The UUMUAC Task Force issued this Action Allert on February 24th, 2017, to Illinois Representatives to support HB 3421
I am writing to urge you to join in co-sponsoring H.B. 3421, which was introduced this month by Rep. Christian Mitchell. This legislation would amend Illinois’ laws related to criminal justice to abolish the use of money bail in Illinois. Modeled after the system in place in the District of Columbia, and now being instituted in other jurisdictions around our country, this legislation would establish a system under which release before trial would be based on a risk assessment system, rather than on an individual’s ability to post money bail. Where an individual is assessed as posing a threat to society he or she would be held in jail until trial. Where an individual is not found to pose a risk to society he or she would be freed on an I-Bond, rather than posting a money bond. This creates a system that is much fairer, in that it does not tie release to an ability to pay standard.
To enable accused individuals to meet their obligation to appear, enhanced pretrial services that would remind defendants of upcoming court dates via phone or messaging and offer transportation assistance for indigent defendants will be required. Public availability of court dockets online would also help.
By not tying the release of poor defendants to an ability to pay standard, tax payers would be relieved of the costs of jailing defendants who do not pose a threat to society during the period prior to their court date. Poor defendants, who do not pose a threat to society, would not risk the loss of their jobs due to missing significant days of work, and the individual and his or her dependents would not risk loss of housing and other adverse impacts, due to the loss of income/employment.
Our communities will be stronger, our criminal justice system more fair, and our taxpayers less burdened, by the changes proposed in H.B. 3421. I again urge you to join in co-sponsoring this legislation. I look forward to your response, with your position on this legislation.
The UUSJ Peace Task Force issued an Action Alert on March 3rd to Senators and Representatives against using nuclear weapons
Dear Senator or Representative
As a person of faith I believe in the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. Peace Action, the American Friends Service Committee and fourteen other nationwide groups are supporting HR 669 and have stated: ‘While no one person should have the sole authority to launch a civilization ending nuclear war, [Trump’s] aggressive temperament and chaotic behavior are terrifying considering his authority over nuclear war-fighting.’
This change to the nuclear launch protocol is long overdue, and it’s never been more important to change the policy than it is now. Please support this bill and make it illegal for President Trump or any successor to unilaterally start a nuclear war.
The UUSJ Environvental Task Force issued this Action Alert Prosting all Trump's Deep Cuts in the EPA and Other Environmental Programs on March 20th
Dear Senator or Representative
• Funding to combat algae blooms, invasive species and other water pollution problems in the Great Lakes, which are proposed for a cut from $300 million to $10 million.
• The Environmental Justice program budget, which has historically supplied grants to 1,400 frontline communities, which is proposed to have a 78% cut, from $6.7 million to $1.4 million.
• Funding for restoration in Chesapeake Bay, the country’s largest estuary, is proposed to be cut from $73 million to $5 million, while funding for restoration work in Puget Sound is proposed to be cut from $28 million to $2 million.
• The EPA’s work studying endocrine disruptor chemicals that can interfere with the body’s reproductive and development systems would nearly be eliminated, dropping from $7.5 million to $445,000.
• Funding for state testing of bacteria levels at beaches around the country would be totally eliminated.
• NOAA’s budget cuts endanger climate science research and data collection, and coastal resilience programs meant to help coastal communities adapt to the increased risk of extreme weather and sea level rise. NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would lose $126 million, or 26 percent of its current budget. I look forward to your reply, laying out your position on the Administration’s proposed budget cuts to the EPA and NOAA budgets.
The Task Force on Economic Justice and Homelessness issued an Action Allert on April 17, 2017 to REDUCE the HUGE wealth inequities in it's tax reform bill
During the upcoming months the Republican majority in Congress will be developing and putting forth legislation to “reform” taxes. I am writing to share my views, which I would like you to consider when the subject of tax reform comes up.
With regard to corporate tax rate changes, I would urge that such measures be revenue neutral, with any reduction in the general corporate tax rate funded through the elimination or sharp curtailment of corporate tax deductions.
The UUSJ Peace Task Force issued an Action Alert on April 21, 2017 to Senators and Representatives to exert their authority to have a say before the Executive Administration expands the use of bombings.
Lately there seems to be a growing tendency for America to respond with air power in cases of intractable military conflict. Our bombers have hit targets in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan without prior Congressional approval. Civilians are being killed and wide swaths of the countryside are being destroyed after a blanket “authorization” of military action by President Trump.
As a person of faith, I’m concerned about not only the increased use of the military, but also the erosion of our democratic principles. As a Unitarian Universalist I believe in the sanctity of each human life and the importance of using the democratic process. While the use of chemical weapons may be deplorable and a stronger cadre of ISIS fighters on the Afghanistan / Pakistan border something to fear, we shouldn’t immediately respond by initiating an air strike.
The UN charter only approves the use of force in self-defense or after a vote by the Security Council. The US Constitution requires Congressional approval for military action, while the 1974 War Powers Act was enacted to "insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities." It doesn’t seem that Congress is fulfilling its designated role, and the President seems to have been left to act on his own.
