RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR FEB 01, 2022

The RRT (Rapid Response Team) Action List compiles action items from the week and upcoming events into one place. If you would like to add anything to the weekly update, please send it to Dee Halzack at dee@solidaritylowell.com.

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Save the Date: Solidarity Lowell February General Meeting

Sunday February 27 at 5:30pm, on Zoom
Speaker: Alexander Chandler of Protect Democracy (former primary candidate for the Third Congressional District)

Assistance urgently needed for our asylum-seeker

From: Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network (MVISN)

Asylum-Seeker Marius now has employment, but is having issues with his employer. MVISN may need to extend assistance through Feb or March. Any amount will be gratefully accepted.

Donations via:
CashApp – $gollygee17
Venmo – @owlnerd
Please put “Marius” in the notes

For more information, email marissa@solidaritylowell.com

Other Events

Imani Perry on South to America

Wednesday, February 7 / 6:30 pm
Virtual Program

To register: https://www.bklynlibrary.org/calendar/cbh-talk-imani-perry-virtual-20220209

In South to America, Imani Perry, professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, surmises that the meaning of America is inextricably linked to the South, and that to build a more humane future in the United States we must truly understand the history and culture below the Mason-Dixon line.

Vigils For Racial Justice

February 27, 2022
March 27, 2022
April 24, 2022

2 to 3 PM
Littleton Common & First Baptist Church
Sponsored by The Greater Littleton Interfaith Council

If wind chill factor is below 32 degrees, this event will be canceled.

State-Level Actions

Action in Support of Work and Family Mobility Act

Merrimack Valley Project received word that the Joint Committee on Transportation has granted an extension for the Work and Family Mobility Act to March 4th. That gives us just under 5 weeks to generate overwhelming public support for the bill to advance out of committee and onto the floor for a vote this session. To help generate this support, MVP is asking folks to email all 18 members of the committee, using the preformatted link below:

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/email-the-joint-transportation-committee?source=twitter&

The email can be edited. You are encouraged to add a bit about how and why the bill is important to you personally.

Support the Progressive Mass Legislative Agenda

From: Jonathan Cohn, Policy Director Progressive Massachusetts

This Wednesday is an important deadline for our Legislative Agenda. That’s because it’s what’s known as Joint Rule 10 Day, the date by which every Joint Committee in the MA Legislature must make a decision on the bills in its purview.

That can mean a favorable report (a yes), an adverse report (a no), or an extension (a punt until later). But it has to be something.

If you have time before Wednesday, please email key legislative committees about our priority bills and some of the bills from our close allies. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get the contact information for every committee in order to email. If you go to https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Joint there are links to every committee. On the Committee pages, there are links to all the members, including the chair and  vice chair.  At the linked pages, you’ll find emails.  Pick a committee that has bills that are important to you and write your legislator if they’re on the committee and write to the chair and vice chair at least.

Joint Committee on Housing

Real Estate Transfer Fee (S.868 / H.1377): An Act empowering cities and towns to support affordable housing with a fee on certain real estate transactions (Comerford – Connolly), which would enables cities and towns to assess a fee of 0.5-2% on residential and commercial real estate transactions, with the funds allocated to affordable housing trust funds.

Tenant Protection Act (S.886 / H.1378): An Act enabling local options for tenant protections (Gomez – Connolly/Elugardo), which would enable cities and towns to pass tenant protections such as rent stabilization laws, just cause eviction, limitations on condo conversions, etc.

Tenant Opportunity to Purchase (S.890 / H.1426): An Act to guarantee a tenant’s first right of refusal (Jehlen – Livingstone/Consalvo), which would provide tenants of small, medium, and large multifamily properties with right of first refusal when the owner plans to put a building on the market.

Right to Counsel (S.874 / H.1436): An Act promoting housing stability and homelessness prevention in Massachusetts (DiDomenico – Day / Rogers), which would provide legal representation for low-income tenants and owner-occupants in eviction proceedings.

Joint Committee on Public Safety

Safe Communities Act (S.1579 / H.2418): An Act to protect the civil rights and safety of all Massachusetts residents (Eldridge – Balser/Miranda), which would limit local and state police collaboration with federal immigration agents, bar law enforcement and court personnel from inquiring about immigration status, and ensure due process protections.

