PEG 12th Congressional District
Newsletter #203. Thursday, March 4, 2021
Celebrating Black women leading the way in today’s social justice activism
Today, women’s voices and perspectives are critical to a broader struggle for human rights and Black women continued strides in the civil right’s movement are no longer in the shadows. The modern women’s narrative has gained and lost the wider populace support, but overall it has led to a society that is pushing toward acceptance and inclusivity, and is more comfortable with successful women leading than in the past. As we honor women throughout the month of March, let’s venerate those who paved the way, continue to support and celebrate the living legends among us. Together, women are creating a level playing field that will benefit all of society. Read more at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Meanwhile in Michigan
Legislators play Ping Pong while children go hungry: Call for Covid Relief
Urge State GOP House members to stand firm and protect relief money allotted in the Covid Relief bill for hungry Michigan families. Michigan Resistance is calling six somewhat moderate Republicans to let them know their concern is appreciated and that hungry families are depending on them for help. MI Resistance is also urging them to insist that all available food money be included in the bill as well as increased amounts for rental assistance; COVID vaccines and testing; and other crucial support. These House members represent largely rural districts where food insecurity is widespread. Read more here. See our suggested script below.

Call these GOP MI House Members:
  • Thomas Albert – D86 Ionia (517) 373-0846  
  • Andrew Fink – D58 Hillsdale (517) 373-1794     
  • Annette Glenn – D98 Midland (517) 373-1791 
  • Scott VanSingel – D100 Newaygo (517) 373-7317
  • Tommy Brann – D77 Wyoming (517) 373-2277
  • Timothy Beson – D96 Bay City (517) 373-0158

POSSIBLE SCRIPT FOR CALLING REPRESENTATIVES:
I am disappointed that both the House and Senate plans for allotting Federal COVID relief money fall well short of meeting the urgent needs in our state. However, I appreciate Representative ________ ‘s concern for the hungry families depending on them by including $500 million for food assistance in the House plan. I urge Rep _______ to protect this money in the final bill. Food assistance not only helps the hungry, but supports the grocers, small farmers, and other businesses in our community.
CENSUS - See how states like Michigan could be affected

Date changes have created angst for the political parties and its' constituencies and placed states in difficult positions to legally and accurately complete their responsibilities. Some states have constitutional deadlines for redistricting...

Read more
equalityingov.org
Michigan Resistance: Four years of fighting for Progressive causes
Michigan Resistance began in the dark days following Trump’s victory, energized by the disappointment of Progressives. During that lame duck session from November to December in 2016, when Republicans in the State Houses felt empowered by Trump’s victory to pass conservative, even right-wing bills, a band of Progressives met with Democrats in the State Houses who kept them informed of the legislative goings-on which needed protest. Armed with a list of 20,000 Democratic voters from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, these Progressives called them to ask them to call their state senators and representatives, remembers Margaret Schankler, who was in the founding group of Michigan Resistance. “We empowered Democrats who felt they had no power. We gave them a voice and something meaningful to do,” she added. In the early months of their resistance, the founding members stymied or prevented the passing of many right-wing bills in Michigan’s State Houses, including a proposal to cut the pensions of teachers and school staff as well as municipal workers, to require a photo ID to vote, and to limit lifetime catastrophic injuries benefit. (The latter proposal, unfortunately, passed in 2017.)
           
In the four years since Michigan Resistance began, its mission retains the same local focus although much has changed. For one, the State Houses have become more partisan. No longer are there four or five Republican state congresspeople who are on the fence. Also, in the months preceding the 2020 presidential election, Michigan Resistance devoted themselves to campaigning, rather than what Schankler terms “legislative advocacy.” Members are proud of helping in the 2018 election to elect two progressive Michigan Supreme Court Justices, Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and Justice Elizabeth Welch, as well as the hard fought elections of Democratic State Representatives Kelly Breen and Christine Morse, who became the first Democrat to represent the 61st district in 27 years.
Michigan Resistance will continue to fight for progressive legislation in the two Republican controlled state houses, while hoping that the upcoming redistricting will give them more Democratic legislators. For more information, go to the group's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/michiganresistance. To join their effort, signup at http://michiganresistance.org/
Events
Monday, March 8. Virtual Panel on COVID-19 and women
In recognition of International Women’s Day, this is a virtual discussion regarding the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, work, and immigration during the current social climate. Hosted by EMU Women’s Studies. Read more and find the zoom link here. 5:30–7 pm
Wednesday, March 10. Centering Justice Webinar Series
What does it mean to reclaim Black narratives, to be the authors and curators of their own truths? Hear from local leaders and griots, Leslie McGraw, Alex Thomas, and Orlando Bailey about how their experiences as storytellers are shaping their visions of a just and thriving society. Centering Justice, hosted by Nonprofit Enterprises at Work, is a space to honor and uplift the voices of leaders of color as central pillars in change-making. Listening to their lived experiences gives more context to the narrative unfolding in today’s climate. Register today. 12 pm
Wednesday, March 10. The 18th Peter M. Wege Lecture, featuring Naomi Klein
A virtual conversation with award-winning journalist, columnist, and best-selling author Naomi Klein. The conversation will cover the issues we now face: how to address climate change, environmental justice, and other impacts of lives on the planet and within society. Hosted by the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. Register for the event here. 7–8 pm
Wednesday, March 10. Brews & Views with LWV 
Should a zip code really be a factor in life and death? The Washtenaw County Opportunity Index shows that life expectancy in Ypsilanti’s 48198 zip code is nine years less than in Ann Arbor’s 48104 zip code. Speakers at this month’s Brews and Views will inform about disparities in access to health care, in quality or lack of treatment, and in health outcomes in Washtenaw County. They will also address the causes of these disparities, efforts being made to mitigate them, and how individuals can help redress this gross American injustice. Register to attend here. 7 pm

