Your weekly to-dos
Contact Senator Sinema and ask her to protect voting rights and eliminate Republican obstruction
- Call your members of Congress to demand they pass meaningful COVID-19 relief without watering it down. Even as more and more people lose their jobs and their loved ones to the virus, Republicans seem to be more concerned with political games than delivering relief to hard-hit communities. And while COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, there’s no doubt that the virus has disproportionately impacted Black communities. Today, Republicans are meeting with President Biden to discuss a much smaller relief package in the name of “unity” and “bipartisanship” (see below for more details). We need to build on Biden’s plan with meaningful improvements and pass a package that takes this crisis seriously.
- With one week before Trump’s impeachment trial, apply pressure on Senators to remove and disqualify. The impeachment trial is starting on February 8, but we need to keep calling this week so they know we still care. We won’t forget the images of white nationalists roaming the itol with confederate flags and Nazi paraphernalia — and we need anyone who dismisses the gravity of what happened last month to be held accountable. Many Republicans are still promoting “unity” over accountability and would rather not disturb Trump’s base by voting to convict him. This is a fight we believe we can win — but only if we bring enough pressure.
- Make calls for democracy reform. Now that we have a Democratic trifecta, we have to move quickly to unrig our democracy so all of our other priorities can be within reach. We’re setting our sights on passing H.R. 1/ S. 1, the For the People Act, a robust reform package that targets voter suppression, gerrymandering, money in politics, corruption, and more. Also on our agenda, passing H.R. 51/ S. 51 to make D.C. the 51st state. Both of these bills represent critical structural democracy reforms and racial justice priorities. They’ll make our democracy more equitable and representative of the people.
- solution to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene and vote to expel when it comes to the floor. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is a seditious, hateful, QAnon-supporting, racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic congresswoman and she deserves to be expelled from the House of Representatives. While we support expulsion and other consequences for additional members who have broken their oaths, this is an important step forward toward accountability and restoring the integrity of Congress.
- Sign up for Tuesday’s 100 Days for Climate, Jobs, and Justice: Winning the THRIVE Agenda Livestream. Amidst a confluence of devastating crises — the pandemic, racial injustice, economic devastation, and of course climate change — we have a historic opportunity to set our country on a different course in the next few months. But it will take all of us working together to make our voices heard and demand change.
Voters Not Politicians
VNP volunteers consistently identify the corruptive influence of money in politics as a top concern. Michigan ranks dead last in state integrity. We lack open access to information from the Legislature and Governor. Our elected officials are not required to report any financial conflicts of interest, leaving the door open for a few bad apples to enact law that supports personal income streams instead of helping Michiganders.
Now that the 2020 election is behind us, we’re returning our attention to ensuring that Michigan’s government is working for voters, not politicians. VNP volunteers and leaders are rolling up their sleeves and getting back to work on this important issue. Read on to find out what we’re planning, and how you can plug in.
“We appreciate Gov. Whitmer’s call for bipartisan action to tackle the crises facing our state. Following the recent unprecedented attacks on our democracy, we urge lawmakers to prioritize legislation to restore the public’s trust in our government. Passing open records laws, requiring financial disclosure, strengthening conflicts of interest rules, and other reforms will be a strong start.” – Nancy Wang, Jan 28, 2021
Lack of transparency and public access to official records makes it difficult for voters to hold politicians accountable. Michigan is one of only two states that doesn’t require the Governor to adhere to open record laws, and is one of only 8 states that doesn’t require the Legislature to do so. We need to enact sunshine laws, which give the public access to meetings, records, model bills, votes, deliberations, and more. Sunshine laws are the best disinfectant against corruption. They give voters the information they need to understand whether politicians are acting in the public’s interest.
Impose a multi-year “cooling off period” so that legislators cannot become lobbyists for a number of years after leaving office. Currently, Michigan state representatives and senators can immediately leave the Legislature and start a new high-paying job as a lobbyist, even in sectors they regulated as lawmakers. This “revolving door” — where people cycle between government and lobbying firms working to influence the government — puts more influence and power in lobbyists and special interest groups and further erodes the public’s trust in our state government.
Require personal financial disclosures by lawmakers.Disclosures are critical to uncovering potential conflicts of interest. Michigan is one of only two states in the country that doesn’t require any personal financial disclosure by state lawmakers, judges, and other elected or appointed officials. This breeds corruption and self-dealing.
Lame Duck reforms would require 2/3 approval in both legislative chambers to pass a law during the “lame duck” session. The Legislature could still pass laws during the “lame duck” session, but only if they have broad, bipartisan support. This supermajority requirement would have prevented the extreme abuse of “lame duck” that we saw following the 2018 election.
*All in-person events have been suspended due to COVID-19.* While Michigan has been one of the leading states on COVID response, we must continue to follow CDC guidelines to minimize the spread of the virus.
- Statewide Volunteer Call – February 14 Join us at 7PM to hear the latest updates and ask questions. Sign up here!
- Save the Date: February 25, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM – The Next Big Thing: Redistricting in Michigan and the Role of Communities of Interest. (Webinar
One of the most effective tools available to constituents is a phone call. Legislators need to know how their constituents feel about issues, but it sometimes seems as if bills move through the Michigan House and Senate in secret. VNP is committed to centering voters in the bill passage process. We are tracking legislation so we can provide volunteers with the necessary information to talk to their representatives, and at the best possible time.
Our Dial for Democracy team receives an email, phone call, or text alert that provides the details about legislation necessary for you to have a confident conversation, including the representatives name and contact information, research, and bill number(s). You also have the option of emailing and tweeting your rep with a
provided script after your phone call. After you reach out to your Rep/Senator, you will fill out a short form to let us know how it went so we know where to put pressure or lift up who is doing great work in the legislature.
This tactic works. During the VoteSafe campaign, VNP volunteers made 1,500 legislative phone calls and successfully advocated for an amendment to Public Act 116, which allowed clerks in larger municipalities to process ballots the day before Election Day, and provided a requirement that clerks notify voters of a signature error that would invalidate their absentee ballot.
Sign up here to be part of the Dial for Democracy legislative advocacy team, and make sure you have opted in to receiving emails from VNP: https://secure.everyaction.com/eWZ5kvEwAkm_7OWJXtcFiQ2
How you can stay involved, and help make structural democracy reforms:
- Join our volunteer ranks. Democracy is fragile, but you can make a difference.
- Make a donation to show your support. A strong democracy that puts voters – not politicians – first is more important now than ever before. Monthly recurring donations are especially important to keep
State Field Director
Voters Not Politicians
This email was sent by Voters Not Politicians
PO Box 16180 Lansing, MI 48901 | (517) 225 1812
The above is a fantastic cognitive bias chart. Check it out. We are all susceptible to these biases but we can meditate them with understanding and a willingness to step back and do some hard thinking.