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

 

 

Take Action Newsletter: #TrumpShutdown; DHS hearings; HR1; Cornyn’s climate denialism; opening day of #txlege

Calls to Make

Call Senators Cornyn and Cruz about…

The Trump Shutdown

Trump says he could keep shutdown going for “months or years.” Call Cornyn and Cruz—especially Cornyn, since he is up for reelection in 2020—and ask if they’re really okay with federal employees being unable to pay their bills. Ask how they feel about the negative impact to the economy. And then ask if a stand-off over a wall is really worth this type of damage. Remind them contractors generally don’t get back pay during a shutdown. Remind them that the GOP has been in power for two years and couldn’t fund Trump’s ridiculous wall, so there is no way the House Dems will do it. Tell the senators to stop playing games with people’s livelihoods. (Major hat tip: Celeste Pewter.)

DHS hearings on the deaths of children in custody

Both John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where fellow committee member Diane Feinstein has called for a hearing after two children died in the custody of Customs and Border Protection.

Call Senator John Cornyn about…

Cornyn’s climate denialism

It seems Big John, who took $1.6 million from the oil & gas industry in 2018, just doesn’t feel like climate change is much of a priority. The editorial board of the Houston Chronicle published this brutal take-down of John Cornyn’s sudden adoption of climate-change denialism. (Read our analysis over at senatorjohncornyn.com—and be sure to share it with him on social media; he’s unusually thin-skinned there.) Give him a call and let him know you support the Green New Deal, and expect him to get onboard or be voted out of office. Meanwhile, you can thank Rep. Lloyd Doggett for supporting the deal.

Call your House member about…

Supporting HR1

Call your House rep and tell them to support HR1, the landmark bill that would expand voting rights, curb gerrymandering, bolster ethics rules, and revamp how campaigns are funded. The Democratic-led House introduced this bill last week, partially in response to hundreds of grassroots groups rallying for its support. Protecting democracy is nonpartisan—tell your GOP rep to get onboard!

Find your representative

How your voices are making a difference

  • On day 1 in the House, Dems voted for legislation that would end Don John’s baby-tantrum government shutdown
  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler plans to re-introduce legislation to protect Robert Mueller
  • The congressional freshman class of 2019 is the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House

Read on, Warriors

Events

Tuesday, Jan. 8

First day of the Texas Legislature

Join newly minted Central Texas reps for their swearing in ceremonies! The House gallery opens at 10:30 am and is open to the public on a first come, first serve basis. The ceremony begins at noon. Overflow rooms are available. You can also visit staff offices, where receptions will be held both before and after the swearings-in.

  • Rep. Erin Zwiener:  E2.416
  • Rep. James Talarico: E2.712
  • Rep. Gina Hinojosa: E2.314
  • Rep. Vikki Goodwin: E2.420
  • Rep. John Bucy: Reception in E2.028 before and after the ceremony. Office unveiling in E2.312.

Wednesday, Jan. 9

TX Lege 101 with Rep. Donna Howard & Rep. John Cyrier

6 to 9 p.m. Join Austin Tech Alliance, Glasshouse Policy and Leadership Austin for an evening of policy education. Capital Factory. 701 Brazos Street. 1st floor/Voltron room.

Register on Eventbrite

Action Spotlight: Whose House? Our House!

Activists outside Roger Williams's Austin office for a Whose House? OUR House! rally

Organizers from Indivisible groups in TX25 staged a “Whose House? Our House” rally outside the offices of Rep. Roger Williams. The event centered around support for H.R.1, a robust democracy reform bill including reforms on voter empowerment and access, money in politics reforms, and corruption fixes. The dazzling lineup of speakers included:

Props to Indivisible TX25 East Austin and all of the local candidates and activists who participated!

Your Moment of Zen

Take Action Newsletter: Whose House? OUR House, Christmas in Tornillo, Open Letter to Paxton and Abbott

Take Action

Christmas in Tornillo: An Indivisible Dispatch

Christmas in Tornillo

“Like everything this administration does, the detention of youthful asylum seekers is as chaotic and dehumanizing as possible.”

