[COMM-ORG] Virginia Organizing December 2010 newsletter

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Fri Dec 24 08:02:58 CST 2010

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

December 2010                                       News From the 

The Virginia Health Care Law Ruling

Virginia Organizing is speaking out against Judge Henry Hudson's 
decision on the constitutionality of so-called mandate in the Affordable 
Care Act (ACA). On December 13, Judge Hudson, who has known financial 
ties to a consulting firm whose clients include Attorney General Ken 
Cuccinelli and insurance industry lobbyists, ruled that the 
Constitution's commerce clause gives Congress the power to regulate 
economic activity, but not to regulate economic inactivity.

Hudson's decision will have no immediate impact on implementation in 
Virginia. The decision only relates to the personal responsibility 
provision, which will not go into effect until 2014. Judge Hudson 
rejected Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's attempt to strike down the 
ACA by denying the request for an injunction against implementing the 
health care law in Virginia. Virginia still must implement and comply 
with all provisions of the law, unless the Supreme Court were to declare 
it unconstitutional.

To date, fourteen judges have heard challenges to the ACA and all have 
dismissed these meritless cases. In November, U.S. District Judge Norman 
Moon in Lynchburg dismissed the Liberty University case against the ACA, 
concluding that Congress "acted in accordance with its Constitutionally 
delegated powers under the Commerce Clause when it passed the employer 
and individual coverage provisions."

"Judge Hudson has only provided fuel to Mr. Cuccinelli's fire by wasting 
tax dollars in an effort to continue his political grandstanding, which 
will only hurt Virginians who deserve access to quality, affordable 
health care," said Dr. Chris Lillis of the Virginia Organizing Health 
Care Committee.

Virginia Organizing filed an amicus brief in the October hearing and 
will continue to defend the law. "The ACA may be the only chance I have 
to get affordable health care in the future. The law will prevent 
insurance companies from denying patients due to pre-existing conditions 
and will not allow insurers to try to drop you if you get sick. These 
are two provisions that would have helped me tremendously when I first 
became ill," said Amy Koons of Chesapeake. "Now Attorney General 
Cuccinelli wants to take away the health care law so that people in my 
situation, will again have no recourse. He should be fighting for 
consumers like me and it seems like all he is doing is fighting against 
consumers like me."

Governor McDonnell's Budget Announcement

On December 17, Governor Bob McDonnell's presented his amendments to the 
2010-12 biennium budget. Virginia Organizing commended the Governor for 
several of his budget proposals but expressed concerns about continued 
cuts to vital services without plans to raise revenue.

"We appreciate Governor McDonnell's proposals to provide economic 
incentives for job creation. The problem is that Virginia has been 
making extreme and reckless budget cuts for a number of years, budget 
reductions that have had a negative impact on schools, human services 
and infrastructure," said Jeffrey Hunt of Virginia Organizing Budget and 
Revenue Committee.

"What company wants to relocate to a state that has more crowded 
classrooms, crumbling roads and too few fire fighters and police 
officers? It seems that we are not sending a consistent message to 
potential companies. We cannot expect others to invest in Virginia when 
we do not invest in ourselves," added Hunt.

"Until the McDonnell administration and the General Assembly decide to 
be more serious about increasing state revenue, Virginia will continue 
to plug holes until the dam breaks again. It takes real leadership to 
put a long-term solution ahead of short-term fixes. Unfortunately, we 
have not moved a single step closer to solving our long-term budget 
problems and needs," added Hunt.

No Millionaire Bailout!

This month, the Senate voted in favor of extending unemployment benefits 
for 13 months and extending all of the Bush tax cuts, even for those 
making over $250,000. Virginia Organizing spoke out against the tax 
compromise which ultimately held tax cuts for the middle class and an 
extension of unemployment benefits hostage in order to procure another 
tax break for the wealthy.

We held protests in Charlottesville, Danville and Richmond and wrote 
op-eds and letters to the editor. Virginia Organizing leaders also had a 
conference call with Senator Webb's staff to discuss the Senator's 
previous vote against extending tax cuts to the middle class only. "We 
believe this bill could have been much more effective at helping the 
unemployed, small businesses and the middle class, and lowering the 
deficit, simply by allowing the tax cuts for the wealthy to finally 
expire," said Sarah Williams of the Budget and Revenue Committee.

