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#A26 Call to Action on HJR-94 & HCR-21: Don’t Let the TX Lege Run Out The Clock!

Caroline : April 25, 2013 8:17 pm : End Corporate Personhood, News

“Rudy” – Locker Room Speech

It’s 3rd and long with 1:55 left on the clock and no time outs. They want to run out the clock.

The House Federalism Committee still hasn’t given House bills HJR-94 and HCR-21 against Citizens United v. FEC a hearing. We MUST get a hearing scheduled THIS WEEK, which means they must hear from you by TOMORROW (Friday 4/26).

Committee Chairman Brandon Creighton’s office is telling us they aren’t getting many calls on HJR-94 and HCR-21. Take 15 seconds and show them we are TOO STRONG!

Call Chairman Creighton (pronounced “cray-ton”) at 512-463-0726. Tell the nice staffer that answers, “I want Rep. Creighton to pass HJR-94 and HCR-21* through the Federalism Committee so my representative can have a floor vote on it in the House.”

CRITICAL! After you call, email Todd Jagger at Wolf-PAC (todd@wolf-pac.com) to let him know you’ve called Creighton’s office. (Remember, Creighton’s staff says they aren’t getting too many calls)

The Texas House is OUR house. Are we gonna let them push us around? Hell no!

This is it. It’s up to you.
Just one thing.
Will you do it?

Let’s Make History!

* – HJR-94 is the Wolf-PAC resolution that bypasses our broken and bought Congress to call an Article V Convention to propose an amendment to fix money in politics; HCR-21 is the Move To Amend resolution which asks Congress to propose an amendment. We support our brothers (and sisters) in arms at Wolf-PAC Texas and Move To Amend and they support us.

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#M18: Citizens to Lobby Against Citizens United at the Texas Capitol

Caroline : March 2, 2013 11:02 am : End Corporate Personhood

Help us send a message to Texas legislators:  “It’s time to get big money out of politics!

Good news!  On January 17th, the City of Austin joined over 300 other local governments and 11 states across the country that have called on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. 

Now, the Texans United to Amend partnership (of which the OA ECP WG is a part) is organizing to lobby the Texas Legislature on behalf of three resolutions that have been introduced in the 83rd Legislative session that began in January.  These resolutions are:

  • SCR 2 & HCR 21 filed by Sen. Rodney Ellis and Rep. Senfronia Thompson, respectively, “Urging the United States Congress to propose and submit to the states for ratification an amendment to the United States Constitution that overturns Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, establishing that the spending of money to influence elections shall not be construed as speech under the First Amendment, and clarifying that only natural persons are protected by constitutional rights.”

  • HJR 94 filed by Rep. Lon Burnam calling for an Article V convention to write a Constitutional Amendment to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC and related cases and events.

Watch video from the J19 Texans United to Amend Rally

How you can help: We know that many of you would like to take ACTION against the corrupting influence of money in our political system as a result of the Citizens United decision and here is your chance to deliver this message to our legislators face-to-face.
On Monday, March 18th, we are going door-to-door at the Texas Capitol to educate legislators and staff on SCR 2, HCR 21 and HJR 94 and get pledges from legislators to cosponsor and support these resolutions.  Training for this citizen Lobby Day will take place on Sunday, March 17th in room E1.020 in the Capitol Extension from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM.  

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.  Register and we’ll send you an email with all the details.  At the Sunday training session, we’ll provide you with an information packet on how to communicate effectively on this important issue including hand-outs to give to each Senator and Representative.

If you cannot come to Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, March 18th, there are other ways you can help!  Please register today and we will let you know what you can do at home to support these resolutions.

We have also set up a TUTA Lobby Day Facebook Event where we’ll post updates.  Please share this page on Facebook and invite your friends, family and colleagues across Texas to join this effort.

