We have designated May as ACTION MONTH—there will be no general meeting next Sunday, May 20.
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” (Dr. Seuss, The Lorax)
Federal (Thanks to Indivisible National)
Gina Haspel’s confirmation vote is imminent. The Senate Intelligence Committee will vote on whether to confirm her as CIA Director; if she clears that hurdle (which she probably will), the full Senate will vote a few days later. Key Senators including John McCain and Tim Kaine have publicly come out against her in the last few days, though so have at least 2 Democrats. It looks now as though she will be confirmed.
Some House Republicans want to force an immigration vote. Congressmen Denham, Hurd, and Curbelo introduced a discharge petition that aims to force a “Queen-of-the-Hill” floor vote on competing immigration proposals, where the proposal with the most support passes. One of the proposals on the table is terrible for immigrants: it conditions temporary protections for Dreamers on permanent cuts to family immigration and massive spending on Trump’s deportation force. For more information, check: https://www.indivisible.org/resource/update-daca-dream-act/
There will be a vote to protect net neutrality in the Senate. Senator Ed Markey, joined by every other Senate Democrat and Senator Susan Collins, introduced a resolution to undo the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality this past week. The vote will be this coming week (probably on Wednesday), and there are still a few Republican Senators on the fence — you can go to https://www.indivisible.org/resource/preserving-net-neutrality-aka-protecting-internet-know/ for more information and call script to call and demand that they vote to protect the free and open internet.
The farm bill, including big cuts to SNAP, will get a vote in the House. Republicans are trying to pass a farm bill that would take food assistance away from over 2 million people, mere months after handing the wealthy and corporations trillions of dollars in tax cuts. This bill will likely pass with few or no Democratic votes, and then it will be on to the Senate — you can read more here: https://www.indivisible.org/resource/republicans-trying-sneak-cuts-food-assistance/
State and Local (From State Rep. David LaGrand’s newsletter—many thanks!)
Taking Health Care Away from Michiganders: You may have already heard about Senate Bill 897, which would change Medicaid requirements in Michigan. SB 897 creates an estimated $25-$50 million in new red tape bureaucracy while taking away health care from working Michiganders. Michigan families, children, and seniors rely on health care to get ahead – this legislation only pushes them backward. Working Medicaid recipients would have to report workforce engagement requirements monthly and verify family income quarterly. Any changes would have to be reported within 10 days. If they fail to provide it in time? Families will lose their health care for an entire year. The bureaucracy the state would have to put in place to track this data is staggering, with no cost savings to the overall program. This bill will make it harder for people to show up healthy to work and to move onto jobs that provide stable incomes for their families. No one should ever have to worry about having their health care taken away. Medicaid is a hand up to those who struggle, not a handout.
(Additional from the Washington Post: Michigan’s GOP plan to shield some people from Medicaid work requirements would overwhelmingly benefit whites. The proposal, moving through the state legislature, would exempt people living in counties where the unemployment rate tops 8.5%, a provision GOP lawmakers say is aimed at protecting those living in areas where job opportunities are scarce. Without the exemption, work requirements are projected to apply to approximately 700,000 Michigan residents. African Americans make up about 23% of that population but would make up only 1.2% of those eligible for exemption. White people make up 57% of that group but 85% of those eligible for the exemption, according to an analysis of the state’s data. The plan would not exempt Detroit and Flint, two cities with unemployment rates well above 8.5% but located in counties with unemployment rates below the threshold, according to government statistics.)
CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND OPPOSE SB 897!
Keeping Young People Safe on Campus: In light of the revelations of systemic failures to address sexual abuse at Michigan State University, the Legislature is considering a number of bills related to sexual assault. The problem of sexual assault on college campuses is significant, with as many as one in four undergraduates reporting that they have been subjected to rape or attempted sexual assault at some point during their college years, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). That number is disturbing and unacceptable. As lawmakers, we owe it to the parents and students of Michigan to make sure that our college campuses are safe, and that the institutions that are supposed to protect our young people live up to their duty.
Michigan’s Water Belongs to Michiganders: Michigan is known as the Great Lakes State, and our water defines us. The shape of the Great Lakes makes the shape of our “mitten” and the Upper Peninsula and draws millions of visitors annually. Most recently, we’ve been defined by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to let Nestlé withdraw massive amounts of water for next to nothing. Under their new permit, Nestlé can take 210 million gallons of water a year — enough to fill 1.9 million bathtubs — for just $200. That’s less than most of us spend on the annual water bill for our homes. Nestlé will be bottling up that water and selling it back to us, both here in Michigan and out of state. The deal is even more galling because families in Flint are still dealing with a water system that isn’t safe, and many people there are still reasonably afraid to drink the water that comes from their kitchen tap. But instead of paying to replace their water lines — which were ruined when a governor-appointed emergency manager made the call to switch Flint’s water source — or even raising the funds to pay for their replacement by charging Nestlé a reasonable fee for taking our water, our state is just giving it away for almost free. Michigan’s valuable resources belong to Michiganders, and they should never be given away freely like they don’t even matter. It makes no sense morally, it makes no sense environmentally and it makes no sense fiscally.
MEETINGS/TRAINING (Thanks to Linda Kristensen and others for much of this information)
MONDAY – May 14
- Protest for Net Neutrality, 5:30 P.M., Gerald R. Ford Federal Building, 110 Michigan St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
TUESDAY – May 15
- Summit on Race and Inclusion 2018, 8:30 A.M. – 3:30 P.M., Hope College, 141 12th St., Holland, MI 49423
WEDNESDAY – May 16
- ACLU of Michigan 5th Annual Standing Together for Justice Luncheon with speaker Dale Ho, 11:30 A.M. – 1:30 P.M., Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 E. Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
- PFAS Panel with Scientists, 4:00 – 5:30 P.M., North Rockford Middle School, 397 E. Division St., Rockford, MI 49341
THURSDAY – May 17
- ACLU of West Michigan Regular Meeting, 5:30 – 7:00 P.M., Wealthy Theatre Annex, 1130 Wealthy SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, 6:00 – 8:00 P.M., Books & Mortar, 955 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
- Southeast Community Action Meeting, 6:00 – 8:00 P.M., MLK Lodge, 900 Fuller SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
- GR Rapid Response to ICE May Film/Fundraiser, 6:30 P.M., Taqueria El Rincon Mexicano, 2055 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, 49508
FRIDAY – May 18
- House Party Fundraiser for Rachel Hood, 6:30 – 8:00 P.M., Home of Steven Depolo & Caroline Clark, 942 Fairmount St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
SATURDAY – May 19
- Lily Schulting Announcement Party for State Board of Education, 6:00 – 8:00 P.M., Kent-Ionia Labor Council, 916 Benjamin NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- Meet the Candidate: Kari Smith, Kent County Commissioner, District 4, 7:00 P.M., 6442 E. Encantado Court NE, Rockford, MI 49341
- General Meeting – Grand Rapids MI Democratic Socialists of America, 5:00 – 7:30 P.M., Eastown Community Association, 415 Ethel Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
- Door to Door Canvassing for Robert Van Kirk, 2:00 – 6:00 P.M., 1206 Lee St. SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
SUNDAY – May 20
- There is no Indivisible Grand Rapids Monthly Meeting—cancelled for May.
- Celebrate South Division, 12:00 – 6:00 P.M., Garfield Park, Grand Rapids
On the Horizon
- Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action at Michigan State Capital – May 21
- Michigan People’s Lobby Day – May 22
-Oppose SB 897 that would impose work requirements for those with Medicaid.