Quite a contrast. At 6pm, we participated in a Sunrise Movement Zoom Call, a Green New Deal campaign launch full of young energy and passion followed by The State of Disunion from Donald Trump, a staid ramble full of lies, distortion and barely veiled racism. The contrast was stark. We share the Sunrise Movement’s plan involving Rep, Torres & Lujan and Sens. Heinrich and Udall.
Roundhouse Misinformation Countered by Retake Researchers
In Tuesday’s post, Retake provided counter information on the presentation by the NM Oil & Gas Association at a House Committee hearing, testimony that was entirely impervious to the impact of fracking on our land, water and future. Today we share our strategy for countering this kind of misinformation throughout the remainder of the session. In every hearing in which one of our MUST PASS bills is being heard, opponents have used a variety of tortured logic, misinformation, fear mongering and constitutional justifications to argue against these bills. Thankfully, we have a crackerjack Research Team of about 30 folks who know how to fact check and conduct research. Their excellent research will be used to create “Point-Counterpoint” one-page summaries that will be shared with legislators voting on our bills, whether on the floor or in committee. The excerpt below related to HB 31 will be circulated to House Representatives this morning before they vote on the bill on the House floor.
In House Committee hearings, opposition to a phased-in minimum wage increase has focused on the possible negative impact on restaurants, tipped employees, and rural communities. Research however, indicates that these claims are unfounded, as described below.
Opposition argument: Servers will have less take-home pay because diners will tip less, knowing that servers are not getting a “tip credit” toward the minimum wage in their pay.
- Studies in New York show that when the minimum wage was increased, take-home pay of servers “increased significantly.”
- Furthermore, job growth went up: employment at full-service restaurants went up 4%. (https://ny.eater.com/2018/11/20/18103228/tipped-minimum-wage-hike-job-study-new-york-nyc)
- The actual number of restaurants went up by over 10%, twice the rate of any neighboring state.
- Average annual salaries also went up by roughly 10%. That’s inclusive of both tipped and non-tipped workers, who also saw minimum wage hikes.
- Seven states have a fully implemented One Fair Wage policy and have: 1) higher restaurant sales per capita, 2) higher job growth in restaurants, 3) the same or higher tipping averages, and 4) half the rate of sexual harassment as the 43 states with subminimum wages for tipped workers. (http://rocunited.org/2018/09/one-fair-wage-sweeping-nation/)
The restaurant industry includes 7 of the 10 lowest paying jobs in the country. People who work in the industry are twice as likely to need food stamps and three times as likely to live in poverty as the rest of the US workforce. And 70% of restaurant workers are women. Since a living base wage is not guaranteed, and women are instead forced to depend on tips, they frequently have to put up with sexual harassment from customers, co-workers, and management. The EEOC has targeted the restaurant industry as the single largest source of sexual harassment charges filed by women with a rate FIVE TIMES higher than any other industry.
Opposition argument: Raising the minimum wage would have “devastating” effects on rural communities.
- Studies show that in poor areas of California, the large increase in worker spending power generated by a $15 minimum wage offsets most of the higher costs to businesses. (https://www.nelp.org/wp-content/uploads/Fact-Sheet-The-Case-for-15-Minimum-Wage-in-Illinois-April-2017.pdf)
- Rural Colorado added 6,000 jobs following the 33 percent increase in the minimum wage in 2006. (https://cclponline.org/cclp_blog/raise-the-wage-for-rural-colorado/)
Opposition Argument: Servers may lose tips because of forced tip-pooling, or because restaurant owners will institute a service charge instead of tipping.
Counter argument: Federal law makes clear that employers cannot under any circumstances keep any portion of the tips earned by their workers.
HB 51 Decriminalize Abortion Decriminalization Passed by House, SM 5 Public Bank Memorial Stalled by Nay Votes by Clemente Sanchez and Mark Kay Papen. By a vote of 40-29, the full House passed HB 51 Decrinalize Abortion Six Democrats joined 23 Republicans in voting against the bill, with Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec, absent. The six Democrats included Reps. Anthony Allison of Fruitland, D. Wonda Johnson of Church Rock, Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup, Patricio Ruiloba of Albuquerque, Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde and Candie Sweetser of Deming. One of our Priority bills suffered a different fate. SM 5 Public Bank Memorial would merely have direct the Legislative Finance Committee to study the feasibility of a state Public Bank. That was too revolutionary for Senators Sanchez and Papen whose two votes nay were enough to create a 5-5 tie and a stalled bill. I am not sure what is involved in resurrecting the bill but am meeting with the bill sponsor Sen. Steinborn at 11:30 today to find out.
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR, 101.1 FM, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. This will be the maiden voyage of Retake serving as roving reporter as part of our 30 minute weekly radio show. This Saturday’s radio show will include interviews with Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, sponsor of the newly introduced statewide four year moratorium on fracking bill SB 459) and with Senator Jeff Steinborn, sponsor of the SB 374 Local Choice Energy bill we profiled last week. Sen. Steinborn is also the sponsor for SM 5, the Public Bank memorial stalled in Senate Rules. So we will get the scoop from him on what options remain for that bill.
