The real crisis is Cornyn and Cruz’s spinelessness on the #FakeEmergency; Stop #SB15 | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

The real crisis is Cornyn and Cruz’s spinelessness on the #FakeEmergency

Cornyn and Cruz are the real constitutional crisis

When “Constitutional Conservatives” John Cornyn and Ted Cruz voted against Rep. Joaquin Castro’s resolution to end Trump’s fake emergency, they abdicated their duties as Senators. As usual, they expressed “concern” but continued to enable the autocrat-in-chief. Twelve other Senate Republicans actually did show a few molecules of spine, and voted for the resolution.

Had Cornyn, Cruz, and a few other Republicans upheld the Constitution and voted for the resolution, we could have had a veto-proof majority. Instead, Trump was able to veto the bill. Trump’s emergency declaration is predicated on lies. It is also incredibly dangerous for our Democracy. Cornyn and Cruz know this. They choose to pretend otherwise. Call them.

Read more about the #FakeEmergency from the national Indivisible team

Stop SB15 in the #TXLEGE

Remember the fight over paid sick leave—which Austin workers won? Now, not only does the state want to take away local control from communities like Austin, but the way the bill is worded would also override local nondiscrimination ordinances, such as protections for the LGBTQ community.

In short: This is bad. The bill almost came to a floor vote late last week, so it is likely to happen early this week.

Call or write your state senator now!

Suggested text:

My name is {name} and I am a constituent who lives in {town/district}. I am {writing/calling} to ask you to oppose SB15. On February 28, the Senate State Affairs Committee passed this bill, which would prohibit the state from interfering with a private employer’s terms of employment relating to employment leave, benefits, scheduling, or use of criminal history information.  In effect, this chapter would remove the state’s authority to enforce non-discrimination ordinances. This is unfair to the citizens of Texas and an abdication of responsibility on the part of the state. Please oppose SB15 as currently written.

More info:

A fight over paid sick leave is turning into a fight over LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinances (Texas Tribune)

Texas’ SB 15 Would Harm Texans and Could Gut Non-Discrimination Ordinances (Human Rights Campaign)

Bill tracker for SB15

How your voices are making a difference

  • The Senate voted 59-41 to reject the “national emergency”
  • The House voted unanimously to make Mueller’s report public
  • Hundreds of thousands of students around the world skipped school to draw attention to global warming.

Read: Congress is bucking Trump!

Events

View all TXLEGE lobby and advocacy days

Monday, March 18

All In For Equality Advocacy Day

Hosted by Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas and others

Facebook event

Join us at the Texas Capitol for All In For Equality Advocacy Day on Monday, March 18, 2019. This is an opportunity for YOU to ask state leaders to pass inclusive policies that protect all Texans, including our children; and end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

More details on the day’s events will be available soon.

RSVP today 

Wednesday, March 20

Build a Better Texas Rally

Hosted by Workers Defense Action Fund

Texas is the deadliest state for construction workers in the country, but we’re fighting to change that. Each legislative session we take on bills that hurt workers and help pass laws that better protect them. Like everyone else, they deserve to go home safe to their families at the end of each day. Join us at our statewide lobby day to help be their voice.

The day of action will include lobbying in the morning and a rally with speakers.

Funding the Fight

We don’t just fight in DC where Trump trashes the constitution and Senators Cornyn and Cruz do nothing to stop him. It’s not just in the legislature or in Austin generally. It’s in every city and town across Texas where people have had the decency to stand up and say that they believe in the dignity of work and the dignity of their fellow Texans who are members of the LGBTQ community.

This is what the authoritarians in our country and in our state do, and this is why we need your help today to fight them everywhere they push against dignity, decency, and democratic ideals.

Make a gift now. Please.

Your Moment of Zen

 

H.R.1: Why are Cornyn and Cruz afraid of Democracy? Keep pressuring to #PurgeWhitley; Support the Children’s Health Coverage bill | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

Hey Cruz and Cornyn: Why are you afraid of Democracy? Tell Sen. McConnell to bring H.R.1 to a floor vote.

Unflattering headshots of John Cornyn and Ted CruzH.R.1, the “For the People Act of 2019,” passed the House, with all Republicans voting against the bill. The bill includes Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s provision to ensure that we seek the business tax returns, as well as the personal individual returns of candidates for president.

From the Washington Post:

“The bill that Democrats voted on today would drain that swamp. It would require major presidential candidates to release 10 years of tax returns and require that presidents and vice presidents divest to avoid financial conflicts of interest. It would bolster transparency on campaign spending and fortify ethics rules constraining lobbyists in all kinds of ways. It would thwart voter suppression and extreme gerrymanders while making participation easier. Political scientist Lee Drutman has described the bill as “the most transformative pro-democracy package in decades.””

Sen. Mitch McConnell says that he will not allow this bill to come to a vote in the Senate. So our job is to:

  • Tell Cruz and Cornyn to pressure McConnell to allow a vote in the Senate
  • Ask your GOP House reps why they voted against H.R.1. What are they so afraid of?
  • Bonus: Thank Rep. Lloyd Doggett for his leadership

Resource: H.R.1: Strengthening Our Democracy

Keep saying NO to David Whitley for Texas Secretary of State

Say NO to David Whitley, say NO to voter suppression

While all 12 Democratic state senators are on the record as a “No” on the confirmation of David Whitley for Texas Secretary of State, we need to make sure they hold the line. Keep calling and writing, as a vote in the full senate is expected soon.

