Under the Dome, Week 7 | What’s Going On?

Mother, mother / there’s too many of you crying / brother, brother, brother / there’s far too many of you dying –Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On?”  

From the terror of 17 students killed by a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida, to #WakandaForever and the beautifully themed outfits worn  during the “Black Panther” premiere weekend, this week has had some of the lowest lows and highest highs in my world. Trying to manage the cosmic shift from terror to pride and pride to sadness, the week was a Charles Dickens one, if there were was one. I want to believe there is a message here. This is when real change happens, and it’s clear young people will be at the helm. Don’t believe me? Just watch!

This week, it seemed important to add in some national headlines with our usual state legislative updates because it is important to get a strong grasp of what is happening on the federal level too. There may never be another moment like this in our lives. Well, I hope the hell not.

Watchlist 
As of Thursday February 15, we are halfway through, what’s still alive. Last week was slow! It is a gift for those advocates looking to lobby for/against any issue, but it’s a nervous time for us who know that if we get comfortable, we could be hit with a whammy. With that in mind, we have created a document of legislative sessions, a tracker, in six states where we have partners—Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee—we’ve been paying attention to this year. Our interest, of course, has been issues that impact Black girls, women and the communities they live in and love. Most bills with negative impact have died, but not all of them have. View and download it here. We expect you’ll find it helpful.

Below find bills in Mississippi we support that need to be brought up in the House and Senate in order to live past the looming February 21. Appropriations calendar for floor action in their own house and February 22 for reconsideration and passage in own House. Without any action, each bill will die on the calendar:

HB 19 – Livable Homes Tax Credit Act; create.
HB 252 – Income and sales tax; job tax credit for supermarkets in economically distressed communities, sales tax exemption for materials.
HB 301 – Housing Loan Assistance Pilot Program; create and authorize bonds to provide funds for.
HB 384 – Income tax; provide a credit for taxpayers allowed to claim federal earned income tax credit.
HB 469 – Appropriation; Health Department to provide funding to federally qualified health centers.
HB 1478 – Cigarettes; increase excise tax on.
SB 2383 – Appropriation FY2019; continue funding Ayers Settlement Agreement
SB 2701 – Cigarette excise tax; increase to be dedicated to the annual Medicaid program deficit and tobacco cessation program.
SB 2769 – Tax Payer Pay Raise Act; remove phase out of income & franchise tax & remove deduction of federal employment tax

Lookout Y’all
HB 957 (Mississippi Uniform per Student Funding Formula), is still alive and has been acted on in the Senate and referred to the Senate Education Committee Friday. This is one of those zombie bills I warned you all about: It looks dead, and then it is brought back to life. Here are members of the Education Committee (scroll toward the bottom for Education) if you would like to reach out to any of them and ask them to support full funding of public education in your community.

HB 1510, is still alive. Just a reminder that this bill would ban abortions beginning at 15 weeks (the earliest in the country).

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Here are a Few Articles to give you a little perspective on this past week:

Social Media Sound Bites
“40% of servers live in poverty and 80% of servers are women. The Trump administration’s attempt to steal their tips is an attack on women workers, plain and simple. Learn more: http://nyti.ms/2nSftEi  #ProtectOurTips”

“Speaking of #WaybackWednesday, black #Mississippi officer reportedly fired for confronting those waving #ConfederateFlag & Mississippi flags outside #CivilRights Museum.

“Bill to Crackdown on Gangs Raises Racial Profiling Concerns in #msleg

“Even HS students get it – ‘If we cannot afford the mundane necessities because we are underfunded, depriving us of more funding will not make things better.’ #msleg you can do better!”

“Random thought: I am once again reminded of how in my two years of covering the state board, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a peep from the board member who is a teacher.”

Twitter Chat

Let’s chat! Monday, February 26 at 6 pm to be specific. If you would like to join us and have questions in advance, please email us at info@loveblackgirls.org. Let us know what legislative issues concern you or what you’d like more information on so we can add them to our list of questions. You will also receive an email with the outline of the chat, Twitter handle and hashtag to follow the conversation through your timeline.

Up Next 
Hold on just a little while longer. Pray on just a little while longer. Take action just a little more often. EVERYTHING will be alright, we think. Until soon …

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