As the right wing attacks progressives on issue after issue, it’s bad politics to only play defense. Here are five new model bills that allow you to get proactive and reframe hot political issues. Even if you’re in a red state, city or county, you should take a proactive approach to these problems, lifting them up for attention by activists and the media.
Address threats of violence against public officials: The MAGA movement has inspired thousands of threats against individuals who are just trying to honestly administer elections and government programs, especially measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Public officials, from state and local elected officials to salaried government workers and official volunteers are being intimidated for the specific purpose of changing government decisions. This is a direct assault on democracy and the rule of law and, as such, must be called out and defeated. The Stop Intimidation of Public Officials Act makes it a felony to threaten any public official in an attempt to influence that official’s vote, decision or other official action. A bill that applies only to election workers passed the Washington Senate unanimously.
Address subversion of vote counting at the state and local levels: In 2020, right-wing extremists tried to destroy our democratic system by having state and local election officials lie about election results. Those extremists are now actively preparing to reject truthful vote counts in 2022 and 2024. The Safeguard Fair Elections Act blocks efforts to subvert democracy by disqualifying any public official who refuses, without legitimate evidence, to certify the actual vote counts or results of an election.
Address dishonest attacks on public education: In dozens of states, conservatives have enacted or are attempting to enact legislation requiring public school teachers to lie or withhold the truth in history and social studies classes about racism, sexism and heterosexism. These attacks routinely fail to identify a single lesson that is inaccurate. The Honesty in Public Education Act prohibits local school systems from adopting rules that require teachers to lie to their students.
Address the malicious false reporting of crimes intended to “SWAT” people: Alongside MAGA, there’s been a sharp increase in false 911 calls which are intended to harass or intimidate a targeted individual. So-called “SWATing” (trying to send a SWAT team to do the intimidating) is extremely dangerous. While false reporting is a crime, it nevertheless often goes unprosecuted. The Malicious False Reporting Relief Act makes it more practical for people to bring a civil action against someone who falsely calls the police on them.
Address the continuing danger of COVID-19: COVID-19 has killed more than 800,000 Americans and it’s not going away. Despite anti-vax protests, 85 percent of U.S. adults have taken a COVID vaccine. So voters are overwhelmingly vaccinated and there is virtually no persuadable voter who opposes vaccination. The Protection from COVID-19 Act urges everyone to become vaccinated, directs health agencies to ensure that vaccine is accessible to all, and requires both elected officials and government employees to be vaccinated, with only narrowly-drawn exceptions.