Sunday, March 14. Conversations! with No Labels and Debbie Dingell
Host Chuck Newman's guests will include Ryan Clancy of No Labels, and Representative Debbie Dingell of the Problem Solvers' Caucus. They will discuss prospects for bipartisan legislation and their largely unknown success and will explore ideas for rescuing American democracy. Email Noemi Herzig of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor with questions or to get link information to attend this event. 7 pm
Tuesday, March 16. Say Their Names: Carrying on the Legacy of History-Making Women with Dr. Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins
Women leaders of the 21st century stand tall because they stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before. Honor these history-making women during Women’s History Month by remembering their names and carrying on their legacy. Presented by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area - Brighton/Howell Area Geographical Unit and the Howell Carnegie District Library. Registration is required and there are 78 seats left as of Feb 25. The Zoom meeting link and password will be emailed to registered participants. Read the details and register here. 7 pm
Wednesday, March 17. Michigan Lunch & Learn: Abortion Stigma Disinformation Training
This discussion will revolve around how disinformation tactics used by the anti-choice movement informs and perpetuates abortion stigma while causing real harm to those seeking reproductive care. Receive in-depth training to identify and dispel disinformation around reproductive freedom and health as a continuation on other recent trainings provided by NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. Register here. Noon.
NextGen 2021 Organizing Virtual Training Workshops: 
  • Contacting Representatives 
In 2021, NextGen will continue the hard work and will be contacting our elected representatives in Congress and the Biden administration to demand action on the issues that affect the lives of American citizens. In this workshop, individuals will be provided with the resources needed to contact elected officials, as well as how to use social media to amplify those actions. NextGen America will train and support volunteers to organize their communities, engage with NextGen supporters, and take action to make progressive change by advocating for issues that affect young people. Dates available through March. See the schedule and register here

  • Relational Organizing
Relational organizing had big success in 2020 and NexGen is looking to carry that momentum into 2021. Throughout March, join this workshop to learn how to recruit family and friends to become NextGen activists. To make progressive change, a big team is necessary. Read and register here. Tuesdays at 6 pm or Thursdays at 8 pm 

  • Coffee Hours
There's a lot of work to be done in 2021 to advocate for progressive change. Every Friday in March, over coffee (or tea, etc.) join NextGen Coffee Hours as one news article per week is discussed, and help decide what actions can be taken. Sign up here. Noon
Things to read, watch, and listen to
CIVICS DECK - What is Reconciliation
Reconciliation
Reconciliation is a process that makes legislation easier to pass in the Senate. Instead of needing 60 votes, a reconciliation bill only needs a simple majority in the Senate.

Reconciliation was created in a 1974 budget law and its main purpose was to reduce the deficit. In spite of its original purpose, reconciliation is also used to increase the deficit. Trump's tax bill is an example. Budget reconciliation is attractive because it allows passage of a bill in the Senate with just a simple majority of votes versus the often required 60 votes.

In both chambers, the budgetary process starts with a budget resolution crafted by the Budget Committees (led by John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Steve Womack (R-AR) in the House and led by Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the Senate).
In the House, reconciliation bills move forward in the same manner as other legislation. But reconciliation comes with major procedural advantages (and challenges) in the Senate. The main procedural advantage is that reconciliation bills are limited to 20 hours of debate and not subject to filibuster; therefore, reconciliation bills can move forward and pass with a simple majority vote. Another procedural advantage is that amendments to reconciliation bills must be germane – a strict standard requiring relevance to the pending bill. Additionally, reconciliation bills are subject to the Byrd Rule in the Senate, first adopted in 1980, with the idea that since Senate bills are considered to be expedited they should be limited in scope. The Byrd Rule prohibits the inclusion of “extraneous” measures, defined as measures with no budgetary effect; that worsen the deficit when a committee has not achieved its reconciliation target; outside the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted the title or provision; that produce a budgetary effect that is merely incidental to the non-budgetary policy change; that increase deficits for any fiscal year outside the reconciliation window; and that recommend changes to Social Security.
Reconciliation bills however are not an open-ended, easy way to maneuver around the Senate’s filibuster rules. The Senate can consider three basic subjects of reconciliation – spending, revenues, and the federal debt limit – in a single bill or multiple bills. There cannot be an unlimited number of reconciliation bills in a year. With the current Congress, there can be two; one for fiscal year 2021 (which ends September 30, 2021) and another for fiscal year 2022 (which ends September 30, 2022).

