Action: Contact the State Judiciary Committee

From the ACLU:

Every day in Vermont we imprison people who have not been convicted of a crime simply because they are poor. It is the inevitable result of our cash bail system, where defendants must trade money for their freedom. We’ve been working with legislators on reform this legislative session. Now, we’re facing an effort by Vermont prosecutors and sheriffs to derail those reforms by instead setting setting a cap on bail that will be far out of reach for poor Vermonters.

Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee: Don’t gut bail reform!

The Vermont House passed a bail reform bill (H.728) earlier this session that eliminated money bail for low-level misdemeanors. This is a great first step towards making our system more fair and equitable. But the Vermont Department of State’s attorneys and sheriffs now want to amend the bill to leave money bail in place for these misdemeanors, and instead impose a cap of $1,000, an unaffordable amount for most low-income Vermonters that would render the reform meaningless.

In Vermont, around 400 people every day are incarcerated pre-trial, many because they cannot afford to pay bail. Even short stays in jail can have cascading effects. Defendants lose their jobs, their cars, their homes, and even custody of their children, without having been convicted of a crime. A $1,000 cap on bail would do nothing to reduce the number of people we lock up needlessly, at taxpayer expense.

A recent ACLU poll showed that 89 percent of voters say it is very important for prosecutors to actively work towards ending mass incarceration—at least some of Vermont’s state’s attorneys clearly haven’t heard that message, but it’s not too late to make sure our senators do.

We need your help to make sure that Vermonters receive the same justice regardless of their ability to pay. Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that Vermonters demand meaningful bail reform.

Action Needed: Tell Governor Scott Education Experience Matters

Tell Gov. Scott the DeVos Model of Education Isn't forVermont (1)Governor Scott is at it again. He’s threatening to “right size” the Vermont education system. Make no mistake, by right size he means to decrease funding and resources.
This week, after the current education secretary resigned, Governor Scott announced that the next Vermont Education Secretary DOES NOT NEED EXPERIENCE IN EDUCATION!!!! Sorry, for the bold print and all-caps but the brazenness of this is shocking. Basically, this plan mimics the national model, where someone like Betsy Devos will have the power to make critical decisions for our students. See the VT Digger article here.
Governor Scott is trying to sell the idea that a strict business model for Vermont’s schools will solve state budget issues and attract people to the state. We cannot overstate how ludicrous this all is.
If you would like more information see below. Meanwhile PLEASE take the following actions:
1. Call Governor Scott and tell him that Vermont students deserve education experts determining their future.
Call 802-828-3333 and ask to speak with an Education Staffer
Suggested script:
This is [name] calling from [town]. I am calling in response to Gov. Scott’s proposal that the next Vermont Education Secretary does not need education expertise. This is an appalling proposition that threatens the well-being of our students. Vermont statute states that the education secretary must be an expert in education. Moving to a business model ignores the complicated problems facing our schools including poverty and consequences of the opioid crisis. Any attempt to ignore the knowledge of educators with do harm to students and the state of Vermont for generations. Vermont’s next Education Secretary must have education expertise and familiarity with the many problems facing Vermont’s public schools.
2. Tell the Vermont Board of Education to nominate qualified candidates to the position of Secretary of Education
  • Also include Gov Scott in all communication with the Vermont Board of Education. You can cut and paste your message to the Board of Education here with a brief sentence stating that this is your message to the Vermont Board of Education.
  • Suggested email script:
Dear Vermont Board of Education,
I am a resident of [town]. I am writing to request that all suggested candidates for Vermont Secretary of Education are qualified in education, as stated in statute Title 3, Chapter 27,  2702, Secretary of Education. Vermont schools are at a critical juncture and facing complex issues, including growing poverty and the opioid crisis. Only a person with an understanding of these complexities and their impact on education should oversea Vermont’s public schools. Any effort to reduce school oversight to a strict business model will harm our students and our communities. 
Thank you for honoring this request and ensuring quality education for Vermont’s students. 
Sincerely,
[Name]
[Town]  
​If you have a personal story to emphasize the importance of education in our communities, also share this in your email.
3. Tell your friends and spread the message.
 
Share this information on social media. Check out our public Facebook page for a shareable post – coming soon!
Thank you Indivisibles. You are the best!

Gun Legislation Update — Further Action

Congratulations to all who called on the Harrison Amendment yesterday! The amendment was withdrawn.

I want to update you on Gun Legislation. There is a lot of information floating around Facebook and elsewhere about the need to call about senate and house gun reform bills. I have been sleuthing for more details and here is the information coming from the statehouse:

The governor’s office is keeping track of calls. If you have already called the governor’s office, pat yourself on the back. You do not need to call more than once.

If you have NOT called the governor’s office, PLEASE do so. Please see call information and script below. Continue reading “Gun Legislation Update — Further Action”

Protect Health Care Benefits & Bargaining Rights

URGENT – CALL YOUR STATE REP

Protect our health care benefits and bargaining rights.

Call and leave a message with the Sargent-at-Arms for your State Representative about the “Harrison Amendment.” They will ask for your name, phone number, and the town you live in and then for the message. It will take 30 seconds.

When to call?

Monday 3/19 and Tuesday 3/20

What time to call?

Between 7:45am – 4:30pm

What phone number to call?

802.828.2228

What message to leave?

“Please vote NO on the Harrison Amendment to H.911.” Continue reading “Protect Health Care Benefits & Bargaining Rights”

Action Needed: Help Stop Gun Violence

Call the Sergeant at Arms
Support our legislators in creating laws to protect Vermonters from gun violence! Governor Scott has publicly said that he is now open to reviewing our state gun laws. There are three bills regarding gun legislation currently being considered in the State House, 2 of which are scheduled for votes this week.
  • S. 221 (proposes to establish a procedure for law enforcement to obtain an extreme risk protection order) VOTE IS TOMORROWWednesday 2/28.
  • S. 6 (proposes to require that a background check is conducted on the proposed transferee before a firearm is transferred) VOTE IS THURSDAY, 3/1.
  • H. 422 (proposes to temporarily remove weapons from a person cited for domestic abuse). VOTE TBA.

Continue reading “Action Needed: Help Stop Gun Violence”