Write a letter to your state senator here

Read: If Democrats take a nap, Abbott’s nominee for secretary of state will come back to life (Daily Caller)


How your voices are making a difference

  • House Dems sent more than 80 letters seeking information from Trump World, including Donald Jr and Eric Trump
  • The Democratic National Convention rejected FOX News as a host for presidential debates
  • House Democrats introduced a bill to protect White House whistleblowers who signed NDAs

Read how the walls are closing in…


#TXLEGE Watch

On Tuesday at the Texas Capitol, the House Human Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Children’s Health Coverage bill. The legislation, HB 342, by Rep. Phillip Cortez, would allow eligible kids to stay enrolled in Medicaid insurance for a full year. Texas currently requires many parents to file additional paperwork month after month, resulting in some children temporarily getting knocked off of insurance — and missing out on health care — due to a paperwork snafu.There are three key ways you can to speak up to support children’s health care:

  1. Call Committee members to urge them to support the bill. If you contact Chairman James Frank, be sure to thank him for holding the hearing.
  2. Attend the hearing and register your name in the official record as a supporter of the bill.
  3. Use the League of Women Voters’ action alert to email your legislators about the bill.

Events

View all of the lobby and advocacy days at #TXLEGE

Monday, March 11

March on the Capitol for Texas Public Education

Hosted by Texas AFT and Texas AFL-CIO

Had enough of stagnant pay, overwhelming health-care costs and inadequate funding for our students? Join us for a rally at the Capitol where we intend to be 10,000 strong telling legislators that we are ready to Speak Out! and Stand Together! for public education.

Thursday, March 14

Day of Action for Immigrant Families

Hosted by Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance (RITA)

Facebook event

Texas is under attack. The current administration has used Texas and its communities as scapegoats to push their Wall agenda. As a result, Texas communities have been slandered and now, our Texas is in danger of suffering the consequences of decisions made by legislators who do not know us. It is time that we demand our state elected officials to stand up for Texas and demand the respect that our communities deserve.

Monday, March 18

All In For Equality Advocacy Day

Hosted by Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas and others

Facebook event

Join us at the Texas Capitol for All In For Equality Advocacy Day on Monday, March 18, 2019. This is an opportunity for YOU to ask state leaders to pass inclusive policies that protect all Texans, including our children; and end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.


Fire John Cornyn!

Fire John Cornyn!

This opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle captures the essence of what is wrong with John Cornyn.

“Texas’ senior senator doesn’t like the way President Trump has used the power to declare a national emergency to get his border wall built. Is the senator going to do anything about it? No, he isn’t.”

“That, in a nutshell, is the tragedy of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn as he prepares to battle his way to another term.”

“So why the inaction? It’s becoming a signature Cornyn approach: Raise thoughtful objections to mark disagreement with the president, but then explain why there isn’t anything that he can do about it.”

Read: The tragedy of John Cornyn

Take the pledge to fire John Cornyn


Your Moment of Zen


Funding the Fight

Even with the House flipping, it feels like everything is getting more chaotic.

The fear of accountability seems to have ratcheted up the cruelty and incompetence to new heights. That’s why having voices consistently, steadily pushing us forward, keeping an eye out for inflection points where real differences can be made, is so important.

That’s why Indivisible Austin is here, to keep us moving forward together, with our eyes open. Be a part of that work. Make a gift today.

 

 

Take Action Newsletter: #FakeEmergency: Senate Edition; Lobby for Medicaid Expansion at #TXLEGE; Activist Spotlight on Cat Yuracka; Your Moment of Zen

Take Action

Tell Cornyn and Cruz to support the resolution to end the #FakeEmergency

Fake Emergency: Senate Edition

Now that the resolution has passed in the House, it’s time to shift our attention to our senators. Cornyn has already stated he will not support this resolution, but he also expressed concern about the precedent this sets. Cruz seems undecided.

So ask Cornyn and Cruz how they feel about the next Democratic president declaring a state of emergency to address actual crises like global warming and gun violence.

Or remind them, as Rep. Veronica Escobar did, that “military families are the ones who will lose out if the senate doesn’t reject this ‘emergency’ declaration. It is the money allocated for building day care and schools for them that will be raided. If senators can’t support the constitution, can they at least support our troops?”

Write Cornyn and Cruz a letter about the #FakeEmergency


How your voices are making a difference

  • The House passed a resolution to nullify Donald’s declaration of a phony national emergency
  • The House passed universal background checks for gun ownership
  • A federal judge blocked the GOP’s attempt to purge voter rolls in Texas

Keep reading… there’s more where this came from!


Events

Want to lobby at the TXLEGE? Sign up here!

Monday, March 4

Lobby Day: Let the People Vote! Texas Rally for Medicaid Expansion

Hosted by Indivisible Austin, Indivisible Houston, Cover Texas Now, Children’s Defense Fund Texas & many more

Texas leaders have had six years to expand Medicaid and they aren’t getting it done. So let the people vote!

Tuesday, March 5

8 a.m. PLEASE COME TESTIFY AT HOUSE INSURANCE COMMITTEE!

On Tuesday morning, Rep. Coleman’s Medicaid expansion bill HB 565 will get a hearing! This bill will both expand Medicaid and codify protections of the ACA in state law, including coverage of pre-existing conditions.

If you’ve ever thought, “hey, I want to testify on a health care bill at the #txlege,” this is your chance!

Here’s the hearing notice

And the bill text

Cover Texas Now has all the resources you could ever want on Medicaid expansion here. You can also use the bullet points above to help shape your testimony.

Wednesday, March 6

10 a.m. Weekly Cornyn Office Visits

Our friends at TX10 Indivisible are organizing weekly visits to Sen. John Cornyn’s Austin office. Space is limited. Cornyn’s Austin office holds five people. First come, first served.

RSVP to visit Cornyn’s office

7:00 p.m. How to effectively track bills—Texas Edition!

Join the Indivisible national webinar as they discuss bill tracking best practices, prioritization and identify key pieces of legislation at the Texas Legislature. Join here on Zoom.

Monday, March 11

March on the Capitol for Texas Public Education

Hosted by Texas AFT and Texas AFL-CIO

Had enough of stagnant pay, overwhelming health-care costs and inadequate funding for our students? Join us for a rally at the Capitol where we intend to be 10,000 strong telling legislators that we are ready to Speak Out! and Stand Together! for public education.

