Sunday, April 30, 2017

Climate Action

Tucson's Peoples Climate March

Yesterday, 200,000 people came together for the Peoples Climate March in our nation's capital, with thousands more marching in communities around America and the world.

We sent a message loud and clear to President Donald Trump and Congress: it's time to stop the backsliding on climate change; it's time to meet the most urgent challenge of our generation.

After just 100 days of a Trump Presidency, America's leadership on climate change is melting away. Trump vowed to put America first. Instead, his climate-destruction and polluter-first energy policies are putting us dead last.

That's why it's so crucial that we build on the momentum of the Peoples Climate March.

You can start by signing NRDC's Climate Action Petition. Demand that Trump, his Cabinet of Polluters and Congress put an end to climate denial and begin restoring America's climate leadership.

Our petition goal is 500,000 signers to show America's leaders that we are determined to win real action on climate and clean energy.

President Trump's list of anti-environmental assaults is long: Appointing climate deniers like EPA chief Scott Pruitt to key government positions... proposing crippling budget cuts to the EPA and government programs to tackle climate change... re-opening our coasts, public lands and national monuments to oil companies... threatening to yank the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement... greenlighting the dangerous Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

But Trump's biggest target is the Clean Power Plan. With support from fossil fuel CEOs and their allies in Congress, his administration is working overtime to kill President Obama's groundbreaking plan to reduce climate pollution from America's dirty power plants — the largest source of climate pollution in America.

NRDC has a strategy aimed squarely at stopping Trump from eviscerating the Clean Power Plan. This includes defending the plan in court with the full force of our legal team.

But the most important part of our strategy is you! We once again turn to you and hundreds of thousands of like-minded people who turned out for the Peoples Climate March or were there in spirit.

Please keep the momentum going by signing the Climate Action Petition. Demand that Trump and other leaders shelve efforts to kill the Clean Power Plan and act to restore America's leadership on climate and clean energy.

Stay tuned for urgent updates from NRDC in the weeks and months ahead with more details about our climate fight and what you can do to stand up for the Clean Power Plan.

Looking ahead,

Rhea Suh
President, NRDC

Friday, April 28, 2017


It's time we caught up with the rest of the civilized world and got universal health care. Why do we have to pay so much more than the rest of the civilized world for healthcare? Congress can use our collective bargaining power and negotiate a good rate. Look at Bernie's Medicare for All plan. We pay more in taxes, but it is less than insurance premiums (not even counting deductibles we pay now.)

So everyone saves money and we are a humane nation that takes care of all our people. People won't have to decide between going to the doctor or paying for rent and food. We will have less homeless people.

Sen. Jeff Flake - (202) 224-4521
Sen. John McCain - (202) 224-2235
Rep. Martha McSally - (202) 225-2542

I got this from Sanders’ campaign literature:

Bernie's Medicare-for-all plan would save the average American family $3,855 to $5,173 in annual health care costs.

Instead of an insurance premium, a family making $50,000 — roughly the median family income — would only pay $1,100 in health care income taxes. That’s $3,855 less than what it would pay out-of-pocket for the average premium ($4,955, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation) and $5,173 less if a deductible ($1,318, for individual coverage) is factored in.

As for employers, the 6.7 percent payroll tax means employers would put up $3,350 for family coverage. That’s also thousands less than the average employer premium contribution of $12,591.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

URGENT! What you need to know about Trump's tax reform plan before it's too late!

 Robert Reich's statement is a "MUST READ!"

Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, former hedge fund manager and Goldman Sachs partner, calls it the “biggest tax cut and largest tax reform in the history of our country.”

In reality, it’s the biggest declaration of class warfare – Trump’s and Mnuchin’s class against average Americans -- in history.

Trump won’t just cut corporate taxes from 35 percent to 15 percent – a huge boon to the shareholding class (remember, the richest 10 percent of Americans holds 80 percent of the entire value of the stock market). He’d also cut the individual taxes paid by partners in hedge funds, private-equity firms, and real estate empires like, um, Trump’s — from 39.6 percent to 15 percent. This is a giant windfall to the richest of the rich.

And he’d repeal the estate tax – paid by the richest 2 percent. Oh, did I say that Trump is now proposing another repeal of Obamacare that would save America’s wealthy another $300 billion a year in taxes?

The biggest winners: Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Robert Mercer (Steve Bannon’s funder at Breitbart) and his daughter Rebekah, who is bankrolling a super PAC airing pro-Trump ads, along with Steven Mnuchin and all the other billionaires Trump brought into the his administration, including Gary Cohn, Rex Tillerson, and Betsy DeVos, as well as others on Wall Street and in corporate suites.

The biggest losers: Average working Americans -- many of whom voted for Trump -- who will now have fewer government services, and whose taxes will be paying more interest on a higher federal debt (much of which is owed to the rich, like Trump, who hold some of their fortunes in government bonds).

Trump has just declared class warfare against the people who voted for him, and most of the rest of us, too. It's our responsibility to sound the alarm far and wide.

More information:

Washington Post article

New York Times article 

Or if you prefer to listen, here's the Young Turks take. 

Please, share! Everyone needs to know what's going on.

President Trump’s tax reform plan highlights

Click to make it larger

This morning the Whitehouse announced President Trump’s tax plan for a 15% tax rate for corporations and businesses. This is how it would pan out...

*The corporate tax rate would be slashed from 35% to 15%―saving the six largest U.S. banks a combined $12 billion annually.

*Banks that stash huge profits offshore would be allowed to bring those profits home at a fraction of the price―saving the six largest U.S. banks an estimated $25 billion in taxes.

*Hedge fund managers and Wall Street CEOs would see a two-thirds cut in their individual tax rates―equaling a $1.5 trillion tax giveaway mostly to Wall Street billionaires and the richest 1 percent.

- compiled by Daily Kos

They announced that they would be simplifying tax forms. The only deductibles would be mortgage interest and charitable contributions. 

Nina Ozlu Tunceli of the Arts Action Fund wrote:

This afternoon, the White House released highlights of President Trump’s tax reform plan (see above). The proposal would reduce tax rates on individuals and businesses. It would also double the standard deduction for individual taxpayers, which would reduce the number of people who itemize their deductions. The plan also states that it would close many of the deductions available to itemizers, except for the home mortgage interest deduction and the charitable deduction. Above is a copy of the plan’s summary that was passed out at the White House briefing today.

More details about the plan will continue to evolve along with Congressional proposals for tax reform. While the charitable deduction is preserved in the current proposal, its impact could actually be weakened by the fact that many middle-class taxpayers would no longer be able to itemize their deductions, like charitable contributions, because of the larger standard deduction. While the standard deduction assumes that taxpayers make charitable contributions, there is no specific incentive nor requirement to prove charitable donations were made.

