I saw this action alert from the Alliance for Police Accountability (APA PGH) on Facebook today, and so my personal action for Monday is to convince y’all to join me tomorrow in calling PA State Assembly Representatives to oppose the reintroduction of the “police secrecy bill” I wrote about on Day Fourteen. This bill was formerly known as H.B. 1538, vetoed in December by Governor Wolf.
The APA PGH leadership is predominantly made up of women of color, and the organization is predominantly supported by (and in support of) Pittsburgh’s communities of color. If you have been seeking a CONCRETE way to become involved in intersectional feminism or intersectional justice movements, this is a really targeted and effective way to show your support as an ally.
Is your ALLEGHENY County State Assembly Representative: Adam Ravenstahl, Dom Costa, Joe Markosek, Daniel Deasy, Mike Turzai, Hal English, Paul Costa, Marc Gergely, Harry Readshaw, Bill Kortz, Dan Miller, Mark Mustio, Anita Astorino Kulik, Robert F. Matzie,
Rick Saccone, Jason Ortitay, or Eli Evankovich?
Is your PHILADELPHIA County State Assembly Representative: Martina White, Michael Driscoll, Ed Neilson, John Taylor, William Keller, Morgan Cephas, Christopher Rabb, Jared Solomon, or Isabella Fitzgerald?
PLEASE call your rep tomorrow. The Alliance for Police Accountability has provided the following script for you to use in conversation with their staffers:
Hello, my name is _____, and I’m a registered voter in Representative <Name>’s district.
If you are registered with the same party as your rep (e.g. you’re both registered Democrats), you can add the following:
I’m also a registered <Democrat/Republican>, like Representative <Name>, and I vote in primaries.
I’m calling about House Bill 1538, the “Police Secrecy Bill.” As you know, Governor Wolf vetoed the bill, but it will be reintroduced to the House at the next session.
Then, your script depends on how your representative voted. Four options:
1. If they voted for the bill:
I see that Representative <Name> voted for HB 1538. I’m asking him/her to change to a “no” vote when the bill is reintroduced. HB 1538 will undermine the public trust in policing, and it won’t do anything to keep police safe. Please ask Representative <Name> to vote “no” to stop this dangerous bill.
2. If they changed from a “no” to a “yes” vote:
I see that Representative <Name> voted “no” on HB 1538 when it was originally presented to the House, but after the Senate amended it, changed to vote “yes”. The Senate amendment added an important limitation to HB 1538, allowing names to be released 30 days after a use of force.
However, there’s a huge loophole: information can’t be released if it “can reasonably be expected to create a risk of harm”. This loophole will be abused, because the people who decide what’s a “reasonable expectation” are the same people who are failing to hold officers accountable for their use of force. Please ask Representative <Name> to vote “no” again in 2017.
3. If they voted against the bill (or changed from a “yes” to a “no” vote”):
I’d like to thank Representative <Name> for voting against HB 1538, and urge him/her to stay the course. HB 1538 would undermine trust in our police, while doing nothing to keep police safe. Representative <Name>’s vote is vital to stopping this dangerous bill.
4. If your representative was elected after HB 1538 passed, so they have never voted on it:
I know that Representative <Name> took office after HB 1538 originally passed. Luckily, he/she will get to vote on it in 2017, and I’m asking him/her to vote “no”. HB 1538 will undermine the public trust in policing, and it won’t do anything to keep police safe. Representative <Name>’s vote is vital to stopping this dangerous bill.
As a concerned citizen, I’ll be paying attention to how Representative <Name> votes on this, and will keep it in mind next time I am in the ballot box.
Want to convince another rep to change from a “yes” to a “no” vote? Find a friend who lives in a district where a rep voted “yes”, and ask your friend to call their rep. The call matters most when it comes from a voter in that representative’s district. Share this Call to Action, especially with friends who live in other districts.
Pennsylvania deserves a police force that upholds our rights, and that can be held accountable when it goes wrong. You can do your part today.
Finally, check out this follow-up article about the Pittsburgh marches.