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Trump’s Repeal Of Beryllium Protections Puts Tens Of Thousands Of Workers At Risk

Once again the Trump administration is using their power to steamroll workers and the health protections those workers have fought and died for.  This week, they announced they want to roll back the proposed OSHA rule on Beryllium exposure.

“More working people will die if the Trump administration rolls back OSHA’s beryllium rule,” said AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka. “It also will mark the first time in history for the government to roll back worker safety protections against a cancer-causing toxin. The entire labor movement will work together to fight any proposal that takes away standards that keep us safe at work.”

(Tweet from RoseAnn DeMoro, President of the National Nurses United.)

“Once again, the Trump administration’s Labor Department is taking us backwards and undermining the core principle that no worker should have to sacrifice his or her life for a job,” said Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project.  “Today, at the behest of corporate special interests, the Labor Department issued a proposed rule to loosen health protections for workers exposed to the chemical beryllium.”

Beryllium is a toxic metal known to cause fatal diseases such as chronic beryllium disease of the lungs and lung cancer, even when very low levels are inhaled.

“No matter where they work, U.S. workers deserve protection from exposure to hazardous – and potentially lethal – toxic materials,” said Jessica Martinez, co-executive director, National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. “The proposal announced today by the U.S. Department of Labor to weaken standards that limit exposure to beryllium for shipyard and construction workers is a step backwards.”

The proposal would eliminate the “ancillary provisions” of the beryllium rule that would have extended specific new protections to construction and shipyard workers, including exposure assessments, personal protective equipment, medical surveillance and protected work areas. These provisions were included in OSHA’s rule in response to pressure from labor unions and public health groups, including Public Citizen.

“Like other beryllium-exposed workers, construction and shipyard workers deserve to go to work without risking their lives,” said Dr. Sammy Almashat, researcher for Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “By eliminating lifesaving protections for workers in these specified industries, the Trump administration is recklessly putting corporate interests above workers’ lives.”

“It is well documented that shipyard and construction workers can be exposed to beryllium.  They need the same protections as other workers – including monitoring and assessing exposure to potential harm and taking steps to eliminate hazards which can lead to life-threatening diseases,” said Martinez.

In a rulemaking process that lasted more than a decade, OSHA asked stakeholders to comment on whether its final beryllium rule should extend protections to workers in the construction and shipyard industries. After careful consideration, the agency determined that it needed to cover these workers with a lower permissible exposure limit of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air. That limit is preserved in today’s proposal. But the agency also recognized the need to mandate specific protections for construction and shipyard workers. These ancillary provisions have been revoked in the administration’s proposal.

“To protect workers, consistent with its legal authority, OSHA set the lowest exposure standards that were technologically and economically feasible. But because beryllium is highly toxic, the Labor Department knew that workers could still get sick at these exposure limits. So it put into place additional protections—such as medical surveillance of workers near but below the exposure limit—to ensure that any diseases were caught at the early stages. The Labor Department initially projected that these additional protections would save 96 lives per year and prevent 46 new cases of disease,” explained Owens.

OSHA was right to safeguard these workers in its final rule, Public Citizen maintains. According to the agency, beryllium threatens 62,000 workers. OSHA’s own inspection data show that 70 percent of the 11,500 construction and shipyard workers who come into contact with beryllium while performing open-air abrasive blasting are, in fact, exposed to airborne beryllium that can result in debilitating lifelong illnesses and early deaths.

“If this proposal to weaken the beryllium rule goes into effect, construction and shipyard workers will die and be permanently disabled as a result,” said Emily Gardner, worker health and safety advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “The final beryllium rule issued at the end of the Obama administration must be reinstated immediately.”

This Thanksgiving: How To Talk About The Economy Without Getting Into An Argument

man yelling with megaphone

Is your family one of those families… where Thanksgiving dinner always ends up in a political argument?

