- Big stuff, coming soon!
What about now? Now?
Right now—like, literally right now—legislators are talking amongst themselves about a huge game-changing public safety bill called HB 3194. The bill already received a hearing and the sausage-making has commenced.
If HB 3194 were to pass unchanged, it would:
- Flatline prison growth over the next decade and avoid $600 million in new prison expenses;
- Some of those savings would be re-invested into under-resourced parts of our public safety sector: community-based victim services, community corrections, drug courts, addiction and mental health treatment, and re-entry programs.
So, you know, pretty common sense stuff if you’re a lover of safety, savings, and justice. And let’s be real, who among us isn’t?
But as with actual sausage-making, the figurative sausage-making of the legislature ain’t pretty and it’s totally possible someone could lose a finger. You see, opponents are speaking out and they’re pressuring our policy makers to water down key parts of the bill.
This is where you come in. We need to make sure that the good people in our legislature aren’t just hearing from opponents; they need to hear from the supporters as well.
There’s two ways you can make sure they hear you now and help the bill get a good reception (get it? Because cell phones?) in the legislature.
Option 1: Come to Phone Phest Next Tuesday
Next Tuesday, Partnership for Safety & Justice and the Bus will be calling voters all over Oregon and encouraging them to have a phone date with their legislator. It’s a few hours of telephonic awesomeness plus good eats and great folks.
- When: April 30th, food at 5 PM, calls from 5:30 – 8:00
- Where: Bus Central, 333 SE 2nd Ave, Portland
Option 2: Make Yourself Heard
Can’t make the Phone Phest? No worries, friend. Just take 5 minutes today and call your legislator to let them know you support HB 3194. Even if your rep or senator is generally supportive, it still helps to hear friendly supporters cheering them on.
For a Jolly Good Fellowship
Do you know someone looking to ignite a career organizing for the environment, running political campaigns, fighting for equal rights and social justice, or launching their own nonprofit?
Then they should totally apply for PolitiCorps Summer 2013, the ninth edition of our signature summer bootcamp for aspiring public interest leaders.
The PolitiCorps Class of 2013 is filling up fast, but the search for 24 of the most inspiring young leaders isn’t over yet. And we need your help.
Can you help us identify the most creative, driven, entrepreneurial, passionate young folks in Oregon? We know you know them. In fact, many of you are them.
That’s why we need you to nominate these people. Like, today. (The deadline for applications is rolling, but the sooner someone applies, the better).
Who’s right for PolitiCorps? Well, for starters nominees should be college seniors or recent graduates and they should be ready to bust serious tail for the entire summer. Beyond that, Fellows come in all stripes. They come from every state in the union, some who grew up with a clipboard in their hand and others who are still getting their campaign legs under them.
Sound like someone you know? We thought so. So go ahead and nominate those fine folks here and then let them know that you’ve nominated them. And we’ll take it from there.
Wanna apply for PolitiCorps yourself? Skip the whole nomination process and get started on your application today. Click here to apply.
What if you could pre-register to vote when you turn 16 and make that first breathtaking trip to the DMV? What if every time you moved within the state you didn’t also need to move your registration because it was attached to you and not your house, which can’t even vote?
If this sounds like the kind of state you wanna live in—and, frankly, you’re a little bummed to learn that it doesn’t already work like this—you can help make it happen.
Over the next two weeks the Oregon House is taking a good long look at a slate of bills meant to make voting in Oregon more free, fair and accessible. And we want—nay, we need—you to be right in the heart of the action.
Read on for a quick intro to the policies and a couple ways you can help.
- HB 2988, 16 Year-Old Pre-Registration: 20,000 16 year-olds get their driver’s licenses at the DMV every year. This bill would allow them all to pre-register to vote in the same trip (just like 17-year-olds already do).
- HB 3175, Improving College Voter Registration: Offers students more opportunities and information to register to vote at all public colleges and universities.
- HB 2017, Online Voter Reg. Update: Allows currently registered Oregon voters without a driver’s license to update their voter registration online using their Social Security number.
- HB 2198, Portable Voter Registration: Keeps your voter registration up-to-date when you move, so you get your ballot at your new address without needing to fill out a new voter registration.
For more details, head over to our Makin’ Laws page.
How You Can Help: Attend a Hearing
Wednesday, March 13, 3 PM: The House Rules Committee will be taking a look at bills #1-3 from above. This is a big day for getting young people even more engaged with politics in our state.
Wednesday, March 20, 3 PM: The House Rules Committee is back at it, this time looking at the Portable Voter Registration bill. Because who has two thumbs and wants to re-register every time they move? Probably no one (just guessing).
We want to fill the hearing room on both of these dates with your beautiful faces and infectious love for democracy. Click here to save your seat in a carpool from Portland on the 13th. And click here to save your seat on the 20th.
