wealthy and corporations, increase defense spending, further gut the social safety net, demonize immigrants and immigration, attack womens’ right to control their own bodies, defend the greed of the fossil-fuel cartels at the cost of global warming, impose their extreme right-wing social policies on the military, defund and cripple prosecution of Trump and the January 6 insurrectionists, and aid Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine. We in Indivisible oppose them on all these (and many other) fronts.

The extreme MAGAites are a minority, but they have two weapons that allow minorities to hold congressional majorities hostage to their political blackmail demands. In the Senate they use the filibuster, which Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema (I-AZ) have prevented our small Democratic majority from reforming. In the House they use the Hastert Rule, under which all Republicans must vote in lockstep with their caucus regardless of their own political views. Last week’s CR battle was won because (now former) Speaker McCarthy released Republicans from the Hastert rule, allowing 90 Republicans (out of 221) to vote with Democrats and pass the CR. 

We know that these upcoming battles are going to be tough, but this is where the rubber meets the road. We’ll continue urging Biden and our MoCs (including Senator Butler as she takes over from the late Senator Feinstein) to hold fast to our democratic values. 

Get free COVID-19 tests from USPS and also from your insurance

Last week, the USPS and the Biden Administration reopened the ordering site for free COVID-19 home test kits. Use these rapid antigen tests before attending (or hosting) a gathering or other event; if you test positive, cancel, or wear a good (N95) mask and be outside if possible. Get yours today!

Also, as a California resident, you can still get your insurance to reimburse you for at-home COVID-19 test purchases, thanks to SB 510, passed in 2021. This provision lasts until November 11, so the window is closing fast—you can purchase up to eight per person this month and eight per person next month and get those reimbursed by your insurance.

The new 2023 COVID-19 vaccines are (still) rolling out—get yours as soon as you can!

To keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors safe from respiratory illnesses that can cause long-term complications, it’s important that we keep up with our annual vaccinations. There are at least two shots you should get this fall: one for COVID-19 and one for flu. If you’re 60 or older, you should also get the new vaccine for RSV.

Pfizer and Moderna have released new, updated COVID-19 vaccines for 2023, and they’re still rolling out. Demand is high, and availability is still limited. We’ll all be able to get our shots, sooner or later.

The COVID-19 vaccines are still free, but the details have changed. People with insurance will have to present their insurance, and their insurance will be billed. People without insurance can get the new vaccine for free via the CDC’s Bridge Access Program.

For more information on where to get the shot and how to get it for free if you’re uninsured, see our blog post.

#OctoberIsVotingMonth. Are you ready to help get out the vote?

Join us in phone banking, postcarding, and more for critical elections from now into November in Ohio and Virginia, among other places. Help us win victories in 2023 and build momentum for 2024 to protect democracy and our civil rights.

There’s also a series of Meet the Candidates events starting up this week. California Grassroots Alliance will host a series of California candidates running to take back the House next year. These events, plus actions to reach out to voters in other states, on our (Get Out The) Vote page.

Tax Day is in less than two weeks. Are you ready?

You may remember that the state and federal tax deadlines for almost all Californians were deferred earlier this year due to the winter storms. The revised deadline is October 16, and that date is just over a week away.

If you haven’t already submitted your state and federal taxes for tax year 2022, now’s the time to get on it. Don’t wait until the last minute; get your paperwork in order and contact your tax preparer today.

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.

Indivisible SF Federal Working Group: Thursday, October 12, 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!

TODAY: Get to know Will Rollins for CA-41: Wednesday, October 4, 7:00–8:00 PM. CA-41 is one of the six key CA districts we need to take back the House in 2024. Meet the candidate, Will Rollins. RSVP here.

TODAY: Swing Left SF Bay Area Coalition Phone Bank: Wednesday, October 4 (and every Wednesday), 2:30–4:30 PM. Join Swing Left SF and the Bay Area Coalition to phone bank for all the key 2023 elections, as we organize swing states for key elections in 2023. RSVP here.

True to Blue IN-PERSON Phone Bank for VA, OH, and CA: Saturday, October 7 (and every Saturday), 10:00–12:00 PM at 541 Castro Street. Join an in-person phone bank with the Bay Area Coalition to make calls to voters in key states for critical elections in 2023 and 2024. RSVP here.

Meet the Candidates: Phil Arballo for CA-13: Thursday, October 12, 7:00–8:00 PM. The road to the House in 2024 lies through California. Join the NorCal/CentralValley MEET THE CANDIDATES Series to meet Phil Arballo, the candidate for CA-13. RSVP here.

About this week’s photo

If you’ve seen our newsletter posts on social media, you might have noticed that we include a photo or graphic with each issue.

Today’s graphic is a photo of Senator Butler being sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris yesterday, taken by Stephanie Scarbrough for the AP.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Since the January 2017, more than 4,000 San Franciscans have united as Indivisible SF to march in the Women's Marches, protest the Muslim Ban, meet regularly with our Members of Congress, and make thousands of phone calls to their offices to pressure them to do everything in their power to counter the policies and politics of Trumpism. There is much work in progress and many actions to come.

Members of Indivisible SF are defined by our action and find solidarity in our shared opposition to Trump and Trumpism. Each of us explicitly reserves our individual stances on specific issues for other forums as we believe resisting Trump is more important than any single issue. We adhere to a Code of Conduct that welcomes and respects everybody.

Members of Indivisible SF come from all kinds of backgrounds and political persuasions. Some of us are first-time activists and others have been at this for decades. We are citizens and non-citizens. Most importantly, we are all patriots that want the best for our country and are willing to work for it.

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