To get the latest on other tax proposals and their impact, as well as Americans for the Arts “Statement on Tax Reform and the Charitable Contribution Deduction,” please visit the Arts Mobilization 

Watch The Young Turks thoughts here.

Read former secretary of labor Robert Reich's thoughts here

Trump directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to begin a sham review process aimed at shrinking or eliminating many national monuments.

President Trump's frenzy of executive orders continues. This time, he's trying to hand over the keys to some of America's most treasured national monuments... to industrial interests, including his fossil fuel and mining allies.

He just directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to begin another sham review process aimed at shrinking — or even eliminating — many national monuments designated over the last two decades by Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton.

Specific targets include two iconic monuments — the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah. Others at risk include the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off Cape Cod.

NRDC fought for years, with extensive public support and involvement, to win strong protection for these national treasures. We are not about to let them be sacrificed to industrial greed. And we're going to need your immediate activism to stop this land grab.

Take action: Demand that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stand up to President Trump and maintain protections for America's cherished national monuments.

Call 1-202-601-3839 and tell Secretary Zinke that any attempts to revoke or shrink our national monuments is an assault on our historical, cultural, and natural heritage.

Since Teddy Roosevelt, presidents have used their authority under the Antiquities Act to protect countless natural wonders like the Grand Canyon, New Mexico's Chaco Canyon, California's Muir Woods and Mojave Trails, Utah's Natural Bridges and Washington's San Juan Islands.

But commercial interests like mining and fossil fuel companies, and the ranching and commercial fishing industries, are chomping at the bit to roll back existing national monuments and gut the Antiquities Act. With this executive order, President Trump seems intent on doing their bidding.

National monuments protect our environmental and cultural heritage, and they're also good for our economy. Outdoor recreation generates billions of dollars and millions of jobs every year. In 2016, National Parks saw a record 331 million visits, contributing almost $35 billion to the U.S. economy.

Speak out now and show Trump and Zinke that millions of Americans are watching — and outraged — by these attempts to trade in America's national monuments for corporate gain.

Make no mistake: NRDC will not surrender special places like Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts without an all-out fight in the federal courts.

But first, we need to bring massive pressure to bear on Trump and his Interior Secretary.

NRDC is prepared to fight the Trump administration's attacks on our public lands — in and out of court — for as long as it takes to win.

Rhea Suh
President, NRDC

Sample letter:

Dear Secretary Ryan Zinke.

I am outraged that President Trump is considering rolling back the Antiquities Act and stripping protections from some of our recently established national monuments, including Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts. I ask that you fulfill the mission of your agency by protecting America's public lands and maintaining the integrity of these  monuments and of the Antiquities Act itself. 

Stand strong against President Trump's attempt to rollback national monument protections, which would serve corporate interests, not the American people.

GI Bill bait and switch! Tell your congress members that troops should NOT be taxed for GI Bill.

Congress is currently considering changes to the GI Bill which would force new enlistees to increase the amount they are paying to access their education benefits. As U.S. Army veterans, we think this is a horrible idea. Help us stop the bill that increases how much soldiers pay for their benefits DOA in the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs!

As the subcommittee holds their initial hearings on revising the GI Bill, they must remember that our soldiers are paying for these benefits with their service to our nation. It’s unfair and un-American to increase charges to those who are already making great sacrifices to keep our nation safe.

Congress is in a rush to finish a bill by Memorial Day and return to their districts and loudly trumpet how much they support the troops - but any efforts to move this bill forward by agreeing to increased fees on vets must be a non-starter. You can't support new taxes on soldiers' benefits while claiming to support our troops.

Crystal Bergfield, a U.S. Army Veteran sees it this way:
I joined before the switch to the 9-11 GI Bill. I used the Montgomery GI Bill which took $100/month out of my paycheck. When I joined, I was told I could get my current loans paid off or I could receive the GI Bill for future college tuition and fees. They told me and all of the rest of my battle buddies, that the GI Bill was free. Then I got my first paycheck and saw that they charged me for the Bill! It's outrageous and wrong that the military forces us to pay for a benefit, advertised as FREE, before we even have access to the benefit.

Our military, while providing many benefits to our country and our service members, is stealing money from 18 year olds, who make so little while making great sacrifices each day for our nation. While I agree that budget cuts need to be made, starting with the education of the future of the United States is not the sign of an intelligent nation. Don't increase the fees on the GI bill!

Dustin Judice, an Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09 with 3rd Armored Cavalry adds:
I completely agree with Crystal, any new fees on newly volunteering service members is a tax on the troops. My understanding is that any college scholarship after the Montgomery GI Bill would not have a deduction attached to it. Part of the difference is that no money for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill - except for living expenses - passes thru the veteran's hands. With the Montgomery GI Bill the money came to the veteran and it was theirs to spend as they choose. The new GI Bill does not do this.

Additionally, I think that a veteran choosing to give up their life in defense of their country is a sacred social contract between the soldier and our nation. Any future fees assessed after enlistment or not mentioned explicitly in commercials is a bait and switch tactic and an insult to the nation and the soldiers. I do not and will not support a new fee assessed on the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

For more information on the effort to reauthorize the GI Bill, read this article in Task and Purpose.

Sign the petition and call your congress members now!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tell the Trump Administration: Don't exit the Paris Agreement or weaken U.S. climate commitments!

After mounting pressure from people on both sides of the aisle, the Trump Administration abruptly postponed its meeting on the Paris Climate Agreement last week.

But now -- it's back on!1 News reports say key advisors will now meet on Thursday to debate next steps on the Paris Climate Agreement. This could mean backing out of the agreement altogether or significantly weakening our climate commitments.

The pressure is working, but we must keep it on! Please join the more than 30,000 Sierra Club supporters who have already taken action.

Tell the Trump Administration: Don't exit the Paris Agreement or weaken U.S. climate commitments!

Let's send a strong message that Americans want the U.S. to keep its climate promises.


Maura Cowley
Sierra Club

[1] Trump advisers' meeting on Paris deal reset for Thursday

Tell Congress before it’s too late: don’t cut Energy Star and other efficiency programs that save consumers money.

You’re probably familiar with the iconic Energy Star label.

For decades, consumers have relied on this trusted symbol adorning energy-efficient options for electronics, home appliances, and more. The public-private program has saved American households $430 billion on utility bills and reduced air pollution by avoiding the need for 185 new power plants!
Energy Star benefits both consumers and partner companies. With so many people struggling to pay utility bills, these efficiency programs provide much-needed relief.

Unfortunately, Energy Star and other energy efficiency programs are set to be cut under the Trump administration's budget. Congress will be voting soon on our national budget, and we don’t have much time to act.

Tell Congress before it’s too late: don’t cut Energy Star and other efficiency programs that save consumers money.