Read more in this post from TX10 Indivisible about spending Christmas in Tornillo—and how you can help the children detained at the West Texas Detention Facility.

Open Letter from ADAPT of Texas to Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton

In this letter, our friends at ADAPT of Texas call out Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton for their attempted dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. They specifically highlight two areas of the ACA that currently have a direct positive effect on people with disabilities of all ages: pre-existing conditions protections, and community long-term services and supports.

Read and share this letter on social media. Make sure Paxton and Abbott see it!

How your voices are making a difference

  • Donny is in hiding but for his panicked Twitter effluvia
  • the House will not seat the North Carolina Republican currently under investigation for fraudulent election practices
  • Mueller might have a naked selfie of Individual 1 (*shudder*)

Read more VOICES

Events

Whose House? Our House. Join the January 3 Day of Action.

On January 3rd, Indivisible groups will organize across the country at the offices of their members of Congress, calling for their strong support for the democracy reform bill that Democrats are expected to introduce that day. (H.R. 1).

TX25

Julie Oliver with daughterHere in Austin, the main in-person action is at Rep. Roger Williams’s downtown office, hosted by Indivisible TX25 East Austin and featuring former candidate Julie Oliver! (Read the full press release.)

WHAT: “Who’s House? Our House!” Kickoff Rally

WHO: Members of local TX 25 Indivisible groups, Jolt, Fair Maps Texas, and Common Cause

Guest Speaker: Julie Oliver, former TX 25 Congressional candidate

WHERE: Austin office of Rep. Roger Williams

1005 Congress Ave #925, Austin, TX 78701

WHEN: Thursday, January 3, from 4-5:30 p.m.

TX10

Where's McCaul?

Over in Rep. McCaul’s district, organizers with TX10 Indivisible are encouraging constituents to contact their representative’s office to demand a town hall—something McCaul hasn’t done in nine years. Here’s a script:

Representative McCaul,

It’s a new Congress — Voting rights, ethics, and the undue influence of big money in campaigns are high on our list.

We want you, our representative, to strengthen our voting laws to include online voter registration, to end gerrymandering, and to restore the Voting Rights Act.

We want you to require that all political organizations disclose their donors.

We are here, we are watching and we will hold you accountable.

Your constituent, (name) (zip code)

Contact Michael McCaul’s Austin office:

Phone: 512-473-2357

Email: amanda.mcpherson@mail.house.gov

January 8—Save the Date: Millions March Texas 2019

Austin Justice Coalition hosts a day of action at OUR Texas State Capitol. It’s a day of solidarity, a day of accountability, as we tell our elected officials what we want to see come out of this legislative session.

RSVP with Austin Justice Coalition

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

Looking back on a year of progress in Central Texas

In 2018, Indivisible Austin:

  • Knocked on nearly 2,500 doors for Beto & other progressive candidates
  • Called more than 5,000 Central Texas voters
  • Helped increase voter turnout in our target precinct by 78% (!)
  • Coordinated with March On Texas to send 90,000 postcards to Texas voters
  • Researched, wrote and sent 52 weekly action emails with scripts for MoCs, calls-to-action for local issues, activist spotlights, resistance calendar items, and the ever-critical Moment of Zen
  • Co-hosted the Families Belong Together rally that drew more than 20K people + 45 other events
  • Co-hosted a Town Hall for Our Lives led by Austin students
  • …and so much more

A gift to Indivisible Austin, large or small, helps us continue to do this work. As we move into 2019, we’ll be focused on the 86th session of the Texas Legislature as well as the new session of Congress. It’s an exciting time as we build on the wins that our collective efforts as a progressive movement made in 2018.

A Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the House

Not a critter was stirring, not even a mouse

A president’s tantrum over funding a wall

Had shut down the government, for jobs big and small

Eight hundred thousand federal workers

Across this great land, Texans to New Yorkers

Will work not at all or will work without pay

And hope that their checks arrive post-Holiday

And let’s not forget thousands more sub-contractors

Janitors, servers, cashiers, and plate-stackers

Whose pre-Christmas paychecks just won’t ever come

Because Trump’s GOP is unspeakably dumb

In just a few days, the House becomes ours

And Pelosi and friends will check Trump’s power

On Flores! On Chip! On Williams and McCaul!