First thing to remember is that arguing won’t get you anywhere. Research shows that when the people you’re talking with hold strong beliefs, arguing with them only makes it harder for them to change those beliefs. And “when people’s confidence in their beliefs is shaken, they become stronger advocates for those beliefs. … when faced with doubt, people shout even louder.”

Political scientists call it the “backfire” effect – and if you’re an activist, you need to know about it (and remember it). Also remember that there are neurological differences between “Republican” and “Democratic” brains… and there are behavioral differences… although scientists are still trying to figure out exactly what those differences mean.

no_megaphoneSo what are you supposed to do? If you’re, say, sitting around the Thanksgiving table when Great Uncle Chester starts berating your college-graduate niece about the fact that she’s living at home rather than in her own apartment…?

Start by finding common ground. There’s always something to agree on, if you just look hard enough. Even if it’s just a gentle restatement of what the other person said. “Yes, Uncle Chester, we all agree that college graduates should be able to find jobs that allow them to support themselves.”

Then, add a little reality in there. “But that doesn’t seem to be happening in the current economy. There are a whole lot of twenty-somethings who are still living at home.”

Try to use personal examples rather than just facts. “I remember what my neighbor’s son went through, when he graduated two years ago. It took him 18 months to find a job, and even then he earned barely enough for him to make his student loan payments.”

When you talk about facts, try to frame them as a question, not a statement. “Don’t you think that the economy has changed from when you graduated college? Remember how working in a bank used to be a highly-respected job? Did you know that, these days, almost one-third of bank tellers need food stamps?”

Don’t push too hard. With Uncle Chester, you might not be able to persuade him of anything other than that he should stop berating your niece. (And if you push any further, the conversation might get loud and become a “nobody’s going to win this” argument.)

But continue the conversation, if your audience seems receptive. “Did you know that, these days, banks are paying billions of dollars to stockholders, rather than paying their tellers a decent wage?”

— — — —

no_megaphoneDo you have a second cousin Mildred who insists that “cutting taxes for job creators” is the answer to everything?

Find something you both agree on. “Nobody likes paying taxes.”

Add a personal story. “I remember when we got President Bush’s ‘tax refund checks’ back in 2001 and 2008. It was nice to get the money, but I didn’t invest it. I don’t know anybody who invested it. Most people either kept the money in the bank or used it to pay down debt.”

Then, a little reality. “Did you know that Congress has been cutting taxes on ‘job creators’ since Ronald Reagan was President? Back then, they used to call it ‘supply side economics.’ But it didn’t fix the economy; all it did was create a huge budget deficit. So after a few years President Reagan gave up on the idea and increased taxes again.”

Is Mildred still listening? If she looks interested, rather than angry, give her a few more facts. “Did you know that corporations are spending literally trillions of dollars buying back their own stock? Rather than building new factories or hiring new employees, they’re buying back shares of their own stock in order to keep stock prices high.”

Is she still listening? “And corporations are even borrowing money – bonds they will be paying back for decades – in order to give money to their stockholders now. So I don’t think CEOs would really invest money from tax cuts in ‘job creation.’ Don’t you think they would just pay it out to stockholders?”

Is she still listening? “I wonder what would happen to our tax rates, if corporations were paying taxes at the same rate they used to, before the SEC started allowing companies to buy back their own stock. Don’t you think that we might be paying less in taxes?”

— — — —

no_megaphoneDo you have a brother-in-law who isn’t bothered by increasing inequality? Who thinks CEOs actually deserve to receive 373 times as much as their employees are paid?

Then you ought to read this Pacific-Standard magazine article about a recent International Monetary Fund report.

And you can start the conversation with something like, “We all agree that economic growth is a good thing.”

Then add a little reality. “Did you know that income inequality actually hurts our country’s economic growth?”

Add a story. “Gosh, I wonder if this is why Macy’s is having such a hard time. None of my friends are planning to do their Christmas shopping there.   It seems like everybody is shopping discount stores or making their gifts, this year.”

