Issues Interviews

Here are interviews with people sponsoring legislation or very knowledgeable about issues that we will be considering at the Legislative Conference. We will post videos as they are prepared. Please review these prior to the Legislative Conference on Nov. 13th, 2016. 

Liezl Rebugio on abolishing the death penalty

More information:

Carlo Voli on Petroleum Fuel Transport

Rev. Tom Shade on the UU theology of climate change, "This Changes Everything"

Jorge Baron on the Family Unity Act

Jose Baron appeals for congregations and UU folks to help NWIRP with assisting folks to apply for deferred action soon to be announced by the President

Eric de Place on Climate Change, Carbon Controls, and Fossil Fuel Transport

Eric is the policy director at Sightline Institute, a local think tank.

Rep Jessyn Farrel, D-Seattle on Living Wage 

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Showing 14 reactions

commented 2014-11-22 14:32:24 -0800 · Flag
The WAmend initiative is critical to taking back our democracy.

Another topic essential to regaining our democracy is Election Reform.
I know this didn’t come up during the conference, but it may be timely to understand some of the proposals needed to get citizens to vote. I’m hoping these reforms may come up in the future.

Election Reform

In order to obtain a truly representative democracy, we need greater participation from the voters.

Why don’t people vote? Many people believe the system is broken and their vote won’t make a difference.
They usually have only two choices and gerrymandering has frequently already chosen the winner before they vote.
What would happen if voters had more choices and could elect legislative bodies in proportion to their voting block?
Would a group of 20% of the voters be more likely to vote if they could elect 20% of the legislature instead of electing no one? It is possible to do just that using a proportional representation election system.

To learn more about proportional election systems and their advantages, look at the FairVote website:

At this site select “REFORMS” and click on “Ranked Choice Voting/Instant Runoff Voting”.
These proposals provide hope for the future of our democracy.

Other election reforms include the National Popular Vote to elect the president, the Right to Vote amendment to the constitution, and Universal Voter Registration. These are also on the website.
commented 2014-11-22 08:50:47 -0800 · Flag
Excellent clarification on WAmend. Here is how the ballot is worded:

Should UU Voices for Justice support and encourage UU individuals and congregations the initiative efforts of WAmend?

WAmend’s ballot initiative would urge Washington’s
Congressional delegation to propose amendments to the constitution to clarify that constitutional rights, including rights to free speech, apply only to natural persons and not to corporations, and to authorize federal and state governments to limit, and require disclosure of, political contributions.

Does this address your concerns?
commented 2014-11-22 08:44:00 -0800 · Flag
The issue about a Constitutional Amendment to restore the ability of Congress and the states to meaningfully regulate political campaign finances should not be designated “Move To Amend.” MTA is just one organization belonging to the WAmend coalition and MTA’s “We the People” amendment language is only one proposed amendment among more than a dozen that have been introduced in Congress and in different states. In fact, the MTA amendment is the most controversial proposal and seems to me the most ill-conceived and dangerous in its legal consequences. It would remove ALL rights and protections from all corporations and other artificial entities — affecting most churches, newspapers, unions, social justice organizations, consumer co-ops, etc. — not just the big for-profit corporations we usually think of. If the MTA amendment had been in force at the time, the New York Times would have had no standing for legally resisting the Nixon administration’s efforts to prevent publication of the Pentagon Papers. Furthermore, according to the e-mail I received last night, the new WAmend campaign for an initiative to the Legislature now being launched will use the Amendment language of the I-1329 initiative campaign — not MTA’s amendment language. I suggest that we should either describe the issue in general terms or as support for WAmend’s new campaign for an initiative to the legislature rather than as the narrower — and more tendentious “Move To Amend.”
commented 2014-11-21 15:16:16 -0800 · Flag
Excellent questions, Robert. The list represents our best guess of what UUs in this state have at the top of their lists. We are encouraging each group to discuss what they think should be added to our ballot and report back to us. I expect that we will add at least a couple of items to the ballot through tomorrow’s process.
commented 2014-11-21 15:10:28 -0800 · Flag
Why are the following not represented among the issues to be considered? Tax changes for fairness and revenue enhancement, e.g., a state capital gains tax — or even a state income tax. A transportation bill that includes adequate funding for public transit and for infrastructure renewal and maintenance. Education to make sure the legislature addresses the requirements of McCleary and I-1351 without robbing funding from somewhere else vital.
commented 2014-11-21 14:17:25 -0800 · Flag
Thank you Jill and Melvin. I’m thinking, because they don’t plan to introduce the Carbon Tax Initiative unless the Governor’s proposals fail, the Carbon Tax and the Governor’s proposals could be considered one. Fossil Fuel Transport may be several bills. But tomorrow’s vote is meant to offer guidance for our lobbying effort. If 2015 is anything like last year, there will be a number of bills introduced to address climate change. In the beginning, it is not possible to actively support or even analyze all of them. We do have to make some decisions about our focus.

When it came to the bills that actually made it to the floor or two the two gateway committees in 2014 I applied the guidance from the Legislative Conference more broadly to the surviving bills.
commented 2014-11-21 14:03:50 -0800 · Flag
I think Melvin makes a good point, and I’m interested to know if the three related topics can be considered one Issue?
commented 2014-11-20 22:35:35 -0800 · Flag
It seems to me that three of the speakers are touching on the same topic — climate change.

“Carbon Tax Initiative”, “Petroleum Fuel Transport”, and “Climate Change, Carbon Controls, and Fossil Fuel Transport” all deal with climate change and some of the proposed solutions.

Will our topics to be prioritized treat these as one issue or three issues?
commented 2014-11-18 15:40:10 -0800 · Flag
Love the interview with Carlo Voli! He makes an excellent argument.
commented 2014-11-18 15:40:09 -0800 · Flag
Love the interview with Carlo Voli! He makes an excellent argument.
Washington Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice posted about Issues Interviews on Washington Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice's Facebook page 2014-11-18 12:24:51 -0800
Get ready for the Legislative Conference with these short video interviews with the movers and shakers about the issues. New interviews and links will be posted all week. Check it out.
commented 2014-11-18 08:15:30 -0800 · Flag
Melvin, you’ve put your finger on why it is so important for UU’s to engage in lobbying. The ACLU is messaging the way their polls indicate will be the most persuasive policy points. You are stating the moral basis for abolishing the death penalty and you’re doing it from your heart. We fill a gaping hole in the public debate on issues. We make a difference in moving legislators to a better perspective on the issues.
commented 2014-11-17 20:00:50 -0800 · Flag
I’m a long time member of the ACLU and definitely support the repeal of the death penalty. Unfortunately the primary reason to repeal the death penalty stated by Liezl Refugio seems to be directed at conservative voters, who are worried about the cost of the death penalty. Emphasizing that repeal is cost effective implies that we might want to support retaining the death penalty if retention were cost effective. Cost effectiveness is not the primary reason to repeal. It is simply a lucky benefit.

I believe the primary reasons to repeal the death penalty are:

1) The death penalty is not supportive of the worth and dignity of every person.

2) Too many innocent people have died. There is no adequate compensation when an innocent person has been killed by the state.

3) The death penalty is not carried out fairly, when people of low income or minority races are killed in higher proportion than their numbers would suggest.
commented 2014-11-16 09:19:19 -0800 · Flag
this is so helpful. I was trying to figure out the difference among all the carbon ideas and this interview was extremely helpful. thank you for finding and interviewing Dr Bauman so I can be clear and my advocacy among friends and legislators can be more persuasive!! Susan Morrisson
Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice - Washington
We empower Unitarian Universalists to give voice to our values in the political arena.