The Sunrise Movement Gets Serious About the Green New Deal
Last night Naomi Klein joined two young leaders of the Sunrise Movement to announce that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey are introducing a Joint Resolution for a Green New Deal. The youth were very articulate in explaining both what the Green New Deal could be and what their strategy is to advance it. With the introduction of a resolution, the GND would have standing in Congress and if resolutions get enough cosponsors, they can become a major driver of the policy debate! If not, they can get lost in the political shuffle and fade into oblivion.
Part of their strategy is essentially to insist that legislators take a stand, not that they are studying it and will consider it, but that they either support it or they are opposed. There is no longer time for study. And so the Sunrise Movement is giving legislators until Feb 11 and to study and dissemble all they want. But from from Feb. 11-13, Sunrise Movement is asking us to show up in person at our Senators’ and Representatives’ offices and ask them to cosponsor the Green New Deal Resolution.
In NM, we have one US Representative sponsoring the Green New Deal, Senators Heinrich and Udall and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan and Rep. Xochitl Torres Small have not. Time to let them know we are coming. Please use the contact information below to call and write to your legislators and tell them two things. We are asking you to cosponsor the resolution, once introduced and we will be at your office between Feb 11-13 if you don’t. I think it is important to acknowledge that the GND is still a concept with some goals and objectives, but no bones defining how it would be paid for or how strategies would be implemented. We are asking for a commitment to create that together and we expect them to support that process. Phone contact info is provided at the end of the post.
They need to make a choice: will they support the only resolution to meet the scale of the climate crisis? Or will they condemn the millions of young people to a future ravaged by wildfires, heatwaves, and hurricanes? To find out more about the Sunrise Movement, click here.
Green New Deal Town Hall with special guest Congresswoman Deb Haaland. If you want to hear why Congresswoman Haaland is supporting the GND and initiate a statewide effort to organize around it, please join Retake Our Democracy, an event sponsor, by attending the GND Town Hall, organized by our friends at 350.org.nm.
- Green New Deal Town Hall with special guest Congresswoman Deb Haaland with a reception to follow.
- Date & Time: Sunday Feb 17th, 2019, 3-5pm
- Place: African American Performing Arts Center and Exhibit Hall, 310 San Pedro Dr NE, Albuquerque 87108
90 Minutes of Trump Lies and Hatred Plus Expropriating Victims of Child Cancer, the Holocaust, and Others
As reported in detail by the Washington Post, Trump had sprinkled grandiose claims every thirty seconds or so throughout a 90 minute rambling, tedious speech. Cherry-picking data and twisting facts throughout, the Post identified 30 of the most egregious instances of misinformation, but there were many more. Worse than the lies, which I’ve grown used to, is the shameless ways in which he uses people who have suffered or otherwise been victimized by their health, the holocaust, crime, as if he or his policies were in any way sympathetic to people earning under $10M a year. And worse still is the ways in which he seeks to instill fear in his base as if the men, women and children seeking refuge in America are the ones responsible for the opioid epidemic or that the handful of instances of violent crime perpetrated by immigrants represents the character of an entire race. Despite data that shows that immigrants are far less likely to commit crimes–out of fears of deportation–Trump continues to beat that mindless, hurtful drum, endlessly. The Post describes many other less noxious offenses below.
“More people are working now than at any time in our history — 157 million.”
- This is a pretty meaningless statistic. The U.S. population is growing, so of course more people would be employed.
“We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranchers and family farms.”
- This is an enormous stretch. Trump often claims he saved family farms and small businesses by gradually reducing the federal estate tax. Reducing the estate tax primarily benefits the wealthy. The estate tax rarely falls on farms or small businesses, since only those leaving behind more than $5 million pay it. According to the Tax Policy Center, nearly 5,500 estates in 2017 — out of nearly 3 million — were subject to the tax. Of those, only 80 taxable estates would be farms and small businesses.
“We have unleashed a revolution in American energy — the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world.”
- The notion that “a revolution” in energy began under the Trump administration is wrong. The United States has led the world in natural gas production since 2009. Crude oil production has been increasing rapidly since 2010, reaching record levels in August 2018, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.
“The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens.”
- By any available measure, there is no new security crisis at the border.
- Apprehensions of people trying to cross the southern border peaked most recently at 1.6 million in 2000 and have been in decline since, falling to just under 400,000 in fiscal 2018. The decline is partly because of technology upgrades; tougher penalties in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; a decline in migration rates from Mexico; and a sharp increase in the number of Border Patrol officers.
- The fiscal 2018 number was up from just over 300,000 apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border for fiscal 2017, the lowest level in more than 45 years.
But facts have never been Trump’s strength. Click here to review the litany identified by the Post.
Contact Info for Our US House and Senate Representatives. We will post local office addresses next week.
The NM Blue Tsunami was an expression of a majority of New Mexicans seeking substantive change. The GND represents a framework for just that kind of change. Yet, only one of our five elected officials in DC has endorsed the plan. Time to let them know how we feel.
Tom Udall, US Senate
- (202) 224-6621
- Link to email form: https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/?p=contact
Martin Heinrich, US Senate
- p: (202) 224-5521
- Link to email form: https://www.heinrich.senate.gov/contact/write-martin
Deb Haaland, Congressional District 1 [Send her a note of thanks and encourage her to speak with her NM colleagues]
- P:(202) 225-6316
- Link to website and email contact form.
Xochitl Torres Small, Congressional District 2
- Phone: (202) 225-2365
- Link to website and email contact form.
Ben Ray Lujan, Congressional District 3