Use questions. “How can the economy recover, if ordinary people don’t have money to spend? Did you know that one in ten American jobs is in retail? What’s going to happen to that sector of the economy if wages stay stagnant?  What’s going to happen to the rest of the economy?”

Know your audience, and either stop (before things get loud) or keep going. “Did you know that increasing the income share to the bottom 20% – even just by a tiny bit – helps the whole economy grow?”  “Do you think that’s why the economy grew more, back when income was a bit more equal?”

— — — —

no_megaphoneAnd if the conversation turns to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty… please be thoughtful and careful about what you say.

Personally, I’m tired of politicians pitting people against each other. And factory employees in Singapore are working to feed their families, just like we are.

The problem with the TPP isn’t overseas workers, it’s how much power the treaty would give to corporations. It’s how much power the treaty would give to big banks. It’s the idea of America giving up our right to enforce our laws, when those laws are inconvenient to multinational corporations. It’s the idea of turning over even more of our country’s sovereignty to international “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) tribunals.  Read more about how the TPP empowers corporations on the Public Citizen website.

So please, if you’re opposing the TPP, don’t talk about how overseas workers are taking “our” jobs. The real problem is how much it will benefit corporations.

The real problem is that corporate profits are at all-time highs… while labor’s share of that bounty is pretty close to its all-time low.

And the TPP is likely to make that problem worse, not better.

But that’s not the fault of the migrant workers in a Malaysian electronics factory.

— — — —

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope the conversation around your dinner table is a peaceful one.

— — — —

no_fearBut if the conversation turns to Paris and Syrian refugees, please be especially careful. Fear is one of the most basic human emotions… it’s also one of the most destructive… and one of the easiest to manipulate.

Journalist Naomi Klein is the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” She’s done a lot of research into how corporatists use disasters to push through political change. Read her work about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina here.

“For more than three decades, [economist Milton] Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock, then quickly making the ‘reforms’ permanent. In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as the shock doctrine. He observed that ‘only a crisis— actual or perceived—produces real change.’ ”

I think of her work every time someone mentions the Bush tax cuts. Back in 2001, the federal government had a budget surplus; and in the first few weeks of September, the Washington Post did a poll that found 57% of Americans wanted the Bush tax cuts reversed, in order to preserve that surplus. Then 9/11 happened. And a decade and a half later, we still haven’t gotten tax rates restored to Clinton-era levels… and the federal debt has increased by $12.4 trillion.  (And we’re being told we need to cut Social Security, rather than restore the tax rates that President Bush cut even further “while citizens were still reeling from the shock” of 9/11.)

The Paris attacks renewed the atmosphere of fear that I remember after 9/11… and we’ve already seen how some politicians want to use that fear to change government policies. The good news is: my Facebook feed is full of people pushing back against these proposals, questioning them and using historical analogies to say “This is not what America stands for.” The bad news is: Facebook feeds are determined by an algorithm that tends to reinforce what people already believe.

So… when the conversation turns to Paris, and ISIS, remember the advice above.  Arguing isn’t going to help. You need to find some way to help the people you’re talking with step away from their fear, and step into the reality that their fear allows them to be manipulated. Find something to say that you both agree on – most people agree that refugees should be vetted before being resettled – and work from there.

NH Senate Unanimously Calls for Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

2015-03-26 Senate Passes SB136 3The New Hampshire Senate just passed a bill supporting the amendment of the US Constitution to overturn Citizens United. The voice vote was apparently unanimous. The bill, SB 136, establishes a study committee to review the various proposed constitutional amendments, and issue a report by November 1st regarding which approach should be supported by the New Hampshire congressional delegation.

“Fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and the consequences of the Citizens United ruling on our elections must be addressed,” said Senator Martha Fuller Clark.​ “The issue of such large amounts of money influencing our elections is not a partisan one; it affects all of us. That’s why 67 of our municipalities have passed warrant articles calling for action on this very serious issue which threatens our democracy.”

