We encourage all of our members to get to know their legislators, and make their voices heard. Find out who your elected officials are here, and learn how to contact them here.

Call to Action

02/18/2020

Dear friends and colleagues, 

The University of California is requesting public comment by Friday, February 21st on whether to continue its affiliation with religious hospitals that prohibit reproductive health-related services for women and openly discriminate against those of the LGBTQ+ community.

Please consider briefly reading about the issue and contributing a public comment (sample text below) to speak up against an alliance that imposes religiously-motivated restrictions upon health-care services that can be provided by UC personnel. 

Despite California’s reputation of defending health-care access for vulnerable populations, 1 in 4 hospital beds in California is under the direct control of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and their networks of Catholic Hospitals. Notably, Dignity Health is the largest hospital provider in California and operates under “Ethical and Religious Directives” that diverge significantly from the standard of safe and legal reproductive health-care access upheld in this state. Catholic Hospitals are often the lone viable option for people restricted by insurance coverage or geography. Therefore, religious institutions have enormous reach to dictate health-care restrictions that medically and scientifically trained health-care providers of UC must comply with under UC’s current partnership with religious hospitals. 

Reproductive health care encompasses medical support for those who want children, as well as those who do not. Women who suffer a miscarriage, have underlying medical conditions that prevent the possibility of childbirth, experience complications from a contraceptive method, or survive sexual violence that produces an unwanted pregnancy are all denied access to appropriate health-care under their Religious Directives. Additionally, these Directives prohibit gender-affirming surgery for transgender people. By continuing to engage in a partnership that requires UC’s submission to discriminatory and restrictive health-care policies, UC is directly contradicting its commitment to nondiscrimination.   

We strongly urge you to advocate for the autonomy of those threatened by the dangerous and heartbreaking practices of Catholic Hospitals. Please encourage your UC school to stand up for all women and the LGBTQ+ community, like those at UCSF successfully did this past summer. 

The two options being weighed by the UC Regents are:

  1. Allow affiliations with non-UC entities that prohibit certain services for women and LGBTQ+ people. 
  2. Prohibit affiliations with non-UC entities that prohibit certain services for women and LGBTQ+ people. 

Sample text to submit:

I strongly urge the University of California to end affiliations with health systems that allow religious directives to prohibit essential care for women and LGBTQ+ people. I support OPTION 2 in this report, because UC professionals and students should not be asked to work in hospitals where religious policies prevent them from providing scientifically-based standard of care services. While our federal government and other states are working to repeal access to reproductive health care and undermine protections for LGBTQ+ people, the UC system must be strong and unequivocal in its support of medical science, reproductive health, and gender-affirming care.


11/14/2017 – House Bill H. R. 1  – GOP Tax Plan

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Dear Science Policy Group at UCLA members and affiliates,

You may be aware that the House GOP Tax Bill H.R. 1 contains several provisions that would seriously impact higher education. H.R. 1 would substantially reduce tax benefits and increase costs for college students by $65 billion over the next decade. As written, it would repeal the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC), which provides a tax benefit to part-time students, non-traditional students, graduate students, and lifelong learners. The bill would also repeal the student loan interest deduction that provides a tax credit of up to $2,500, helping to reduce student debt levels and making it more affordable to for millions of middle- and lower-income students and families to finance a college education. In addition, H.R. 1 would repeal Sec. 117 (d)(5), which provides graduate student teaching and research assistants a tax exemption for tuition waivers.

As the process is quickly moving forward there is some urgency to advocate against the provisions. The national education organizations, UC and UCLA state and federal relations, and many of the scientific societies are engaged in raising awareness, advocacy and lobbying. But Congress needs to hear from students, graduates, their families, and anyone who supports affordable higher education, that we oppose this legislation and these cuts to the education programs. Put simply, H.R.1 will make higher education more expensive and will lead to increased student loan debt.

There may be a vote in the House as early as tomorrow. We urge you to take a couple minutes right now to call and/or send a message to your member of Congress in opposition to the House GOP Tax Bill H.R. 1 due to the serious negative impact it would have on higher education. Please call 1-888-329-5096 now to be connected to your member of Congress, and feel free to reference our sample calling script below. In addition to calling, we encourage you to send a message to your members of Congress through this action center: https://www2.acenet.edu/actioncenter/…

Sample Call Script:
“Hello, my name is [name]. I’m an undergraduate/graduate student at UCLA and/or a constituent of [Representative] from [zip code; full address if leaving message]. I’m calling to urge your office to publicly oppose the House GOP Tax Bill H.R. 1, which would make affording higher education further out of reach for many people. Specifically, I urge you to publicly oppose the bill’s repeal of the Lifetime Learning Credit, the student loan interest deduction, and the Qualified Tuition Reduction. Thank you for your efforts on this issue.”

Thank you for your support on this issue. Please email us at uclascipolgroup@gmail.com with any questions.

Best,
Officers of the Science Policy Group at UCLA

Sources and More Information:
http://www.acenet.edu/…/Higher-Education-and-Tax-Reform.aspx
http://www.chronicle.com/…/Republican-Tax-Proposal-G…/241662
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/11/03/gop-tax-overhaul-would-eliminate-tax-breaks-used-colleges-and-students

6/17/2017 – Karen Bass Town Hall

Please join me on Saturday, June 17 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Emerson Community Charter School (1650 Selby Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024) for my meeting: “Congressional Conversation: Westwood”

I have been visiting neighborhoods all across the 37th Congressional District, and now I am headed to meet with you and your neighbors in Westwood. This meeting will be an opportunity to meet you, listen to your concerns about your community, and discuss what is happening in Washington, DC.

RSVP today at bass.house.gov/wwcc or 323-965-1422.

WHO: Congressmember Karen Bass

WHERE: Emerson Community Charter School, 1650 Selby Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

WHEN: Saturday, June 17 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

May 26, 2017 – SB 201

Things are heating up! We received the following from the UC Student-Workers Union this morning:

Yesterday, SB 201 – our bill to allow Research Assistants (including GSRs) to Unionize – was removed from the Appropriations suspense file and approved on a party line vote of 5-2. This means that within the next 8 days it will be up for a vote in the full Senate!
This is great news, but it is just the second hurdle out of seven that we need to pass – so we need to continue to apply pressure on Sacramento.

Please take some time today or early next week to find your CA Senator and call on them to support SB 201. A sample script is below. And don’t forget to fill out our pledge and get your friends to do so as well!

CALL YOUR SENATOR:

Figure out who your Senator is here.

Script:

“Hello, my name is ___________________ and I am a [[graduate student/research assistant/etc.]] at _______________. I am constituent of the Senator living in ______________ and I am calling in support of SB 201: the Research Assistants Right to Bargain bill, and to encourage the Senator to approve this bill when it comes to the Senate Floor next week.”