Updates + Actions
Politics Are Local A4D March Meeting Notes
Act for Democracy’s March meeting featured Julia Meier, former Executive Director of the Portland City Club and current Project Manager for the Portland Charter Review Commission. Portland’s charter system of government was established in 1917 and outgrew its usefulness years ago. No other American city of similar size functions under this form of government. Our mayor and four city commissioners are elected citywide rather than by district, which has historically resulted in under representation of large sectors of the city. The mayor appoints a portfolio of bureaus to each commissioner, irrespective of whether the commissioner has expertise in a given area. A review of the charter, which is mandated every ten years, is currently underway. Twenty people serve on the Charter Commission and will present their recommendations to the City Council and ultimately to Portland voters on the November, 2022 ballot or at a later special election. Julia stressed that community input is welcomed and, indeed, vital to ensure that all voices are heard and considered in the process. She emphasized that our involvement can make a real difference in the final recommendations! You can find more information about the Charter Commission here, which includes schedules and links to upcoming public meetings on March 30 and April 6, from 6:00–8:30pm. Meetings are open to the public and available via Zoom. For the People Act, HR1/S1 Take Action Now! Now is the time to push for action on the For the People Act, HR1/S1, especially on the heels of Georgia’s recent offenses! The fight to pass the bill will be fought in the Senate in April, probably towards the middle of or late in the month. First, the bill will be presented, debated, and refined in the Senate Rules Committee. Amy Klobuchar, Chair, our own Jeff Merkley, and Chuck Schumer are key members of the committee. It is in the Rules Committee that Senate procedures, like the filibuster, are decided. Visit Indivisible’s national page to sign up to get involved or go to the DemCast site. Another option is to join a postcard campaign by reaching out to Michelle at email@example.com. You’ll be writing New York voters to call Chuck Schumer and demand that he does everything possible to ensure that S1 is passed, which will most likely mean ending the filibuster, even if only for civil rights legislation. Indivisible Tuesdays with Wyden & Blumenauer Meet with staff from the offices of Senator Wyden and Representative Blumenauer on Tuesday, April 6 from 11:30am to 12:30pm. Register here. Legislative Updates The A4D Immigration Action Team is encouraged that the State legislature will be holding a March 30 public hearing on two immigration bills, HB3230 and SB389. If they become law, they would provide funding for grants to agencies that provide assistance to immigrants seeking asylum, fighting deportation, and working towards citizenship. If you are interested in joining the Immigration Action Team, please contact Guy Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org. Regarding gun legislation, last Thursday the Senate passed SB 554, the bill that would allow local authorities to bar everyone, including concealed carry license holders, from taking guns into public buildings. The big news is that the GOP didn't walk out, although the bill still has to go through the House. Three of the four common-sense gun-safety bills A4D supports have survived the winnowing that occurred on March 19, when hundreds of bills died, either from not having had a hearing scheduled after March 19 or from not being assigned to the Rules or Ways and Means Committees. One of the bills that died was the ghost gun bill, SB 396. Please find information about upcoming hearings and events for bills A4D is tracking via the fol lowing links: Campaign Finance/Election Reform Gun Safety Housing Immigration Universal Broadband Click here for a list of all bills recommended by A4D’s Legislative Action Team. To learn more, visit the Oregon Legislative Information System; find your Oregon legislators here. Thank-you Postcard Campaign Join A4D members in Vote Forward’s thank-you postcard campaign to Virginia and Georgia. Write thank-you-for-voting letters to first-time and infrequent voters in Virginia and Georgia who cast ballots in 2020. Both states have elections coming up later this year, and the hope is that by encouraging having a plan for the future, these voters will make voting a habit. Visit Vote Forward to get started. encourage 2020 voters to make voting a habit. Recently Bentz Relents ● Virtual Lobby Day Representative Cliff Bentz from Oregon’s second congressional district started off his career in the nation’s capital by voting not to recognize Pennsylvania’s electors on January 6. A week ago members of COIN (Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network) had a meeting with Bentz in which he acknowledged that the 2020 election was not stolen and that everyone should get vaccinated! Read all about it here. The Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV) and the Oregon Conservation Network held a virtual Lobby Day on March 24. Several A4D members joined more than 250 activists to learn about bills that were then taken to legislators, who were urged to support the bills. A4D’s Michael Heumann, who was there, found the meetings with legislators rewarding and effective. “Our input and concerns were taken seriously as voices from constituents.” To join A4D’s Climate/Energy/Environment Action Team, contact Steve Mullinax at email@example.com.