“In 2014 alone, over $49 million was spent on NH Congressional races from outside groups, drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens,” she said. “I’m pleased that my Senate colleagues have finally agreed that it is time to do something about the corrupting influence of such large amounts of out-of-state money on our elections. I urge the House to agree as well.”

2015-03-26 Senate Passes SB136“The Senate’s action today is a huge step forward in the grassroots effort to make New Hampshire the 17th state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United,” said Paul Brochu, the Stamp Stampede’s Lead Organizer in New Hampshire.

“We’re very hopeful that the House will also pass this bill.  The House called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United in 2013 and 2014; and earlier this year the House passed a resolution seeking an Article V Constitutional Convention to overturn Citizens United,” he said. “I think we’re all tired of out-of-state special interests trying to buy our elections.  It’s time for some common-sense limits – and that common sense starts by telling the Supreme Court that no, corporations are not ‘people.’ ”

“Today, thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Senators Russell Prescott (R-23) and Martha Fuller Clark (D-21), the Senate at last voted to pass a version of SB 136 that includes language specifically calling for a constitutional amendment,” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Co-Director of Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign.  “This reflects what the people of New Hampshire have been urging their elected officials to do in response to the surge of outside money being spent on state and federal elections.”

2015-03-26 Senate Passes SB136 2 (2)“The pressing question before the nation today is whether it is ‘we the people’ or ‘we the corporations and big money interests.’ This not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is a deeply American issue. Whatever our political differences may be, we all share the common vision of government of, by, and for the people,” said John Bonifaz, President of Free Speech for People.

“This victory also demonstrates that a sustained people-powered movement can win,” he added. “New Hampshire citizens from throughout the state have repeatedly called on their legislators to take this action. They have rallied. They have marched. They have traveled to their state capitol to stand up and be heard. And, today, the people were heard. When the history of the 28th Amendment is written, it will include the story of New Hampshire citizens demanding their democracy back.”

“All across New Hampshire, people from both parties are saying they’ve had enough of Big Money in politics,” Brochu said.  “In town after town, Town Meeting after Town Meeting, Granite State voters have said ‘no more!’  It’s been amazing to watch all these people – many of whom have never been politically active before in their lives – suddenly step forward and lead their hometowns to take a stand and say the Constitution should be amended.”

“Many of the people who have stepped forward on this issue had never before called or written to or met with their elected officials.  They’re acting as ‘citizen lobbyists’ for the very first time, trying to take back their government from the special interests and Big Money donors,” Brochu added.  “This is what democracy is supposed to be about – and it is beautiful to see.”

————————

Stamp_StampedeThe Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.

12 GOP Senators Stand With Corporate Funders Over Granite Staters

Shameful: 12 New Hampshire Senators Stand Against New Hampshire Residents, Kill Bill Calling for a Constitutional Amendment to Curb the Influence of Money in Politics

Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Campaign Director, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

It’s shameful. Today, because of roadblocks put up by 12 Republican New Hampshire senators, the Committee of Conference killed a measure (SB 307) calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and to curb the influence of money in politics. This violates the will of New Hampshire residents.

On two previous occasions, the same 12 Republican senators defeated proposed language calling for an amendment. Instead, they repeatedly tried to move forward a hollow version of SB 307 that would merely create a committee to examine the impact of the Citizens United ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation. Last year, they refused to even take a vote on a similar resolution that had passed the House.

In contrast, the New Hampshire House of Representatives on May 15 voted by a 2-to-1 margin – 183 to 87, with a strong bipartisan vote – to move forward a version of SB 307 that would have made the Granite State the seventeenth state to call for a constitutional amendment.

Fifty-four New Hampshire towns have passed resolutions (52 this year) directing the state Legislature to call for a constitutional amendment, and a poll in support of a constitutional amendment was overwhelmingly supported by a 3-to-1 margin across party lines.

