THURSDAY 11/02/2017

FEDERAL:

Support the Honest Ads Act:

We’re still learning how advertising on social media may have affected the 2016 election. Testimony before Congress today suggests that social media companies still aren’t taking the problem seriously enough. We know that Russian entities bought $100,000 in advertisements on Facebook targeted to several highly competitive states (in part because they actually paid in rubles!). Foreign spending on elections is already illegal, but the internet offers a loophole because it is not currently mentioned in prevailing campaign finance law, which was written in 2002, well before the Internet was such a vital form of communication. The Honest Ads Act would mandate that internet companies reveal the identities and content of advertisements related to elections or campaigns.The bill would also require any website with at least 50 million monthly viewers — including Facebook, Google, and Twitter — to maintain a public list of any organization or person who spends at least $500 in election-related ads. Bills were introduced simultaneously in the House and Senate, so we can reach out to both chambers.

Script:

Hello, I am a constituent calling from ________________ to encourage Sen./Rep. ____________ to support the Honest Ads Act. We need to regulate political communication in the Internet much more stringently, and the Honest Ads Act is a good place to start. It would require internet companies to maintain a public list of any advertiser who spends more than $500 in election-related ads. It would also require companies to reveal the identities of entities that purchase political ads. Knowing the speaker behind an ad is absolutely essential so that researchers can help to determine an ad’s validity. Please support the Honest Ads Act in order to ensure that our elections are not manipulated by foreign intervention or by people with malicious intentions. Thank you for taking my call.

 

Vote Against the Tax Bill:

Now that the budget has passed, Congress is going to go all out to push their tax bill, which would dramatically cut taxes for the rich while doing almost nothing to reduce taxes for the middle class. Worse, these tax cuts would be paid for by cutting vital services such as Medicaid and Medicare. There is at least some evidence that public pressure could sink this bill, so let’s try to keep the pressure up on our lawmakers and push them to vote against this bill.

Script:

Hello, I am a constituent calling from _________________. I want to urge Sen./Rep. _________________ to vote against any tax reform bill that would be paid for by lowering the 401k deduction threshold. The tax bill should also preserve the deduction on state and local taxes. Both of these deductions typically benefit middle-class families, and it is vital to keep them. We also need to preserve the estate tax. This tax affects only a small number of wealthy families. Please oppose any tax bill that will merely provide tax breaks for the wealthy. Thank you for taking my call.

 

Tillis:

DC: (202) 224-6342

Charlotte: 704-509-9087

Greenville: (252) 329-0371

Hendersonville: (828) 693-8750

High Point: (336) 885-0685

Raleigh: (919) 856-4630

 

Burr

DC: (202) 224-3154

Winston-Salem: (800) 685-8916

Rocky Mount: (252) 977-9522

Wilmington: (888) 848-1833, (336) 631-5125

Asheville: (828) 350-2437

 

House:

https://www.house.gov/representatives/

 

***FCC COMMENT FILING ACTION***

(Thanks to Kelly FD)

 

Re: FCC Sinclair-Tribune Merger

To comment directly to the FCC Committee comments must be filed through the ECFS System.

Follow directions below:

1. GO TO: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express

Note: You are filing a document into an official FCC proceeding. All information submitted, including names and addresses, will be publicly available via the web.

2. Type Docket Number in first box “Proceedings”: 17-179

3. Fill in name and address

4. Cut and paste this comment into comment section:

I am writing to oppose the Sinclair-Tribune merger. If this deal goes through, a single company would own more than 200 local-TV stations and control over 72% of the local news market. Such ownership undermines local control of news and reduces diversity of viewpoints and competition in local media markets. This level of ownership is unprecedented and would violate the national FCC regulated ownership cap. Sinclair has evaded FCC rules, received FCC fines for airing propaganda, and drawn wide criticism for airing politically slanted content on its stations. The FCC should block this merger and restore policies that encourage a diversity of local media owners and a wide range of viewpoints. Thank you for taking my opinion via the ECFS filings system.