View more TXLEGE lobby days


Activist Spotlight: Cat Yuracka

Cat Yuracka in Handmaids UniformWe’re reposting this spotlight on activist Cat Yuracka. Since we last spoke with Cat, she has been bearing witness at child detention facilities, first in Tornillo and now in Homestead, Florida.

From our post last June:

The Resistance Choir of South Central Texas was the brainchild of TX21 Indivisibleactivist Cat Yuracka, who in April 2017 pulled together like-minded, “more enthusiastic than talented” activists to partake in the joy of communal singing. Since then, the Choir has brought traditional and contemporary protest songs, songs of social justice and “revolutionary snark” to meetings, marches, rallies, protests, candidate forums, parades, private parties, and one ill-conceived Special Session of the Texas Legislature.

Continue reading…

Follow Cat and Witness: Tornillo on Twitter to see the latest posts from Homestead, Florida


Funding the Fight

This has been an absolute whirlwind of a week. The morally bankrupt circus that is the Trump administration continues in DC, and we’re helping mobilize people to pressure our representatives to speak out against the unconstitutional, fake border emergency. Here in Texas, we’re fighting on so many fronts at the legislature that we had to send an extra newsletter last week.

With so much going on, won’t you please make a gift now, to help us keep up the pace?


Your Moment of Zen

 

 

Take Action Newsletter: Support background checks at gun shows; end the #FakeEmergency; Roger Williams Town Hall; #TXLEGE lobby days

Take Action

Two big votes in the House this week:

Tell your reps: Support the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R.8)

Congress is voting this week on H.R.8, which would close the loophole in the current law to require background checks for firearm purchases online and at gun shows. It’s a small, but important step toward ending the epidemic of gun violence. Rep. Lloyd Doggett is a cosponsor (thanks, Lloyd!) and the bill has five Republican cosponsors as well (none, sadly, from Texas).

If you have been personally affected by gun violence, and are able to share your story, your message will be even more persuasive. Tell your Republican reps:

  • Support H.R.8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019
  • The bill has five Republican cosponsors
  • The bill utilizes the current background checks process in the United States to ensure individuals prohibited from gun possession are not able to obtain firearms.
  • H.R.8 would close a loophole by requiring background checks for every firearm sale, including at gun shows and online.

Write your reps a letter now

Watch Rep. Roger Williams tell a student constituent why he does not support H.R.8.

Tell your reps: Support Rep. Castro’s resolution to end the #FakeNationalEmergency

Trump declared a national emergency to build his vanity wall after signing the funding bill that will lead to even more detention, deportation, and family separations at the border. This is a full-fledged attack on our democracy.

The House is voting this week on Rep. Castro’s resolution to end the Fake National Emergency. Then it will go to the Senate. Ultimately it will need a veto-proof majority.

So write your reps now!

Statement from Rep. Lloyd Doggett:

How your voices are making a difference

  • All 12 Senate House Democrats voted to block David Whitley’s nomination as secretary of state
  • Fifty-eight former national security officials signed a declaration against Donald’s national emergency
  • Student-led climate-change protests that began in the UK last week are sweeping across Europe and the world

“…a Capuchin monkey would be better at this point” — READ ON!


#TXLEGE Watch

  • Bills and hearings we’re watching: This week’s roundup of bills and hearings up at the #txlege this week. Several hearings are TODAY (Monday), so don’t delay.
  • We did it! Indivisible Austin joined with 30 groups in calling for the Texas Senate Democrats to block Secretary of State nominee David Whitley’s confirmation. Now all 12 Democratic state senators oppose Whitley, which means there are not enough votes to achieve the two-thirds majority needed for his confirmation.
  • Newly elected (and Indivisible-backed!) Rep. Erin Zwiener introduced a bill that would allow students to use their college IDs to vote. Considering that gun licenses are an acceptable form of identification in Texas—and with the caveat that Voter ID requirements are inherently disenfranchising—this bill makes a lot of sense. Give Rep. Zwiener your thanks—she’s on Twitter, Facebook, and on the web. You can email her at erin.zwiener@house.texas.gov.
  • Want to show up at the Lege? We’ve compiled grassroots orgs’ upcoming Lobby Days during the 86th Legislature. There are three happening this week!

Events

There are three Lobby Days at the Capitol this week!

Monday, Feb. 25

Lobby Day: Fuerza TX: Rally for our Rights

Webinar: Lobbying At The Lege, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 26

Lobby Day: TX Black Women Rise Up Advocacy Day at The Capitol

Thursday, Feb. 28

Social Justice Book Club

6:30 p.m. at the Twin Oaks Branch, Austin Public Library, 1800 S 5th St., 512-974-9991

The Twin Oaks Branch Library is excited to host a social justice book club! This new program series has been curated to encourage all community members to become well informed on critical issues of disparity, inequity, and difference. We hope to challenge the feelings of apathy and fear on important political issues through facilitated dialogue and a facts based approach to civic engagement. Books truly do have the power to raise consciousness and help us become more effective advocates for social uplift and justice both locally and beyond.

Friday, March 1

Lobby Day: Jolt Power Up Summit 2019

Monday, March 4

Lobby Day: Let the People Vote! Texas Rally for Medicaid Expansion

Hosted by Indivisible Austin, Indivisible Houston, Cover Texas Now, Children’s Defense Fund Texas & many more

Texas leaders have had six years to expand Medicaid and they aren’t getting it done. So let the people vote!


Congress Critter of the Week: Rep. Roger Williams

Roger Williams actually held a Town Hall!

A police officer, at the direction of Bee Cave mayor Monte Parker, intervenes when a participant asks a follow-up question of Rep. Roger Williams

Last week, with 24 hours’ notice, Rep. Roger Williams scheduled four Town Halls, one of them in Bee Cave, just outside Austin. Organizers from Indivisible Texas 25 East Austin and Driftwood/Dripping Springs groups scrambled to attend.  Bee Cave mayor Monte Parker moderated the event, and we got this dispatch from one of the attendees.