Today’s vote was only a temporary setback for those of us who do not want to pay the price when our government is bought and sold by wealthy interests. The fight continues across the state, and the issue will come up again in the next session.

New Hampshire House Responds to People’s Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Written on May 15, 2014

Note: Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted with bipartisan support to pass by a 2-to-1 margin an amended version of SB 307 that calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related cases.

Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Co-Director, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House of Representatives are finally responding to the people’s call to rein in the torrent of money that is flowing into our political system. We applaud them for it, and we urge Senate lawmakers to follow suit.

In March, the state Senate moved forward SB 307 as a hollow bill that created a committee to examine the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation. But it did not explicitly recognize the need for a constitutional amendment. Citizens United gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.

Today, the House voted to pass a version of SB 307 that includes language specifically calling for a constitutional amendment. This is in line with what the people of New Hampshire have been calling on their elected officials to do.

In March, residents made it crystal clear that they want to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors when they overwhelmingly passed warrants at 48 town meetings calling for the state Legislature to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Citizens United ruling. And the momentum is still building. On Tuesday, both Hanover and Peterborough passed town resolutions calling for the Citizens United ruling to be overturned. On Wednesday, New London and Sanbornton passed similar resolutions. This brings to 52 the number of New Hampshire towns calling for a resolution this year.

The bill will head to conference committee where the Senate now has a chance to follow the will of their constituents and pass the amended language. If passed, New Hampshire would become the 17th state to call for an amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

View more information about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire House Committee Responds to People’s Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

New Hampshire House Committee Responds to People’s Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Campaign Co-Director, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

Today, the New Hampshire State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee voted 8-to-5 in favor of adding language into SB 307 that calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related cases.

In March, the state Senate moved forward SB 307 as a hollow bill that created a committee to examine the impact of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation; however, it did not recognize the need for a constitutional amendment.

The committee’s bipartisan vote today to add language calling for a constitutional amendment is in line with what the people of New Hampshire want. Residents made it crystal clear that they want to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors when they overwhelmingly passed warrants at 48 town meetings calling for the state Legislature to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United ruling. This decision gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, drowning out the voices of everyday Americans.

The full House is expected to pass the amended language with similar strong support and send the question back to conference committee. There, the Senate will have a chance to follow the will of their constituents and pass the amended language.

It is important for the New Hampshire Legislature to listen to the overwhelming majority of New Hampshire residents and pass a version of the bill that includes language calling for a constitutional amendment. If passed, New Hampshire would become the 17th state to call for an amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

View more information about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire.

NH Senate Moves Forward With A ‘Study Committee’ Instead Of Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United

New Hampshire State Senate Moves Forward Hollow Bill, Legislature Needs to Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Public Citizen Logo
Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

Today the New Hampshire state Senate defeated proposed language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and get corporate money out of politics. Instead they moved forward a hollow bill, SB 307, creating a committee to examine the impact of the Citizens United ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation.

New Hampshire residents made it crystal clear that they want to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors when they overwhelmingly passed warrants at 48 town meetings calling for the state Legislature to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This ruling gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, drowning out the voices of everyday Americans.

The amended language was voted down 12 to 12 by a near party-line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor and all but one Republican – Senator Russell Prescott – voting against.

Thirty-six of the 48 towns that voted to pass a resolution were in Senate Republican districts, showing bipartisan support for a constitutional amendment. Polls have also shown that the call to overturn Citizens United is popular among a wide swath of New Hampshire residents, no matter their political party. According to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll (PDF), 72 percent of New Hampshire residents oppose the Citizens United ruling (81% Democrats, 70% Independents, 64% Republicans) and 69 percent of New Hampshire residents support a constitutional amendment that limits campaign contributions and spending (75% Democrats, 73% Independents, 61% Republicans). This shows the Republican Senators are out of step with their constituents on this issue.