Take action »

Take two minutes today to save this smart and effective program by using our tool to email your members of Congress. We can save Energy Star — but we need to start by sending messages immediately.

After you’re done sending a brief message, forward this email to your friends and family so we can flood Congress with even more letters of support for Energy Star and other efficiency programs that save us money.

Shannon Baker-Branstetter
Consumers Union, Policy and Action from Consumer Reports

Tell your representatives to pass a "clean" spending bill with no anti-environment riders or budget cuts!

Some things should transcend partisan divides in Congress. Things like keeping our kids safe from toxic pollution. Climate change. Clean air. Safe drinking water. But the Big Polluters and their allies in Congress see an opportunity to sneak anti-environment measures into a federal spending bill that must pass soon to keep the government from shutting down.

Your elected officials are weighing their options on this spending bill right now, and they need to hear from you.

Tell Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain and Representative Martha McSally to pass a "clean" spending bill with no anti-environment riders or budget cuts!

Corporate polluters and their allies in Congress know that anti-environment attacks, corporate giveaways and rollbacks of public health safeguards would never survive normal up-and-down votes in the House or Senate. Their solution? Attach them to this must-pass budget bill, and hope no one puts up a fight.

This isn't a new tactic — but with Donald Trump in the White House, it's more urgent than ever that we pay attention and speak up. Because he's ready to sign a spending bill full of riders that would trample our right to a clean environment and a healthy future.

These riders could:

*Threaten the air we breathe and the water we drink by rolling back critical clean air and water protections.

*Gut safeguards that keep Big Polluters in check by slashing funding to the EPA and other agencies to enforce environmental rules.

*Wave a white flag in the fight against climate change by abandoning the Clean Power Plan and other efforts to ensure a safe and sustainable future.

*Sacrifice imperiled wildlife like wolves, grizzlies and whales by pulling back on protections guaranteed by the Endangered Species Act.

The NRDC Action Fund is working to stop anti-environment riders like these from infecting this must-pass spending bill. Our lobbyists are on Capitol Hill making sure key senators and representatives are ready to stand up against these rollbacks. We're alerting local and national media outlets to these federal budget schemes. And we're ratcheting up public pressure by mobilizing constituents like you to call their lawmakers.

So tell your senators and representative to oppose any spending bill with measures that hurt the environment and public health!

Make no mistake, this isn't just about the federal budget. It's about protecting our right to a clean and healthy environment, and our children's future from those who would sell them off to the highest bidder.

Rhea Suh
President, NRDC Action Fund

Monday, April 24, 2017

Urge your Senators to vote NO on the Methane CRA, and to stop any further rollbacks on our environmental and public health protections.

The resistance is working. Trump and Congress are trying to give drilling companies a never-ending pass to leak gas pollution on our public lands. But in response, tens of thousands of people have been calling, writing, and meeting with their representatives to stop this senseless rollback. We've delayed this action several times already, but now the Senate is running out of time to vote on it -- we have to make one final push now!

Tell your Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, to side with clean air and public health, not corporate polluters. Call now: 1-888-454-0483. Even if you have called before, it always helps to remind them that you are still watching!

Under the Obama administration, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized protections last year that would require companies extracting oil and gas from public lands to reduce their methane emissions. These standards are not only a big win for public health and the climate, but also for job creation.

When companies extract oil and gas from public lands, they are currently allowed to vent, flare or leak unlimited amount of methane pollution into our air -- but this commonsense rule would require them to limit these emissions. And limiting those emissions can create jobs for the people hired to manufacture and install the pollution-limiting technologies, helping to boost US manufacturing and create jobs. Forcing companies to clean up their act makes sense for our economy and for our environment.

But now, Senate Republicans are trying to use a dangerous and powerful tool to roll back these important protections to satisfy their fossil fuel backers. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows Congress to override recently issued rules, going back months under President Obama. The CRA would not only block the current standards, but would also prevent any similar standards to ever be issued -- letting polluters off the hook indefinitely.

The House of Representatives already voted to overturn these safeguards. It was expected that the Senate would quickly do the same, but public backlash has already forced several delays. Right now, the oil and gas lobby is trying to jam this through before their window expires.

We must speak out now to demand our Senators reject this reckless proposal. Urge Senators McCain and Flake to vote NO on the Methane CRA, and to stop any further rollbacks on our environmental and public health protections. Call now: 1-888-454-0483.

Congress should work for the people, not corporate polluters. It's up to us to remind them of that every day. Keep the pressure on.

Thank you for making your voice heard,

Lena Moffitt
Director, Beyond Dirty Fuels
Sierra Club

Call 1-888-454-0483 now

and tell Senators McCain & Flake to stand up for clean air & public health!

Sample script:

Hi, my name is ________ and I live in Tucson.

I'm calling to ask Senator McCain / Flake to commit to voting NO on the CRA of the Bureau of Land Management's Methane Rule.

The CRA is a blunt instrument and using it to undo the BLM Methane Rule could have lasting, dangerous consequences for our public health and public lands.

I hope the Senator will protect taxpayer resources and clean air by opposing this reckless vote. Thank you.

Trump wants to hear your thoughts on rolling back common-sense environmental protections

President Trump and his EPA Chief Scott Pruitt have launched a bogus series of "public hearings" to take suggestions about which environmental safeguards should be "repealed, replaced, or modified." If Trump and Pruitt want to hear from "the public," then let's give them what they want. (I couldn't find the place on the EPA website to make a comment.) Send your official "letter of comment" to President Trump and EPA Administrator Pruitt reminding them that common-sense environmental safeguards protect our climate, our environment and our health.

You can send your Letter of Comment from HERE.

Your message will be sent to:
President Donald J. Trump
Administrator E. Scott 'Scott' Pruitt

Subject line:

I oppose arbitrary efforts to roll back common-sense environmental protections

Dear President Trump and Administrator Pruitt:

My husband and I live in Tucson, Arizona where we work hard to restore our depleted groundwater. What a lot of people don't understand is that just 3% of the earth's water is drinkable.  According to the U.S. Geological Survey, most of that three percent is inaccessible (in icecaps and glaciers). As more states experience droughts, there will be even less water to go around.  As you can see, it is vital that we protect the rivers and streams that feed our water sources. 

I support common-sense regulations and safeguards that protect our environment, our climate, public health and our nation's clean energy progress. I object to your administration's wholesale effort to arbitrarily find regulations that can be "repealed, replaced, or modified."

It's not true that environmental safeguards harm our nation and our economy. To the contrary, they protect our health, conserve resources and save lives - benefits that far exceed the cost of compliance, year after year. For example, the Clean Air Act alone has saved millions of lives and more than $30 trillion in avoided healthcare costs over the course of its implementation.

The Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act protect drinking water for hundreds of millions of Americans. 