Your Moment of Zen


Funding the Fight

Even with the House flipping, it feels like everything is getting more chaotic.

The fear of accountability seems to have ratcheted up the cruelty and incompetence to new heights. That’s why having voices consistently, steadily pushing us forward, keeping an eye out for inflection points where real differences can be made, is so important.

That’s why Indivisible Austin is here, to keep us moving forward together, with our eyes open. Be a part of that work. Make a gift today.

 

Take Action Newsletter: Rally to end the #FakeTrumpEmergency; Say NO to SOS Whitley; John Cornyn hates the #GreenNewDeal

Take Action

End the #FakeTrumpEmergency

Roger Williams golfing with Trump on Saturday Feb 17 after Trump declared a national emergency

Rep. Roger Williams enjoys a round of golf with the president two days after Trump declared a National Emergency. Photo: Jesse Speirs via Twitter

Trump declared a national emergency to build his vanity wall after signing the funding bill that will lead to even more detention, deportation, and family separations at the border. This is a full-fledged attack on our democracy.

On Monday at 12 p.m., we take to the streets.

Whether you can attend or not:

TELL YOUR REPS to support the resolution to end the #FakeEmergency


Say NO to David Whitley for TX Secretary of State

Take action today and tell your State Senator that voter suppression has no place in Texas, and that they must vote NO on the confirmation of Secretary of State David Whitley. (Austinites: Sen. Kirk Watson is on record as a NO, but contact him anyway to express your support.)

Send an email to your State Senator now


How your voices are making a difference

  • The House Judiciary Committee passed a measure to require background checks for all U.S. firearm purchases.
  • the Senate approved the most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade
  • Thousands of young students walked out of school in the middle of classes to protest inaction on climate change

Read about Donald’s compensatory wall


Events

SAVE THE DATES:

  • Indivisible Austin General Body Meetings will occur on the second Tuesday of the month, at 6 p.m. Locations will vary. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 12.
  • We’re also planning additional #TXLEGE training this Saturday at 10 a.m., focused on visiting lawmakers’ offices. Stay tuned for additional info or email ask@indivisibleaustin.com.

Monday, Feb. 18

TAKE TO THE STREETS to protest Trump’s #FakeEmergency

12 noon, Republic Square Park, 4th Street and Guadalupe. RSVP Here. (Or view on Facebook.)

Thursday, Feb. 21

James Talarico Town Hall

6:30 p.m., Round Rock ACC Multipurpose Room, 4400 College Park Drive Round Rock, TX

Doors open at 6:30 PM and the Town Hall will begin at 6:45 PM. We’ll be meeting in the Round Rock Multipurpose room at 4400 College Park Drive.

View on Facebook


#TXLEGE Watch

That time Ken Paxton’s wife filed a bill to legalize Ken Paxton’s crimes

It’s not easy for a bill to become law in the Texas Legislature. (Our guide walks you through the process.) But SB 860, filed by State Senator Angela Paxton—wife of our indicted attorney general—is leaving ethics experts “slack-jawed,” according to the Texas Tribune. The bill would let people to work as an investment advisor without a license—the exact crime for which Paxton was indicted.

Upcoming Hearings

Tuesday, Feb. 19

  • House Appropriations Article II subcommittee (health and human services, including early childhood intervention), 8 a.m. in E2.028.
  • House Public Education (see this blog post for more detail, several bills will be heard), 11:30 a.m. or upon final adjourn./recess or bill referral if permission granted, in E2.036.

Congress Critter of the Week: John CornynCornyn was a folky

Cornyn in a kinder, gentler phase. What happened?

Fortunately for John Cornyn, he won’t be around to see the worst effects of climate change. But many of us will. Our children and grandchildren will. And John Cornyn, as a United States Senator, wields the power to make life or death decisions on our behalf.

Last week, Cornyn pretended not to know that the Green New Deal was a resolution, not a bill. He pretended not to even know what a resolution is—despite being in Congress since 2002.

He has shared multiple articles denying the facts of climate change, and dismissing the Green New Deal as a liberal boondoggle.

Here are some facts about John Cornyn, and about the Green New Deal:

  • Yes, the Green New Deal is a resolution. So was FDR’s New Deal, at the beginning.
  • The oil & gas industry is John Cornyn’s 2nd-biggest contributor.
  • The Green New Deal is about more than the environment: It’s about infrastructure. It’s about immigration. It’s about health care. This is because climate change’s devastating effects go far beyond the environment, intersecting with virtually every aspect of our lives.
  • John Cornyn is the #1 top Senate recipient of contributions from the natural gas transmission & distribution industry for 2017-18.
  • The Green New Deal is actually really short and easy to read. Don’t be intimidated. Go check it out.

Read more about Cornyn’s environmental record on senatorjohncornyn.com


Your Moment of Zen

First, watch this:

Then, read this beautiful essay on Winky the Bichon Frise.


Funding the Fight

Trump’s #FakeEmergency is a real problem, and we have to push back against it now. On Monday you can join us at Republic Square Park. You can make a gift right now to help us make these kinds of protests happen, along with all our other actions to protect democracy.

 

Take Action Newsletter: Tell Cruz and Cornyn: No new wall money. Keep the government open; #TXLEGE roundup; Indivisible Austin general body meeting

Tuesday! Indivisible Austin General Body Meeting! Sign Up!

Take Action

Tell Cruz and Cornyn: No new wall money. Keep the government open.

Trumps siad he woud be the one to shut down government over wall and he did. Source: indivisible.orgIf Republicans try to back Trump’s demands for wall funding, we will be right back where we started, with another government shutdown on February 16. Tell them to keep the government open and support a conference agreement with no new funding for the wall.

