Action Advocates is a group of church members who believe that an important way to put our UU principles into action is to make our voices heard by our local, state, and national elected officials. We encourage members and friends to meet with, call, write, or e-mail their legislators to urge them to vote in favor of measures that are consistent with our UU values and to oppose measures that are not. You can find contact information for the legislators representing our area, along with tips for making the calls, on the Action Advocates page on the UUCR website. If you would like to receive e-mail alerts when important bills are coming to a vote, you can join our alert list by contacting Judy Nelson at msjudynelson@cox.net.

 ACTION NOW:

The Antiquities Act of 2018 – let your voice be heard!

An executive order issued by President Trump in December of 2017 rolled back the protection of more than 2 million acres of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments and threatened to do the same in many more federally protected areas. In response, the ANTIQUITIES Act of 2018, has been proposed in the U.S. Senate. This bill would stop the Trump administration’s plan to open huge swaths of public lands to mining, drilling, and logging companies by reaffirming that only Congress has the authority to change the size or status of existing national monuments. It would also reestablish the Bears Ears National Monument and give tribes a voice in managing their sacred lands.
If you support protection of national monuments, please call Senators Kaine and Warner and urge them to support the ANTIQUITIES Act of 2018.

TIPS FOR CALLING YOUR LEGISLATORS

Telephone calls are among the the most effective ways of making your views on upcoming legislation known to your representatives.

A basic script: “Hello, my name is _____ ______ and my address is _____________ “ (give full address, including zip code). I am calling to ask [Senator/Rep] ___________ to [support/oppose] [bill name and #, policy, action]. This matters to me greatly because  ______. Thank you for your time.”

CURRENT ISSUES

Federal Legislation/Issues

S2155 The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act

This bill is a rollback of regulations on “too big to fail” financial institutions put in place after the global financial crisis. Among other things, it enables banks to avoid monitoring and allows banks valued at less than ten billion dollars to sell high risk mortgages.

Sample message: I’m calling to express my opposition to S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. It’s irresponsible to roll back regulations that protect consumers and banks from risky investments that nearly brought down economy a decade ago. I urge you to vote against this legislation.

Net Neutrality Protection – In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to reverse 2015 regulations protecting net neutrality. Net neutrality lets all users have equal access to all internet content and prevents service providers from charging extra for high speed access to specific websites or blocking access to certain websites altogether. Congress can reverse this decision within 60 legislature days via the Congressional Review Act.

Sample message: I’m calling to thank (VA Senator’s name) for his support of the Congressional Review Act to reverse the recent FCC decision to roll back net neutrality protections. Please tell the senator to continue to fight for a free and open internet for all.

State Legislation/Issues

Election Finance Reform – Bills have been filed to require disclosure of the sources and amounts of all contributions, to subject on-line political ads to the same disclosure requirements that apply to print, radio, television ads, to prevent candidates from spending campaign donations on personal expenses unrelated to the campaign, etc.

Sample message after name and address: I encourage you to vote for any bill that makes campaign financing more transparent. Voters are entitled to know which entities are providing financial support to candidates and who is sponsoring the campaign and issue messages that they see on the internet.

Election Process Reform – Bills have been filed that would make access to voting easier, including extending voter registration dates, allowing absentee voting without an excuse, automatic voter registration via DMV data, etc.

Sample message: I encourage you to vote for any bill which makes the process of voter registration or of voting itself as accessible as possible and to vote against any bill which creates barriers which make it difficult for individuals to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Electricity Rate Regulation – Bills have been submitted to repeal or amend a 2015 law that stripped state legislators of their power to review electric rates and removed the requirement that power companies refund excess profits to customers. The State Corporation Commission has reported that due to this law, Domion Energy and Appalachian Power Company may have “overearned” as much as $426 million that would previously have been refunded to customers.

Sample message: I urge you to vote for HB 96, to reverse the 2015 law giving power companies the ability to overcharge their customers and to vote to reinstate state regulatory power to review utility rates and deny companies the power to charge and retain excess profits.

Medicaid Expansion – Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, the Virginia legislature has declined to accept available federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage to an additional 400,000 low-income families and individuals.

