Comprehensive election reform

Our UU faith calls us to promote the democratic process as we design a way to live together that casts the widest circle of meaningful participation for our citizenry.

Our US House has resolved to do just that in HR1, promoting sweeping election reform — fair redistricting, equitable management of voter rolls that prohibits purging, stricter lobbying requirements, tax liability transparency for presidential candidates, and sweeping campaign finance reforms that eliminate the power of money in elections.

The great majority of your Illinois congresspeople are in support of HR1 as co-sponsors — TAKE ACTION to give them a shout-out. Let them know we are paying attention.

Some legislators are staging HR1 support and information gatherings next week during their in-district break. Find out if you can support your congressperson to get the word out. Here are two already scheduled meetings:

Rep Jan Schakowsky

5533 N. Broadway in Chicago

Wednesday, January 23, at 11 am

Rep Mike Bost

302 W State St

O’Fallon IL

Thursday, January 24, at 11 am

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Protect the right to asylum

Last November, the Trump administration began categorically denying asylum to those who enter the United States between official ports of entry, regardless of their need for protection. This sweeping change in practice upends decades of fundamental human rights commitments under U.S. and international law and is, in effect, a ban on exercising the right to seek asylum in the United States.

The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice are now crafting a policy to support this practice. Your legislators have the power to bring the issue to the floor of Congress to debate in a public forum.

TAKE ACTION to urge your representative to prioritize protecting the right to asylum for all seekers by initiating legislation to define asylum in a way that reflects our national character as a generous and compassionate people.

Partnering with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

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Affirming the worth and dignity of immigrants, migrants, and refugees

Congress has a critical choice to make before the end of the year. Is this the nation we want to be?

Congress must decide by Dec. 21, 2018 how to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the rest of fiscal year 2019. Right now is a critical time for people of faith and conscience to make our voices heard and say all people deserve to be treated humanely. Every additional dollar for immigration detention and enforcement allows our nation to carry out policies that erode the rights and safety of immigrants, refugees, and migrants.

TAKE ACTION to urge your Representative to reject increased funding for unchecked immigration enforcement.

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The FIRST STEP ACT for prison reform

H.R. 5682 The FIRST STEP ACT was  passed by the House in May and is now in the Senate, with bipartisan support --  but it needs to be moved onto the floor for a vote before Congress adjourns for the holidays.

Last month members of the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed on a bipartisan compromise that represents significant steps toward ending mass incarceration by reducing long sentences for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes, making sentencing more flexible for judges, introducing more humane treatment in prison, and facilitating reintegration into society for ex-felons.  

Pregnant inmates would no longer be shackled during birth; prisoners would be housed closer to their families, judges would get more leeway to avoid mandatory minimum sentencing; some inmates incarcerated on crack cocaine charges could petition for sentence reduction; and a “third strike” would no longer mean life in prison. The FIRST STEP ACT would also initiate practices helping inmates successfully re-enter society.

TAKE ACTION to ask our Senators to rally support for the FIRST STEP ACT. It represents long overdue restoration of humane rights in the practices of our criminal justice system.

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Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking

The people of Illinois have spoken loud and clear — by a vote of 12-1, Illinois voters affirmed a resolution to curb illegal gun trafficking in Illinois by requiring universal gun dealer licensing in Illinois.

SB337, Gun Dealer Licensing — now “Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking” — PASSED BOTH HOUSES in the Spring and now sits on the Governor’s desk. Governor Rauner vetoed a past version of the bill and is likely to do it again — BUT we are close to having a veto-proof majority of legislators committed to overriding the likely veto. We need a few more Senate votes to get the job done in the current legislative year.

Check HERE to see if your senator is on board. If not, TAKE ACTION tosend them a nudge to get with the program! And if they have endorsed the bill, click HERE and change the letter to read “THANK YOU for supporting SB337, mandating gun dealer licensing in Illinois to curb illegal gun trafficking.”

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Tell the EPA to hold the line for cleaner air!

The EPA is considering a rule that will relax pollution regulations for coal power plants. You voice counts in their deliberations.

Tell the EPA not to weaken pollution regulations for coal power plants by replacing the Clean Power Plan with a rule that they claim is more affordable for the economy of coal-powered industries — but it is anything but “affordable” for those of us planning to breathe air in the foreseeable future. And it is betrayal for our children living into the generations.