Where we are now:

  • We have a “clean” short-term funding bill that funds the government until Feb. 15. It contains no additional money for Trump’s wall or for immigration enforcement.
  • An agreement to go to conference committee, where conferees from both chambers will negotiate a year-long agreement for funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • If the conference committee is unable to come to an agreement (i.e., if Trump sabotages the negotiations), then Trump has threatened he will either take us all into another shutdown, or declare a national emergency to pay for his wall.

Monday, Feb. 11 is critical. The absolute latest the full text of any proposal can be released publicly is Monday (in order to comply with the House 72-hour rule). So make those calls on Monday!

Prepare now for Trump to declare a fake state of emergency

How your voices are making a difference

  • NM governor Michelle Lujan Grisham pulled the majority of National Guard forces from the border
  • The House Intelligence Committee voted to send Robert Mueller more than 50 transcripts from witness testimony that might be pertinent to the Russia investigation
  • House Dems on the Ways and Means Committee are pushing for the release of Donald’s tax returns.

Read how the world was filled with awe…


#TXLEGE Watch

Don’t forget our #txlege-focused general body meeting!

Feb. 13 is Texas Advocacy Day for Moms Demand Action

Voter Suppression Roundup

Important Hearings for Week of Feb. 11

Read more about these hearings and your opportunity to testify >>


Events

Tuesday, Feb. 12

Indivisible Austin General Body MeetingIndivisible Austin General Body Meeting

6-8 p.m., University Hills library branch, 4721 Loyola Ln, Austin, TX 78723

Did you learn a lot at our Indivisible #TXLege Training in December but still aren’t sure what you can do to get our legislators to listen to us and pass or block bills? Or maybe you just want to learn more about Indivisible Austin and our state legislature.

RSVP now

Wednesday, Feb. 13

Moms Demand Action: Texas Advocacy Day

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Push for common sense gun legislation in our state. Meet at Central Christian Church at 1110 Guadalupe St. prior to heading to the Capitol.

RSVP for the Advocacy Day

Saturday, Feb. 17

TX10 Constituent Town Hall

5:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel, 3901 Shoal Creek Blvd. TX10 Indivisible has requested the presence of Rep. Michael McCaul to join us for a town hall (as well as Mike Siegel) during the February congressional break and we’d like YOU and YOUR FELLOW TX10 FRIENDS to join us!

To help the TX10 team plan for this event, please RSVP ASAP


Your Moment of Zen


Funding the Fight

There’s more to Indivisible Austin than fighting what’s happening in DC. We all know that’s important, but you’ve probably noticed that we have work to do here in Texas, much of it in the Capitol, right here in Austin.

That’s why our General Body Meeting on Tuesday will focus on how you can make a difference at the legislature. In addition to attending, we need your help to provide all that’s needed for the meeting and all our other activities: training materials, food, spaces to meet and more.

Support our actions today!

Indivisible Austin is here for the work: health care, civil rights, voting rights, protecting democracy locally and nationally. Be there with us. Make a gift.

 

Take Action Newsletter: End the voter purge; prevent #TrumpShutdown 2.0; #TXLEGE committee action

General Body Meeting. Register here!

Take Action

End the purge: Tell SOS David Whitley to rescind the phony “voter fraud” letter

A lot has changed since last week, when the Texas Secretary of State issued an advisory that drove Ken Paxton, Greg Abbott and even Donald Trump into a froth of voter-fraud-conspiracy theorizing.

To recap: Texas officials flagged 95,000 voters for citizenship reviews. Now their entire case appears to be falling apart. The vast majority of people on the list likely registered to vote after becoming naturalized citizens. But unless the SOS rescinds the advisory, every county in Texas is expected to commit resources to checking the citizenship status of people on the list. Some counties have already sent out letters. This is a tremendous waste, considering that in Florida, where the same methodology was used, only 0.0005% of the cases proved actionable.

A coalition of groups including Texas Civil Right Project, ACLU Foundation of Texas, Jolt Texas, and Workers Defense Action Fund issued a letter calling on SOS David Whitley to rescind the advisory.

Highlights from the letter:

“The Advisory explains that you compiled this list of potential non-citizens by relying on documents that Texans submitted to DPS “indicating the person is not a citizen of the United States at the time the person obtained a Driver License or Personal Identification Card” (emphasis added). Using such a data set to review the current citizenship status of anyone is inherently flawed because it fails to account for individuals who became naturalized citizens and registered to vote at any point after having obtained their driver license or personal identification card.

“The methodology your office apparently employed to identify such voters looks deeply flawed, and its origins and intent are highly suspect…

“The Florida results were a failure: out of an initial list of 180,000 flagged registrations, only 85 ultimately proved actionable. That means that under a nearly identical program, less than .0005% of flagged registrations turned out to be non-citizens.”

Call the Elections Division at the Secretary of State’s office at (512) 463-5650 or 1-800-252-8683.

You can also fax at (512) 475-2811.

Here are additional contacts in case you can’t get through.

You can also report fraud on the State Auditor’s website. Why not!

Prevent the #TrumpShutdown 2.0

From the national Indivisible Project:

  1. Start planning for a national day of action on Monday, February 11. We’re calling on Indivisibles across the country to mobilize before Congress votes on any deal from the conference committee.
  2. Call your members of Congress EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We need every office, including the Democrats, to hear from activists demanding they keep the government open without $1 more for Trump’s racist border wall. Click here to call now.
  3. Stay tuned for updates on what we’re hearing from the Hill. Keep checking our shutdown resource — we’ll post updates as we know more about the conference committee and the possibility of a national emergency declaration.

#TXLEGE Watch

Things are still a bit quiet at the #txlege. The legislative calendar is a little bit arcane, making the first month of the session quiet. But things are starting to heat up, and soon our lawmakers will be holding hearings on hundreds of pieces of legislation.

Here’s a quick reminder of the committees our area House and Senate members sit on.