Victories in South Hampton Roads

The South Hampton Roads Chapter won two huge victories this month. The 
Virginia Beach City Council  passed a  Mobile Park Protective Order 
which will protect home owners and secure  affordable housing for more 
Virginians. The order is a direct result of over a year of organizing 
and will ameliorate the hardships on families who live in mobile home 
parks and risk being displaced due to development.

On the same night a resolution was passed that welcomes and celebrates 
the valuable contributions of immigrants in our city. Virginia 
Organizing joined with the Human Rights Commission to draft the Human 
Rights Resolution that states, "The City of Virginia Beach strives to 
continue to provide an environment that is welcoming and protects human 
rights of all  in our community."

We are in the middle of our

Year End Fundraising Campaign

Please help put us make our goal!

Donate Now

News In Brief

&rArr;The Martinsville Chapter worked with the NAACP, Voters League and 
Religious Review to ask City Council to enforce regulated hours for 
sweepstakes gambling parlors.

&rArr;The Valley Chapter had their first big meeting in Harrisonburg 
with 30 people in attendance, supported two  actions with Dream Activist 
VA and met with Delegate Tony Wilt to talk about immigration and budget 

&rArr;The William and Mary Chapter held a restoration of voting rights 

&rArr;RePHRAME succeeded in getting an additional resident position 
approved through Richmond City Council to serve on the Richmond 
Redevelopment & Housing Board of Commissioners.

&rArr;The Lee County Chapter met with Senator Bill Wampler on budget and 
tax reform issues. The Emory and Henry Chapter participated in a 
three-day Dismantling Racism Workshop.

&rArr;The Fredericksburg Chapter is having a Health Care Forum on 
Saturday, January 8 from Noon-2pm at the England Run library: 806 Lyons 
Blvd,Fredericksburg, VA.

...Pass it on!

Forward to a friend

Local Chapters





&rArr;Northern Virginia

&rArr;Newport      News/Hampton Roads

&rArr;South Hampton Roads


&rArr;Shenandoah Valley

&rArr;Washington County

&rArr;Lee County



&rArr;On Campus: W&M, UMW,  VSU, UVA, CNU, E&H,  U of R

Connect With Us!




Are you a state employee? Please support our work! Virginia Organizing 
is participating in the 
Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign

(for state employees) and our number is 3168.

Virginia Organizing Leader of the Month: Isabel Castillo

Isabel Castillo is a Harrisonburg resident who has been fighting for the 
passage of the Dream Act for over a year. The Dream Act would allow a 
path to citizenship for undocumented young people who serve in the 
military or complete two years of college. Unfortunately for Isabel and 
thousands of other undocumented young people, the U.S. Senate voted down 
the Dream Act this month by five votes.

Isabel got involved with the Dream Act through the U.S. Student 
Association where she met other "dreamers" and was encouraged to become 
an organizer. "When they asked me to get involved, I hesitated briefly 
and said, 'I'm not an organizer. I don't know even how to do that!'" Yet 
Isabel managed to garner support from countless Virginians through 
petitions, marches and vigils and was instrumental in getting the 
Harrisonburg City Council to unanimously pass a resolution in support of 
the Dream Act. Isabel began partnering with Virginia Organizing through 
the efforts of Valley Organizer Emily Riehl and the two found ways to 
support each other.

Despite the defeat in the Senate, Isabel is proud of the courageous 
individuals who shared their stories, risking their own immigration 
status to speak up for what they believe. Isabel is one of the many 
undocumented works who risked everything to speak up.

"One of my main reasons I started working on this is because have family 
members and friends who cannot speak up. There are thousands of kids out 
there who would benefit from the Dream Act. Putting your life at risk by 
telling your story is not easy, but if we as undocumented youth don't 
take our stories to the forefront of the movement, no one will," said 
Isabel. "We cannot wait for other organizations to tell us what we do 
and make this happen. We are tired of waiting."

Isabel and thousands of other "dreamers" say that this is just the 
beginning of the fight for the Dream Act and for immigrant rights in 
general. Isabel heralds the votes of Senators Warner and Webb in favor 
of the Dream Act and sees their courageous votes as a victory and reason 
to keep fighting. "Five votes will not stop us and we will continue to 
fight. We will remember those who voted no and thank those who voted 
yes. We have created a united immigrant movement that is stronger than 
ever. This defeat has only ignited our fire. We will continue the 
fighting while getting more support from organizations like Virginia 
Organizing to keep moving forward," said Isabel. "We are not going back 
in the shadows. We are not criminals and only criminals hide."

©2010 Virginia Organizing, 703 Concord Ave. Charlottesville, VA 22903 

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