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#J31 CALL TO ACTION: NO on Austin City Council Agenda Item #29

Caroline : January 28, 2013 11:24 pm : End Corporate Personhood, News

occupy-wallstreet-cant-afford-lobbyist.previewQ: What do “McMansions”, “heritage” trees, bike lanes, residential co-ops, short-term rentals, historic building designations, residential art studios, mixed-use zoning, watershed protection, and sound and smoking ordinances all have in common?

A: They all fall under the scope of the Land Development Code advisory group. The LDC advisory group is charged with an integral role in Austin city planning, advising Council on decisions ranging from design standards to technical code standards to subdivision regulations to zoning ordinances, as part of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan. http://www.ancweb.org/docs/meetingHandouts/Code%20Revision%20ANC_01_23_2013.pdf

In less than 72 hours, Bill Spelman plans to introduce a resolution for passage by Austin City Council allowing City Manager Marc Ott to appoint up to 4 registered City of Austin lobbyists with “particular expertise” to sit on the LDC advisory group. Sheryl Cole and Mayor Leffingwell have cosponsored. Currently, ZERO lobbyists are allowed to sit on this 11-member advisory group. If passed, this resolution would allow lobbyists to make up more than one-third of the LDC advisory group. Kathie Tovo’s staff has raised concerns about this resolution and would like input.

While lobbyists for environmental groups, local independent businesses and non-profit groups are on the city list, the City Manager’s office has a less than stellar track record when making determinations such as these. In 2012, when charged by Council to divest City funds from Bank of America, instead of investigating local banks and credit unions, the City Manager’s office chose Chase Bank, and Council voted to support his decision. 

You are urged to voice your opinion on agenda item #29, NOW.

1. Please email or call the Mayor and all Council Members today to ask them to vote NO ON AGENDA ITEM #29. More time is needed to respond to the potential corporate threat to Austin’s future this resolution presents. At the very least, the resolution should precisely define the “particular expertise” of the lobbyists the City Manager is allowed to select. Are these lobbyists that represent the interests of our families, friends and neighbors, or those that represent the interests of big banks, developers, and multinational corporations?
2. Please sign up in person at the City Hall kiosks Tuesday 1/29 and Wednesday 1/30 to speak at Thursday’s Council Meeting AGAINST Agenda Item #29. Instructions are at http://austintexas.gov/department/citizen-participation-council-meetings
3. Please appear at the City Council meeting at 10 a.m. sharp on Thursday, January 31 to speak out AGAINST Agenda Item #29. Parking is free in the City Hall parking garage.

Read agenda item #29 here:

Here are the 57 registered City of Austin lobbyists who want to help decide Austin’s future.  http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/cityclerk/lobbyist/list_lobbyists.cfm?start=1  Which lobbyists will the City Manager pick? Tom “Smitty” Smith, an ardent environmentalist with the non-profit watchdog group Public Citizen? Or Donald Lucardi, who represents Citigroup? Gregario Cesar of non-profit Workers Defense Project, who represents the interests of low-income workers? Or “Trey” Salinas III, who represents the interests of Wal-Mart and Circuit of the Americas?

Here is the original resolution forming the Land Development Code advisory group, which agenda item #29 will amend, if passed: http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=181433

Email all Council members here at once: http://www.austintexas.gov/mail/all-council-members

Contact information for Mayor, Council and Staff:

Lee Leffingwell, Mayor – COSPONSOR
Amy Everhart (Policy Director) amy.everhart@austintexas.gov

Sheryl Cole, Mayor Pro Tem, Place 6 – COSPONSOR
Michael McGill (Policy Director) michael.mcgill@austintexas.gov

Bill Spelman, Place 5 – SPONSOR
Heidi Gerbracht (Policy Director) heidi.gerbracht@austintexas.gov

Laura Morrison, Place 4
Leslie Hethcox (Constituent Liaison) leslie.hethcox@austintexas.gov

Kathie Tovo, Place 3
Shannon Halley (Policy Aide) shannon.halley@austintexas.gov

Mike Martinez, Place 2
Robert Garza (Chief of Staff)

Chris Riley, Place 1
Matt Parkerson (Executive Assistant) matt.parkerson@austintexas.gov

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Video – J19 End Corporate Personhood Rally

Caroline : January 23, 2013 8:35 pm : End Corporate Personhood

Click on the link below to watch a 12-minute movie with highlights from the rally at the Capitol last Saturday, courtesy of our good friends at Austin Indymedia and ZGraphix.  Filmed by Mari Hernandez, produced and edited by Jeff Zavala. The video includes a photo of Ronnie Garza by John Anderson.

