VOP News Magazine Available Online!

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Fri Jan 19 10:02:53 CST 2007

    From:  	Virginia Organizing Project <e-action at virginia-organizing.org>

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Special Legislative Issue -- January 2007*

Dear Randy,

*Did you know that /virginia.organizing/, the news magazine of the 
Virginia Organizing Project is available online?*  Along with the entire 
version available for download in PDF format, there are also selected 
articles that you can read online.  To check out our news magazine web 
page, visit www.virginia-organizing.org/newsmag.php 

You now have a choice about how to receive /virginia.organizing/.  You 
can receive it in a printed version via regular mail, you can receive it 
electronically via e-mail, or you can receive it both ways!  To indicate 
which way you want to receive it, please go to: http://vop.e-actionmax.com/


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*Don't Recycle this Magazine (until March)! 

Welcome to the General Assembly 2007 issue of VOP's news magazine. You 
may remember that in the last issue, we started by breaking things down 
a little, to help you understand how you can make a difference. Well, 
this is the time of year when you can really make a difference -- 
statewide.  MORE 

VOP steps up its General Assembly presence 

The 2007 General Assembly of Virginia began on Wednesday, January 10 in 
Richmond and is scheduled to end on Saturday, February 24. During these 
46 days your Virginia Organizing Project will have a much stronger 
presence.  MORE <http://www.virginia-organizing.org/magazine/jan07_vop.php>

Virginia Legislative Process 
"Those who respect the law and enjoy sausage should never watch either 
one being made." - attributed to German political leader Otto von Bismarck

This motto is often quoted humorously at the Virginia General Assembly, 
as legislators and others go about the process of making laws for all 
Virginians. But as Virginians, we need to know how the basic legislative 
process works -- and, most importantly, how we can make a difference -- 
no matter how ugly the process may be.  MORE 

*Legislative Committees* 
Legislation on increasing the minimum wage and predatory lending will go 
through the House Commerce and Labor Committee and the Senate Commerce 
and Labor Committee.  MORE 

*Your Feedback is Needed!* 
Next year, and for many years to come, the Virginia General Assembly 
will be meeting and making decisions that change our lives. We have to 
get into the habit of watching them, and having an impact on them -- 
just like we take care of our families, our homes, our neighborhoods, 
and even, by recycling and limiting our energy use, our planet.  MORE 

*VOP Legislative Agenda* 
Please click here 
<http://www.virginia-organizing.org/magazine/jan07_agenda.php> to read 
about VOP's 2007 Legislative Agenda.

*Racial Profiling* 
Tsaike Brundige had plans when he moved to Virginia. They involved his 
career, his physical health, and his social life. Becoming an activist 
on racial profiling issues wasn't on his list. But before he had even 
unloaded his furniture, he had been stopped by police officers in 
circumstances that disturbed him. He began to research the related law, 
planning to defend himself in court. When officers came to his house, 
apparently to intimidate him, he says now, "I knew that I was in for a 
tough fight -- but I chose not to back down." Not long afterwards, 
through a local group called Unity in the Community, he made contact 
with VOP, and became part of VOP's statewide campaign committee on 
racial profiling.  MORE 

Tax Reform <http://www.virginia-organizing.org/magazine/jan07_tax.php>
"Tax reform is not a big issue in the 2007 General Assembly, but 
Virginia's tax code is still regressive," said Denise Smith, a member of 
the VOP Tax Reform Strategy Committee.   MORE 

Minimum Wage <http://www.virginia-organizing.org/magazine/jan07_leaders.php>
During the winter months, many congregations and organizations provide 
hot meals and evening shelter beds to homeless individuals and families. 
After serving breakfast on Christmas morning, a first time volunteer at 
a church in Richmond stated in a surprised tone, "These people are 
working, but do not earn enough to get a place to live and pay utilities 
and child care. Something is not right when you work and cannot provide 
for your family."  MORE 

Payday Lending <http://www.virginia-organizing.org/magazine/jan07_get.php>

What's bright-colored, located in a low-income neighborhood, more common 
than McDonald's restaurants, and can charge up to 380 percent interest? 
Keep reading to find out.  MORE 

Slavery Atonement 

The "high profile" issues of 2007 include transportation, land use and 
taxes. But the 2007 General Assembly will also be asked to look at 
perhaps the highest profile issue in Virginia history -- slavery.  MORE 

Immigration <http://www.virginia-organizing.org/magazine/jan07_hurting.php>
In worksites, schools and communities across the Commonwealth, it's easy 
to see the remarkable diversity and energy that Virginia's immigrants 
contribute to our economy. In addition to the highly-educated, 
highly-compensated immigrants who distinguish themselves in a variety of 
sectors, Virginia also benefits from the hard labor of a huge workforce 
of both documented and undocumented immigrants working for low pay.  
MORE <http://www.virginia-organizing.org/magazine/jan07_hurting.php>

Environment <http://www.virginia-organizing.org/magazine/jan07_virginia.php>
In December 2005, leaders of the North Airport Drive Civic Association 
in eastern Henrico County did what civic leaders do almost every week 
somewhere in our Commonwealth. They made phone calls and talked to their 
neighbors, and got a lot of them to come out to a hearing of the County 
Board of Supervisors. Several members spoke up at the hearing against a 
rezoning application that would have rezoned agricultural land for 
residential development. Then, according to the minutes of the meeting, 
"A large group of citizens who were against the case and in favor of 
one-acre lot sizes on the site stood up in the audience." MORE 

Sexual Orientation 
On November 7, the so-called Marriage Amendment passed, though only by 
57 percent of those voting, the lowest margin for such an amendment in a 
southern state.  On the way to this painful defeat, Equality Virginia, 
and others opposing discrimination based on sexual orientation, had won 
many small victories.  MORE 

*Verifiable Voting* 
"The WINvote machines failed. The software failed (machines crashed 
throughout, voters reported difficulty in getting their choices to 
record), the hardware failed (some machines required new batteries, some 
needed to be 'jiggled' back into operation, modems failed to transmit 
data) and the procedures for handling Election Day problems were 
non-existent (machines were removed by non-Electoral Board employees, 
and they were taken from the plain view of the election officers)." - 
 From Operation Ballot Integrity, a report of the Fairfax County 
Republican Committee on the election of November 3, 2003.   MORE 

*Utilities* <http://www.virginia-organizing.org/magazine/jan07_tear.php>
"Two utility issues of major concern to Virginians' pocketbooks will 
come up at the 2007 General Assembly session," said Irene E. Leech, 
president of the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council.   MORE 

As you prepare to have an impact on the 2007 General Assembly, take a 
moment to think about the story of RAIL Solution and STAR Solutions -- 
referred to by Roanoke Times columnist Tommy Denton as "a splendid 
example of David-versus-Goliath democracy in action."    MORE 


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