The big upcoming hearings this week are in the Senate Finance committee. Our area Senator Kirk Watson is a member of Senate Finance. Starting on Monday, Feb. 4, Senate Finance will start hearings on various parts of the budget organized by Articles of the General Appropriations Act (here’s the 1,000-page GAA aka budget for 2018-2019). These hearings include both invited testimony — given by individuals, agencies, advocates, etc. that the committee invites — and public testimony, which anyone can give, provided they have three minutes and potentially unlimited time to wait around or 40 copies of written testimony to leave behind.

While all parts of the budget are significant, we want to call particular attention to the hearings Tuesday and Wednesday on Health and Human Services (including Medicaid, mental health, children’s health, maternal health and mortality, and more).

Senate Finance will meet on Tuesday at 1 p.m. or upon adjournment and at 9 a.m. on Wednesday in E1.036

You can watch the hearings live online at this link, and you can watched past hearings here.

Keep an eye out for the governor’s State of the State which is happening on Tuesday, Feb. 5 in theory. We saw an announcement about it last week, but have seen nothing since.

We’ll end with a shout out to the Central Texas House delegation who held not one but TWO community town halls on Saturday. We are lucky to have a delegation committed to engaging with and building relationships with their constituents. Every member in this delegation has expressed a genuine willingness to meet with their constituents, so take them up on it whenever you have the chance.

txlege town hall

Photo credit Gina Hinojosa

We’re gearing up for grassroots at the lege. Get involved!

Thanks, Lloyd

Rep. Lloyd Doggett was on CNN last week and made clear there would be no wall money in any agreement with Trump. He also went after Trump’s lax attitude toward Russian aggression and laid out a plan to get Trump’s taxes through the Ways and Means committee, where Doggett is a senior member.

Events

Thursday, Feb. 7, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Meet the 86th: A Conversation With New Democratic Members of the Texas House

Join The Texas Tribune in person or via livestream for a conversation with new Texas state Reps. Rhetta Bowers, Jessica Gonzalez and James Talarico, moderated by Texas Tribune co-founder and CEO Evan Smith. Studio 919 at The Texas Tribune, 919 Congress Ave. Sixth Floor.

Register on Eventbrite

Saturday, Feb. 9, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars Training

These trainings will appoint you as a VDR for the 2019-20 election cycle and will allow you to register residents in Travis County through December 2020. Travis County Community Hall at Oak Hill, 8656 A West Highway 71, Bldg A Ste 208

Register here

Tuesday, Feb. 12

Indivisible Austin February General Body Meeting

Did you learn a lot at our Indivisible #TXLege Training in December but still aren’t sure what you can do to get our legislators to listen to us and pass or block bills? Then join us Tuesday of next week for our second ever General Body Meeting Tuesday. We will build off of our #TXLege training to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to walk into any legislator’s office and actually change our state’s laws! Snacks will be provided. Location TBD but likely Central Austin.

RSVP now

Your Moment of Zen

Take Action Newsletter: What the SOS actually said about noncitizen voting; John Cornyn’s shutdown flipflop; #TXLEGE committee assignments

Poll: When can you join our general body meetings?

Take Action

No, the Texas Secretary of State did not say that thousands of people voted illegally

bad trump tweet about noncitizen voting in tx and CA

The Texas secretary of state’s office flagged 95,000 registered voters who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are U.S. citizens. This set off a firestorm of misinformation from Gov. Abbott, Ken Paxton, and even Donald Trump—along with some extremely lazy stenography in the media.

Unlike our governor and president, the Texas Tribune appears to be reporting this story with accuracy and an appropriate level of skepticism. Later, NBC News wrote a good piece on Trump’s misleading tweet and the underlying facts.

Other news outlets, including the Austin American-Statesman, fell short, with click-bait headlines that parroted Trump and Abbott’s zealous interpretation.

State Rep. Rafael Anchia further clarified that, because Texas drivers licenses are valid for many years, it’s no surprise that naturalized citizens, who regularly register to vote immediately after their citizenship ceremony and later vote, might be shown as non-citizens in the DPS database.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Write Letters to the Editor to any publication that fails report this story accurately
  • Call out politicians who will try to use this data to purge voters, as we have seen in other states
    • Gov. Greg Abbott: (512) 463-1782
    • Attorney General: (Indicted) Ken Paxton: 512-463-2100
  • Follow the Texas Civil Rights Project for updates on protecting elections in Texas

Update: The Statesman changed their headline

How your voices are making a difference

  • Pelosi refused to negotiate until Donald reopened the government
  • House Dems are opening an investigation into how Jared Kushner got a White House security clearance
  • Roger Stone was indicted

Read on, Warriors!


Congress Critter of the Week: Sen. John Cornyn

Pressure works. Your calls and office visits to end the Trump Shutdown worked. Whether Big John was being entirely honest about call volume is another story, but here are two choice quotes from our senior senator, spaced eight days apart.

Jan. 16: “Not many, not many,” was his response to the Washington Post when asked how many constituent comments his staff is fielding.

Jan. 24: “We’re all hearing from our constituents who are working for no pay,” Cornyn said. “And there’s a parade of horribles of how people who are having to cope with not getting paid, and it’s not good.”

Now we need to let Cornyn know that Americans—including 35,000 federal workers in Texas—will not allow shutdowns to hold us hostage again.


Support Indivisible Austin

#TXLEGE WATCH

Find out which committees your rep is on

See who represents you in the Texas House and Senate

Both chambers have a variety of committees with a variety of functions. There are three types of legislative committees—substantive, select, and procedural. These committees examine policy issues and generally determine whether or not a bill will get a vote on the floor.

