Thank you so much for your interest in Saratoga Unites!
We are an activist group dedicated to uniting groups and individuals to uphold democratic values and advocate for equal rights, equal opportunity, a healthy environment, and a more peaceful world.

ACTION ITEMS

Week of July 9

Say NO to Trump’s Supreme Court Nomination!

U.S. Senate Democrats and Independents should oppose all Trump’s nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court. A sitting president who is under criminal investigation should have no standing to nominate candidates to the Supreme Court whose tenure will last half a century or more.  Roe, and other vital established precedents are at stake!

Saratoga Unites will provide a more detailed response following the announcement of Trump’s nominee, but in the meantime:

  • CALL Senator Schumer (contact info) and demand that he do his job and ensure that no Democratic Senator will vote for a Trump nominee before the mid-terms.
  • CALL Senator Gillibrand and your Congressional representative (contact info) to let them know where you stand on the nomination.

There is a generation of rulings at stake with this nomination, it’s truly an ALL HANDS ON DECK situation.

Follow us on Facebook to learn about other actions throughout the week.

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Week of July 2

To Do List for our Children Following up from the Families Belong Together march and rally, Linda LeTendre of the Saratoga Peace Alliance kindly put together a to do list, with guidance on what actions you can take going forward.  We still don’t know when and if kidnapped children will be reunited with their families, and we don’t have confirmation that this practice isn’t still occurring.

Take a look at the suggested actions below – and share widely to encourage others to follow through!

To Do List for Children p1

To Do List for Children p2

 

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Week of June 25

Saratoga Unites, in collaboration with Saratoga Immigration Coalition, Saratoga Peace Alliance, Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church and others, are hosting a Families Belong Together March and Rally on June 30th in Congress Park at 11am.

While we’re waiting on Saturday to take to the streets, there are several things you can do:

  • Contact your representatives!  Ensure that they continue to apply pressure to the administration to truly end family separation and push for the Keep Families Together bills (S3036, HR 6135).
  • Support immigration organizations! ActBlue has created a tool to allow you to donate to 8 organizations involved in protection of children and families separated at the border.  Donate to support: Human Rights First, We Belong Together, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, Womens Refugee Commission, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), United We Dream Action, La Union Del Pueblo Entero, and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).  Donate here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/kidsattheborder
  • Sign petitions!  There are numerous petitions online, I’m recommending you sign on to ACLU’s petition to end family separation.  ACLU of course is doing a great amount of work on family separations and will continue to help: https://action.aclu.org/petition/separating-families
  • Spread the word!  These atrocities do not seem to have an end in sight, and over this past weekend it was suggested that the president is still interested in using separated families as hostages to his immigration agenda.  We need to share articles, generate discussion on Twitter, Facebook, and even…face to face with our families and friends.  Do not let this issue fall to the wayside!

Contact:
Secretary of Homeland Security: email: DHSSecretary@hq.dhs.gov, tel: 202-282-8495 (comment line), mail:  The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528

Senators and Congressperson: Contact information and helpful hints on our How To Contact Your Representative page.

Week of June 18

End Family Separation!

It was great to see so many people in front of Congresswoman Stefanik’s office on Thursday, including congressional candidates Emily Martz and Patrick Nelson, as part of the End Family Separation March and Rally.  But the fight is clearly far from over.  While both Senators from New York have signed on to S.3036, Keep Families Together Act, we need to show our Senators that we support them in this – and demand that they do not capitulate to the demands of the administration.  The Trump administration has made it clear they are holding these children hostage to their desire for broader immigration reforms and that wall.  We cannot let the children continue being used as pawns.

In addition to contacting your representatives, also contact the Secretary of Homeland Security and demand she be a voice for policy change.  She is claiming via Twitter that we do not separate families at the border.  That’s clearly a lie, and it’s time to hold them all accountable.

Contact:
Secretary of Homeland Security: email: DHSSecretary@hq.dhs.gov, tel: 202-282-8495 (comment line), mail:  The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528

Senators and Congressperson: Contact information and helpful hints on our How To Contact Your Representative page.

There are rumblings online about additional protests and marches to End Family Separation, stay tuned!

Week of June 11

Monday, June 11 – NY Congressional District 21 Candidate Forum
As we head into the final stretch to the primaries on June 26th, here’s one of the last chances to hear from all of the candidates and make your decision!  The Wilton Dems are hosting this forum (tonight!) at 7pm at the Maple Ave Middle School, 515 Maple Ave.

