[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
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
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
"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!
News In Brief
⇒The Martinsville Chapter worked with the NAACP, Voters League and
Religious Review to ask City Council to enforce regulated hours for
sweepstakes gambling parlors.
⇒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
⇒The William and Mary Chapter held a restoration of voting rights
⇒RePHRAME succeeded in getting an additional resident position
approved through Richmond City Council to serve on the Richmond
Redevelopment & Housing Board of Commissioners.
⇒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.
⇒The Fredericksburg Chapter is having a Health Care Forum on
Saturday, January 8 from Noon-2pm at the England Run library: 806 Lyons
...Pass it on!
Forward to a friend
⇒Newport News/Hampton Roads
⇒South Hampton Roads
⇒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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