And the Clean Power Plan is our most important tool for avoiding a climate change catastrophe and is projected to provide billions more in economic benefits than it will cost to implement. 

Please stop this senseless campaign to turn back the clock on 50 years of environmental gains. The fate of future generations depends on it. 

Jana Segal
Tucson, Arizona

NOTICE that I added a short personal message in the first paragraph to get their attention.

I did find the Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.

The following bills have been introduced to Congress:

1. HR 861 Terminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
3. HR 899 Terminate the U.S. Department of Education
4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
5. HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act
6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
7. HR 785 National Right To Work (decimates Labor Unions)
8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran

Please COPY & PASTE and share widely. Call your House Representative and ask them to not only vote "NO"...but to speak up for our rights, health & safety, and our beautiful country.

If your senators and reps aren't saved in your phone yet, text your zip code to 520-200-2223. You'll get a text back with everyone's contact info. It gives you Federal and State.

This is participant democracy at work.

Trump's tax plan slashes taxes for wealthy banks and Wall Street CEOs.

Tax Day is a time when individuals and small businesses do our part to fund public education and healthcare, safe communities and reliable transportation systems, and so much more. It’s our patriotic duty. But while we’re paying our fair share of taxes, Wall Street banks are using a rigged system to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes each year.

Between 2008 – 2015 the nine largest and most profitable U.S. banks avoided paying about $80 billion in federal income taxes by using various loopholes their lobbyists helped get put into the tax code. And Donald Trump’s tax plan would make it even worse.

Under Donald Trump’s tax plan:

*The corporate tax rate would be slashed from 35% to 15%―saving the six largest U.S. banks a combined $12 billion annually.

*Banks that stash huge profits offshore would be allowed to bring those profits home at a fraction of the price―saving the six largest U.S. banks an estimated $25 billion in taxes.

*Hedge fund managers and Wall Street CEOs would see a two-thirds cut in their individual tax rates―equaling a $1.5 trillion tax giveaway mostly to Wall Street billionaires and the richest 1 percent.

- compiled by Daily Kos

Tell Congress that it’s time for Wall Street to pay its fair share!

Sample e-mail to your Congress members...

Each year, Wall Street banks and CEOs and hedge fund managers avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes thanks to a rigged tax system written by Wall Street lobbyists. Stand up to the big banks and Wall Street billionaires and say NO to tax plans that would make this rigged system even worse with massive tax giveaways and more loopholes for banks and billionaires. We need tax reform that makes Wall Street pay its fair share while leveling the playing field for working families and Main Street businesses. We pay our fair share in taxes. So should Wall Street billionaires.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tell immigration officials not to target agricultural communities.

A recent wave of immigration arrests has vocal farmers and farmworker activists concerned that they will face retaliation for daring to speak out against harsh anti-immigration policies.1  A New York Farm Bureau spokesperson said that some farmworkers are even afraid to leave the farms on which they live and work.2

It's bad enough that farmworkers lack the basic workplace protections and labor rights that most American workers enjoy. Many are exposed to pesticides and victimized by wage theft; now they have to face the persistent terror of deportation.

Without immigrants, the agricultural sector would collapse. Put immigration enforcers on notice that we won't stand for the targeting of peaceful farmworkers and outspoken farmers.

A new report shows that deporting every undocumented immigrant in New York would decrease the state's agricultural output by 24 percent and reduce overall economic activity by $8.5 billion.3

And that's just one state! Extrapolate that across the nation and you've got a serious threat to our economy and our food security. Stand up for farmworkers and farmers: get immigration agents off their backs.

The recent spike in immigration arrests also jeopardizes the environment. Without migrant farmworkers, monoculture and development would run roughshod over our agricultural landscape.

Farmers would likely switch from labor-intensive fruits and vegetables to highly-mechanized commodity crops like corn and soybeans.2 Or they may get out of the agricultural game entirely, converting their land to other interests, like housing developments.3

If farmers pivot to overused crops, they will need to clear more land and till more soil. This drives erosion and deteriorates soil and water quality.4 With increased monoculture comes less biodiversity, harming wild plants and animals. Pollinator health in particular could be compromised.

Targeting agricultural communities with harsh immigration enforcement is bad for people, bad for the economy, and bad for the environment. Tell immigration officials to back off.

In it together,
The SierraRise team


1. Valencia, M. (26 March 2017). "Hundreds in Boston will protest Vermont ICE arrests." Boston Globe.

2. Goldensohn, R. (24 March 2017). "ICE arrests New York farmworkers, alarming industry and advocates." Crain's New York Business.

3. (March 2017). "The Farm Labor Issue: Economic Impact in New York State." Farm Credit East.

4. Nink, E. (5 June 2015). "Monoculture shows financial, environmental costs to US." The Christian Science Monitor.

USDA photo by Lance Cheung

Thursday, April 20, 2017

GOVTRACK.US: how to follow what bills are being proposed or passed

It's hard to know what to believe these days with all the biased news reports and fake news. We can't even count on our own representatives to tell the truth, much less represent us. All we can do is try to keep up with the bills they are proposing and stay on top of our elected officials to make sure they are representing our needs.

I'm gonna give the GOVTRACK.US site a try: tracks the United States Congress and helps Americans participate in their national legislature.

They publish the status of federal legislation, information about your representative and senators in Congress including voting records, and original research on bills and votes.

You can also follow them on twitter or facebook. This seems like the best way to keep up with the bills as they are introduced or passed.  

Some Republicans Think They May Have A Health Care Deal. Call your Rep today!

"If at first you don’t succeed, make things worse, then try, try again. That seems to be Republican leaders’ motto when it comes to repealing the Affordable Care Act. Amid a bruising recess, during which many congressmen faced heat at town halls for their support of Trumpcare, majority leaders have continued working on their plan to strip health coverage from millions of people. And now, some Republicans think they may have reached a deal.

"The new deal, which majority leaders hope will be able to unite the far-right Freedom Caucus and moderate House Republicans, is even worse than the previous version of the bill.

"The newest bill, which is expected to be introduced before Trump’s 100th day in office, allows states to seek waivers to get rid of protections for people with pre-existing conditions and to get rid of Essential Health Benefits like maternity care, prescription drugs, and hospital visits. Allowing states to strip these protections would cause premiums to skyrocket for people with pre-existing conditions, according to a new CAP analysis.

"... The reality, however, is that insurers would be able to effectively deny coverage by pricing sick people out of the market."

Read whole article: 
Some Republicans Think They May Have A Health Care Deal

Call your Representative and tell them to vote no on this hasty, damaging health care deal.

Find out who your Representative is:

Find out your Representative's contact information:

Gabbard's "Stop Arming Terrorists Act" Introduced in Senate

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Stop Arming Terrorists Act has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Rand Paul. The bipartisan legislation (H.R.608 and S.532) would prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and it will prohibit the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries who are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists.