The bill that was passed today now moves to the New Hampshire House of Representatives for a vote. The House has the opportunity to amend the bill to include the statement that the New Hampshire Legislature recognizes the need for a constitutional amendment – essentially the backbone of the bill. If the House passes a version of this bill including that powerful statement, the bill would then move back to a conference committee.

It is important that the House listens to the overwhelming majority of New Hampshire residents and pass a version of the bill that includes language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, which would set New Hampshire on the path to becoming the 17th state to calling for an amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

For more information about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire visit www.nh4democracy.org.

UPDATED: More Towns Join In With 30 NH Towns Calling for a Resolution to Overturn Citizens United

We the corporationsStatement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

Town meeting votes this week confirmed what many already knew: The people of New Hampshire want to free elections from the choke hold that corporations and mega-donors have on our democracy. So far, at 30 town meetings, citizens have passed – most by a vast majority – a warrant calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. More votes are coming; citizens in at least 19 towns vote on resolutions this week and results are still outstanding from towns that have held votes.

Given this clear indication of strong support by the people of New Hampshire, it is time for the state Legislature to follow their lead by passing similar legislation and make New Hampshire the 17th state to call for an amendment to overturn Citizens United. That ruling gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, thereby drowning out the voices of everyday Americans. The influence of corporations and the wealthy was starkly apparent during New Hampshire’s 2012 gubernatorial race, when outside groups spent $19 million – almost five times what the candidates spent themselves.

Polls show the call to overturn Citizens United is popular among a wide swath of New Hampshire residents, no matter their political party. Seventy-two percent of residents have said they oppose the Citizens United ruling, and 69 percent would support a constitutional amendment that limits corporate campaign contributions and spending, according to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll. Additionally, more than 100 New Hampshire residents recently marched across the state in the dead of winter to show their support for campaign finance reform.

With the voting results, the polls and grassroots organizing, it is crystal clear that the residents of New Hampshire want to join the nationwide movement to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

For more information about this effort, and to find out how towns voted, visit www.nh4democracy.org.

*            *             *              *
UPDATED 3-18-14

Below is an update from Jonah Minkoff-Zern on more towns joining the movement. 

The final tally for the New Hampshire town meeting votes is 47 Passed 12 Defeated and 1 Tabled. Thus, they passed at a 4 to 1 margin. This includes one town council (Newmarket) that voted in favor a few weeks prior. (The complete list is at www.nh4democracy.org)

All the results are in for towns that we are aware of – though it is very possible that there were other votes, as we still learned for 2 more towns not on our initial list from word of mouth over the last week.

More towns will be voting at town meetings that occur later this spring – at least 5 (Chester, Hanover , New London , Peterborough and Sanbornton already have it on their ballot) but likely many more as petition gathering is still occurring, and cities – there also 13 cities that have city council votes that can still bring it to their city council: Berlin, Claremont, Concord, Dover, Franklin, Keene, Laconia, Lebanon, Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Rochester, Somersworth)

The next step is for the New Hampshire Senate to pass SB 307 with amended language that calls for a constitutional amendment – the state legislature should follow the clear will of the people.”

More Than 50 New Hampshire Towns to Vote on a Resolution to Overturn Citizens United

money-in-politicsStatement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

The opportunity to build momentum to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors is upon New Hampshire. This coming week – due to the work of Public Citizen activists and our allies – more than 50 town meetings in New Hampshire will include a vote on whether to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
These town votes are crucial for New Hampshire residents if they want to push the state Legislature to take a giant step forward to become the 17th state to call for an amendment to overturn Citizens United, which gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, thereby drowning out the voices of everyday Americans. The influence of corporations and the wealthy was starkly apparent during New Hampshire’s 2012 gubernatorial race, when outside groups spent $19 million – almost five times what the candidates spent themselves.

