SOTU Self-Care: Fight Back and Feel Better During Tonight’s Address

During tonight’s State of the Union – the president of the United States will not offer credible solutions to the biggest problems facing our nation and the planet. Instead, the president will offer lies, distortions, and proposals that will actually make these problems worse — putting the health and well-being of our people and environment in jeopardy.

But you don’t have to just sit back and listen. We’ve put together a list of actions on a variety of issues that you can take to move our state in a different direction. So as President Trump delivers his address tonight, feel better by fighting back!

CLIMATE

PROBLEM:

You know that President Trump has suggested that climate is a hoax created by the Chinese, and that he pulled the US out of the Paris Accord. And now in an interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan, Trump has “falsely claimed that the polar ice caps which have been melting at historic rates were in fact ‘setting records’ for how much they aren’t melting.”

FIGHT BACK: BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

You want to fight back against Trump on climate? Here’s some exciting news: TOMORROW (Jan 31), Vermont legislators will be unveiling a new proposal that will cut electricity rates while putting a price on carbon pollution. The plan will prioritize working-class and rural Vermonters with additional rebates, and will strengthen the state’s economy.

Legislators releasing the plan on Jan. 31 will be coordinating their efforts with other legislators in the region. The nine-state coalition is focused on carbon emissions, ensuring equity in policy proposals, developing market-based solutions, creating a resilient local economy, and improving public health.

Join us at noon tomorrow (Jan. 31) in the Cedar Creek Room of the State House for the launch of this coalition and the formal roll-out of Vermont’s carbon pricing legislation! And if you can’t make it tomorrow, please urge your legislators to support H.791 and its companion bill, S.284!

Read more about the ESSEX Plan (which gave rise to this legislation) and check out this helpful FAQ.

Sample action email to send to your legislators: 

[Dear Representative/Senator:

It’s not enough to express concern about the president’s failure to believe in climate science. Vermont must demonstrate that there’s a better path forward.

I’m asking you to support legislation that will do just that. H.791 and S.284 will not only take action against climate change, they will lower Vermont electric rates, protect Vermont’s low income residents and improve our economy at the same time.

Thank you,]

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

PROBLEM

The Trump administration has not been content to merely oppose action on climate. The Department of Energy is also holding back multiple efficiency standards and ignoring their requirement to continue expanding and updating new standards. It’s estimated that standards now put on hold could have saved consumers and businesses more than $40 billion by 2035.

FIGHT BACK: BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

Once again, we’re fighting back. A VPIRG-backed bill, H.410, will expand appliance efficiency standards in Vermont. It passed its first committee in the House last week, and now it heads to the full House of Representatives.

You can help make sure it passes by calling the State House (800-322-5616) and leaving a message for your Representatives in support of the bill by TOMORROW (Wednesday) at 1pm, when they’ll be taking up the bill for the first time. The State House is staffed to take calls from 8am-4pm M-F.

NET NEUTRALITY

PROBLEM:

Late last year the Trump Administration’s Federal Communications Commission repealed Net Neutrality — effectively giving giant telecoms like Comcast and AT&T free rein to dismantle the fair and open internet that we’ve all come to rely on.

FIGHT BACK: BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

Fortunately we can fight back at the state level:

  • The Senate Finance committee has already passed a bill (S.289) that would prevent the state from awarding state contracts to internet service providers that don’t adhere to Net Neutrality.
  • Legislation has been introduced in the House (H.690) that would enshrine Net Neutrality protections into Vermont law.
  • Finally, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan joined 21 other attorneys general in a multistate lawsuit to block what they’re calling the FCC’s “illegal rollback of net neutrality.”

Let your state legislators know that preserving Net Neutrality in Vermont is important to you!

Sample action email to send to your legislators: 

[Dear Representative/Senator:

The Trump FCC’s decision to dismantle Net Neutrality has the potential to destroy the fair and open internet that has become a bedrock of our democracy, economy and society.

This giveaway to the giant telecoms is a major blow to consumers, who will likely be forced to pay more for a fragmented and less accessible internet.

It’s also a major blow to our democracy by tilting the playing field of speech and information toward those with the resources to afford it.

I urge you to take whatever steps necessary to push back on this disastrous decision and preserve a fair and open internet in Vermont.

Thank you,]

CLEAN AIR, CLEAN WATER, SAFE PRODUCTS

PROBLEM

On January 24, the Trump administration announced that it was eliminating an air pollution policy that had been in place for decades. No surprise – the policy had been opposed by chemical companies and the fossil fuel industry. According John Coequyt, who leads climate policy initiatives for the Sierra Club, the move will lead directly to dirtier air and more deaths.

“Trump and Pruitt are essentially creating a massive loophole that will result in huge amounts of toxic mercury, arsenic, and lead being poured into the air we breathe, meaning this change is a threat to anyone who breathes and a benefit only to dangerous corporate polluters,” Coequyt said.

FIGHT BACK: BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

In Vermont, legislators are right now considering a bill that will help to protect some of our most vulnerable residents – our kids – from being exposed to toxic chemicals in the toys and other products they use every day. S.103 will give parents better information about the children’s products that contain potentially harmful toxins, and it will make it easier for Vermont’s Health Commissioner to regulate a children’s product if it presents a toxic threat to kids. Please send a short note to senators right away urging them to support S.103!

Sample action email to send to your legislators: 

[Dear Senator:

I’m writing to ask you to support S.103, a bill that will better protect our kids from toxic chemicals. The legislation will give parents more information about the children’s products that contain potentially harmful toxins, and it will make it easier for Vermont’s Health Commissioner to regulate a children’s product if it presents a toxic threat to kids.

Given the danger that chemicals can pose to children in particular, I hope you will give your full support to this legislation and help to pass it into law as soon as possible.

Thank you,]

PRESCRIPTION DRUG AFFORDABILITY

PROBLEM

Last week the US Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Alex Azar to be the new Secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar’s chief experience for the job was the role he played as a top executive for the pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly. His track record at Eli Lilly caused a number of senators to oppose his nomination. For instance, “During his tenure, the price of one of its insulin products, Humalog, rose from $122 for a vial in 2013 to $274 in 2017 and the osteoporosis treatment Forteo more than doubled in price from $1,032 to $2,728.”

FIGHT BACK: BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

State senators in Vermont are among those leading the charge to make prescription medications affordable for all those who need them. VPIRG supports these efforts, and we encourage you to let your senators know that you support reasonable steps to make prescription drugs more affordable too.

S.175, a bill now being considered in the Senate, would create a process whereby certain medicines could be imported from Canada, where they cost only a fraction of what they do in the US. A second provision of the bill would authorize Vermont to buy prescription drugs in bulk, including working with other states to create buying pools, in order to save consumers money.

Sample action email to send to your legislators: 

[Dear Senator:

I urge you to support S.175, a bill to make prescription drugs more affordable in Vermont. There are too many people in our state who cannot afford the medicines they need, and I believe S.175 takes important steps to help address this problem.

It would create a process whereby certain medicines could be imported from Canada, where they cost only a fraction of what they do in the US. A second provision of the bill would authorize Vermont to buy prescription drugs in bulk in order to save consumers money.

Thank you,]