The legislation is currently cosponsored by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Scott Perry (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Tom Garrett (R-VA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Veterans for Peace, and the U.S. Peace Council.

“For years, the U.S. government has been supporting armed militant groups working directly with and often under the command of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government. Rather than spending trillions of dollars on regime change wars in the Middle East, we should be focused on defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and using our resources to invest in rebuilding our communities here at home,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “The fact that American taxpayer dollars are being used to strengthen the very terrorist groups we should be focused on defeating should alarm every Member of Congress and every American. We call on our colleagues and the Administration to join us in passing this legislation.”

“One of the unintended consequences of nation-building and open-ended intervention is American funds and weapons benefiting those who hate us,” said Dr. Rand Paul. “This legislation will strengthen our foreign policy, enhance our national security, and safeguard our resources.”

Background: The Stop Arming Terrorists Act prohibits U.S. government funds from being used to support al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. In the same way that Congress passed the Boland Amendment to prohibit the funding and support to CIA backed-Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980’s, this bill would stop CIA or other Federal government activities in places like Syria by ensuring U.S. funds are not used to support al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, or other terrorist groups working with them. It would also prohibit the Federal government from funding assistance to countries that are directly or indirectly supporting those terrorist groups.

The bill achieves this by:

*Making it illegal for any U.S. Federal government funds to be used to provide assistance covered in this bill to terrorists. The assistance covered includes weapons, munitions, weapons platforms, intelligence, logistics, training, and cash.

*Making it illegal for the U.S. government to provide assistance covered in the bill to any nation that has given or continues to give such assistance to terrorists.

*Requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine the individual and groups that should be considered terrorists, for the purposes of this bill, by determining: (a) the individuals and groups that are associated with, affiliated with, adherents to or cooperating with al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or ISIS; (b) the countries that are providing assistance covered in this bill to those individuals or groups.

*Requiring the DNI to review and update the list of countries and groups to which assistance is prohibited every six months, in consultation with the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, as well as the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

*Requiring the DNI to brief Congress on the determinations.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tell your Representative: Don’t steal overtime pay from working people! Vote no on H.R. 1180

Before Congress returns from recess next week, we need your help to fight back against yet another legislative attack on working families.

The House will consider the falsely named “Working Families Flexibility Act” (H.R. 1180), which allows employers to deny overtime pay when employees work extra hours. This legislation would disproportionately impact women, people of color, and low-income workers who rely on overtime pay to make ends meet.

Let’s be clear: This legislative move aims to overwork and underpay working people.

Make sure your members of Congress stand with working folks and reject this bill as soon as it reaches the House floor. Tell your Representative today: Don’t steal overtime pay from working people!

When an employee works overtime, they should be compensated for their hours. But under this bill, employers can avoid paying for those extra hours, interest-free, for up to 13 months. In exchange, they can offer future “comp time,” but it’s not guaranteed and employers can deny the request if it seems “disruptive.”

This bill reduces working people’s income on payday, and by delaying payment for overtime for months and months, puts employees’ pay at risk if anything happens to the business. In 2013 alone, 400,000 small businesses closed. Nothing in the legislation provides workers whose employer goes out of business with a guarantee to receive payment for accrued comp time.

This bill is yet another ruse by big money to cut costs at the expense of working families. Instead of offering flexibility, this bill would erode hourly workers’ ability to earn a fair living and control their work schedules.

Make sure your representative stands with working families and rejects the misnamed “Working Families Flexibility Act” now!

Every time policymakers try to cut deals for the wealthy elite to hurt working people, we fight back. Join us by writing your representative today.

In solidarity,

Brian Kettenring
Co-Executive Director, CPD Action

Petition Coca Cola to use recycled plastic.

According to Greenpeace, by 2050 there will be more plastic per lb in our oceans than fish! That jaw-dropping statistic is due in large part to plastic soda bottles produced en masse for companies like Coca Cola. As the world's largest beverage producer and one of the world's largest purchasers of plastic bottles it is up to them to set a new standard and lead the industry to find a solution to the plastic pollution that is clogging our oceans.

We all know recycled plastic exists and currently Coca Cola bottles are recyclable but that doesn't mean that Coca Cola uses recycled plastic to bottle their soft drinks. Coca Cola sells around 108 to 128 billion plastic bottles every year but only a fraction of them are made out of recycled plastic. This is unacceptable.

Coca Cola needs to be the industry standard and commit to using more recycled plastic in their to bottle their drinks. This would keep more of the material out of landfills and our oceans and incentivize plastic recycling industry.

Let's ask Coca Cola to be the lead the way and publicly pledge to set global benchmarks to reduce its use of un-recycled plastic.
Our oceans are already clogged with plastic, putting the health of ocean life at risk. Whales, dolphins, schools of fish, corals and the rest of the ocean's vast biodiversity are being choked out by plastic pollution. And in large part it's because of plastic bottles produced en masse for companies like Coca-Cola.

If we don't act now, then by 2050, there will be more plastic per pound in our oceans than fish.

There is no excuse for Coca-Cola to dismiss their responsibility in cleaning up plastic pollution. As the largest beverage company in the world, Coca-Cola should be setting the trend to curb the amount of plastic that ends up in oceans. We need to let the company know that they can't go on with business as usual.

Please sign the petition to Coca-Cola's CEO and their Senior Director of Environment and Sustainability. They must commit to using more recycled plastic to produce their bottled drinks.

Thank you,
Alex B.
The Care2 Petitions Team

My heart is breaking.

I have lived with a lingering sadness for the last few months. I’m not talking about depression. I have been hurt. My soul has been hurt. I try to keep going by attempting to connect to people on Facebook. Sometimes there is a glimmer of hope, but often it just makes it worse.

What has become of my beloved country? I was raised in a Christian community where we took care of those who were struggling. There were times when our family barely got by on our hard working father’s salary – sometimes with the help of white packaged food from the government or a couple of bags of groceries from members of our little church. It hurts my heart to hear people belittling those on welfare, calling them lazy or stupid. I ride the city bus, so every day I see hardworking people barely getting by on minimum wage or trying to find work. Yet so many of us have decided that the 2% of our budget that we spend on SNAP is too much. I’ve met families who lost their homes because a loved one needed medical care. But, in this so-called “Christian nation,” we have decided that we don’t want our taxes to pay for medical coverage for all of us. Those are our neighbors suffering! It breaks my heart when I hear my Facebook friends making excuses for budget cuts for Meals on Wheels or after-school programs or school lunches for children of struggling families. Are we really becoming a nation that doesn’t take care of our elderly or our children?