On Carter! And Cornyn! Dash away all!

Your caving to autocrats truly is stunning

But voters remember… 2020 is coming

Take action: Trump’s latest temper tantrum and the showdown over the wall >>

Shining a Light on Christmas in Tornillo

This Christmas, 2,500 immigrant migrant children will remain incarcerated in a government-run facility in Tornillo, TX. In Rep. Bill Flores’s hometown newspaper, pastor T. Carlos Anderson and Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project remind us of the lesson of the Christmas story:

“Retelling this biblical story should remind us of our moral responsibility to provide shelter, care for those in need, and not let our society’s current heightened polarization impede our efforts…”

“The best of our traditions require that we live together under just laws. Religious and moral teachings help infuse our society with compassion: to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, demand equal treatment for all, welcome the migrant, and dialog constructively with those whom we disagree. The only question about these practices is how we do them, not whether we do them.”

Activists from all over the country are holding vigil in Tornillo this Christmas, and we’ll be reporting on their efforts next week. Support them through organizations like RAICES and the Texas Civil Rights Project.

How your voices are making a difference

  • Congress passed a bipartisan bill revamping the criminal justice
  • The Justice Department banned bump stocks on guns
  • Paul Ryan’s gone

Bye, Felicia >>

Congress Critter of the Week: Rep. Roger Williams

“The biggest issue in my district is: build the wall.”

Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25)
Roger Williams

That’s what Rep. Roger Williams told reporters when asked about temporarily funding the government while the debate continues over Trump’s stupid wall.

If Williams ever—ever!—spoke to constituents in his district, he would know that this is not true. Not even a little bit. We asked Julie Oliver, who ran against Williams and has actually spoken to thousands of Texans in TX25—from across the political spectrum—whether “the wall” was ever mentioned even once as an issue regular folks care about. Her response:

The wall is a metaphor for GOP racism and xenophobia. Williams knows that and exploits it nonetheless. That is despicable. If you are in his district, give him a call and let him know what you think about “the wall.”

Your Moment of Zen

 

Take Action: Support Rep. Doggett’s demand for action on Yemen

Quick note: The ACA still stands, but… What’s Paxton’s plan if he kills the Affordable Care Act? 

Take Action

Call your reps to demand an investigation into the death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal

Jakelin

From our friends at VotoLatino:

The death of 7-year-old girl Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin in Border Patrol custody and the poor treatment of families in CBP detention are unacceptable.

Children like Jakelin desperately come here after escaping unimaginable violence and tragedy.

We are better than this. America is better than this.

As your constituent, I urge you to immediately call for an independent and rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and to identify reforms to CBP needed to prevent any mistreatment and separation of families. The new Congress should hold public hearings in January.

Read: Texas Tribune: Family of 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in federal custody speak out, call for “objective and thorough investigation” >>

Related: Government funding ends on December 21. Tell Cruz, Cornyn and your House rep “No additional money for the wall” >>

Support Rep. Doggett’s demand for action on Yemen

Last week, the Senate passed a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. (Cruz and Cornyn, predictably, voted to continue starving Yemeni children with your tax dollars.)

In the House, however, Speaker Paul Ryan hid in the Farm Bill a provision to end House debate on Yemen. Rep. Lloyd Doggett is calling BS on this and needs your support.

Read Rep. Doggett’s statement or watch the video below, and then call your GOP House reps to demand action on Yemen. The House needs to follow the Senate’s lead to rebuke the White House’s claim that its activities in Yemen are not subject to the War Powers Act, and that the Saudi regime bears no responsibility for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

How your voices are making a difference

  • A bipartisan group of 44 former senators wrote an open letter to Congress urging members to stand up and protect democracy and put country over party
  • Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke finally resigned
  • Most Americans don’t believe Donald’s lies

Read “Donald’s Worst Week Ever” >>

#Cornyn2020

It’s hard work pretending Trump is a normal, functioning president, and not a corrupt Russian asset. But Big John is up to the task. Here’s the latest from senatorjohncornyn.com:

Congress Critter of the Week

Rep. Lamar SmithLamar “Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya On the Way Out” Smith embarrassed himself and the nation when he attempted to grill Google CEO Sundar Pichai about alleged liberal bias in search results. Basing his claim on easily debunked information, Smith insisted that a single employee could modify Google’s search results. As the San Francisco Chronicle points out, this was a huge missed opportunity:

“(Judiciary) Members could have (and should have) pressed Pichai about misinformation and radicalization on YouTube (Google owns the video-sharing site).