Sample message: I encourage you to make expansion of Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of additional Virginians a top priority.  No one should have to choose between paying rent and getting health care for themselves or their children and no one should have to live in fear that one medical emergency would destroy their family’s financial security and future. I urge you to vote for Virginia to join the 32 states, with both Democratic and Republican leadership, which have expanded Medicaid coverage to hardworking people in low-income jobs.

HB 795 Limits on Solitary Confinement in Virginia’s Prisons – This bill would place needed limitations on isolated confinement in Virginia prisons. In Virginia, solitary confinement is not being used strictly as a last resort. Too many people with mental illness and other disabling conditions remain in solitary confinement for extended periods, even though it is virtually certain to exacerbate their underlying conditions.

Sample message: I am calling to urge you to vote for legislation that would reduce the use of solitary confinement in Virginia’s prisons to a bare minimum both in the number of prisoners in solitary and the amount of time they are confined.

Other possible topics include redistricting reform, anti-pipeline legislation and many others.

HB 1252 Renewable energy power purchase agreements; pilot programs.

Introduced by: Terry G. Kilgore | all patrons    …    notes add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:

Renewable energy power purchase agreements; pilot programs. Revamps the provisions of pilot programs, initially authorized in 2013, permitting third party power purchase agreements. The measure (i) opens up the pilot programs to eligible agricultural customer-generators; (ii) renames “third party power purchase agreements” as “net metering power purchase agreements”; (iii) broadens eligible participants to include any tax-exempt nonprofit organization, public school, or institution of higher education in the Commonwealth; (iv) eliminates caps on total pilot program participation; and (v) eliminates the requirement that eligible renewable energy facilities have a minimum capacity of 50 kilowatts. The measure has a sunset date of January 1, 2022.

VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/

UNITED STATES CONGRESS

https://www.senate.gov/

https://www.house.gov/

Who is your member of congress?

U.S. Senators:
Senator Tim Kaine: 202-224-4024
Senator Mark Warner: 202-224-2023

To e-mail Senators, go to the “Contact” pages on their websites at www.senate.gov

U.S. House of Representatives:
Congressman Tom Garrett, 5th district: 434-791-2596 (Danville) 202-225-4711 (Washington, DC)
Congressman Bob Goodlatte, 6th district: 540-857-2672 (Roanoke) 202-225-5431 (Washington, DC)
Congressman Morgan Griffith, 9th district: 540-381-5671 (Christiansburg) 202-225-3861 (Washington, DC)

To e-mail your Congressman, go to the “Contact” pages on his website at www.house.gov . To track pending bills in the U.S. Congress: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills

Virginia Senate:
David Suetterlein, 19th district: 540-302-8486 (Roanoke) 804-698-7519 (Richmond) district19@senate.virginia.gov
Bill Stanley, 20th district: 540-721-6028 (Moneta) 804-698-7520 (Richmond) district20@senate.virginia.gov
John Edwards, 21st district: 540-985-8690 (Roanoke) 804-698-7521 (Richmond) district12@senate.virginia.gov
Steve Newman, 23rd district: 434-385-1065 (Forest) 804-698-7532 (Richmond) district23@senate.virginia.gov

Virginia House of Delegates
Nick Rush, 7th district: 540-382-7731 (Christiansburg) 804-698-1007 (Richmond) Del.NRush@house.virginia.gov
Greg Habeeb, 8th district 540-915-2962 (Salem) 804-698-1008 (Richmond) Del.GHabeeb@house.virginia.gov
Charles Poindexter, 9th district 540-576-2600 (Glade Hill) 804-698-1009 (Richmond) Del.CPoindexter@house.virginia.gov
Sam Rasoul, 11th district: 540-904-6905 (Roanoke) 804-698-1011 (Richmond) Del.SRasoul@house.virginia.gov
Chris Hurst, 12th district: 804-698-1012 (Richmond) Del.CHurst@house.virginia.gov
Chris Head, 17th district: 540-283-2839 (Roanoke) 804-698-1017 (Richmond) Del.CHead@house.virginia.gov
Terry Austin, 19th district: 540-254-1500 (Buchanan) 804-698-1019 (Richmond) del.TAustin@house.virginia.gov

To track legislation in the Virginia General Assembly: lis.virginia.gov (click on “Bills and Resolutions”)
To determine who your representatives are go to: whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov (search “Enter Your Address” box). This site provides information on both state and federal legislators based on your address. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/member