But the cruelty cuts deeper than that. We allow the most vulnerable among us to do back breaking labor for pennies, and then demonize them by calling them “illegal.” When did profit without responsibility become accepted? We have allowed fear to take away our humanity. What kind of society are we when we choose to pay more for prisons and border walls than it costs for education or healthcare for our migrant workers? Some of us believe that they are stealing our services and that securing the border will create more jobs. But instead of creating more border patrol jobs and prison guards, we could create jobs taking care of these people and each other. Why not hire more teachers and healthcare workers? Our economy could be built on caring for each other rather than exploiting, imprisoning, and killing people.

Why do we listen to those who profit by separating us with fear? Why do we spend more on our military complex than the next ten nations combined, and still don’t feel safe? When did we become so hardened as a people that we accept a perpetual war that has killed 2 million people (half of them children) while 3,024 Americans died from 1975-2015 from foreign-born terrorism? (That number includes the 2,983 victims of 9/11.) Our Department of Homeland Security secretary said, "We cannot gamble with American lives." But how many soldiers have to die or come back broken? How many Americans suffer and die every day because of inadequate medical care? 

It’s time we asked ourselves some hard questions, “Who are we as Americans? How do we want the world to see us? What are our true values and priorities? Do we want to go on with this cruel behavior where we kill people in other countries or exploit the weak and vulnerable for profit of the obscenely rich? Do we want to be governed by fear or love?”

What kind of people do we want to be?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Call your members of Congress and demand they fight for clean air and water today

As I’m writing this, Congress is gearing up to decide whether the air we breathe and the water we drink will be protected for future generations.

Last month, Donald Trump proposed a federal budget that includes a staggering 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — slashing programs that protect children from lead exposure and fight air pollution in our cities. [1]

In the next two weeks, Congress decides whether or not that budget passes. We cannot let that happen. Please, call your members of Congress at 1-877-969-2590 and demand they fight for clean air and water today!

Trump’s budget would cut funding for:

*Clean Air Act programs that have reduced emissions of six harmful air pollutants by 70 percent in the last 40 years.

*State and local government initiatives that protect fresh water and allow communities to meet health-based drinking water standards.

*The entire EPA environmental justice office.

*Scientific research on climate change and the health impacts of toxins in our environment.

Where would that money go? Not to taxpayers — to the Department of Defense for “more warships and fighter jets.” [2]

We have to resist this attack on our health and communities! Call 1-877-969-2590 today and ask Congress to protect funding for a clean and healthy environment.

Congress has until April 28 to pass a budget, which means that right now is our best chance to make sure that budget includes protections for the air we breathe and the water we drink. Democrat or Republican, your representatives need to hear from you.

Your action has moved Congress and thwarted Trump’s dangerous agenda before. Your phone calls and Town Hall visits made his deplorable cabinet nominations the most contested in history, ensured his inhumane healthcare bill was dead on arrival, and helped push extremist Steve Bannon off the National Security Council.

Now we need to do it again to protect our health and environment. Call your Congress members at 1-877-969-2590 and be a voice for healthy communities and environmental protection!

Gutting the EPA would be nothing short of life-threatening for millions of Americans. Jana, we need you now more than ever in the fight for clean air and water — I know you won’t let me down.

Yours in resistance,

Rachel Rye Butler
RESIST Project Team, Greenpeace USA

P.S. I got off the line with my representatives this morning, and it felt good to stand up for the healthy environment our communities deserve. Will you join me? Call 1-877-969-2590 today to protect programs that clean our air and water.


TAKE ACTION: Contact Senator Flake on Anti-Wolf Bill!

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is sponsoring legislation (S.368) that would take management of Mexican gray wolves out of the hands of scientists and place it in the grasp of people intent on hindering the species' recovery. Please help us oppose this measure!

Management of sensitive species should be based on science, not politics. Unfortunately, law-makers consistently try to impose politics into management decisions in an effort to impede species recovery for the purpose of benefiting special interests. Flakes measure is no exception. It would give the states of Arizona and New Mexico, as well as ranchers, the ability to dictate terms of wolf recovery. These groups have continually proven hostile to wolf recovery. You can read more online.

Please call Senator Flake today! Let him know that you support wolf recovery and that this effort must be led by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and wildlife biologists rather than special interests. Call Senator Flake at the following locations: Washington, DC, Office 202-224-4521; Phoenix Office 602-840-1891; Tucson Office 520-575-8633

Friday, April 14, 2017

Rep. Martha McSally's response to my e-mail on the Endangered Species Act

Dear Ms. Segal,

Thank you for contacting me regarding your support the Endangered Species Act. I appreciate your thoughts on this important issue.

As you may know, the Endangered Species Act was enacted to increase protection for, and to provide for the recovery of, vanishing wildlife and vegetation. Under ESA, species of plants and animals can be listed as endangered or threatened according to assessments of their risk of extinction. Once a species is listed, powerful legal tools are available to aid its recovery and protect its habitat.

Under the ESA, species are to be listed as threatened or endangered based solely on the best available scientific information, without regard to economic considerations. In many cases, species are protected as subspecies located in only a specific portion of their range – which is why many types of salmon are protected even while salmon is available for our consumption. In the past, the Obama Administration had delisted some wolves from the protections of the Endangered Species Act, allowing them to be hunted.

Congress is faced with the task of balancing these competing interests by protecting wildlife and permitting economic activity and use of lands on which certain wildlife is found. Rest assured that I will keep your support for the ESA in mind should any related legislation come before the full House of Representatives for a vote.

As the 115th Congress addresses the many challenges facing our nation, I hope you will continue to share your thoughts and concerns. To keep up with my work in Congress, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook, or visit my website at where you can sign up to receive my e-newsletter. Again, thank you for sharing your concerns. Please continue contacting my office regarding issues that you feel are important to you and Southern Arizona.

In Service,

Member of Congress

Rep. Martha McSally's response to e-mail about gas rights in the National Park Service

Dear Ms. Segal,

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns for H.J.Res. 46, a joint resolution disapproving a 2016 National Park Service rule addressing non-federal oil and gas rights within National Park Service units outside of Alaska. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue.

As you may know, H.J.Res 46 was introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04) on January 30, 2017. This bill would nullify a rule from the National Park Service (NPS) expanding control over 319 new state or private oil and gas operations on NPS properties. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. While I do not sit on that committee, rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind should it come before the full House of Representatives for a vote.

As the 115th Congress addresses the many challenges facing our nation, I hope you will continue to share your thoughts and concerns. To keep up with my work in Congress, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook, or visit my website at where you can sign up to receive my e-newsletter. Again, thank you for sharing your concerns. Please continue contacting my office regarding issues that you feel are important to you and Southern Arizona.

In Service,

Member of Congress

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bernie visiting Mesa, Arizona on Friday, April 21st

During the presidential campaign, Bernie spoke a lot about the need to revitalize American politics and create a political revolution. He talked about the need to bring people together - black, white, Latino, Asian American and Native American - to fight for a government which represents all of us, and not just the 1 percent.