How You Can Help: Call your Representative
Can’t make it down to Salem for the day? Give your legislator a phone call or write them a letter. Legislators love hearing from their constituents. Click here to find your legislator.
Together we can make Oregon a state with convenient, secure, hassle-free voter registration. Because when more people do democracy, democracy does more for all of us.
P.S. Can’t do either of the above but want to help fuel the work? Click here to become a Bus Driver and totally make our day.
The legislature just wrapped up the first month of the 2013 session and we’re happy to say that with your help, Bus policy priorities have been moving along nicely.
Because this is our first update like this, we’re going to take the time to introduce you to the bills we’re driving towards, as well as we’re they’re all at in the process.
About the Policies: Modernizing our voter registration system so that all eligible Oregonians can have secure, hassle-free access to our democracy. The bills we’re currently working on are:
- HB 2988, 16 Year-Old Pre-Registration: Allows 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote (just like 17-year-olds already do). So when the 20,000 16-year-olds that get their licenses every year go to the DMV they can save their spot on the voter rolls, too. Plus, it makes high school voter registration drives WAY better.
- HB 2198, Portable Voter Registration: Keeps your voter registration up-to-date when you move, so you get your ballot at your new address without needing to fill out a new voter registration.
- HB 3175, Improving College Voter Registration: Offers students more opportunities and information to register to vote at all public colleges and universities — on popular university webpages, in the highest traffic places on campus, and requiring voter registration announcements on campus. (Led by our kickass partners at the Oregon Student Association)
- HB 2017, Online Voter Reg. Update: Allows currently registered Oregon voters without a driver’s license to update their voter registration online using their Social Security number. Convenient, right?
The Latest: We’ve been meeting with legislators all last month to build support for this issue. All of these bills have been referred to the House Rules Committee
and we’re waiting on a hearing to be scheduled UPDATE: The committee has scheduled two hearings for voter access bills in the next two weeks:
- Wednesday, March 13, 3-5:00 PM: Hearing on National Voter Registration Act compliance (didn’t mention this one above…but it’s a good thing).
- Monday, March 18, 3-5:30 PM: Hearing on all three of the bills above.
There’s also a smattering of other cool stuff to come (we’ll keep you posted).
Campaign Finance Reform
About the Policies: We’re strong believers that Oregon’s campaign finance system needs some fixes. The legislature is considering a whole range of bills to limit the role of money in elections and make campaign transactions more transparent:
- HB 2420, Independent Expenditure Transparency: Requires the source of independent expenditures to be identified on the communications pieces they fund, so we know who’s behind every piece of mail, TV spot and radio ad.
- HB 2018, Independent Expenditure Electronic Reporting: Requires independent expenditures to be reported electronically. That way it’s super easy to see which outside groups are spending money to influence your vote.
- HB 2419, Rapid Reporting: Requires large contributions in the final two weeks of an election to be reported on OreStar within 48 hours.
The Latest: Like our Voter Access bills, these bills have landed a sweet spot on the House Rules Committee’s docket, though no hearing has been scheduled just yet. Stay tuned.
Stuff that Affects the Next Generation
Tuition Equity (HB 2787)
About the Policy: One of the smartest pieces of economic policy that also happens to be the right moral thing to do: offering in-state tuition to long-time Oregon students who graduated from Oregon high schools, have been accepted to Oregon colleges and are working toward citizenship, but who didn’t receive documentation when their parents brought them to America.
The Latest: Our hard-charging partners over at Oregon Student Association, Causa and others have been doing a ridiculously awesome job for the last several years on this one. Thanks to the brilliant work of the coalition, HB 2787 passed through the House with flying colors a couple weeks back and the Senate will be taking a gander soon.
Earned Sick Days (City of Portland)
About the Policy: Over 80% of Portlanders don’t have the opportunity to earn paid sick leave. So when they get sick, they either have to skip a day of pay or go to work sick. Which means you’re getting more with that latte than you might’ve bargained for.
The Latest:This Thursday, March, 7, the Portland City Council will be holding a public hearing on the policy that would require employers give their employees the ability to earn paid sick days. It goes down at 3 PM, and is, well, obviously open to the public. If you care about this issue you should get yourself down there.
Safety and Savings
About the Policy: It’s no secret that Oregon’s public safety & criminal justice system is in need of a serious facelift. In the search for the public policy equivalent of Botox, Oregon’s crazy-huge Safety and Savings Coalition—of which yours truly is a proud member—is focused on three policy objectives this session:
- Flatline prison growth
- Allow more judicial discretion for youth tried as adults
- Adequately fund victim and rehabilitation services
The legislature is considering an ever-evolving swarm of bills related to these issues. Bounce on over to the Partnership for Safety & Justice’s Legislative Agenda fact sheet for more info.
