TUESDAY 11/07/17

FEDERAL:

Gun Violence Town Hall:

When several of us called Senator Tillis’s office today, the staffer stated that Senator Tillis is “open to a conversation” about gun violence. Let’s use that to push for a town hall during the Thanksgiving week recess. We’ve had far too many instances of gun violence to allow this problem to persist. And we need to bury the notion that our problem with mass shootings can be attributed to “mental health” issues or to failures to enforce current gun law. If Tillis has opened the door to this “conversation,” we need to let him know that his constituents want to hear from him in a face-to-face format. We can challenge Senator Burr and our Congressional representatives to follow his lead and join in on this conversation, too. If Tillis or Burr agree, ask for their scheduler’s contact information, but if they decline, feel free to admonish the staffer appropriately.

Tillis Script:
Hello, I am a constituent calling from _______________. Senator Tillis stated yesterday that he is “open to a conversation” about gun violence. Is that still true? [Wait for the yes.] If that’s the case, would Senator Tillis be willing to meet for a town hall on gun violence during the November recess? [Assuming the staffer declines:] The problem of mass shootings has become a national epidemic, and we need to talk about how we can prevent future tragedies like the ones in Texas and Las Vegas. I want Senator Tillis to hold true to his pledge to speak with his constituents about this issue.

Burr script:
Hello, I am a constituent calling from ______________ to make a request. Senator Tillis has stated that he is “open to a conversation”about gun violence. Would Senator Burr be willing to follow Sen. Tillis’s lead and hold a conversation about this vital threat to our safety? [Assuming the staffer says yes:] If that’s the case, would Senator Burr be available to meet in a town hall during the November recess? [Assuming the staffer then declines:] The problem of mass shootings has become a national epidemic, and we need to talk about how we can prevent future tragedies like the ones in Texas and Las Vegas. I want Senator Burr to take the issue of gun violence seriously and to work toward legislation that would ban bump stocks, ban AR15s and other assault rifles, and to close the private gun sales loophole.

House script:
Hello, I am a constituent calling from ______________ to make a request. Senator Tillis has stated that he is “open to a conversation”about gun violence. Would Rep. ____________ be willing to follow Sen. Tillis’s lead and hold a conversation about this vital threat to our safety? [Assuming the staffer says yes:] If that’s the case, would Rep. __________ be available to meet in a town hall during the November recess? [Assuming the staffer then declines:] The problem of mass shootings has become a national epidemic, and we need to talk about how we can prevent future tragedies like the ones in Texas and Las Vegas. I want Rep. ______________ to take the issue of gun violence seriously and to work toward legislation that would ban bump stocks, ban AR15s and other assault rifles, and to close the private gun sales loophole.

Tax bill:

We’re trying to push as many different angles as possible when it comes to attacking the tax bill. The fact that the bill establishes personhood for fetuses is awful--and well worth calling on if you haven’t done that already--but the bill is also an attack on higher education in general, and by extension an attack on upward mobility by making it more difficult and more expensive to go to college. The N&O ran a solid article on how the tax bill hurts universities, so we can use that as a hook for making calls. According to the N&O, the bill would eliminate deductions for student-loan interest payments and education expenses, repeal deductions that help part-time students, and hit private schools by taxing more of their investments and ending their use of tax-free bonds for construction projects. It would also tax the tuition waivers that make it possible for graduate students Rep. Holding is actually defending the removal of these deductions, so make sure to let him know what you think about that.

Script:
Hello, I am a constituent calling from ________________ and I want Sen./Rep. _________________ to oppose the tax bill currently being debated by the House. The bill is a giveaway to the wealthiest individuals in America. Worse, the bill reduces opportunity for people to pursue the American dream by making it more difficult to pay for college. The bill would eliminate the student loan interest deduction and prevent people from deducting other educational expenses. It would tax tuition waivers for graduate students, leading to a situation in which only the very wealthy could afford to go to grad school. It would also tax the investments of private schools, which would cut dramatically into their endowments. We need to do more to create opportunities for middle-class families, and this tax bill does the opposite of that. Sen./Rep. _______________ needs to vote against this terrible bill.

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/

______________________
 

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.

Here is a list of things you can do from our friends at Stronger NC:
http://strongernc.org/35250-2/

If you feel like you need a script for making calls, you can use the one below:

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.

Contact list for the House and Senate Judiciary committees:
http://strongernc.org/wp-content/uploads/NC-House-and-Senate-Select-Committees-on-Judicial-Reform-and-Redistricting-Contacts-2017-Sheet1-1-1.pdf

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

Attend a “Fair Courts” Town Hall:

For those of you who live near Fayetteville, Democracy NC will be hosting a “Fair Courts” Town Hall, where they will be talking about judicial gerrymandering and other issues related to the NCGA’s attempts to seize control over our court system. There are several of these scheduled across the state, so please keep a lookout for one near you, but if you live close to Fayetteville, then please try to attend and show that you are paying attention to this issue: https://www.facebook.com/events/1966692940279292/