Bernie also made it clear that the Democratic Party needed a 50-state strategy, and that we could not rest easy when some of the poorest states in the country were led by Republican right wing extremists who represented the wealthy and the powerful.

That is why Bernie is hitting the road again, this time with DNC Chair Tom Perez, Keith Ellison and other leaders. The purpose of this nine-state tour across the country is to visit some of our more conservative states and help build strong, grassroots movements in those regions. He will also discuss how the president has turned his back on the working class people who voted for him.

One of the states that Bernie will be visiting is Arizona.

Please get the word out to your friends. Let's have a HUGE turnout.

Senator Bernie Sanders rallies with DNC Chair Tom Perez
DATE: Friday, April 21, 2017
TIME: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (Doors open at 5:30 PM)
WHERE: Mesa Ampitheatre (Mesa, AZ)
263 N. Center Street
Mesa, AZ 85201

Tell your member of Congress: NAFTA should benefit people and the planet, not corporate polluters!

Donald Trump has ordered a review of all United States trade deals, including NAFTA. While Trump has pledged to remake our trade deals to benefit the United States, his promises around trade just don't add up. Instead, he's stacked his cabinet with the same corporate advisors who brought us NAFTA and other flawed trade deals.

With a formal notice to Congress announcing Trump's intent to renegotiate NAFTA expected soon, we just released an alternative vision for the trade deal.1 The eight changes we propose are centered on replacing NAFTA with an entirely new approach to trade that prioritizes the needs of people and our planet over corporate profits.

Tell your member of Congress: NAFTA should benefit people and the planet, not corporate polluters!

The climate impact of NAFTA has been enormous -- it empowered corporate polluters to challenge environmental protections, boosted destructive mining in Mexico, and contributed to the rise of Canada's toxic tar sands industry. Now Trump's corporate-driven trade agenda threatens to make matters even worse.

TransCanada used NAFTA to file a $15 billion lawsuit against the United States over President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. While reviving this and other disastrous pipelines, Donald Trump made promises to workers to build them with US steel. But he almost immediately caved on this promise -- and only then did TransCanada drop its lawsuit.

Trump's Keystone backtrack betrays his empty rhetoric on trade. With his xenophobic, anti-environment, and pro-corporate trade agenda becoming increasingly clear, there's a real chance that NAFTA will only get worse. Congress must speak out now to ensure our trade policies respect workers, communities, and our planet.

Tell your U.S. Representative that renegotiation of NAFTA should benefit people and the planet, not Trump's corporate polluter cronies!

We need a new vision of trade -- not the empty promises peddled by Donald Trump.


Anthony Torres
Associate Campaign Representative, Responsible Trade Program
Sierra Club

P.S. Congress is in recess through April 22, so many members are hosting local forums and town halls. These are great opportunities to ask your representatives to support climate-friendly trade. The Town Hall Project has a list of scheduled town halls and our trade activist toolkit will walk you through best practices for participating in these events. No town hall in your area? The toolkit also includes many other opportunities for taking action locally -- from writing letters to the editor to hosting your own community event!

Sign the petition that reads:

NAFTA has been a disaster for our environment. It empowered corporate polluters to challenge environmental protections, boosted destructive mining in Mexico, and contributed to the rise of Canada's toxic tar sands industry. The Sierra Club and many of our nation's leading environmental organizations recently laid out eight essential changes to NAFTA: Any renegotiation of NAFTA should be driven by a desire for climate action, clean air and water, healthy communities, and good jobs. I’m deeply troubled by the fact that President Trump is stacking his cabinet full of billionaire supporters of status-quo trade deals and climate deniers and concerned this his renegotiation could actually be worse for our environment. As we begin to renegotiate NAFTA and chart a new path for trade, I call on you to ensure that a renegotiation of NAFTA must benefit people and our climate, not multinational corporations.

Resistance Recess Events

As you know, Congress is now on their two week Easter recess which means Resistance Recess Events.  Indivisible also has BIG plans for fun and unique events.

Will there be a McSally sighting? Will McCain ramp up support for independent investigations? Will Flake give a town hall in Tucson? It is all on the table in the next two weeks!


SATURDAY, APRIL 15th from 10AM-11AM at Sen. McCain's office at 407 West Congress St. 

Indivisible is hosting a Tax March/Rally. Come dressed in your finest ballgown or top hat to appeal to the fine tastes of those funded by the deep pocketed Koch Brothers or Putin. Signs with Monopoly themes are all the rage, "Follow the Money" and "Let's see those tax returns." 

TUESDAY, APRIL 18th we are co-hosting with McSally Take A Stand, ART INSTALLATION AND MINI STAFFER ENGAGEMENT from 8AM-10AM at 4400 E. Broadway Blvd in front of Rep. McSally's office.

Indivisible will be saying NO to votes cast without statements ahead of time, NO to differences between her rhetoric and voting record and YES to transparency! Art installation centerpiece by Tucson artists will "let a little light in" in a stained glass theme, and they will have transparency sheets for you to make and display your own transparent art/letters. They will also be scheduling time blocks for people to go and talk to the front office staff about issues that they want TRANSPARENCY on.

Saturday, April 22nd at 10AM at Presidio Park. Science rally. Indivisible is not hosting, just participating.

Saturday, April 29th at 10AM at Presidio Park, Climate rally. Indivisible will have a table.

Members of Congress return home for a recess from April 8 - 23. Attend a Resistance Recess event in your area and make your voice heard!

From: Emma Greenman, CPD Action
Date: April 7, 2017
Subject: Don't miss "Resistance Recess" this April

Today, the Senate confirmed Trump’s extreme right-wing Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on a mostly party line vote: 54 to 45.

In the fight to block Gorsuch’s nomination, your calls and petitions and visits to Senate offices moved all but three Democratic senators to oppose moving Gorsuch’s confirmation forward, denying him the 60 votes required for confirmation.

But yesterday, Senate Republicans blew up the long-standing rules of the Senate by invoking the ‘nuclear option’ in order to force Gorsuch’s confirmation through. Republicans knew the American people weren’t on their side when it came to Gorsuch. But instead of listening to their constituents and changing the nominee, the GOP majority changed the rules for Trump to install his nominee on the Supreme Court for decades to come.

Let’s be clear: this move was a self-interested political attack on our democracy and our communities. Gorsuch, like all of Trump’s appointments, has a record of siding with corporations and wealthy donors over working people. And by changing the rules, Republicans are complicit each and every time Gorsuch’s decisions on the Supreme Court favor wealthy corporations, roll back voting rights, and allow big money to drown out the voices of everyday people in our democracy.