The Latest: If you’re looking to get involved in this area, we’ve got two big dates for you:
- March 12th, 7 – 9 PM: PSU is holding a forum—”The Future of Criminal Justice and Public Safety in Oregon”. It’s free and you should go. More info here.
- April 2nd, 7 – 4 PM: Our friends at Partnership for Safety and Justice are holding a Youth Justice Day at the State Capitol. We’ll be taking our Bus down. Save your seat here.
Whew. That’s it. We’re keeping busy, as you can see. To help make sure this work can keep going, consider making our day by becoming a monthly Bus Driver.
Side of flu with your burger?
Did you drag yourself to your job this winter with a scorching fever, a scratchy throat and a taste like something might have snuck into your lung for a nap and expired?
If you did, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re with 80% of low-wage earners who don’t get to take a day off without missing a day of pay.These people, who tend to be younger and low-income, end up spreading illnesses far faster than if they stayed home.
Sound gross and unfair? Well, Portland, there is a cure for what ails ya and it goes by the name of Earned Sick Days.
Under this perfect prescription of a policy, all job-holding, hard-working people would earn paid sick days while they worked to the tune of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Side effects include a warming sensating of justice served. [Cue video of people golfing and dancing at weddings.]
What You Can Do
1. Make a phone call: Hop on that soapbox of yours and make three simple but very important phone calls right now to the people debating this issue. No policy expertise required; just a desire to speak up and be part of history. It’ll take you less than 10 minutes. Call:
- Mayor Charlie Hales: (503) 823-4120
- Commissioner Nick Fish: (503) 823-3589
- Commissioner Dan Saltzman: (503) 823-4151
What to say: “Hi, my name is (your name) and I live in Portland. I’m calling to express my support for a citywide paid sick time policy. Thanks for the work you’re doing around this policy. We’re excited to have earned sick days here in Portlland. Thank you!” See? Simple.
Feel free to share a personal story about a time when you needed sick time and what it meant for you to have it—or not have it.
Once you’ve called, brag about it on our Facebook page.
2. Get Yourself to City Hall: Once you’ve made your phone calls, you can help pack City Hall for the public hearing next Thursday, March 7th at 3PM.
We’d love to see your healthy faces there.
We’ll keep this short and sweet: you freaking rule, Bus people.
The candidates that the Bus supported this year went 8 for 8. That’s so much winning that we won’t even begrudge you for busting out a Charlie Sheen reference.
Thanks to you, the Oregon Legislature has five brand-spankin’ new representatives in Chris Gorsek, Caddy McKeown, Joe Gallegos and long-time Bus volunteers Shemia Fagan & Ben Unger.
Thanks to you, Arnie Roblan has made the jump from the House to the Senate.
Thanks to you, Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson keeps her seat where she’ll continue to be a leading advocate for education and health care.
And thanks to you, Oregon can continue to be a leader in accessible, effective democracy with Kate Brown at the helm as Secretary of State.
These eight races were won by an incredible coalition, dedicated campaign staff and some truly inspiring candidates. These wins were fueled by generous donors, selfless volunteers from all over Oregon, and the hundreds and hundreds of Bus volunteers who gave their weekends, weeknights and everything in between to hit over 25,000 doors in races that were decided by just hundreds of votes.
Oregon, we love you so damn much.
Hello Bus Friends,
I thought you’d be interested in this piece the NY Times just ran about the youth vote this year. In addition to the nice boost to our collective self-esteem to see the Bus name-checked as a model for youth organizing, the article sparked a few thoughts:
1. We have to ask the right questions. You’ve probably noticed that media coverage of the youth vote all follows the same, baffled frame: “Why are young people so apathetic?!” And so often the conversation stops there. This piece, however, goes deeper. Young people do care about their communities, their rights and the general welfare of society.
So the question is not “Why are young people apathetic?”, but “What’s the disconnect between the Millennial Generation’s deep connection to community and their comparatively low political engagement?” Which brings me to my next point:
2. We need to meet the Millennial Generation where they are. We need to connect democracy with the issues young people care about, things like equity, sustainability and an economy that doesn’t sport a youth unemployment rate double the national average. And not just that, but we need to proactively reach out to young people where they are: concerts, community gardens, sports events, and the like. When it comes to balancing the voices in our democratic process, relying on the traditional opt-in method just doesn’t work.
3. Politics needs to change. Last, the author makes the argument that we’ve been making since our founding: we can’t just leave politics unchanged and expect young people to jump on board. The generation more likely to get their news from Stephen Colbert & Jon Stewart fully reconginzes the outsize influence of money in politics. They see elected leadership that doesn’t reflect the diversity of the rising American electorate. They see the way that they’re courted during the election season only to be discounted when the sausage-making happens. And all along the way, they’re forced to deal with a process that’s boring, confusing and not built for the 21st century.