“Crucial questions about his company’s morphing relationship with China went unasked.

“…it’s galling that when the U.S. House of Representatives finally had the chance to ask him questions on Tuesday, the members treated him like he was Tech Support.”

Rep. Lamar Smith, you and your willful ignorance will not be missed.

Events

Jan. 3: Save the date: Whose House? Our House!

January 3 will be a nationwide day of action to remind our House reps: “We are here, we are paying attention, and we will hold you accountable for what you do.” More details to come. Here’s what we know so far:

  • TX21: 12 p.m. at Chip Roy’s Austin and San Antonio offices (exact locations TBD)
  • TX25: 4 p.m. at Rep. Roger Williams’s Austin office

If you are interested in joining or organizing an event, contact us.

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

In The Thick Of It

Be A Texas VoterA court ruling against the ACA, morally abominable treatment of migrant children, the erosion of voting rights and the power of voters: in Texas and across the nation Republican leaders are attacking human rights and the basic principles of democracy.

Rise up, with Indivisible Austin, to meet these challenges. After you’ve taken this week’s actions, take it one step further, and support Indivisible Austin today. With you, we can help even more people raise their voices.

 

Take Action: Get the new Indivisible #TXLEGE Guide

New Resource: Get the Indivisible TXLEGE Guide

Last weekend, it was standing-room only at our first TXLEGE Training at the state capitol. Thanks to all who came out in the cold and rain. We’ll do another one very soon! We also released a brand-new Indivisible guide, specifically for advocacy in the Texas Legislature. It’s free!

Get the guide >>

Sign up for TXLEGE updates >>

Vote on Tuesday

Be A Texas VoterFor those who didn’t vote early, Election Day is Tuesday, December 11. At last check, only 3% of Travis County had voted.

  • Residents of City Council Districts 1, 3, and 8 can vote in those races.
  • All Austinites can vote for the seats in AISD District 9 and ACC Place 8.

Also worth noting that we vote in the Texas primaries in just 15 months!

View Austin Chronicle Endorsements >>

Check here for polling locations >>

Take Action

It’s time to hold John Cornyn accountable for Trump’s tweets

We’re trying something new over at senatorjohncornyn.com. With good reason, we mostly ignore Trump’s tweets—after all, Indivisible was founded on holding Congress accountable, not on the president’s weaponizing of social media.

But… John Cornyn and most of the GOP also ignore Trump’s tweets, which creates an unspoken agreement to pretend that the president isn’t lying, bullying, and confessing to crimes on Twitter. We’re self-gaslighting.

While we remain mostly focused on passing good legislation, stopping bad legislation, and electing better people, we’re carving out space to troll John Cornyn. If you’d like to get involved, head over to the first installment of “Unhinged S*** that John Cornyn enabled this week.” (We’re being more profane on that site. You have been warned.)

Take the pledge to fire John Cornyn >>

Tell Gov. Abbott to appoint a Secretary of State who will upgrade our ancient voting machines

Texas Secretary of State Rolando PablosTexas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos announced last week that he was stepping down. This position is appointed by the Governor—not elected, as in other states. Rep. Celia Israel issued a letter calling on Gov. Abbott to appoint someone who focus on improving Texas’s election infrastructure. “The vote is the bedrock of our Democracy,” she writes, “if we don’t provide funding for new machines and improved technologies, these machines will fail. Call Abbott’s office at (512) 463-2000 to show your support for Rep. Israel. You can also call your Texas representatives and ask them to join Rep. Israel in calling for the modernization of Texas elections.

