Home Virginia Politics ActionUpdate 20 April 2011

ActionUpdate 20 April 2011

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Hello Friends,

In this week’s issue:

– Power-hungry governors: an update on Wisconsin and Michigan

– ALEC, the conservative private club that writes our laws

– Our insistent attorney general, the Supreme Court, and the Affordable Care Act

– Redistricting in Virginia (speaking of power-hungry governors)

– Tax Day, the Tea Party, marriage equality, and tax inequality

– Deficit reduction and the Gang of Six

– A plea from the Chesterfield County Democratic Committee Membership Chair

– Announcements – advocacy on uranium mining in Virginia and promoting the Affordable Care Act (the new health insurance reform law)

– Paid summer externships

– Calendar of events for pro-choice legislation, local redistricting and May Day

Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan recently invoked his new emergency powers law to take over the town of Benton Harbor. While it may be true that the town has been mismanaged, is it right to supersede officials who were duly elected by the local population? Read more in the Articles of Interest below.

FEATURE:

Have you wondered why it seems that many Republican governors like Rick Snyder and Scott Walker are implementing the same agendas in their respective states this year? Is it a coincidence? No. Since 1973 ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has brought together conservative legislators, policy makers and industry leaders to implement their vision of “limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.” They write our laws. A visit to their website http://www.alec.org, reveals their vision to “advise and inform legislative action across the country”, and they have “worked together to create, develop, introduce and guide to enactment many of the cutting-edge, conservative policies that have now become the law in the states.” Check out, for example, the “Employment Policy and Regulatory Reforms” list in their Model Legislation section http://www.alec.org/AM/Templat… Also, take a peek at their Private Enterprise Board (http://www.alec.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Private_Enterprise_Board&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=15553) where you will see, among the other big-name businesses, Koch Industries, Wal-Mart, PhRMA, and ExxonMobil Corp. (Credit to my good friend Chris Savage at http://www.eclectablog.com/ for directing my attention to this group). Find additional information at http://www.sourcewatch.org/ind… and http://www.rightwingwatch.org/… and http://scholarcitizen.williamc… and http://alecwatch.org/

Happy (?) reading!

Beth Kimbriel

ActionUpdate@me.com

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Power-hungry governors:

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder invoked a new emergency powers law, shutting down a Michigan town‘s city boards, commissions and authorities:

http://www.eclectablog.com/201…  Meanwhile Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker denied reports that a similar emergency powers law is in the works in his state: http://www.wbay.com/Global/sto… Does he have a case of the jitters after four Republican Wisconsin legislators were recalled following a Republican-led union-busting legislative session earlier this year? http://www.twincities.com/ci_1…  The Washington Post published a good piece putting a human face on union-busting (how does it feel to know you are not necessary?) http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

Our insistent attorney general:

On Monday the US Supreme Court ignored Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli‘s request for an express-lane review of the constitutionality of the mandated coverage provision of the new health insurance reform law. The Court meets again on Friday when they could consider the request. http://www.washingtonpost.com/… Cuccinelli remains confident that he will prevail: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/…

Redistricting in Virginia:

Governor McDonnell vetoed the redistricting plans for the Virginia House and Senate presented by the General Assembly. http://www2.timesdispatch.com/…  

Will a federal judge be required to draw new district lines? Will the 2011 election be chaotic as a result? Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw has a prediction. http://www2.timesdispatch.com/…

Tax Day came and went:

Where was the Tea Party on Tax Day? Freedom Works opted not to organize major Tea Party rallies this year. Instead, they say, they are concentrating their resources on passing legislation. http://www.politico.com/news/s… But here in Metro Richmond, the annual Tea Party protest lives on: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/… In contrast, Chester residents protested for marriage equality. The event was organized by Marriage Equality USA whose Virginia chapter is headquartered in Chester. After being ordered off of the sidewalk in front of the Post Office, the protestors walked across the street to demonstrated in front of Chick-fil-A which has been vocally opposed to marriage equality. More extensive coverage of this event is expected next week in the Chester Village News, a weekly publication. http://www2.timesdispatch.com/…

Speaking of taxes, here are some more fantastic charts from Mother Jones illustrating the differences in effective tax rates of middle class individuals and those of the wealthy and corporations. http://motherjones.com/politic… Here in Virginia, according to Virginia Organizing, our richest 1% pay only 5.2% of their income in state and local taxes; Virginia’s poorest 20% pay 8.8%; and most of Virginia’s middle class pay between 8% and 8.4%.

US Deficit Reduction:

Senator Dick Durbin, one of the three Democrats in the “Gang of Six” working on a deal on a deficit-reduction plan, warns that cuts to entitlement programs will be part of the plan. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-…

TAKE ACTION:

Attention Chesterfield County residents:

A call to action from the membership chair of the Chesterfield County Democratic Committee, Bernie Vogelgesang, who is committed to breathing life into the committee and to swinging Chesterfield from Republican to Democrat:

http://midlodemocrat.blogspot….

Visit http://www.vademocrats.org/golocal to find when and where your local Democratic Committee meets this month.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Uranium mining:

Next week a new website will be launched with fact sheets and other good information on the uranium mining issue in Virginia. Look for the link in the next ActionUpdate. In the meanwhile, read up on the issue: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/…

A new advocacy group formed to promote the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance reform law we worked so hard to pass in 2010. The group will work  through the 2012 election to correct the false information spread by the Republican leadership about the new law. Visit their website at http://www.protectyourcare.org/

Virginia Organizing is offering paid summer externships to engage community members on the issue of Social Security. For more information see http://www.virginia-organizing… and download the application at http://www.virginia-organizing… and send your resume and completed application to Kevin Simowitz at kevin@virginia-organizing.org.

PETITIONS:

AARP:  Urge Congress not to cut Social Security

http://action.aarp.org/site/Pa…

CALENDAR OF EVENTS:

Please submit your organization’s events to ActionUpdate@me.com for consideration for inclusion.

Wednesday, April 20, 7 – 8:30 p.m. (reception 6:30 – 7:00)

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Legislative Debriefing

Old Town Alexandria near King Street Metrorail Station

(full address available upon RSVP)

Gather for a 2011 Legislative Debriefing from several pro-choice legislators in the Virginia General Assembly. The annual Legislative Scorecard will be unveiled.

More details at http://www.naralva.org/events/…

Wednesday, April 27, 3 p.m.

Final Public Hearing and Vote on New Voting Districts for Chesterfield County

Public Meeting Room, Chesterfield County Administration Building

Route 10 and Lori Road, Chesterfield

See http://www.chesterfield.gov/Bo… for detailed maps.

Sunday, May 1, 3 – 6 pm

May Day Rally and March

Stand United for Working Class Families


Monroe Park (VCU campus) at Main St. and Belvidere

The call for A Day Without Workers comes amid spirited resistance to the relentless attacks taking place against public and private sector union members, immigrants, and all working families across the United States. In the spirit of the historic actions of May Day 2006, more recent large-scale resistance to union-busting in Wisconsin, and mass worker dissent in Egypt, organizers are asking working families to embrace a call of No Work, No School, and No Shopping on May Day 2011.

More details at http://www.maydayrva.org

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