Thursday, June 14 – Families Belong Together March and Rally – Glens Falls and Albany, NY
On June 14th, 2018, Glens Falls NY will join cities across the US hosting marches, rallies, and vigils to protest the current administration’s callous treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers (see https://familiesbelong.org/).

Join Saratoga Unites, along with Citizen Action of NY, NY Civil Liberties Union, Saratoga Progressive Action, and New Resistance USA to show our opposition to this terrible practice! The public is invited.

In Glens Falls, a march will begin 5pm, outside Rep. Elise Stefanik’s office, 136 Glen St. Citizens are calling on Rep. Stefanik, a close ally of Trump and the GOP leadership, to take action to stop this atrocity. If you’re closer to Albany, a rally will begin at 4:30pm at the Leo O’Brien Federal Building, 1 Clinton Sq., where Senators Schumer & Gillibrand have offices.

Week of June 4

Primaries. There are several key primaries coming up on June 26th for New York State.  There are always different ways to get involved and help campaign.  Take time this week to check out upcoming races and see if there’s a candidate you’d be willing to help out! Engagement in voting, in getting others out to vote – it’s important!

Find your local races here.

Deny Sinclair and Tribune merger. A free and open press is a constitutional guarantee that will be taken away from millions of people if this merger is allowed. Tell the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice: Block the Sinclair deal!

Sign this petition to let your concerns known!

Make sure you are following us on Facebook to learn about other actions throughout the week.

Week of May 28

Federal

1. Domestic Gag Rule. Contact HHS Secretary Alex Azar to share your opposition to enacting the Domestic Gag Rule, which changes Title X provisions to prevent healthcare providers from providing comprehensive medical services to women.

Contact: email: Secretary@HHS.gov, tel: 202-690-7000, mail: 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201

Learn more about the Domestic Gag Rule here.

2. Family Separations at border. The administration’s policy of separating children from parents when seeking asylum is horrific.  Contact DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and demand the administration end this cruel practice, causing families in crisis to suffer in the name of deterrance.

Contact: email: DHSSecretary@hq.dhs.gov, tel: 202-282-8495 (comment line), mail:  The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528

Also consider signing the ACLU petition here.

For both of these issues, please also contact your Senators and Congressperson to urge them to hold the Trump administration accountable on these matters – and if legislation is possible, ask them to push for it!  Contact information and helpful hints on our How To Contact Your Representative page.

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Week of 3/26/18 –

New York State

1. Early voting. Call or tweet Governor Cuomo [(877) 235-6537/(518) 474-1041; @NYGovCuomo], Senate Majority Leader Flanagan [(518) 455-2071; @LeaderFlanagan], Assembly Speaker Heastie [(518) 455-4812; @CarlHeastie], and IDC [Independent Democratic Caucus] Chairman Klein [(518) 455-3595; @JeffKleinNY] on Monday (3/26) or Tuesday (3/27) to urge them to support funding for early voting in this year’s state budget. For more information on early voting in New York, go to www.letnyvote.org.  To follow the course of the petition we delivered to the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors and Senator Kathy Marchione, see http://chn.ge/2FwA75e.

2. Monday, March 26 or Tuesday, March 27 – Call to Include Gun Violence Prevention Legislation in this Year’s State Budget. Contact Governor Cuomo [(877) 235-6537] and your local State Assembly and Senate representatives to urge them to include improved gun violence prevention measures in this year’s budget, including options such as passing an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law (also recently passed in Florida as a “red flag” law), restricting domestic abusers’ access to guns, banning bump stocks, and closing a loophole that enables a gun to be sold after 3 days – even if the background check hasn’t been completed.

The Assembly passed a package of gun violence prevention bills in early March.  Former Congresswoman and gun violence prevention advocate Gabby Giffords has endorsed the Assembly’s bill package.  See https://giffords.org/2018/03/ny-assembly-package/.  NYS’s “ERPO” bill authorizes “families and law enforcement to seek court issued orders restricting access to guns for individuals who are likely to harm themselves or others.”  For more information on the bill (S.7133/A.8976) and the ERPO Coalition, see https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/brian-kavanagh/statement-new-york-erpo-coalition-proposals-include-gun and a fact sheet at http://nyagv.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/ERPO-Fact-Sheet-FINAL-5-2017.pdf.

Sign a petition urging the NYS Senate to pass ERPO at http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5610/c/209/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=25365.