Central Texas Committee Members

Sen. Kirk Watson (Austin)

  • Nominations — Vice-Chair
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Higher Education

Sen. Dawn Buckingham (Lakeway)

  • Nominations — Chair
  • Criminal Justice
  • Health & Human Services
  • Higher Education

Sen. Charles Schwertner (Georgetown)

  • Intergovernmental Relations — Vice-Chair
  • Agriculture
  • Business & Commerce
  • Transportation
  • Veteran Affairs & Border Security

Sen. Judith Zaffirini (parts of Hays and Bexar counties)

  • Natural Resources & Economic Development — Vice-Chair
  • Administration
  • Business & Commerce
  • State Affairs

Rep. John Bucy

  • Culture, Recreation & Tourism
  • Elections

Rep. Sheryl Cole

  • County Affairs
  • Redistricting
  • Ways & Means

Rep. Vikki Goodwin

  • Homeland Security & Public Safety
  • Urban Affairs

Rep. Gina Hinojosa

  • Defense & Veterans’ Affairs
  • Human Services — Vice-Chair

Rep. Donna Howard

  • Appropriations
  • Higher Education
  • House Administration — Vice-Chair

Rep. Celia Israel

  • Elections
  • Homeland Security & Public Safety

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

  • Calendars
  • State Affairs
  • Ways & Means

Rep. James Talarico

  • Juvenile Justice & Family Issues
  • Public Education

Rep. Erin Zwiener

  • Agriculture & Livestock
  • Environment Regulation

Read our TXLEGE guide to learn more about why these assignments are so important.

Bookmark Central Texas committee assignments here


Events

Tuesday Jan. 31

Social Justice Book Club

6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Twin Oaks Branch Library, 1800 S 5th St. 512-974-9991.

The Twin Oaks Branch Library is excited to host a social justice book club! This new program series has been curated to encourage all community members to become well informed on critical issues of disparity, inequity, and difference. We hope to challenge the feelings of apathy and fear on important political issues through facilitated dialogue and a facts based approach to civic engagement.

Saturday, Feb. 2

Central Texas Legislative Town Hall

10 a.m. to noon at Westlake High School, Chap Court. 4100 Westbank Dr.

Join State Representatives Donna Howard, Celia Israel, Gina Hinojosa, John Bucy, Sheryl Cole, Erin Zwiener, and Vikki Goodwin from the Central Texas Delegation representing Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties for a town hall.

Questions? Feel free to contact Koby Ahmed.  512-463-0631.


Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

We Won! … For now.

We called, visited and protested, and after 35 days Trump finally acknowledged the new reality. He can’t govern by tantrum anymore.

The government is open again and 800,000 workers are back on the job, at least for the next three weeks.

In the Trump era, the next big fight is always just around the corner, if it’s not already upon you. Indivisible Austin will help be there to lead the fight, but we REALLY DO NEED your support to be effective. Make your recurring gift today!

Take Action Newsletter: Impeachment roundup; Support local food banks; National call-in day to end the #TrumpShutdown; Rally at Cornyn’s; general body meeting

Impeachment Resource Roundup!

Buzzfeed reported last week that Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow. This would be suborning perjury and would be a Very Big Deal. Although Mueller disputed some of the reporting—it’s hard to say which parts—the chances of the House impeaching the president just rose significantly. Below are recommended resources on the subject.


Take Action

Call John Cornyn and Ted Cruz about…

Ending the Trump Shutdown

Trump’s latest “deal” to end the shutdown is a nonstarter. As United We Dream Austin points out, the deal offers no permanent solutions and would leave thousands of immigrants at risk of deportation. Our nation is reaching a breaking point. Tell Cruz and Cornyn to pressure McConnell to allow a clean vote to reopen the government—which the House has passed, and which the Senate also passed mere weeks go.

See the Events section below about visiting Cornyn’s Austin office at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday Jan. 23. Wednesday is also a national call-in day of action!

Read: Trump’s latest temper tantrum and the showdown over the wall

Support local food banks

The Trump Shutdown is hitting us close to home. When the Central Texas Food bank held an event last Wednesday, 90% of attendees were federal workers. The food bank has put out an urgent call for resources:

Most requested donation items: peanut butter, canned chicken breast or tuna, canned low sodium vegetables, canned fruit in its own, juice (no sugar added), dry pinto beans, brown rice, non-fat dry milk powder, 100% whole grain cereal.

Call Cruz, Cornyn and your House rep about…

The “thousands more” children separated from their parents at the border

NBC reported last week that thousands more children may have been separated from their parents than the administration originally told us. A leaked document reveals the administration’s plan:

“…the entire family would be given an order of ‘expedited removal’ and then separated, placing the child in the care of HHS…”

This is government-sanctioned kidnapping. No child should suffer such cruelty. Call your reps and that, especially in light of these new revelations, they publicly denounce the administration’s family separation policy. Demand hearings. Demand that it end.


How your voices are making a difference

From one of our actions last week: Mohasif Motawakil, the Afghan interpreter who was detained and held by ICE in Houston, had his visa canceled, and was threatened with deportation, despite having risked his life to support U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, has been released after 7 days.

Read more ways your voices are making a difference


TXLEGE News

Sign up for #TXLEGE updates


Events

Monday, Jan. 21

MLK March, Festival, and Food Drive

The Annual Community March celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multi-culturalism in our city. The MLK Community March kicks off on Monday, January 21, 2019 at 9 a.m. with a short program at the MLK Statue on the University of Texas campus. More info at www.mlkcelebration.com.

Find Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Service Opportunities

Wednesday, Jan. 23

Visit Sen. Cornyn’s Office About the Shutdown

Federal workers are working for free and struggling to pay their bills. National parks are being desecrated. Court trials are being postponed. Tax refunds may be delayed. Where is Sen. Cornyn in this? Pinning the blame on Democrats and holding out for a pointless and destructive $5 billion wall.

Asked by the Washington Post whether he was receiving a lot of calls to end the shutdown, Cornyn replied “not many, not many”. Let’s send a message he can’t ignore! Visit Cornyn’s office in downtown Austin and tell his staff the government needs to re-open, and we don’t want Trump’s ridiculous wall. 11:30 a.m., Chase Tower, 221 W. 6th St.

RSVP and more info

Thursday, Jan. 24

Healthcare Issues at the 86th Texas Legislature

Join advocates from Indivisible Austin, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas and the Cover Texas Now coalition to learn about healthcare issues at the 86th Texas Legislature. 6:30 p.m. at the Willie Mae Kirk Library, 3101 Oak Springs Dr. More info on Indivisible or Facebook.