We must make it clear to Republicans that they must answer for their actions or be replaced with leaders who actually stand up to protect their constituents! And we must continue to show Democrats that we want them to resist Trump’s racist, corporate agenda, and support those who have our backs.

Members of Congress return home tomorrow for a two-week recess from April 8 to April 23. Find and attend a Resistance Recess event in your area and make your voice heard!

This is a tough loss, but we must continue to fight back. The mobilization of our neighbors, friends, and family has moved many Democratic senators to stand firmly on the side of everyday people and those communities who have the most to lose by giving Gorsuch a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. We need to show them our support and continue urging them to use every resource they have to stand up for our communities and stand against Trump’s dangerous agenda.

Meanwhile, Republicans up for reelection next year are risking it all by breaking the rules for Trump and threatening our constitutional rights and democratic liberties. Let’s send a clear message: Those who stand with Trump will lose their seats to leaders who will stand with us and the American people!

Keep bringing the pressure. Join us for Resistance Recess over the next two weeks to show Congress we won’t be silent!

When we said our resistance work would be a long-term fight, we weren’t kidding. The resistance takes stamina, I know. But our organizing only makes us stronger, and if we continue to stand together and joyfully resist, as the chant goes, “I believe that we will win!”

Now let’s make our voices heard during Resistance Recess: Find or sign up for a recess event today.

In solidarity,

Emma Greenman
Director of Voting Rights & Democracy

Governor Ducey rammed SB1431 — the statewide private school voucher bill — through the legislature and signed it

I got this e-mail from Friends O'Farley…

Last Thursday sent a shockwave through students, teachers, and parents — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — all over the state. After politically threatening holdout Republicans, Governor Ducey rammed SB1431 — the statewide private school voucher bill — through the legislature and signed it into law that night.

The first people to tweet congratulations to the Governor were Jeb Bush and President Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. It’s clear that, in privatizing our public school system, Doug Ducey is serving his DC friends, not AZ kids.

This is marks the beginning the wholesale privatization of our public school system, which can only be reversed by unseating the Governor and the legislative majority at the next election.

Read on for the details of this disastrous policy. Here is my floor speech, delivered last Thursday during the debate over SB1431:

Governor Ducey, I know you are listening, so I'm talking to you.

You call yourself an education governor. But you first came to prominence in our state as the leader of a successful effort to slash a billion dollars a year from our public schools.

Then you swooped in with a plan to save our public schools from the financial hole you originally created for them - Proposition 123.

Prop 123 took money from the future that was already set aside for schools in order to pay for the present desperate needs that you had created. It amounted to 70% of inflation and enrollment growth.

Which had already been ordered by voters 17 years ago to be paid and had not been paid since 2008.

Even with Prop 123 in place, our per pupil state support for K12, adjusted for inflation, has been slashed by 21% since 2008.

And I see the results in my daughter's school, Tucson High.

> 10% of the classrooms are locked away because they are hazardous to inhabit and there is no money to fix them.

> The average age of computers is 12 years old, and there are not enough for more than one third of the students. Because of lack of computers, AZMerit testing is a logistical nightmare and students not being tested are attending three-hour classes while others test.

> There are six counselors for 3,200 students.

> Teachers with eight years experience and a masters degree are earning $37,000 a year.

> 44% of Arizona teachers leave after two years.

Our entire system is in crisis.

Throughout the Prop 123 campaign, Governor, which I supported because it was all you left for us to support, you kept saying you were committed to Step 456. You never said exactly what that was.

Now we have before us your Step 456, and it is utterly shocking. You are proposing the wholesale privatization of our public school system.

This is nothing less than a tax of $5,400 a year on each public school student, redistributed as debit cards to the parents of other students who are rich enough to afford the extra $10,000 to $15,000 a year in tuition to attend a private or religious school.

Governor, you may say that this is about choice. But currently, 94% of Arizona parents choose to send their children to public schools.

Once you have gutted those public schools through your education policies, capped off by this one, those of us who have chosen to send our kids to public schools will be left with no good choice.

Either leave our kids at a neglected school with decaying resources, or beg, borrow, or even seek predatory lenders to scrape up the rest of the tuition to try to send our kid to a private school, which can turn away kids for any reason and will be filling up to capacity with students fleeing from the public schools you have gutted.

With this bill, on top of your other education policies, you are paving the way toward this dystopian future of dwindling opportunity and a widening chasm between the haves and the have nots.

Governor Ducey, you have resorted to wielding intense pressure and political threats to members of this body who have stood strong up to this point and voted their conscience. That is wrong.

You are ignoring the outcry of millions of Arizona citizens who need a foundation for the future and parents who choose public schools for their children. That is wrong.

You are dismantling the most effective tool we have ever built for lifting people out of poverty and delivering opportunity. That is wrong.

You are pushing a bill that will destroy Arizona public education as we know it. That is wrong.

I urge you, Governor Ducey, and urge all the members of this body, to reject SB1431.

—> Sadly, the Governor did not take my advice. SB1431 bill passed by the bare minimum of 16 votes in the Senate and 31 votes in the House, then was signed by Governor Ducey to cheers from his DC friends and jeers from AZ parents.

Several of the Republicans who had previously stated opposition to the statewide voucher scheme hadflipped after the Governor threatened to veto their bills and leave nothing for their districts.

One of the holdouts, Senator Bob Worsley, negotiated a cap of no more than 30,000 children eligible for the vouchers by 2022. That won his support. But as I pointed out on the floor, the cap could disappear with a one-line provision in the upcoming budget in the middle of the night, or at any other time.

Sure enough, before the ink was dry on Governor Ducey’s signature that very night, the right-wing Goldwater Institute sent out a fundraising email where they bragged, “There is a cap at 5,000 new kids per year; we will get it lifted."


While the speed and brazenness of this braggadocio was breathtaking, it was hardly surprising. The Goldwater Institute has eliminated caps and restrictions on these voucher programs each of the 11 years I have served in the Legislature. This program was characterized at the start as just a tiny program to help a very limited group of severely disabled kids. Several steps later, all 1.1 million students in the state are now eligible — presuming their parents have the cash to pay for the rest of the tuition.

The Goldwater Institute’s stated goal is the complete privatization of public education. They are now well on their way.

It’s time for change in Arizona state government.

—> On another vitally important topic, health policy, Governor Ducey is struggling with his understanding of the issue. He came out with this amazing statement yesterday on the Mac and Gaydos show on Phoenix’s KTAR radio:

"Nobody wants to be on government healthcare. We want to transition people to the private sector. We do things at the Medicare level a lot better than we do things at the Medicaid level."

A) Medicare is "government healthcare" last I checked.

B) Medicaid in Arizona is called AHCCCS and is run by the state government. Which is run by the Governor.

Perhaps we could use a governor whose understanding of health policy goes beyond simply attacking Obamacare?

Steve Farley

Senator, District 9, Tucson