VIDEO LINK: Texans United to Amend Rally at the Capitol

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J19 Call to Action: Texas Capitol Rally to Support SCR 2 and HCR 21 Against Citizens United

Caroline : January 16, 2013 8:54 am : End Corporate Personhood, News

WHAT:  Grassroots organizers and activists from across Texas will take to the South Steps of the Texas State Capitol to mark the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and rally in support of two concurrent Texas resolutions before the 83rd Legislature calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to establish that political expenditures are not protected speech under the First Amendment, and only natural persons are protected by constitutional rights.

WHO: Texans United to Amend is a network of independent groups throughout Texas dedicated to passing local resolutions at the city, county and state level calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to combat the unlimited flow of money into our elections. Scheduled speakers include John Kenneth Courage, Common Cause Texas; Tom “Smitty” Smith, Public Citizen Texas; Anthony Bill, Texas Rootstrikers; Todd Jagger, Wolf-PAC Texas; Nelson Linder, Austin NAACP; Matt Glazer, Progress Texas; Ken Zarifis, Education Austin; Rick Levy, Texas AFL-CIO; and Conor Kenny, Chief of Staff for Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth); along with activists from Houston Area Against Corporate Personhood, Occupy Dallas, Occupy Austin, Occupy AISD, Workers Defense Project, Greenpeace USA, as well as workers, business owners and teachers.  Performances by Earth Culture Dancer Daniel Llanes and the “Stand On Up For Freedom” puppets, attorney Lou McCreary as “Ben Franklin”, singer-songwriter Dana McBride, and spoken word poets Joe Brundidge and Thom Worldpoet are scheduled. Art postcards depicting corporations will be on display. Nonprofit and activist organizations will be on hand to provide information and resources to help attendees get connected and build collective power to effect real change on this issue.

WHEN: Saturday, January 19, 2013, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. CST

WHERE: South Steps of the Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, Texas 78701

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Over 300 municipalities and eleven states have called for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission. A network of independent, grassroots groups has been working to add Texas to that list.

On Saturday, January 19, 2013, two days before the three-year-anniversary of the Citizens United decision, Texans United to Amend will hold a rally on the South Steps of the Texas State Capitol in support of two concurrent resolutions prefiled before the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature: SCR 2, by Senator Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and HCR 21, by Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston.  SCR 2 and HCR 21 urge Congress to overturn Citizens United by constitutional amendment, to establish that the spending of money to influence elections shall not be construed as speech under the First Amendment, and to make it clear that only natural persons are protected by constitutional rights.

The Texas effort is part of a national campaign to garner support for a constitutional amendment to reverse U. S. Supreme Court decisions that have equated money with speech, and given Big Money free reign to influence not only elections but legislation on issues of concern to all Texans – agriculture, civil rights, criminal justice, the economy, education, the environment, healthcare, housing, immigration, infrastructure, and taxes. Money in politics is connected to every major problem our state faces and influences the decisions senators and representatives make, often at the expense of ordinary citizens, families, and small business entrepreneurs. Passing SCR 2 and HCR 21 sends a message from the Texas State Capitol to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. that Texans want change.

Texans are encouraged to contact their state representatives and senators and urge them to cosponsor SCR 2 and HCR 21.   The website “Who Represents Me?” at http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/ can help connect citizens with their elected officials.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/312092002230401/ on Facebook for updates and information on the January 19 rally.

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