What happened in February 2021
With Democrats now in control of both the House and Senate, both houses moved quickly in early February to pass a budget resolution for fiscal year 2021. (Vice President Harris broke a tie in the Senate.) The resolution clears the path for a reconciliation bill that includes most, or at least a lot, of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan to extend emergency unemployment benefits, send $1,400 per person checks to most households, beef up the public health system, and send aid to state and local governments—and would not require any Republican votes in the Senate provided all 50 Democrats vote “yes.” The passage of a budget resolution does not, however, mean that the Biden plan will be enacted as proposed. The actual content of this law is yet to be determined. It is important to note that reconciliation bills can be used to amend “mandatory” or entitlement spending such as Medicare, Medicaid and SNAP but CANNOT be used to amend Social Security.

Further Research
The description above is simplified and does not go into details about the various laws and processes that impact the Senate reconciliation process. The Senate process is complicated.  Georgetown, a government site, and Brookings all have more extensive information on the process and the Senate governing rules.

Missed last week's section on the Filibuster? Check it out below!
CIVICS DECK - What is a Filibuster? - Protectors of...

The Guardian sees the filibuster as a way for a relatively small group of senators to block some action by the majority. The filibuster rule allows a minority of 41 senators (out of 100 total) to prevent a vote on most species of legislation....

Read more
equalityingov.org
Twice as likely
State health officials report Michigan Whites are twice as likely as African Americans to get the Covid19 vaccine.They are continuing efforts to address the racial disparities, like supporting local organizations who want to bring the vaccine into neighborhoods to reach individuals with limited or no access to transportation. 7.9% of white residents have received the first COVID-19 shot versus 4.1% of Black residents. And for the second dose, it was 4.7% to only 1.6%. Read More -Michigan Advance
White Supremacy: The Scourge of America
On Wednesday, February 24, an interfaith zoom program focused on the rising tide of white supremacy. Moderated by State Representative Felicia Brabec, the presentation began with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney Eli Savit sharing their professional insights. It closed with clergy leaders Sheikh Alibdullah Al-Mahmudi, Reverend Stacey Simpson Duke, Pastor Mashod A. Evans, Sr. and Rabbi Josh Whinston providing spiritual hope and guidance. This informative talk can be accessed at here.

Amy Spitalnick, executive director of Integrity First for America, presented the terrible news from the FBI and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) documenting the acceleration of hate crimes and far right extremism. She argued that we’re living in a crisis of violence and hate. 

The white supremacist/Nazi demonstration of Unite the Right in Charlotteville in August 2017 is the current focus of her organization’s litigation. She recalled how they carried Tikki torches to evoke the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis and arrived weaponized for violence. Her organization is prosecuting the leaders of Charlotteville to bankrupt them and create a model of accountability. 

As she noted, one right wing outburst of hate inspired another: the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter was in touch with leaders of Charlotteville; these tragedies, in turn, inspired the killing of Moslems in Christ Church, New Zealand, which inspired the mass killings in El Paseo and California. 

Spitalnick also noted the parallels between Charlotteville and the Capitol insurrection with one disturbing difference. Many of the participants at the Capitol had no prior experience with right wing hate groups or violence, reflecting what she calls “the mainstreaming of extremism.”

Secretary Benson and Eli Savit also offered insights into this maelstrom of domestic terrorism. Savit pointed out Charlotteville’s similarity to Ann Arbor. Both communities are progressive and centered on a university, the very reason the protesters chose that location. Yes, it could happen here. And Benson urged us to continue the work of combatting violent extremism so the sacrifices of those who fought these battles earlier wouldn’t be in vain.
In Case You Missed It
The Next Big Thing: Redistricting In Michigan and the Role of Communities of Interest
Miss CLOSUP’s Michigan redistricting webinar from February 25? It’s now available to view on YouTube here.
Did you miss Sunday's Conversations?
Hear some of Dr. Isaiah McKinnon's amazing life stories that will leave you moved and grateful for his years of public service. 

He made the decision to become a Detroit police officer at just 14 years old. It was a surprising decision, given the beating he'd just suffered at the hands of the police. But instead of turning against the police, McKinnon decided to join them. 
Learn what it was like to be a young, black police officer in Detroit and how two of his fellow officers, both white, tried to kill him during the 1967 Rebellion.
 
Later, as the chief of the Detroit Police Department, his job would be to quell the violence and chaos of a racially-charged rebellion in the city that he called home. 
The Impact of a Living Wage
Read about the fight to raise the minimum wage and how you can help. Read here about Michigan's needs and read more about the impact of minimum wage from a personal and economic perspective.
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