Their deadline to hear from the public is THIS WEDNESDAY — so act NOW — your own words reflecting your values as a UU are what they need to hear.

Click TAKE ACTION to read the rule, then click on “Comment now."

Let’s be heard by the tens of thousands! Let’s rock complacency in the EPA!

Partnering with Faith in Place and Interfaith Power and Light.

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Protect safeguards for immigrant children

The Trump administration proposes a new regulation regarding the treatment of immigrant children in detention: the new regulation would replace the Flores Agreement -- which stipulated that children could not be detained for over 20 days -- with regulations that would detain children indefinitely, whether unaccompanied or with their family. The regulation would also shift the licensing of family detention facilities to the federal government, away from state child welfare facilities.

Protecting the growing years of children has been a hallmark of our sense of who we are as a democratic community. We must not allow our government to legislate the inhumane treatment of ANYONE, citizen or no.

This proposed regulation is subject to comment by you, the public, until November 6. Voice your strong opposition to this new attempt to undermine human rights and traumatize children and families seeking safety.

Here is the rule:

Submit a comment here:

In the Search box: ICEB-2018-0002

Click on COMMENT NOW: type in your statement

Click CONTINUE, follow the prompt to SUBMIT

Your vote counts! If you are a professional with expertise, your comment may be used in arguing against the rule.

Partnering with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, UUSC

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Human Rights for Undocumented Immigrants

On October 10, 2018, the Trump administration officially published, for comment the “public charge” rule that would fundamentally change our country's immigration practice. This rule defines who might be considered a "public charge," a person relying on government programs for subsistence. An immigrant who is a "public charge" has a poor chance of achieving green card status.

The new rule will widen the criteria applied when determining a person a public charge to include enrollment in Medicaid healthcare, receiving SNAP food assistance, and participating in a housing voucher program. Participating in these programs would disqualify a family from being considered for immigration.

The proposed rule would punish immigrants going through official immigration processes for receiving benefits for which they are legally eligible.

Here is the proposed rule:

When the government publishes a proposed regulation, the public gets 60 days to comment. That period formally started on Wednesday, October 10 and ends on Monday, December 10, 2018. The government is obligated to review those comments before finalizing the rule, though it’s not necessarily obligated to make any changes.

Submit a comment OPPOSING this change. The language you use might include values such as: that families shouldn’t have to choose between basic human rights and staying together, that human compassion requires that all our people be able to thrive and we all benefit when all members of our communities have enough to eat, access to health care, and safe housing.

Here is how to submit a comment:

Go to

Put the Docket number in the SEARCH box: USCIS-2010-0012


Type in your comment


Follow the prompt to SUBMIT

Your voice counts! Your comment will be read and your opposition vote will be counted. THANK YOU!

Partnering with American Friends Service Committee

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Vote your UU Values

Now that you have pledged with your UU community to vote your UU values (you did, didn’t you? LINK), find out which candidates on your ballot are pledged to realize your UU values in their work. The Illinois League of Women Voters has put together a guide to the candidates HERE to help you put together your own ballot choices. The LWV has surveyed candidate stands on a myriad of issues, but makes no endorsements. That’s your job.

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Protest EPA Roll-back of Emission Control of Coal-powered Plants

Under direction from the current Administration, the EPA is now proposing the Repeal of Carbon Dioxide Emission Guidelines for Existing Standing Sources, or the new “Affordable Clean Energy Rule,” rolling back pollution regulations on coal powered plants by replacing the hard-won Clean Power Plan of 2015.

The EPA held a public hearing Monday in Chicago, attended by hundreds of people in protest and involving our partners at Faith in Place and the Illinois Climate Table. YOU CAN HAVE YOUR SAY NOW!

Your voice is critical as one by one we strengthen the resistance. You can submit an official comment to the EPA HERE. You needn’t be fancy — they are counting the number of protesting citizens and this is your time to be counted: “Say NO to the Affordable Clean Energy Rule that undermines our strongest effort yet to protect the health of our communities.”

As people of faith leading the environmental movement toward justice, we must speak out for the right of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities.

Your comment will be emailed to the EPA Docket and will be published in the EPA’s website as part of the public comment process.

TAKE ACTION and let your voice be counted!

In partnership with Faith in Place, the Illinois Climate Table and Interfaith Power and Light.

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