WEDNESDAY 01/24/18

FEDERAL:

GUN SAFETY:

The shootings in Las Vegas and San Antonio have somehow--disturbingly--become a distant memory, but in the last week, we’ve had shootings in schools in Texas and Kentucky (where two people were killed and several others were wounded). These stories have not received any media attention, which shows how inured we have become to the scourge of gun violence. The NRA persistently claims that now is not the time to “politicize” tragedy, and GOP leaders will call for “thoughts and prayers,” but today’s events speak to the urgency of our country’s gun problem. There are a number of fixes that we can push for, including banning bump stocks, closing the gun show loophole, and even banning AR-15s. Not every gun homicide will be prevented by these measures, but taken together, they can have an impact.

Script:

Hello, I am a constituent calling from ______________ to demand that Rep./Sen. _________________ support sensible gun legislation. We should be taking steps to ban bump stocks and to close loopholes that allow guns to be purchased without a background check. We should also restrict the sale of AR15s. Since the ban on AR15s expired in 2004, we have seen a massive increase in the severity and number of mass shootings. It is disgraceful that Congress has taken no action to prevent mass shootings in the wake of Sandy Hook, Charleston, Las Vegas, and Tucson. In just the last two days, we’ve had school shootings at schools in Texas Thank you for taking my call.

 

Oppose the lifetime appointment of Thomas Farr.

The Thomas Farr confirmation vote is scheduled soon, so I’m bringing this call back. Given Farr’s record in defending voter suppression and other attacks on civil rights, this an absolute travesty. If confirmed, Farr will have a lifetime appointment as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Farr has worked for decades to intimidate and disenfranchise black voters. He was likely involved in a scheme in which Jesse Helms’ campaign sent over 100,000 postcards to African-American voters, incorrectly telling them they were ineligible to vote and threatening them with jail time if they attempted to cast a ballot. He also participated in the creation of North Carolina’s voter photo ID law, which was struck down by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for discriminatory intent. In addition, he helped the GOP-controlled NCGA create the 2011 electoral maps that were rejected as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because of racial gerrymandering. Farr is also very young and likely would be on the bench, interpreting federal law for decades.

Script (Senate only):

Hi. I’m a constituent calling from ______ to urge Senator _______ to oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment to the United States District Court. Mr. Farr has a history of opposing workers, civil and voting rights. Specifically, he has supported legislation that would intimidate and disenfranchise black voters and even helped create North Carolina’s voter ID law, which was struck down by the courts. Finally, he was involved in designing the 2011 electoral maps that were rejected by the Supreme Court because of racial gerrymandering. I want Senator ________________ to oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal bench. Thank you.

 

Senator Richard Burr

Washington, DC: (202) 224-3154

Winston-Salem: (336) 631-5125

 

Senator Thom Tillis

Washington, DC: (202) 224-6342 

High Point: (336) 885-0685

 

HOUSE:

Rep. Virginia Foxx

Clemmons, NC (336) 778-0211

Washington, DC (202) 225-2071

 

Rep. Ted Budd

Advance, NC (336) 998-1313

Washington, DC (202-225-4531

 

Rep. Mark Walker

Greensboro, NC (336) 333-5005

Washington, DC (202) 225-3065

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STATE:

Ask Governor Cooper and AG Stein to Establish Net Neutrality Rules:

Montana became the first state to put net neutrality rules in place. Montana’s Democratic Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order stating that the Montana state government will refuse to business with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that violate the principles of net neutrality, such as throttling or blocking content or engaging in paid prioritization. Legislative fixes for net neutrality at the state level might be difficult, but the use of state contracts as a tool for keeping ISPs in line seems like a good one. New York and Rhode Island and are considering legislation that would follow these principles, but this might be a useful angle for Governor Cooper and Attorney General Stein to push for net neutrality (AG Stein is already part of a lawsuit against the FCC on net neutrality). You can also reach out to your lawmakers at the NCGA to recommend this approach.

Script:

Hello, I am a constituent from ___________ calling to recommend that Gov./AG/Sen./Rep. _____________ follow Montana’s approach to the issue of net neutrality. Recently, Montana’s governor signed an executive order that would prevent Internet Service Providers from getting state contracts if they violate the principles of net neutrality. This approach will provide clear incentives for ISPs to uphold net neutrality without explicitly creating a law mandating it. Net neutrality has broad bipartisan support, and it is vital that we protect consumers and small businesses by ensuring that ISPs are required not to block or throttle legal content or to engage in practices like paid prioritization. Net neutrality promotes innovation. It is unlikely that Congress will act to preserve net neutrality, so it is up to state governments to preserve an open internet. Thank you for taking my call.

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Judicial Gerrymandering Insanity Continues:

I’m recycling yesterday’s script because this issue is so foundational. The NC GOP delayed their committee vote on judicial gerrymandering that was scheduled for Monday. The committee DID meet and they released their new judicial maps, after keeping them secret from Democrats and the rest of the pubic for weeks. I haven’t had time to analyze the maps (and I’m waiting for other experts to weigh in), but it’s clear that the GOP process for doing this is unethical at best. We do know that the judicial districts likely could be challenged on the basis of Article 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prevents racial gerrymandering of judicial--as well as legislative--districts. The maps they are trying to force through have not received any input from traditional stakeholders, including the NC Bar Association, District and Superior Court judges, relevant social organizations, and even the general public. The lawsuits related to gerrymandering have also cost the state $5.6 million that could have been better spent elsewhere. Talk about fiscal irresponsibility. The NC GOP’s actions today suggest that the public scrutiny they are already getting is getting to them. In fact Ari Berman had a great article in Mother Jones that is generating some national attention. Let’s keep the pressure on the NC GOP to stop violating the constitution for the purposes of seizing power.

Background:

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/01/courts-keep-thwarting-north-carolina-republicans-so-theyre-trying-to-remake-the-courts/

Script:

Hello, I am a constituent calling from ___________ to urge Sen./Rep. ____________ to oppose the proposed new judicial maps. The process for rolling out these maps has been unethical and secretive and seems to have been designed to prevent the maps from receiving any kind of public scrutiny. There is also no evidence that the lawmakers proposing the new maps have considered whether their proposal follows Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which explicitly prohibits racial gerrymandering of both legislative and judicial districts. North Carolina taxpayers have already footed the bill for over $5 million dollars in legal fees for redistricting lawsuits, so please do not waste any more taxpayer money by approving judicial district that may not follow with the law. Please work against these judicial maps. We need to retain a separation of powers that would allow our judges to do their jobs without worrying about interference from the legislature. Thank you.

 

NC Senate

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

 

NC House

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

 

Find Your Rep:

http://www.ncleg.net/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx

 

Gov. Roy Cooper: 919-814-2000 or

https://governor.nc.gov/contact-governor-cooper

 

Attorney General Josh Stein: 919-716-6400 or

http://www.ncdoj.gov/Home/ContactUs.aspx