Curbing Solitary Confinement (S.1578 / H.2504): An Act to provide criminal justice reform protections to all prisoners in segregated confinement (Eldridge – Miranda), which would expand the rights of those in solitary confinement, including requiring treatment for those with serious mental illness and monthly reviews for eligibility to return to the general population.

No Cost Calls (S.1559): An Act relative to inmate telephone calls (Creem), which would prevent prisons and jails from charging individuals who are incarcerated for phone calls to loved ones.

Alternative Crisis Response (S.1552 / H.2519): An Act to Create Alternatives for Community Emergency Services (ACES), which would create a grant program through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to increase the availability of non-law-enforcement, unarmed community-based response options for calls to 911 (Chang-Diaz — Sabadosa)

Joint Committee on Education

Common Start (S.362 / H.605): An Act providing affordable and accessible high quality early education and care to promote child development and well-being and support the economy in the Commonwealth (Lewis/Moran – Gordon/Madaro), which would establish a universal system of affordable, high-quality early education and child care for all Massachusetts families, over a 5-year timeline.

CARES Bill (S.365 / H.584): An Act relative to anti-racism, equity and justice in education (Lewis / Elugardo – Uyterhoeven), which would create a commission to develop curriculum materials with a social justice perspective of dismantling racism and ensure that ethnic studies, racial justice, decolonizing history, and unlearning racism is taught at all grade levels using a critical approach and pedagogy that is age-appropriate.

Joint Committee on the Judiciary

Eviction Sealing (S.921 / H.1808): Housing Opportunity and Mobility through Eviction Sealing bills (HOMES) (Boncore – Moran), which would protect tenants from being unfairly branded with an eviction record, especially if they don’t have a judgment against them, if they weren’t actually evicted, or if they didn’t do anything wrong.

No Cost Calls (H.1900): An Act relative to inmate telephone calls (Tyler), which would prevent prisons and jails from charging individuals who are incarcerated for phone calls to loved ones.

Prison Moratorium (H.1905): An Act establishing a jail and prison construction moratorium (Tyler), which would prevent the state from building new prisons and jails, which would lock in a carceral system through increased capacity.

Raising the Age (S.920 / H.1826): An Act to promote public safety and better outcomes for young adults (Boncore – O’Day/Khan), which would raise the age of criminal majority to 21, allowing youth to have better access to treatment and educational services and thereby reducing recidivism.

Joint Committee on Transportation

Work & Family Mobility Act (S.2289 / H.3456): An Act relative to work and family mobility during and subsequent to the COVID-19 emergency (Crighton – Farley-Bouvier/Barber), which would enable all qualified state residents to apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license or identification card, regardless of immigrant status. [NOTE: action on this already requested by Merrimack Valley Project above]

Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, & Energy

Building Justice with Jobs (S.2226 / H.3365): An Act providing for building justice with jobs (Pacheco – Robinson/LeBoeuf), which would put thousands of MA residents to work retrofitting 100,000 homes each year to improve energy efficiency and health outcomes, and reduce utility bills and carbon emissions.

Siting Reform (S.2135 / H.3336): An Act Relative to Energy Facilities Siting Reform to Address Environmental Justice, Climate, and Public Health (Boncore – Madaro), which adds environmental justice, public health, and climate to the factors that the Energy Facilities Siting Board must consider in its deliberations; requires community engagement prior to filing for environmental or Siting Board review of a petition to construct an oil, gas, or substation facility; among other steps.

Joint Committee on Revenue

HERO Bill (S.1853 / H.2890): An Act providing for climate change adaptation infrastructure and affordable housing investments in the Commonwealth (Eldridge – Elugardo), which would doubles the deeds excise tax on home sales to provide a funding stream for the Global Warming Solutions Fund, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and the Housing Preservation and Stabilization Fund.

PILOT Reform (S.1874 / H.3080): An Act relative to payments in lieu of taxation by organizations exempt from the property tax (Gomez – Uyterhoeven), which would enable cities and towns with nonprofits owning total property valued at or above $15 million to require them to make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) equal to 25% what they would have owed without the exemption.

Next action in support of Safe Communities Act

Folks are being asked to email the Public Safety Committee now to make sure the Safe Communities Act receives a favorable report.

