"Right now there are about 8,700 children and families in Massachusetts—1,400 in Boston—who are suffering because of an outdated provision in state law based on myth rather than actuality." Read more...
Read this report-from Mass Law Reform Institute Denying Food and Shaming Children: Unpaid School Meal Policies in
Massachusetts "When a child has no money in his/her meal account and no money in hand to pay, school districts use various
practices which are, presumably, intended to shame the parents but that actually humiliate and punish the
child. These include: dumping a child’s lunch tray into the trash and instead serving a cheap sandwich in place
of the hot meal; prohibiting students from participating in any school related extracurricular activities
(sports, field trips, plays); withholding report cards or other documents from the family; and other practices
involving children in the pursuit of debt, which may well violate Massachusetts Debt Collection laws. School
meal debt—something a child has no control over—becomes a badge of shame that unnecessarily creates a
stigma with peers and undermines academic achievement. Meal shaming punishes a child whose family may
be facing significant economic challenges and hardships." Link to full report http://www.mlri.org/uploads/48/1f/481f9f9228712df0601b29be77ad90dc/MLRI-School-Meal-Debt-Report-March-2018.pdf
record-breaking number of people contacted Washington with their opinions
during the first two months this year, according to an article in the March 6
of Congress claim that, Senate-wide, the call volume for the week of Jan. 30,
2017, more than doubled the previous record; on average, during that week, the
Senate got 1.5 million calls a day,” the article reported. “Three of those
days—Jan. 31, Feb. 1, and Feb. 2—were the busiest in the history of the Capitol
say advocacy groups urge members to contact Congress, but people seem to be
organically driven by the news to express themselves these days, as well.
your senator/representative right away and urge them to [fill in the blank],”
is a common request. Since Republican Donald Trump became president last
January accompanied by a majority Republican House and Senate, many liberal
solicitations urge people to express their dislike of a piece of legislation,
regulation, or nominee.
to now, it has been commonly accepted by pretty much everyone that people
should only contact their own senators (two per state) and representative (one
from the district where the person lives) about national issues.
strangely disappointing for those of us in Jamaica Plain to hear all the ways
the tax bill is terrible, for example, and then be exhorted to call our federal
elected officials. At first, it’s like, “Yeah I’m going to do that! This bill
needs to be defeated!”
we remember, all three of our federal legislators have said they hate the tax
bill and all the other radical Trump proposals. They may have already even
voted against them, too. Darn. Nobody for us to contact after all, except to
thank our local senators and representative one more time.
happens to liberals here and in other blue states and cities again and again.
Probably to conservatives in conservative states, too.
at a benefit for Health Law Advocates in Boston in 2015, Sen. Elizabeth Warren
pointed out the positive voting record of Massachusetts Congress people on
health care issues. She encouraged people to contact friends and relatives in
other states to ask them to talk to their federal elected representatives about
that can be frustrating when we realize we don’t have friends or relatives in
information technology and social media are bringing people of different
regions of this country together nowadays like never before. Decisions made at
the federal level affect millions of us, and everyone is more aware of that.
Jamaica Plain people love to discuss, learn about, and take action on nation
informal prohibition against contacting federal legislators in other parts of
the country feels outdated, clumsy and unnatural, and needs to be ignored.
this month I was calling Republicans identified as possibly open to voting no
on the tax bill. I very politely suggested that the bill was too radical and
gave just a couple of brief examples usually on voice mail, but occasionally to
a staff person.
came across several ways the officials in Washington D.C. deal with the
location of their callers.
senators and representatives are subtle, since there are no official rules. A
recording or person simply asks callers who want to express their opinions to
leave their ZIP Code or address. The intimidating implication is that you
should say nothing and hang up if you don’t have a “correct” one.
recordings and statements are more direct. The voice of Sen. Todd Young of
Indiana says, “Hoosiers wishing to leave their thoughts or opinions on
legislation or a confirmation in the US Senate, press one.” No choice was
offered for non-Hoosiers.
recording by a senator from Oregon says he would like to hear from
who sounded like young staff assistants or interns answered the phone at three
staffer at one office asked me for my ZIP Code and then said, “Thank you for
calling.” I asked, “Are you going to pass on my comment?” He said snippily,
“Thank you for calling.”
I was happily surprised when aides in two other offices asked my ZIP Code at
the end of the call, but then said firmly and somewhat enthusiastically, it
seemed, “I will pass on what you said to the representative.”
inexplicable recording of several verses of “Hail to the Chief” played while I
was on hold for staff of one senator. It was then I had an epiphany. And it
welled up from a Citizens United source, of all places. (Maybe it was the
influence of all the Republicans I was calling.)
Money is speech.
it occurred to me that all of us should feel free to call any federal elected
official we see fit, and not just because their decisions affect all of us,
which is the best reason. And not just so they can hear from regular US people
who might have a fresh view on issues, though that’s good, too.
long as elected officials take campaign contributions from outside their
districts, those officials can and should consider thoughts and opinions from
people around the country, too.
money gets treated the same as speech, (US Supreme Court, Jan. 2010) then
speech has to be treated the same as money.
am about to make some more calls to Republicans from around the country, asking
them to vote no on the tax bill that came out of the conference committee. I
plan to proudly say I am a Bay Stater this time. (I may also tell them who a
Bay Stater is, since most people don’t know, I read recently.)
for the ones who limit whose opinions they want to hear to people in their
districts, I will remind them of those donations.
of us should feel intimidated about calling any elected legislator’s office in
Washington. Everyone should be encouraged to contact senators and
representatives of either party and any state in the US in the future.
will be more important, heinous bills, regulations and appointments to oppose,
no doubt. And maybe, if 2018 elections make a positive difference, there will
be those we want to support.
Sandra Storey is founder and former publisher and editor of the
Jamaica Plain Gazette.
PPUF encourages your attendance at the wonderful Lift the Cap on Kids Cap and Mittens Event to be held at the MA State House Members Lounge on Thursday, October 26, 2017 from 11:30am-12:30pm. This worthy event brings into sharp relief the burdensome ‘Family Cap’, which imposes a strict reduction in welfare benefits for the most vulnerable, children. Join us in protesting this severe restriction fortified with caps and mittens to benefit low-income families and to ‘lift the cap’ on the sweetest among us!!