Polls show the call to overturn Citizens United is popular among a wide swath of New Hampshire residents, no matter their political party. Seventy-two percent of residents have said they oppose the Citizens United ruling, and 69 percent would support a constitutional amendment that limits corporate campaign contributions and spending, according to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll. Additionally, more than 100 New Hampshire residents recently marched across the state in the dead of winter to show their support for campaign finance reform.

Three New Hampshire towns – most recently Newmarket – already have passed resolutions in support of a constitutional amendment, and the votes this week will set New Hampshire on course to join the nationwide movement to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

For more information about this effort, and to find out which towns are voting this week, visit www.nh4democracy.org.

Advocacy Group Pushes For NH Constitutional Change To Overturn Citizens United

Democracy in Motion Speaking Tour Comes to New Hampshire to Rally Support for Constitutional Amendment Against Money in Politics

After the New Hampshire State House Passes a Resolution to Overturn Citizens United, Citizens Organize to Demand That Senate Does Same

The “Democracy in Motion” tour featuring the Coalition for Open Democracy and Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign will visit libraries, churches, parks, law offices and living rooms in nine towns in New Hampshire – New London, Plymouth, Hooksett, Tamworth, Derry, Hanover, Manchester, Concord and Nashua – to mobilize support for a constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. At public forums in the first six towns, a rally in Manchester, a private event at a retirement home in Nashua, and a breakfast for state senators in Concord, organizers will meet with community members and provide guidance to help pass a state resolution protesting the court’s decision, which disregarded a hundred years of legal precedents and made money the corporate equivalent of free speech.

On March 20, in a widely applauded move, the New Hampshire House of Representatives, with bipartisan support, and in a 189-139 vote, passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. The bill, House Concurrent Resolution 2, calls on Congress to adopt a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations and other artificial entities are not people with constitutional rights, and that the expenditure of corporate money to influence the electoral process is no longer a form of constitutionally protected speech.

The Democracy in Motion speaking tour will rally local support for a similar resolution to pass in the New Hampshire Senate. Should the effort succeed, New Hampshire will become the 13th state to issue a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Get more information about the tour at: http://www.democracyisforpeople.org/democracy_in_motion_nh.

New London
When: 10 a.m., Saturday, April 20
Where: New London House Party, 142 Job Seamans Acres, New London
Who: Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer for the Democracy Is For People campaign
Jane Armstrong, treasurer for the Coalition for Open Democracy

Plymouth (two events)
When: 2 p.m., Saturday, April 20
Where: Peace Public Library, 1 Russell St., Plymouth
Who: Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer for the Democracy Is For People campaign
Olivia Zink, program director for the Coalition for Open Democracy

When: 5 p.m., Saturday, April 20
Where: The Hebert Room, Hooksett Library, 31 Mount Saint Mary’s Way, Hooksett
Who: Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer for the Democracy Is For People campaign
Olivia Zink, program director for the Coalition for Open Democracy

Tamworth
When: 12 p.m., Sunday, April 21
Where: Tamworth Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 30 Tamworth Road, Tamworth
Who: Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer for the Democracy Is For People campaign
New Hampshire State Representative Bob Perry
Dick Pollock, organizer for the Coalition for Open Democracy

Derry
When: 4 p.m., Sunday, April 21
Where: Milan Legal, 78 West Broadway, Derry
Who: Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer for the Democracy Is For People campaign
Olivia Zink, program director for the Coalition for Open Democracy

Hanover
When: 4 p.m., Monday, April 22
Where: Dartmouth College, Room 3 of the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College, 2 Webster Ave, Hanover
Who: Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer for the Democracy Is For People campaign
Contact Mason.L.Cole.13@dartmouth.edu for more details on this event.

Manchester
When: 7 p.m., Monday, April 22
Where: Veterans Memorial Park, 889 Elm St, Manchester
or in case of rain, the Manchester Main Library, 405 Pine St., Manchester
Who: Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer for the Democracy Is For People campaign
Olivia Zink, program director for the Coalition for Open Democracy
Hosted by New Hampshire State Representative Jeremy Dobson

This event will have free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

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