Lynn's List for Week of February 3, 2020
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        A Weekly List of Advocacy Items
February 3, 2020

Access to Affordable Healthcare

Georgia routinely ranks at the bottom on national maternal mortality rankings, with black women three to four times more likely than their white counterparts to die before, during, or not long after giving birth. A state review panel concluded that 60% of pregnancy-related deaths in Georgia are preventable. Georgia ranks 49th out of the 50 U.S. states in terms of maternal mortality rates (Louisiana is No. 50). Georgia had a maternal death rate of 66.3 per 100,000 live births from 2013 to 2017, according to federal data released by America's Health Rankings.

A Georgia legislative study panel found that most deaths occur in the first six months after delivery.  The Georgia Maternal Mortality Review Committee House of Representatives Report showed that 67 deaths were directly tied to a woman’s pregnancy from 2012-2014. Of the 67 deaths, 57 occurred within the six months after delivery. Another 10 women died between six months and a year after giving birth. Following the study, a bipartisan legislative panel developed a list of recommendations including a call to extend Medicaid coverage to six months.

HB693 requires the Department of Community Health to allow mothers giving birth to newborns to retain Medicaid eligibility for one year following such birth.

Contact the following members of the House Appropriations Committee with the suggested script making sure you include your contact information in the email:

Suggested Script:
Let’s make mothers of newborns a priority and reduce maternal mortality by supporting HB 693. Require the Department of Community Health to allow mothers giving birth to retain Medicaid eligibility for one year.

Terry England, Chairman            
Clay Pirkle, Vice Chairman
Katie Dempsey                    
Robert Dickey
Penny Houston
David Knight
Butch Parrish
Darlene Taylor
Sam Watson                      
Andrew Welch
Matt Dubnik    

Protection of the Environment

1. The Trust Fund Honesty (HR 164) resolution introduced in last year’s legislative session, is back on Georgia Women’s legislative agenda. Last year, the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution to mandate that fees collected for services be used for those services. Georgia Water Coalition explains it best.  “If a business charged you for a service and used your payment for something else, that would be fraud.” They go on to explain, “That’s what happens with your money when you purchase new tires for your car or pay to dump a load of trash at your local landfill. State fees collected during these transactions are supposed to be used to clean up hazardous waste sites, eliminate illegal tire dumps and support local clean community programs, but since these fees were created in the 1990s, about 40 percent of the collections (more than $200 million to date) have been used to fund other parts of the state budget.”  Despite HR164 passing in the House, the Senate version kept the current system with its lack of dedication of funds intact. 

To fix this problem HR 164 will create a constitutional amendment that gives the General Assembly the authority to dedicate fees and will also provide flexibility to the budget in the event of a downturn or recession. Please support efforts to address this problem and restore the trust in our Trust Funds!

Email your State Representative and State Senator with the suggested script (be sure to include your contact information in your email):
Support the House version of HR 164. It is the only version that will restore the trust in our Trust Funds.

2. Bills were introduced in the House (HB 756) and Senate (SB 297) seeking to treat coal ash waste like other household trash such as banana peels or milk cartons. The legislation would require coal ash be disposed of and stored in the same protected manner as other solid wastes, such as permitted landfills with synthetic bottom liners and leachate systems. Coal ash in unlined landfills can leach heavy metals and other toxic materials into our groundwater where it seeps into nearby rivers or lakes.

Contact your State Senator (not Perdue of Loeffler) and Representative with the suggested script (be sure to include your contact information in the email:  

Coal ash should be stored in permitted landfills with synthetic bottom liners and leachate systems to prevent leakage and seepage into groundwater, rivers, and lakes.  Vote yes on HB 756 (for Representative) or vote yes on SB 297 (for Senator).

Protection of Civil Liberties

1. According to Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published its proposed fee schedule in November, revealing increases between 55-83% on existing fees for citizenship services, as well as a new fee to seek asylum in the U.S., making it increasingly difficult for asylum-seekers to receive entry and for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals.

We have until February 10 to submit a formal comment in the Federal Register.

Submit a written comment in your own words: by Monday, February 10th at 11:59pm EST on via the blue “Comment Now!” button, stating why you oppose the proposed requirements based on your values and the points below. 
  • The administration seeks to divert over $200 million of USCIS and other DHS funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • In recent years, USCIS case processing has slowed dramatically, due in significant part to the agency’s own inefficient policies. These fee hikes would charge aspiring Americans more money for continually declining service.

  • Individuals currently protected by DACA would face even greater uncertainty as funding for their program is reallocated and renewal fees for protected status multiply. 

  • The proposed asylum fee would place a major burden on those who have already suffered tremendous hardship to reach our country, and directly contradicts our moral and constitutional obligation to provide sanctuary to those seeking it.

2. The President has proposed to expand the travel ban to seven additional Muslim countries.  

Contact Congressman Bishop or Scott with the suggested script: 

My name is ----- and I am from ------.  I am contacting you to express my opposition to the administration’s travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries. Before the president adds more countries to the list, Congress must pass the NO BAN Act (HR 2241). It not only ends the current ban, it also prohibits religious discrimination in our immigration policies and imposes needed checks on executive decisions in this area.

The link to your legislators is here

There are 39 weeks until the November 2020 election.

Thank you for your hard work.

Remember, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

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