 

Find your NYS Senator at https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator

Local Senators (by District)

43           Kathleen Marchione                       (518) 455-2381

45           Betty Little                                          (518) 455-2811

46           George A. Amedore, Jr.                 (518) 455-2350

47           Joseph A. Griffo                                (518) 455-3334

48           Patty Ritchie                                       (518) 455-3438

49           James Tedisco                                   (518) 455-2181

51           James Seward                                   (518) 455-3131

53           David Valesky                                    (518) 455-2838

Find your NYS Assembly member at http://nyassembly.gov/mem/search/

Local Assembly members (by District)

108         John T. McDonald III                       (518) 455-4474

109         Patricia Fahy                                      (518) 455-4178

110         Phil Steck                                             (518) 455-5931

111         Angelo Santabarbara                      (518) 455-5197

112        Mary Beth Walsh                              (518) 455-5772

113         Carrie Woerner                                 (518) 455-5404

114         Dan Stec                                              (518) 455-5565

115         Billy Jones                                           (518) 455-5943

116         Addie Jenne                                       (518) 455-5545

 3. Speak out at the Upcoming Sub-Minimum Wage/Tip Credit Hearings. Do you support eliminating or keeping the wage tip credit? Governor Cuomo has asked the NYS Commissioner of Labor to hold hearings in the coming months to “evaluate the possibility of ending minimum wage tip credits.” The first hearing will be held in Long Island on Friday, April 20, 2018. The hearing in Albany is currently scheduled for Friday, May 18th, at 10a.m. Pre-registrants will be given 3 minutes to speak.  To PRE-REGISTER for a hearing, go to https://www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/subminimumwage.shtm.

The wage tip credit applies to workers who, because they receive tips, are paid a “sub-minimum” wage from their employer.  To see how employers in NYS currently must calculate the wage tip credit, go to https://www.labor.ny.gov/legal/counsel/pdf/tips-frequently-asked-questions.pdf.  For information on how Maine’s experience with repealing the minimum wage tip credit led to the credit being recently re-instated, go to https://www.pressherald.com/2018/01/11/maine-voices-after-success-in-getting-tip-credit-restored-in-maine-its-time-to-go-national/.

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Week of 3/5/18 –

Local

Stop Sinclair Broadcasting from scripting local news anchors, including ours at CBS 6.  Call Sinclair Broadcasting at (410) 568-1500 and ask for their News Department. Tell them you don’t want their company putting words into the mouths of our local newscasters.  Then call CBS 6 News at (518) 346-6666 to tell them you don’t want their newscasters parroting Sinclair scripts and talking points, and that you assume their newscasters don’t want to either.

For more information on this issue, please see http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/07/media/sinclair-broadcasting-promos-media-bashing/index.html.

New York State

Advocate for early voting and automatic voter registration in NYS.  Contact Senator Marchione at (518) 455-2381 to urge her to support $7million in funding for early voting and automatic voter registration in the Senate One House Budget.  In addition, sign Saratoga Unites’ petition (before 7 a.m. on Tuesday, March 13th), at http://chn.ge/2FwA75e.  We will deliver it to Senator Marchione that day.

For a summary of the meeting on February 27th and to see local news coverage, please go to http://chn.ge/2FwA75e.

Federal

Stop Congress from de-regulating the big banks that caused the 2008 Recession.  Call Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to tell them to vote NO to S.2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.”  You can also sign CREDO’s petition to Senate Democrats at https://act.credoaction.com/sign/bailout_caucus?t=5&akid=27032%2E6742866%2E23Ajzz.

A majority of Senators agree that the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) needs to be revised to reduce the regulatory burden it imposes on small community banks.  However, S.2155 deregulates larger banks, such as those similar in size to Countrywide, which was one of the banks responsible for creating the 2008 Recession.  Under S.2155, banks with up to $250B in assets will no longer be subject to the strictest regulations, whereas under current law, only those banks with $50B or less in assets receive such relaxed treatment.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/03/05/the-senate-is-moving-to-ease-major-banking-regulations-this-is-how-they-will-do-it/?utm_term=.f5363e0ea897, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/06/elizabeth-warren-banking-bill-congress.

In addition, S.2155 promotes institutional bias against communities of color, as described more thoroughly at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/opinion/mortage-minority-income.html.

To listen to Senator Warren explain her concerns in a brief interview, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2roG2L8bqAc.

