action opportunities

Monday 7/17 Action Opportunities

1. HR 2796, the Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017, is a bill that would legislate discrimination against transgender and intersex people by defining genetic sex as basis for your rights and preventing “gender” from being interpreted as “gender identity.” This effectively states that the genders of transgender people are not valid. The bill claims to correct for executive branch “overreach” by making sure “the proper constitutional authority for social transformation belongs to the legislative branch.” If passed, it could set a precedent to deny rights to any minority. Right now, it requires “man” or “woman” to be interpreted as exclusively related to a person’s genetic sex, erasing transgender Americans’ identities and intersex Americans whose genetics are not neatly defined as male or female. The bill also states that no civil rights/minority protection law will be applicable to transgender people unless it specifically says so.

Right now, the bill is in a Republican-dominated subcommittee filled by several members who have made their opposition to transgender rights clear. The likelihood that it will go to the House floor seems high. Contact Goodlatte and tell him not to support this bill.

  • Goodlatte: Staunton (540) 885-3861, Harrisonburg (540) 432-2391, Lynchburg (434) 845-8306, Roanoke (540) 857-2672, Washington DC 202-225-5431 and email form here.
  • Suggested script: “Hello, my name is _____ and my zip code is _____. I am contacting Rep. Goodlatte today about HR 2796, the Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017, which is currently in the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. The bill claims that the legislative branch should have control over social change, not the executive branch. In reality, social change happens organically and should not be delegated to one branch of government. This bill specifically targets transgender and intersex Americans by equating genetics with gender. I am also troubled by the bill’s statement that no protective laws for minorities will apply to transgender Americans unless specifically stated. This would take away healthcare, housing, and employment rights from one of the most vulnerable minorities in this country. Please oppose this bill. Thank you.”

2. SB 1548 is a newly introduced bill that would designate certain lands in Oregon as “wilderness and national recreation areas, and to make additional wild and scenic river designations.” Preserving America’s natural beauty and making it more available for the public to enjoy, appreciate, and learn about is an important part of environmental conservation. SB 1548 currently has only two co-sponsors, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Democrats. Let’s contact our senators and ask if they would be willing to cosponsor and support this bill.

  • Kaine: Washington DC: 202–224–4024, Manassas 703–361–3192, Roanoke 540–682–5693, Virginia Beach 757–518–1674, Richmond 804–771–2221, Abingdon 276–525–4790, Danville 434-792–0976, and his contact form is here.
  • Warner: Washington DC 202-224-2023, Roanoke 540-857-2676, Abingdon 276-628-8158, Norfolk 757-441-3079, Richmond 804-775-2314, Vienna 703-442-0670. His “Submit Comment” form is here.
  • Suggested script: “Hello, my name is _____ and my zip code is _____. I am contacting the senator today about SB 1548, a recently introduced bill that would designate more land in Oregon as wilderness and national recreation areas and wild and scenic rivers. Environmental conservation and preservation are important to me, as a citizen of Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley. If the senator would cosponsor this bill, I would have more confidence that he is invested in environmental issues in Virginia as well. Please consider cosponsoring and supporting SB 1548. Thank you.”

3. Let’s contact our senators to thank them for cosponsoring SB 1564, a bill which would “amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit legally married same-sex couples to amend their filing status for returns outside the 3-year limitation.” While same-gender marriage is legal, same-sex married couples still face many obstacles related to housing, employment, and financial and legal laws like this one. Removing this obstacle helps same-sex married couples get that much closer to true equality.

  • Kaine: Washington DC: 202–224–4024, Manassas 703–361–3192, Roanoke 540–682–5693, Virginia Beach 757–518–1674, Richmond 804–771–2221, Abingdon 276–525–4790, Danville 434-792–0976, and his contact form is here.
  • Warner: Washington DC 202-224-2023, Roanoke 540-857-2676, Abingdon 276-628-8158, Norfolk 757-441-3079, Richmond 804-775-2314, Vienna 703-442-0670. His “Submit Comment” form is here.
  • Suggested script: “Hello, my name is ______ and my zip code is ______. I am contacting the senator today because I heard about SB 1564, which lets same-sex married couples amend their filing status for returns beyond the 3-year limit. I want to thank the senator for supporting this bill, a step forward for same-sex marriage equality. Please continue to cosponsor legislation that helps LGBTQ+ Americans. Thank you.”

4. Upcoming event: Open Door Meeting at Waynesboro Public Library, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM — This is in the middle of the day, but if you can manage it, please come! Goodlatte’s staff will be present to field our questions and note down our concerns. We’ve heard stories from other parts of the district that have been forced to meet one-on-one with the staffers, rather than in a large group. But if we show up in numbers, this tactic would be less feasible. After the meeting, we will also be holding a short session on how to train to register people to vote! If you can stick around for a little while afterwards, the training video is only about 15 minutes.

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