Congress Critter: Chip Roy

Contributed by Lucas Schaefer

Chip Roy

Over here in TX21, Rep. Chip Roy was one of seven Republicans to vote against back pay for federal workers after the government shutdown ends. In an up-is-down, black-is-white bit of gaslighting, Roy claimed in an op-ed in this week’s Statesman that he was doing this to prevent future shutdowns. An alternate proposal: if Chip actually wanted to prevent future shutdowns how about he and his fellow Republicans stop shutting down the government every time they don’t get their way?

Chip also conceded that “reasonable people can disagree” on border security, which makes us wonder why Republicans have proven more than happy to hold the entire federal government hostage until Democrats submit to their demands. We’d encourage you to visit Chip’s Austin office to express your views on the matter, but Chip hasn’t bothered to open one. Nor has he scheduled his first town hall. (Apparently, Chip believes people who do work, like TSA agents, shouldn’t be paid while people who don’t work, like Chip, should be). In the meantime, pick up the phone and give Chip a piece of your mind: (202) 225-4236.


Indivisible Austin General Body Meeting—Vote on a preferred Date!

Indivisible Austin would like to invite you to join us at monthly meetings open to the public. To identify a meeting time which works best for the largest number of folks, we’ve created an anonymous poll—so please indicate which day(s) work for you.

Take the poll


Your Moment of Zen


Funding the Fight

Even with the House flipping, it feels like everything is getting more chaotic.

The fear of accountability seems to have ratcheted up the cruelty and incompetence to new heights. That’s why having voices consistently, steadily pushing us forward, keeping an eye out for inflection points where real differences can be made, is so important.

That’s why Indivisible Austin is here, to keep us moving forward together, with our eyes open. Be a part of that work. Make a gift today.

Take Action Newsletter: End the shutdown; free a detained Afghan interpreter; Austin Women’s Rally; Fire John Cornyn!

NEW: Joint Statement to the 86th Texas Legislature from Texas Indivisible Groups

TXLEGE is in session! Download our guide!

Calls to Make

Call Cruz and Cornyn about…

The shutdown and border wall

Trumps siad he woud be the one to shut down government over wall and he did. Source: indivisible.org

“Mess with Texas!”

“Fence me in!”

That is the message our senators are telling President Trump over the stupid, unworkable border wall. Cruz and Cornyn joined the president last week in McAllen, and pretended that they hadn’t just spent two years fully in control of the government. Instead they now blame Democrats for failing to fund “border security.” This is all such a sham that it’s hard to even write about. But people are suffering and it’s important to make our voices heard.

Tell Cruz and Cornyn:

  • To pressure Leader McConnell to allow a floor vote on the spending bills that have passed the House. (Remember the Senate unanimously voted to fund the government just days before the shutdown.)
  • To provide back pay to both federal employees and contractors
  • A declaration of emergency on false pretenses would be grounds for impeachment
  • Redirecting funds from Harvey recovery and other actual emergencies is a nonstarter—and we expect senators from Texas to fight for Harvey survivors. (Cornyn says he is, but what about people in Puerto Rico? Florida? California?)

You can also write a letter to the editor about the shutdown.

Call John Cornyn about…

Intervening on behalf of the Afghan interpreter currently detained in Houston

An Afghan interpreter—who assisted U.S. troops—and his family were detained at Houston’s George Bush airport and threatened with deportation. The given reason was that they had opened an envelope of paperwork that was supposed to remain sealed. The interpreter’s family has been released, but he remains in custody, and all of the privileges afforded their refugee status—including their visas—have been revoked.

On Dec. 24, John Cornyn tweeted a link to a Daily Caller article with the headline “Afghan And Iraqi Interpreters Risk Death, Wait Years For Legal US Visas While Migrant Caravan Demands Immediate Entrance.”

If Sen. Cornyn is serious about his support for Afghan interpreters, he should join Reps. Al Green, Sheila Jackson Lee, Joaquin Castro, and Lloyd Doggett to intervene and correct this injustice.

This story developed over the weekend and may have changed by the time you read this. Follow RAICES on Twitter or Facebook for the latest.

Call your House rep about…

Contractor back pay

HR 339 has 30 cosponsors (none from Central Texas, though!) and should proceed to a vote. This letter from Sen. Chris van Hollen (D-MD) has some good language to borrow when you call.

If you are in TX21—Chip Roy’s district…

Rep. Chip Roy was one of one of only seven Republicans who voted No on providing back pay to furloughed government workers.

How your voices are making a difference

The new Democratic majority in the House…

  • Introduced legislation to require background checks on all gun sales.
  • Forced the GOP to own the government shutdown
  • Forced treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin to explain why he lifted sanctions on three Russian companies

Read “The walls are closing in | How your voices are making a difference”

Fire John Cornyn!

Fire John Cornyn!Enjoy the latest posts on senatorjohncornyn.com:

Take the pledge to fire John Cornyn

Events

Saturday, Jan. 19

Austin Women’s Rally 2019

Austin Women's Rally January 19, 2019

Indivisible Austin will have a table at the annual Austin Women’s Rally, which takes place at the Capitol from 2 to 5 p.m. This rally is for the general public to gather in support for women, in their fight for equality and equity. This rally is an expansion upon the annual Texas Reproductive Rights Rally, as it coincides with the date of that event.

Full statement: Join the Austin Women’s Rally on January 19

Funding the Fight

Even with the House flipping, it feels like everything is getting more chaotic.

The fear of accountability seems to have ratcheted up the cruelty and incompetence to new heights. That’s why having voices consistently, steadily pushing us forward, keeping an eye out for inflection points where real differences can be made, is so important.

That’s why Indivisible Austin is here, to keep us moving forward together, with our eyes open. Be a part of that work. Make a gift today.

Your Moment of Zen