"When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."– Audre Lorde
Georgia Demonstrates the Need for National Voting Rights Protection
Just a few months after Georgia gave Democrats their slim majority in the US Senate, the state's legislature has passed a 95 page monster of overt voter suppression. Among other things, Georgia's new law strips power from the Republican secretary of state who stood up to Trump’s demand that he change the 2020 voting results, reduces Vote-by-Mail drop boxes, and slashes early voting on weekends when Black churches traditionally hold voting drives. And this is only one of the more than 250 measures in 43 states, including Florida, designed to keep Republicans in power regardless of what voters want.
Now is the time to channel our anger into action - both nationally and here at home.
Write or call Senators Scott & Rubio (again!) and insist they vote for S1 - the For the People Act - already passed by the House. Secure, fair elections should be a bipartisan priority. For more details on the law to inform your letter, click here.
Take action to oppose Florida's own Voter Suppression measures. Write & call your elected representatives, and educate your friends & neighbors - in conversations and Letters to the Editor. More on all that below.
Top Priorities in Tallahassee
Florida's Voter Suppression Bills. Despite strong opposition by Supervisors of Elections of both parties, several pending bills would significantly undercut Vote-by-Mail, eliminate local polling places, and cost taxpayers millions of unnecessary dollars. Call or email Senator Bean & Rep Byrd today & tell them to:
Vote “no” on SB 90 and leave our vote-by-mail choices and our drop boxes in place.
Vote "no" on HB 7041
Protect our neighborhood polling places and early voting access by voting “no” on SB 774/HB 635.
Desantis Anti-Protesting Bill. This legislation to criminalize many aspects of public protest passed on a strict party line vote in the House last week, after 4 hours of heated debate. It moves to the Senate as SB 484. Write or call Aaron Bean and urge him to vote no.
HB 259 - Concealed Carry into Church. The Florida House has also approved legislation expanding permission for Floridians to bring their weapons to houses of worship - including those attached to schools, despite pleas from the PTA, League of Women Voters and others. If you oppose this further erosion of gun control, let Senator Bean know before the Senate votes.
Wednesday, March 31 6:30 pm -- Letters to the Editor Training on Zoom
Beyond writing and calling our own elected officials, one of the strongest tools we have for promoting progressive policies is to educate and motivate other voters via Letters to the Editor. We've begun forming a BAM-LTE group that will be collaborating with each other and with other progressive groups in our area to speak out regularly on issues we care about.
So it's timely that national Indivisible is offering LTE training this Wednesday night via Zoom at 6:30. Click here to register & join us Wednesday to meet fellow progressives from across the state & get pointers on how to write an effective letter. If you can't join this zoom but want to help with BAM's LTE group, send us an email with LTE Volunteer as the subject line. We'll be convening a virtual meeting of our BAM group soon.
Thursday, April 8, 7 pm - BAM Conversation with Matt Carlucci
At our regularly scheduled April meeting BAM will be hosting Councilman Carlucci. One of the leading Council voices opposing both the flawed process and the substance of the Lot J proposal, Councilman Carlucci was scheduled to join our BAM meeting back in January on Lot J. He was unable to come then because a critical Council hearing on the proposal kept him tied up downtown until close to midnight. In the end, his was a critical vote opposing Lot J.
Councilman Carlucci has been an important voice on other issues BAM cared about like JEA and the 1/2 cent sales tax. As he has now declared his interest in running for Mayor in 2023, this meeting is a chance to get to know him better & trade ideas about the city's priorities and potential. Submit questions in advance to BAM's email. If time permits, we'll also take questions from the chat box. Feel free to invite friends, but remember registration is required.
Save This Date - April 15 - NOT About Taxes
On Thursday, April 15 at 7 pm, BAM, NE Florida NOW, the League of Women Voters, Mandarin Indivisible, and Beaches Democratic Club are joining forces to sponsor a Zoom you don't want to miss. Desmond Meade, co-founder and current president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition will be speaking & taking questions on FRRC's continuing efforts to restore voting rights to Florida's returning citizens. As President and Executive Director, Meade led the FRRC to a historic victory in 2018 with the passage of Amendment 4, the grassroots initiative which restored voting rights to over 1.4 million Floridians with past felony convictions.
Despite the broad public support for Amendment 4, the Florida Legislature erected additional barriers to voter registration for ex-felons which court challenges to date have not overturned. Meade will give us the latest on the status of rights restoration for returning citizens, an overview of the other work his organization is doing to reshape local, state, and national criminal justice policies, and what we can do to help.
Put this meeting on your calendar now - and join progressives from a host of like-minded groups in learning what we can do to fulfill the promise of Amendment 4. Register here.
AB Tree Code Changes - Still Time to Weigh In
The Atlantic Beach Commission has postponed a final vote on the proposed changes to the city's tree code. This means public comment is still welcome & needed. If you've not yet written the commission to state your views on the proposed changes or to register your support for protecting the city's tree canopy, please do that now. Click here for more info and send your thoughts to:
Ellen Glasser firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Bole email@example.com
Mike Waters firstname.lastname@example.org
Candace Kelly email@example.com
Brittany Norris firstname.lastname@example.org
Or email them all at email@example.com