If we want a democratic process that includes the voices of the Millennial Generation to the same extent as older Americans, we have to address these three points. We need to ask the right questions, make politics relevant and unavoidable and fundamentally transform the structures of governance.
I like to think the Bus does a pretty good job on these three points, and that’s why I’m proud to be a part of it. Nice to see the Gray Lady thinks so, too.
This work doesn’t happen without your support. Our donors are 15 years old to 80 years old, and they give what they can.Can you make a contribution of $25, $50 or $100 today?
Get on the Bus,
The Bus Project
So, quick & cool news. After doing nearly 8,000 doors in the primary, BOTH of the Bus’s target campaigns won. 2 for 2! 2 for 2!
Oregon’s great moderate Republican Bob Jenson survived hyper-conservative challengers in Eastern Oregon. Big news for voter access & tuition equity. Thanks to Shana, Hillary, Elliot (both of ‘em), McKenna, Nick, Scotty, Pete, JP, Scott and Matt for knocking so many damn doors in Pendleton.
David Douglas is getting a new school bond - the children of East Portland will be getting new textbooks, upgraded school buildings and will stop drinking brown water out of their water fountains. Thanks SO DANG MUCH to the Bus volunteers who helped make that happen.
There’s a bunch more work to do. But today, feel good. Oregon is better off than it was yesterday, and you helped make that happen. You kick ass. The Bus loves you.
Organizing and Political Director / Organize-Czar
Bus volunteers & organizers have done SO DANG MUCH this primary election, it’s almost like they have a limitless bag of tricks (like Mary Poppins, get it?).
This primary, we set our peepers on two small-but-scrappy elections that matter a whole heckuva lot to Oregon’s next generation.
The voters need you. So much.
Elections: they’re back like bell-bottoms in the ’90s.
Sign up to help us remind people to vote in this month’s special election.
In the next four weeks, voters across Congressional District 1 (Washington County, the north coast, Yamhill, west PDX & a bunch more) have the chance to cast ballots in America’s first election of 2012.
First off, if you haven’t registered, do that here. The deadline is tomorrow. Don’t be lame. Do it now.
The problem: a bundle of folks need a reminder to get their ballots in.
The solution: PHONE PHEST 2012, baby. Gettin’ folks together to remind SO MANY PEOPLE TO VOTE.
The Phone Phest recipe: Vivacious volunteers + tasty treats + delicious drinks + magnificent music + dialing for democracy = the greatest phone calling experience of your sweet young life.
We’re giving quick, easy, impactful nonpartisan reminder calls to young voters and voters of color in CD 1 and we need your help, alongside our partners CAUSA, the Urban League of Portland, the Center for Intercultural Organizing, Oregon Action and more.
Our big ol’ kickoff Phone Phest is this Sunday, January 15th, from 3pm to 6pm.
There’ll be a taco bar (yes, you read it right), drinks and nonstop tunes.
So RSVPlease & be like this one:
All the January Phone Phests you’ll ever need.
We need the sweet dulcet tones of your voice to help remind CD-1′s young people and people of color to vote every night, so we made every night special for you.
Click the linky-links to sign up.
Big Ol’ Kickoff – Sunday, January 15th, 3pm to 6pm @ Bus Central (333 SE 2nd Ave)
Dial “V” for Voting – A night of mystery. Wednesday, January 18th, 5:30pm to 8:30pm @ Bus Central
Ring My Bell – Disco-style. Sunday, January 22nd, 3pm to 6pm @ TBD
Ring a Ding Ding – Rat Pack / Mad Men stylings. Wednesday, January 25th, 5:30pm to 8:30pm @ TBD
Notorious D.I.A.L. – In honor of Biggie Smalls. Sunday, January 29th, 3pm to 6pm @ TBD
THE BUS IS SO HIRING.
Everyone’s wondering where the jobs are. We don’t have all of ‘em, but we do have a whopping six new gigs open.
The Bus has a huge year coming up in 2012. It’s going to require a serious dream team. Think Ocean’s 11 but…cooler. We need to grow our team in a big way, adding dynamic, energetic and hilarious people to our band of lovable misfits. We need people who are gonna grind out some big wins with us over the next 12 months. We need you.
Check out our jobs page for info and details on how to apply.
In addition to the six staff positions, we will soon be accepting applications for two fellowships: PolitiCorps Summer (June-August, bootcamp for 25 fresh from college rockstars, with a stipend) and Democracy Summer (March-November — ok, it’s nine months, but Democracy Spring-Summer-Fall didn’t roll off the tongue. This is a paid term of service position for a dozen folks with a previous direct campaign experience).