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Newsletter #6

Thursday, May 11, 2017

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PEG is a non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance.

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26 weeks down, 78 weeks to mid-term elections.
Stay strong!

Actions You Can Take Now and
Events You Should Know About

May 13 - 9 a.m. Constituent hour with State Rep. Adam Zemke (District 55). Brewed Awakenings, 7025 E. Michigan Ave., Saline.


May 15 - Coffee Hour for 52nd House District State Representative Donna Lasinski

Dexter District Library Meeting Room, 3255 Alpine St., Dexter 48130. Monday, 6–7 pm


May 17 - Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners meeting. The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioner Ways and Means Committee passed the proposed Commitment to Immigrant Communities resolution at their May 3 meeting. These resolutions now go to the full board on May 17 where a final victory is looking good. We must continue to advocate for full funding. Supporters of the resolutions are: Smith, Kent Martinez-Kratz, Deatrick, Brabec, Jefferson, LaBarre, and Morgan. If you are in Commissioner Ping’s district  [(734) 218-0335, pingad@ewashtenaw.org] or Jamnick’s [(734) 431-2761 jamnickr@ewashtenaw.org] districts, please urge them to rethink their position and support the resolutions. (Please do not contact Ping or Jamnick unless you are in their district.)


May 21 - PEG Speaker Series

Steve Mustapha Elturk, Imam and President of the Islamic Organization of North America, IONA, Elturk will speak on "Islamophobia: The Real Threat," detailing how the government's actions are affecting Muslims in America and the assault on the basic human rights of American citizens, residents and visitors of the Muslim faith in this country.  Following Steve Mustapha E’s talk, eight PEG Action Circles will meet, focusing on the following issues and organizations: ACLU; Gerrymandering and Redistricting; Voting Rights and Fair Elections; Planned Parenthood; Freedom of Press; Immigrant Rights; Southern Poverty Law Center; and Environmental Issues.

Morris Hall in the Pittsfield Township Administrative Building, 6201 West Michigan Ave., Ann Arbor, 3 pm.

June 25 - PEG Speaker Series. Washtenaw County Sheriff Clayton will speak on "Immigration-related Enforcement Issues in Washtenaw County." Sheriff Clayton is nationally recognized for contributions in this area and has done briefings in Washington D.C. The meeting will be held at Morris Hall in the Pittsfield Township Administrative Building, 6201 West Michigan Ave., Ann Arbor.

Things to do at Any Time

• Write a letter to the editor. One example is this letter published in the Boise, Idaho, newspaper: “President Trump’s new tax reform plan relies on stimulation of economic growth to pay for itself. Recent history has already demonstrated that tax cuts will not stimulate enough economic growth to cover the decrease in tax revenues. In the experience of two other Republican presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, reductions in taxes failed to pay for themselves and, instead, left the nation to deal with increasing federal debt.

Furthermore, President Trump’s tax reform proposal would likely slash taxes on hundreds of Trump-owned real estate, licensing and other companies. The extent to which he would personally benefit cannot be determined without having access to his tax returns, which he has refused to release.”

Click here to get the Indivisible Toolkit for defeating the Trump Healthcare legislation. It’s full of suggestions that we can do now.

• Learn more about the International Refugee Assistance Project, or IRAP.

Things to do NOW

• Advocate for integrity in leadership by calling 3 of your members of Congress (MoCs) with the following messages:

  1. Trump didn’t disclose meetings with a foreign bank or ambassador to gain security clearance nor did he divest himself from his financial and business conflicts of interest.

  2. Request that they join Senators Warren and Carper, and Congressman Cummings in asking ethics officials for information about Kushner’s dishonesty and failure to divest.

 

• Advocate for an independent investigation of the President’s ties to Russia by calling your MoCs and keeping  the pressure on.(Lookup or leave message). Ask if they can join Republicans like John McCain and Darrell Issa and Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden in publicly supporting an independent investigation.

 

• Advocate for White House visitor transparency. Call your two Senators (lookup or leave message) to request their support of Senate Bill 953, a bill which would make certain White House visitor logs public. These visitor logs have recently been closed, thus denying the public and the press access to information as to who is entering the White House complex. (POPVOX)

 

• Advocate for the AHCA bill. See how your rep voted here. Call your representative regardless of how he or she voted and praise or defend the bill depending on how they voted.