Sinclair-Tribune merger request Background:

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the TV voice of the alt-right and white supremacists is poised to control 72% of local news in the United States. Problem is, it's Trump TV and conservative propaganda disguised as real news. You can do something about this right now.

Tell the FCC to stop Sinclair's takeover of your news.

The Federal Communications Commission, the regulatory group that decides whether or not the Sinclair-Tribune merger passes, is now allowing public comment. And we need you to make your voice heard.

If the FCC allows the Sinclair-Tribune merger, your local news becomes Trump TV 24/7.

For the good of the American people, the FCC should reject the Sinclair-Tribune merger.

Approving this merger will give one company reach into the homes of nearly three out of four American households. Sinclair is already the largest TV broadcasting company in the country, and Tribune is the second largest. Allowing this merger would give Sinclair unprecedented control over local media. No matter Sinclair’s partisan tilt, no one company should have that much power over our local news.

This merger isn't just inconsistent with our values, it violates FCC rules. With its expanded reach to 72 percent of U.S. homes, the new Sinclair would clearly violate the FCC's ownership cap. It would also have duopolies in at least ten media markets, violating another core FCC rule. It would undermine local control of news and reduce diversity of viewpoints and competition in local media markets.

While it's true that the media landscape has changed, and people have more choices in where they get their news, it is as important as ever that we have trusted, independent local news sources. More choices mean more competition. That is a good thing. It means lower prices for consumers and a robust and healthy variety of viewpoints and voices.

When it comes to mergers the FCC has one job: only approve deals that follow the rules and benefit the public interest. The

Sinclair-Tribune merger does neither and it should be rejected.

Since Pai joined the Commission, he's worked to undo policies designed to protect internet users, communities of color and poor people. While he's supposed to protect the public interest, he's continuously voted against it and sided with the deep-pocketed corporations — like Verizon — that once employed him.

Pai has made it clear that he doesn’t care about protecting the communication rights of everyday people. Time and time again he’s failed to stand up for those he’s sworn to serve.

This is unacceptable.

__________________________

STATE:

Support an independent judiciary for North Carolina:

The NCGA Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting is meeting Wed, November 08, 2017 at 1:00 in 643 LOB. Remember how we learned in elementary school that there are THREE branches of government? Well, the NCGOP wants to get rid of one of them The NCGOP-controlled state legislature has passed several bills and introduced others so that it can control and manipulate judges.

The North Carolina House passed a bill - HB 717 - that will gerrymander NC's court and prosecutorial districts. That bill has now gone to the NC Senate. This plan seems to be BOTH a partisan gerrymander and a racial gerrymander. Certainly, if passed, there will be challenges filled in court - wasting more taxpayer $$$$ over YEARS before we have any hope of getting justice. And, frankly, America may no longer be a democracy by then.

It is important to speak up at committee meetings. At the “Covington” hearing on Oct. 12, NCGA attorney Phil Strach defended many of the challenged districts by saying "nobody told us NOT to do it this way" in the legislative committee hearings. Strach kept making arguments along the line of “nobody said there was a problem with this” at the legislative committee meetings. The Judge actually had to ask Strach repeatedly, “do you agree that the General Assembly has an independent duty to comply with state and federal law EVEN IF no one specifically brings it up on the legislative record?”

So, it’s urgent that we let members of the Senate Judiciary committee know that we OPPOSE HB 717. Call the Senate Judiciary Committee, and if you can attend in person, please do so. Also if you tweet, share the “background” article from Stronger NC. You can also write to your local newspapers to help bring awareness to this issue.

Background from Stronger NC:

http://strongernc.org/nc-judiciary-attack/

Script:

Hello, I am a constituent from _____________ calling to urge Sen. _____________ to oppose the unconstitutional HB 717, which would redraw judicial districts in ways that would violate the recent Supreme Court ruling against racial gerrymandering. This bill also shortens the terms for judges, which would force them to campaign more frequently. If this bill is passed, it would lead to multiple court challenges, which would waste taxpayer dollars. Please oppose HB 717. Thank you.

Committee members:

http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp…

Full Senate Contact List:

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/members/memberListNoPic.pl?sChamber=Senate