As the decision deadline approaches, we expect our opponents to ramp up their efforts to sway the Committee, as they did before the December hearing. We need to make sure our support drowns them out! Will you take a minute to email the committee right now using our easy tool, even if you contacted them in December? This will send a strong message of support.

If you’re able to, please try to personalize the template email we’ve provided with one or two reasons why you support the Safe Communities Act. This will ensure that your email stands out in the committee members’ email inboxes. Once you’ve sent your messages, make sure to share the email tool with your networks in order to amplify your support!

Email the Public Safety Committee members right now.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-the-public-safety-committee-report-the-safe-communities-act-out-favorably/

Support the Indigenous Legislative Agenda

Steps to Making 9 Calls for MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda!

Find the Phone Numbers for Your Own Legislators (Lowell and a few others are listed at the end of this section) Rep. Howard has co-sponsored all bills except S.382/H.651 (Celebrate and Teach Native Culture).. NONE of the other Lowell legislators have co-sponsored any of the bills.

– Call YOUR legislators using the generic script.
– Call the Committee Chairs for the following committees using the script provided.

  • Senate Committee on Ways and Means
  • Joint Committee on Education
  • Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development
  • Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight

Generic Script for calling your own Senator and Representative about all five priority bills:

Hi, my name is _______, I live in TOWN and I am a constituent of X.

How are you doing? I am calling in support of the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda. We have five priority bills that need to make it out of committee and I’d like X to contact the committee chairs about them.

In the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, I’d like to see S.2493 An Act Prohibiting the Use of Native American Mascots by Public Schools in the Commonwealth reported out favorably.

In the Joint Committee on Education, I’d like to see the following two bills reported out favorably:
H.651/S.382 An Act relative to celebrating and teaching Native American culture and history
H.582 An Act providing for the creation of a permanent commission relative to the education of American Indian and Alaska Native residents of the Commonwealth.

In the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, I’d like to see H.3385/H.3377/S.2240/S.2239 An Act to protect Native American heritage reported out favorably.

In the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, I’d like to see H.3191/S.2027 An Act establishing an Indigenous Peoples Day reported out favorably.

Generic Script for Senate Committee on Ways and Means
Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues (617) 722-1114

Hi, my name is _______, I live in TOWN.

How are you doing?  I am calling in support of the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda. In the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, I’d like to see S.2493 An Act Prohibiting the Use of Native American Mascots by Public Schools in the Commonwealth called to a vote and reported out favorably.

Thank you for your time.

Generic Script for Joint Committee on Education
Sen. Jason M. Lewis (617) 722-1206
Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch (617) 722-2070

Hi, my name is _______, I live in TOWN.

How are you doing?  I am calling in support of the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda. In the Joint Committee on Education, I’d like to see the following two bills called to a vote and reported out favorably:

H.651/S.382 An Act relative to celebrating and teaching Native American culture and history
H.582 An Act providing for the creation of a permanent commission relative to the education of American Indian and Alaska Native residents of the Commonwealth

Thank you for your time.

Generic Script for Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development
Sen. Edward J. Kennedy (617) 722-1630
Rep. Carole A. Fiola (617) 722-2430

Hi, my name is _______, I live in TOWN.

How are you doing?  I am calling in support of the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda. In the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, I’d like to see H.3385/H.3377/S.2240/S.2239 An Act to protect Native American heritage called to a vote and reported out favorably.

Thank you for your time.

Generic Script for Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
Sen. Marc R. Pacheco (617) 722-1551
Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral (617) 722-2017

Hi, my name is _______, I live in TOWN.

How are you doing?  I am calling in support of the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda. In the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, I’d like to see H.3191/S.2027 An Act establishing an Indigenous Peoples Day called to a vote and reported out favorably.

Thank you for your time.

TWITTER

Twitter Goal: Engage legislators directly about the bill. Be sure to pick an image to share with your post.

Sample Tweets:
It’s time for the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda. (Thank you for co-sponsor) OR (Co-sponsor now), (insert your legislator’s handle) Let’s get these bills out of committee! @UAINE @NAICOB91 #mapoli https://youtu.be/CQelq6wRYJc

Did Your State Rep Vote to Block Same Day Registration?