Action step: Demand a town hall meeting if your representative has voted against it and demand to know why.

 

• Advocate for the kind of healthcare you want. Call your Senators (lookup or leave message). Let them know that you are happy to spend your tax dollars for health care for yourself and all Americans.

 

• Advocate against HR 2090 which would require government-issued ID in order to vote, a rule that prevents many ordinary citizens from voting. Follow the link to find out who to call to protest this bill.

 

• Make a statement to the EPA by May 15, 2017. The EPA is soliciting public comment on repealing EPA regulations. Visit: Regulations.gov and click the dark blue “Comment Now!” button, upper right. Share why you support protections for clean air, soil, and water.


• Protect Net Neutrality by leaving the FCC a comment. The FCC is moving to remove rules that have protected the free and open internet since it was created. Follow this link and click "Express" to leave your feedback for them, we suggest including the phrase below for clarity: "Preserve Net Neutrality backed by strong Title II oversight" Click here to leave the FCC a comment.

Acts of Gratitude

Send some gratitude physical mail or email to:
 

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) for publicly opposing the revised ACHA plan, that would "severely harm the health and lives" of her constituents. Putting people over party makes a great leader. Address: 4960 SW 72 Avenue Suite 208 Miami, Florida 33155

 

Thank your own representative for voting to keep the ACA, especially if they are among the 20 Republicans who did. Share why this is meaningful to you, personally.

 

Thank Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) for recognizing that Congress should have the same health care options as all other Americans, not special privileges. Proposing legislation that ensures equal treatment is good leadership. Address: 506 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC, 20515.

Good News

  • Congress’ continuation budget, good through September, retains funding to Planned Parenthood, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the National Endowment for the Arts. It does not fund Trump’s wall.

  • The final version of Trump’s “religious freedom” executive order did not include discrimination against LGBT people or unwed mothers.

  • Senate GOP doesn’t love the House’s AHCA bill. Expect major changes.

  • Even health insurance companies don’t support the American Health Care Act.

  • Texas law enforcement opposes a law that forces collaboration with ICE.

  • Democrats are using the tax overhaul process to shed light on Trump’s own taxes.

  • More DAPL protesters are dismissed.

Interesting Reading, Viewing, Listening

Nate Silver’s 538. Silver’s predictions of election results in the past couple of decades have made him and his blog, “538,” a “go-to” resource for political prediction and analysis. Check here to read the blog.
 

Janet Yellen argues for gender equality as a critical way to expand economic growth for everyone. Check here to read her article.


Ann Arbor stands in solidarity with its immigrant community, documented and not. This was the sentiment on May 3, to a packed and cheering crowd. Click here for story.

For LCV, Michiganders clean energy policy protecting land, air and water is a nonpartisan priority.
Michigan League of Conservation Voters members drove smart energy policy forward with a flood of advocacy. Their work over the past two years resulted in new clean energy standards passing in late 2016 and taking effect in April this year. The new energy law puts Michigan on track to see continued development of clean energy, lower electric bills, and less air pollution. From Bridge Magazine. Click here to learn more.

 

Stay of execution for office coordinating Great Lakes cleanup projects. To avert a government showdown late last week, Congress passed a stopgap spending plan to keep federal agencies funded through the end of September, including $50 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a $300 million program administered by the EPA. Trump budget blueprint remains a threat to all EPA programs. From Bridge Magazine. Click here to learn more.

 

Here’s one way to keep bigotry on its toes. School Aid Fund budget falls short and decreases funding in West Washtenaw.

May 2, 2017 In a statement from Scio Township’s state Rep. Donna Lasinski (D) says she opposes the budget because it falls short of what Michigan’s students deserve and decreases funding for every school in Western Washtenaw County. Her constituents, regardless of political affiliation, tell her their top funding priorities are schools, roads and infrastructure. From Michigan House Democrats. Click here to learn more.

Bills package passes, extends transparency to governor’s office and state legislature.
March 16, 2017 State Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) praised the passage today of a bipartisan legislative package that would extend Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to apply to the governor’s office and would create a similar Legislative Open Records Act to apply to the state Legislature. “I focused my first bill on making our government more transparent and accountable,” Lasinski said. Click here to learn more.
 