Prevent off-shore drilling.  Tell the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) what you think of the Trump administration’s plan to drill for oil and gas off the coasts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans.  To submit a comment using the NRDC’s automated tool, go to https://act.nrdc.org/letter/af-ocs-5-year-180105?source=WBLOCSPETAI, or submit a comment directly at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=BOEM-2017-0074.

BOEM develops the leasing program for off-shore drilling.  The program specifies the “size, timing, and location of potential leasing activity that the Secretary of the Interior determines will best meet national energy needs for the five-year period under consideration.”  Trump has ordered the BOEM to develop a new schedule of oil and gas lease sales for the U.S. for 2019-2024.  BOEM released its draft proposal on January 4, 2018 and is accepting public comments on it until before midnight tomorrow, Friday, March 9th.

To see the draft proposal, go to https://www.boem.gov/NP-Draft-Proposed-Program-2019-2024/.  To

For more information on this issue, see  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/23/climate/trump-offshore-oil-drilling.html.

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Week of 1/29/18 –  

1. Defend the Clean Power Plan:  call Senator Kirsten Gillibrand before Tuesday, January 30, 2018 – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt will testify at the Senate Environmental and Public Works (EPW) Oversight Hearing this Tuesday.  Senator Gillibrand is a member of the EPW Committee.  Call her at (202) 224-4451 or (518) 431-0120 before Tuesday’s hearing to urge her to challenge and expose the lack of evidence underlying the bases for Pruitt’s proposed repeal.

In August 2015, Barack Obama’s administration issued the Clean Power Plan. This was the first time the U.S. had adopted national standards to address carbon pollution from power plants.  At the time, the EPA said the regulations resulted from “unprecedented outreach to states, tribes, utilities, stakeholders and the public, including more than 4.3 million comments EPA received on the proposed rule. The final Clean Power Plan reflects that input, and gives states and utilities time to preserve ample, reliable and affordable power for all Americans.”  See the EPA’s Fact Sheet at https://archive.epa.gov/epa/cleanpowerplan/fact-sheet-overview-clean-power-plan.html.

But then in March 2017, Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (E.O. 13783) calling for, among other things, the rescission of the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  In October 2017, Pruitt announced plans to repeal the CPP.  As detailed by the Environmental Defense Fund, the proposed repeal 1) uses faulty science to downplay public health risk, 2) ignores the immediate presence of climate change, 3) uses accounting gimmicks to inflate costs, 4) benefits Pruitt’s political supporters, and 5) ignores broad support for the CPP.  See  https://www.edf.org/blog/2017/10/09/trumps-epa-making-reckless-and-damaging-decision-heres-what-you-need-know?utm_source=google&utm_campaign=ggad_cleanenergy_upd_dmt&utm_medium=cpc&utm_id=1513935518&gclid=Cj0KCQiAhrbTBRCFARIsACY7MW16WK4zj-lUvGd12twVH8-twukS91ro5fTm8Wyc9GYfNIOXlcpR3eoaAiArEALw_wcB

The comment period for the repeal plan closed on January 16, 2018.  On January 9, 2018, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman held a “people’s hearing” on the proposed repeal in NYC, because the EPA ignored his requests to hold a hearing in New York.  The Attorney General’s office pledged to compile and submit the comments received at the hearing to the EPA before the comment deadline.

 

2. Defend the rights of workers to keep their own tips:  submit a comment to the Department of Labor (DOL) before Monday, February 5, 2018 – DOL seeks to repeal regulations that stop restaurant owners from taking their employees’ tips.  To submit a comment to DOL about this proposal, go to https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/05/2017-25802/tip-regulations-under-the-fair-labor-standards-act-flsa

In 2011, the Obama administration issued regulations making tip income the sole property of the employee that received it.  The Trump administration now wants to repeal the rule to allow “wage pooling” with other workers who do not receive tips.  However, DOL’s proposal gives employers control over all tips and does not specifically prohibit employers from taking the tips and using them for their own purposes.  According to a report in the Washington Post, “Allowing employers to distribute tips as they see fit . . . would end the Labor Department’s practice of treating gratuities as the property of workers, a custom that dates to the 1974 amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/12/07/the-trump-administration-proposes-allow-tip-pooling-in-restaurants-critics-call-it-stealing-workers-wages/?utm_term=.0aa159ad9f6d  The Post also indicates that “critics say the new rules could invite trouble. The rules, they say, would allow employers to distribute the pooled tips to anyone, including salaried managers or even themselves.”