Abby Brockman

Indivisible Somerville member and organizer

144 posts

Actions 10/25 and 10/26

Wednesday

Let’s keep after Congress to pass the DREAM Act. Every day it’s not enacted, hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth continue to live at great risk. The DREAM Act has bipartisan support in the Senate and House and massive support from the American public. Although we and our Democratic members of Congress don’t set Congress’s agenda, we’ll have leverage in December if we can persuade our reps to play hardball.

Urge your MOC to take the Dreamer pledge. Ask them to pledge that, if Congress hasn’t passed the DREAM Act when funding for the government expires on December 8, they’ll vote against the continuing budget resolution unless it contains a clean DREAM Act. We can use the Indivisible Team’s script to call Senators Markey (202-224-2742) and Warren (202-224-4543) and our representative and tell them we want them to make the DREAM Act law.


Fight the attack on the Senate Criminal Justice Reform bill. With the bill scheduled for a vote this Thursday, 9 of Mass's 11 district attorneys mounted a last-minute attack against it. They're also advocating for amendments to make it easier for government to use all forms of wiretapping, including digital modes, as a means of surveillance. Let’s fight back by calling or email our senators to show our support for the bill and to urge them to vote against amendments 24 and 87. Mass ACLU provides details and an email script you can send directly or you can modify it for a phone call or email to your senator.


Thursday

Open enrollment for the ACA starts in one week, on November 1. The Trump administration has gutted the advertising budget and cut the sign-up period in half. Let’s use Get America Covered’s social media graphics today to get word out about open enrollment.

Actions 10/23 and 10/24

Monday

Let’s speak out for the Mass Senate’s Criminal Justice Reform bill as it comes to the floor for a vote this Thursday, October 26. See last Monday’s Action post for detail on the bill, which encompasses a wide range of long-overdue progressive changes to the state’s justice system. The House seems likely to consider a much more conservative bill.

We can send the House a message by flooding our senators with calls expressing our strong support for the reforms. We want the House leadership to see that the public is behind this bill, and we want the Senate to pass by a margin so large it’s impossible to ignore.


Tuesday

Tell the Department of Health and Human Services what you think of their shockingly conservative, fundamentalist-leaning 4-year strategic plan. The plan mentions religion 46 times and says that life begins at conception, a statement that could lead to denying women necessary health services. We have until this Friday, October 27, to comment on the plan. We can either leave comments on individual pages of the draft (life begins at conception appears in the Introduction) or email our thoughts to HHSPlan@hhs.gov.

Actions 10/16 and 10/17

Monday

Let’s go all out to pass the Massachusetts Senate’s criminal justice bill (S2170). Our criminal justice system is badly in need of reform, with a prison population four to five times larger than four decades ago, and incarceration rates that disproportionately affect black and Hispanic residents. We have the highest Hispanic-to-white disparity in the US and a higher than average disparity between blacks and whites. The Senate bill goes a long way toward addressing these issues, but the House appears to be considering a much more conservative bill.

Key provisions of the Senate bill:

  • Removal of mandatory minimums for offenders for nonviolent drug violations.
  • Expansion of diversion eligibility.
  • Elimination of some court fees, such as the indigent counsel fee and parole fees.
  • Complete overhaul of the bail system, ensuring bail will be more affordable to all defendants.
  • Protections for inmates in solitary confinement.
  • Raise of the age of criminal majority and criminal culpability.
  • Sealing of criminal records (CORIs) after 3 years for misdemeanors and 7 years after felonies; seals juvenile records after 1 year.
  • Lift of the felony theft threshold to $1,500 from $250.
  • Requirement for the court to make written findings before sentencing a primary caretaker.

This is our best chance for meaningful criminal justice reform in Massachusetts. We can’t allow the House to undercut it. Let’s act now by calling or writing our House representatives and telling them we strongly support the Senate’s bill and we want the House to enact its provisions in their version of the bill. For bonus points, tell your senator to do everything possible to ensure the criminal justice bill passes the Senate by a margin big enough to force the House to support similar reforms.

Update

The ACLU has pointed out some flaws in the Senate criminal justice bill. You'll find them outlined here.


Deadline reminder

Last chance to tell Homeland Security what we think of its plan to include “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results” in the immigration files of all immigrants, including permanent residents and naturalized citizens. You can comment on the plan at Regulations.gov through October 17. See our October 2 post for details.


Tuesday

It’s time to push to get the Mass Safe Communities Act out of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security and onto the floor for a vote. The bill’s hearing was all the way back in May, this summer's Lunn decision supported key provisions, the Trump administration’s been stepping up its targeting of immigrants in Massachusetts—and still the SCA sits in committee.

We need to tell our legislators to push for the bill. Progressive Massachusetts has info on each legislator’s stand as well as basic scripts tailored to those stands. Let’s add our own twist to the scripts by urging our legislators to pressure the committee chairs to report out the bill favorably so the legislature can finally vote.

Actions 10/11 and 10/12

Wednesday

We need to keep after Congress to pass the Dream Act (S.1615/H.R.3440). There’s been a lot of noise lately about many issues, but we can’t let our representatives forget that the country’s Dreamers are in crisis, their fates in the hands of Congress as the president makes his heartless demands. Last Wednesday, we asked you to call your Massachusetts representatives and urge them to fight for a clean Dream Act. It’s helpful to repeat those calls weekly. Here’s how.

Let’s also enlist our friends and family members in other states to talk to their representatives about the Dream Act. The Indivisible Team has supplied a calling script as well as information about the number of Dreamers in each state.


Thursday

Get Americans covered by the ACA. Health insurance open enrollment begins November 1, and it’s time to start spreading the word—the administration decided to shorten the enrollment window this year. Now there’s a group that can help. Two former officials who worked on the sign-up campaigns under Obama have launched an initiative, Get America Covered, to stand in for the administration's dramatically scaled-back efforts. They’ve got information on helping friends and family enroll and on starting an open enrollment street team, and their fliers, fact sheets, Facebook and Twitter graphics, and suggested posts make it easy to help people get the health coverage they're entitled to.

Actions 10/4 and 10/5

Wednesday

Our members of Congress have spoken out for the country’s 800,000 Dreamers (9,030 in Massachusetts). Now we need them to push for the DREAM Act (S.1615 / H.R.3440), which would give DACA recipients and others who arrived in the United States as children a path to permanent lawful status and eventual citizenship. As Republicans try to change the subject to taxes and confuse things with their watered-down alternative to the DREAM Act (the SUCCEED Act), we’ve got to keep Congressional phones ringing with support for the DREAM Act. Let’s call Senators Markey (202-224-2742) and Warren (202-224-4543) and our representatives and urge them to include a clean DREAM Act in any must-pass legislation. The script below is derived from the Indivisible Guide. You can find their full suggested dialogue here.

SCRIPT: Hello, My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [ZIPCODE]. I’m extremely concerned about President Trump’s decision to terminate DACA protection for 800,000 Dreamers who came to the United States as children. I appreciate the [Senator's/Representative's] support for DACA, and I want to urge him/her to push to include the DREAM Act in any must-pass bill scheduled for a vote this month. Thank you.

Thursday

Spread the word that ACA health insurance open enrollment starts in one month. Since the president cut advertising budget by 90%, it’s up to us.

Many thanks to Jen Hoffman for this one.