The decision to use military force is one of the most serious actions a nation can take. It ought to be a collective decision, approved by Congress and debated by our elected representatives. The current tendency of the President to take unilateral action and the Congress to duck its duty to approve his decisions is unacceptable. Please make your voice heard and insure that military incursions don’t continue to proliferate without Congressional approval,
The UUSJ Environvental Task Force issued this Action Alert Prosting all Trump's Deep Cuts in the EPA and Other Environmental Programs on July 11th
Backers of the bill continually argue that the permit requirement places undue burdens on farmers, but in reality the majority of pesticide applications obtain a permit with little restrictions, and agricultural activities are exempt from the requirement. What the bill will actually do is take away Americans’ right to know what toxic chemicals are entering their waterways.
I urge you to vote against H.R. 953 in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to your response.
The Task Force on Economic Justice and Homelessness issued an Action Allert on July 26, 2017 to oppose cuts in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants
Dear [Senator(s) and Representative]
As a person of faith I care about those who would go hungry or homeless without the assistance of fellow Americans. Some of that assistance we provide as a nation, through our Federal government programs.
The UUSJ Environvental Task Force issued this Action Alert on September 19. 2017 to President Trump urging him to fight climate change in light of recent hurricanes and drought/fires
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are NOT Fake News! Extreme weather events caused by warming ocean waters, the result of global warming, are really happening! Increased drought hurts American crops and food security, while increasing forest fires in the American West threatens Americans’ homes. American cities, such as Miami Beach, FL, and Norfolk, VA, and many communities along the Louisiana coast, are being flooded by rising oceans, the result of global warming melting the ice and glaciers around the world.
The UUSJ Environvental Task Force issued this Action Alert on October 13. 2017 to Governer Rauner opposing Dynegy and Illinois EPA Plan to Weaken Clean Air Laws
Please oppose changing the Illinois clear air multipollutant standards that protect public health and the environment in Illinois communities.
Dynegy knew about its environmental compliance responsibilities long ago. The Illinois clean air standards were negotiated and approved in 2007, and they provided Dynegy and other coal plant owners a glide path for cleanup actions. None of these Dynegy coal plants should be run like “old Chevy beaters” without installing effective modern pollution control equipment. It’s time to better protect the public’s health with healthier clean air in Illinois communities.
It’s time that these Dynegy coal plants be cleaned up and environmental pollution reduced if they still run!
The Task Force on Economic Justice and Homelessness issued an Action Allert to oppose cuts in the Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits on October 18, 2017 to Governor Rauner
I urge you to intervene on behalf of the very poor Illinois residents faced with the termination of their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
The UUSJ Peace Task Force issued an Action Alert on October 26, 2017 to US Senators about the Iran Nuclear Deal and Expressing Concern that Senators Cotton and Corker along with President Trump may Weaken it
Dear Senator [whoever],
I’m concerned about the status of the Nuclear Joint Plan of Action with Iran. Since mid-October, when President Trump refused to certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, members of the Senate have been considering re-imposing sanctions, eliminating the sunset provisions, and expanding on-site inspections.
News sources tell us that Senators Tom Cotton and Bob Corker of the Foreign Relations Committee are working on legislation that would unilaterally bolster restrictions and increase the penalties for violations. According to Sen Corker, President Trump’s refusal to certify compliance provides the US with an opportunity to practice “coercive diplomacy”.
I disagree. We need to practice dialog with our adversaries, not coercion. According to China, Russia and the European Union, Iran is living up to its side of the bargain. The International Atomic Energy Commission agrees.
As a person of faith, I believe in the goal of “world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.” I urge you to not use the next 60 days to re-impose sanctions. During the two years the agreement has been in effect, Iran has dismantled its nuclear program and given inspectors access to it nuclear sites. The agreement is a success, not a failure. Please do what you can to see that it remains in effect.
The UUSJ Environvental Task Force issued this Action Alert on November 13. 2017 to US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao urging the FHWA to preserve the dailly CO2 measurements
Dear Secretary Chao,
Please preserve the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requirement that states and metropolitan planning organizations must measure and set targets for CO2 emissions on the National Highway System. This requirement is part of a larger set of updated reporting requirements and was the result of a two-year process that included input from states, cities, and the public.
Measuring carbon pollution in our transportation system is about encouraging efficiency with our limited transportation dollars.
We should be able to hold our states and cities accountable for how they spend our transportation dollars and whether or not they are striving to reduce carbon pollution. Our states and cities should be encouraged to pursue projects that encourage more trips to be taken on public transit, by foot or by bike, or coordinate with land use decisions to make trips shorter altogether. Measuring carbon emissions is one important way for the public to hold our transportation agencies accountable for their spending decisions. Transportation has now overtaken power plants as the largest source of climate pollution in the U.S. The reporting requirements the USDOT issued in January of this year, which include carbon pollution, are one way to reduce this pollution through better planning and spending. Also, as we reduce climate pollution we can help make our air cleaner to breathe across our cities and states.
I urge you to leave the requirement that our states and cities measure and report carbon pollution in place. We are paying for our transportation system and deserve to know whether or not our investment is delivering a healthier, cleaner environment and a better transportation system for today and for the future!