Find your state reps >>

How your voices are making a difference

  • Democrats won their 40th pickup in the House
  • Robert Mueller filed a flurry of new disclosures
  • A magical thing happened when Rudy Giuliani didn’t know how to use the interwebs

Read more >>

Events

Tuesday, December 11

Election Day

  • Residents of City Council Districts 1, 3, and 8 can vote in those races.
  • All Austinites can vote for the seats in AISD District 9 and ACC Place 8.

View Austin Chronicle Endorsements >>

Check here for polling locations >>

Texas Coalition to Reduce Gun Violence

Texas Coalition to Reduce Gun Violence meeting is Tuesday, December 11 in the Legislative Conference Center at the Capitol room E2.002. The Coalition meeting will be from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. There will be snacks! You will not want to miss this pre-session meeting to discuss legislative priorities for Coalition partners and other important topics. The Coalition will also be live-streamed on facebook.com/txgunsense.  Please RSVP info@txgunsense.org if you can join us.

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

Willy Wonka - not showing signs they are slowing

The midterms are past. We made tremendous gains in protecting democracy and bringing accountability to both Washington and Austin.

We’re not slowing down.

Now is the time for us to use our power and press the advantages we’ve gained in DC and in our own statehouse.

We’re not slowing down. We’re speeding up and doing more: the new Indivisible TXLEGE Guide, our training for more than 200 activists, pressing our representatives to truly represent us, and more organizing. The 2020 primaries are only 15 months away, and we need engage and activate another 250,000 Texans to close the gap.

We’re just getting started and we need your support to do it all.

Take Action: Tell Cruz and Cornyn to end US support for the Saudi War in Yemen

Vote Early!

Early voting runs until Friday, Dec. 7. Election Day is Tuesday, December 11.

  • Residents of City Council Districts 1, 3, and 8 can vote in those races.
  • All Austinites can vote for the seats in AISD District 9 and ACC Place 8.

View Austin Chronicle Endorsements >>
Check here for polling locations >>

Take Action

Tell Cruz and Cornyn to end US support for the Saudi War in Yemen

Last week, in a surprise rebuke to the President, the Senate voted 63-37 to advance a resolution to stop the US support for the Saudi war in Yemen. Less surprising is that Senators Cornyn and Cruz were among the 37 who are on the wrong side of this issue.

The Senate is likely to take up the resolution again this week. There is still time to change minds. Call Cruz and Cornyn and ask why they continue to support a war in which 85,000 children under age 5 have died from starvation since 2015. Also ask them to support their colleagues Corker and Menendez’s demand for a determination on the role of the Saudi Crown Prince in their role of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The President continues to side with autocrats over the American people. We need our Congress to do their job and provide a check on Trump’s corruption.

Read Indivisible’s resource on the conflict in Yemen >>
Read House and Senate scripts from Celeste Pewter >>

How your voices are making a difference

  • Contributions to the NRA went down $55 million
  • George Papadopoulous reported to prison
  • A section of the street in front of the Saudi embassy in DC will be renamed Jamal Khashoggi Way

Read more >>

Events

TX LEGE 2019 Training

TXLEGE 2019 Training

Are you stumped by how the Lege works? Want to engage on specific issues next session? Join us December 8th for an Indivisible #txlege training.

  • Session 1: This is Your Capitol
  • Session 2: Engaging with Advocacy Organizations
  • Session 3: Lunch with Lawmakers

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave.

Auditorium and Legislative Conference Center (both are located on the lower level in the Capitol Extension)

Lunch provided (training is free, $10 suggested lunch donations for lunch and materials gratefully accepted)

RSVP here >>

Want to keep up with #txlege alerts? Sign up for our special #txlege email list >>

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

The further we get from the election, the more we see how significant our gains were. The more we see how significant our gains were, the more we realize just how much farther we have to go just to get back to even, with all that Trump has done to our country—and “back to even” isn’t good enough for our marginalized communities.

But now, with the tremendous gains that we saw in the election, we can also see a path forward to celebrate, protect, and expand democracy and human rights to drive justice, equity, and inclusion.

We’ve got a long way to go. Go with us. Help us get there by making a gift to Indivisible Austin today.