From: Jonathan Cohn, Policy Director Progressive Massachusetts

President Joe Biden supports Same Day Registration.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey support Same Day Registration.
All 9 of Massachusetts’s US Representatives support Same Day Registration.
All 37 Democratic members of the MA Senate support Same Day Registration.
But despite all that, the MA House voted to block it on Thursday during the floor debate on the VOTES Act on Thursday.

In a vote of 93 to 64, the MA House voted to send Same Day Registration, a policy working well in countless others states, to a costly and needless study and to block consideration of a compromise amendment on Election Day Registration.

Those who voted YES sought to uphold arbitrary and exclusionary voter registration cutoff periods, arguing that Massachusetts was too technologically backwards, our clerks too incompetent, and our laws too perfect relative to other states.

Those who voted NO wanted a chance to debate and vote on the Election Day Registration amendment filed by State Rep. Nika Elugardo (D-Jamaica Plain), which had the backing of both voting rights advocates and town clerks. (The 3 Republican NO votes likely thought that even a study was too far.)

If your state rep voted YES, email or call them about your disappointment. (Reps Mom and Golden voted YES).

If your state rep is one of the 61 Democrats who voted NO, email or call them to thank them for their vote. (Reps. Howard and Gouveia voted NO.)

See below for contact information.

Curious how the whole floor debate went down? Read our write-up here.

There’s still plenty of good in the underlying bill (the House’s watered down version of the VOTES Act), including codifying recent mail-in voting and early voting reforms and strengthening the 2018 Automatic Voter Registration law. The House, on close to party line votes, defeated a number of Republican amendments to weaken the bill and passed one amendment from Rep. Liz Miranda (D-Roxbury) and Rep. Chynah Tyler (D-Roxbury) to strengthen the language around protecting the voting rights of incarcerated individuals. You can read all about that in the recap. But the fact that Massachusetts House Democrats continue to defend voter registration cutoffs is unacceptable.

If your state rep voted to block Same Day Registration, you will probably hear any number of excuses for why Massachusetts can’t have a policy that Maine has had since the 1970s and that countless pro-democracy think tanks champion as a gold standard policy.

Read about common excuses and how to rebut them here.

Our State Legislators’ Info

House Speaker Ronald Mariano: Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov 617-722-2500
Senate President: Karen E. Spilka: Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov 617-722-1500
Rep. Thomas Golden Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov  617-722-2263
Rep. Vanna Howard Vanna.Howard@mahouse.gov  617-722-2800 x7302 / Google Voice: 978-272-9078
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. Colleen Garry Colleen.Garry@mahouse.gov 617-722-2380
Rep. Tram Nguyen tram.nguyen@mahouse.gov 617-722-2425
Sen. Edward Kennedy edward.kennedy@masenate.gov 617-722-1630
Sen. Michael Barrett Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov 617-722-1572
Sen. Jamie Eldridge James.Eldridge@masenate.gov 617-722-1120
Sen. Barry Finegold Barry.Finegold@masenate.gov 617-722-1612
(… or find yours here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator)

Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133

National Actions

Our Federal Legislators’ Info

Senator Elizabeth Warren: 617-565-3170
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
https://www.warren.senate.gov/contact/shareyouropinion

Senator Edward Markey: 617-565-8519
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
https://www.markey.senate.gov/contact/share-your-opinion

Representative Lori Trahan: 978-459-0101 / 202-225-3411
https://trahan.house.gov/contact/write-your-rep.htm

Representative Seth Moulton: 978-531-1669 / 202-225-8020
https://moulton.house.gov/contact

Solidarity Lowell is a volunteer group of community members of Greater Lowell working toward social justice by defending the human rights, dignity, and equality of all persons against all forms of hate and discrimination.
 

Visit the Solidarity Lowell website: http://solidaritylowell.com

For more events not listed here, visit the full Events calendar: http://solidaritylowell.com/events/

January meeting notes:
https://tinyurl.com/39mkh38f

January meeting recording:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXXvIypE9Zc

See recordings of past Solidarity Lowell meetings on our YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCohwMIkVdabQdDHsVTLIGsQ

For positive news visit Solidarity Lowell Upbeat on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/326202548419687

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Solidarity Lowell is a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts. Click here to join: https://www.progressivemass.com/contribute

Posted by Caroline Snow