Moderate Republicans can influence policy as well as Freedom Caucus but victories could prove short lived. Their input to the latest budget deal affects the AHCA, the border wall, federal funds for so-called sanctuary cities, funding for the National Institutes of Health, the executive order on “religious liberty”, as well as census funding and renewable-energy policy. The House bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act passed but likely that millions would be left uninsured because they wouldn’t be able to afford it. Census bureau receives $100 million increase, far short of $250 million in the current plan which is in line with the previous 4 census spending plans. From FiveThirtyEight. Click here to learn more.

 

Elected officials sign up for Washtenaw County IDs to raise awareness of county program. "It seemed like a particularly good time to bring elected officials together in solidarity with those who don't have an ID other than the county ID," said Keta Cowan, CEO of Synod Community Services in Ypsilanti and chair of the Washtenaw ID task force. These county IDs help many access health care, banking and other public services and extend more protections to undocumented immigrants. They cost $25 and it takes about 15 minutes to have one printed after the proper paperwork is completed. From MLive. Click here to learn more.

 

Life After Hate was about to expand its operation by launching a program that would proactively seek out violent extremists through the Internet and reach out to them to offer help. But the $400,000 government grant for the program, awarded in the final weeks of the Obama administration, never arrived and no explanation was provided. “Nothing but crickets,” said McAleer, who, like other grantees waiting for their funds, had heard that the Trump administration decided to put a hold on the funds. It is more than a mere bureaucratic mishap. Experts in the field believe that withholding the funds is part of a broader policy of the Trump administration to redefine violent extremism and reshape government policy for dealing with the problem, focusing exclusively on violent Islamic extremism while eliminating programs aimed at violent white nationalists. Read more.

African American residents in Mississippi's Madison County claim they are subjected to random searches of their homes, cars, and their bodies without warrant and sometimes without any suspicion that a crime was committed, according to a new federal lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the class-action lawsuit on behalf of 10 named plaintiffs, all of whom are black and have fallen victim to the Madison County Sheriff's Department, the suit alleges. Read more here.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research. A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, has replaced the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spokesman, J. P. Freire. More here.

 

The GOP House’s health care bill is estimated to cut taxes by approximately $765 billion. The top 20 percent of earners will get around 64 percent of those savings as health care for the poor is slashed. [NPR]

The Trump administration has taken steps to restrict health insurance coverage for contraceptives, while bullying the House into passing legislation that could send insurance rates for maternal health care soaring. Meanwhile, the president picked a new official to disseminate the administration’s thoughts about public health, and it’s a woman who believes that abortions cause breast cancer. More here.

If you want an easy way to help the ACLU of Michigan or the Michigan League for Public Policy consider being an Action Circle Co-Facilitator. Click here to learn what that entails. It’s rewarding, not time consuming, and you get to meet people who share your passion. Click here for more information.

 

Protectors of Equality in Government (PEG) has endorsed 11 organizations. A short description of and a link to each organization can be found on the PEG website: http://www.equalityingov.org/endorsed-organizations/

Please check out the list and choose those of interest to you for action.

Let us Hear From You

To contact us via email, click here info@equalityingov.org. To follow us on facebook, click here. To be on PEG’s contact list, click here. Please forward this newsletter to others you think might be interested in being part of the effort to maintain equality and acceptance in our government.

We are constantly seeking ways to improve this newsletter and make it more useful for you, so we welcome letters to the editorial team and will print them as space permits. We reserve the right to edit for space, clarity, civility and accuracy, and we will send you the edited version before publication. For suggestions regarding length, content, and similar criteria, please refer to the New York Times’ general recommendations for letters: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/opinion/23READ.html?_r=0
 

Willing to Help in the Fight?

 

We need your help building PEG. Click here to see see a list of volunteer opportunities. If you might be willing to be a PEG volunteer or to learn more, email info@equalityingov.org and put “VOLUNTEER” in the email subject line.
 

For more information regarding Protectors of Equality in Government, go to www.equalityingov.org


To contact us via email, click here info@equalityingov.org. To follow us on facebook, click here. To be on PEG’s contact list, click here. Please forward this newsletter to others you think might be interested in being part of the effort to maintain equality and acceptance in our government.

Thanks to Richard Gaeth, Vicki Patraka, Jen Hoffman, Susan Burwen, Bernie Banet, Ginny Morgan, Manya Grant, Rebecca Mackey, and Susan Ayer for their help preparing this newsletter. Write us at info@equalityingov.org if you would like to learn how you can help create our weekly newsletter. It’s fun and no ongoing commitment is required.

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