I received an email today from the National NOW Action Center regarding Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Military Justice Improvement Act. I pulled the text of the email and then rearranged and edited it to provide you with information about the bill and what you can do. The bill is expected to soon come up for a vote in the US Senate, possibly as soon as this coming week.
The Military Justice Improvement Act (S. 967), if passed into law, would establish an independent, objective and unbiased military justice system to better respond to the epidemic of sexual assault in the U.S. military.
Military leaders have been claiming since 1992 that there will be “zero tolerance” of sexual assault, yet there were 26,000 incidents of sexual assault and unwanted sexual touching that were reported in FY 2012. It is clear that the current system of military “justice” does not work and must be changed.
Our major allies, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and Israel along with many other nations, years ago moved disposition of sexual assault crimes out of the chain of command to be handled independently by trained prosecutors. The U.S. should do the same.
Your email message and your call – yes, please call your senators – could make the critical difference. It is likely to be a close vote and senators need to hear from the grassroots that we demand justice for survivors. It is a broken system that will remain broken unless Congress requires a fundamental reform of the process.
This link will take you to NOW’s action alert page where you can enter your zip code. The website will then list your two Senators, their address, phone number and fax number. It also gives you a formulated email. So there are five ways you can contact your Senator. I’m listing them from 1 to 5 with 1 being what I believe would have the most impact in a timely fashion:
- Call your Senators.
- Craft your own letter and fax it to both Senators
- Use the formulated email, personalize it on the website and submit it; It will be forwarded to both of your Senator’s in-boxes. Your email will have more clout if you personalize it with your own words.
- Just fill out the email address info and submit without making any changes to the email letter.
- Craft your own letter and mail it through the US Postal Service. Although this has a lot of clout, it is very slow due to the high level of mail security used for Congress. So it may or may not get there in time for your Senators and their staff to read before the vote.
Following each Senator’s name is their DC phone number in case you want to call without going to the NOW website. When you do call, be sure to give the person answering the phone your name, address, and that you want your Senator to vote yes on S. 967, the Military Justice Improvement Act. Then tell them why you support this bill.
Who’s on Board, Leaning, or Unknown
According to NOW the following are the Senators who have already signed on and/or are the most likely to vote for the bill. If your Senator(s) are not listed here, they may be are harder sell for a “yes” vote, but it’s still worth a try. The Senators listed below still need to hear from you so that they stay on the right side (“YES”) of the vote on S. 769. Some are sponsors, some are leaning yes, and the rest on this list are unknown (sitting on the fence), but could be persuaded if they hear from constituents.
Before most of the names, you will see either a + (plus sign), an * (asterisk), or a # (pound sign). These are keys to how they voted on S.967 in committee and on their votes on the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). A plus sign means they are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and they voted for S.967 when it was in committee. An asterisk means that they both sponsored and voted for the 2013 version of VAWA. A pound sign means they didn’t sponsor, but did vote for the 2013 version of VAWA.
And here’s the target list.
Note: All phone numbers are in Area Code 202. The letters and numbers immediately after the state identification but before the phone numbers refers to their office address (building and room number) in DC:
- SD =Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510;
- SH = Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510; and
- SR = Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510.
Most likely Yes on Sponsorship/Support: (33)
- #ALEXANDER, Lamar (R-TN) SD-455 224-4944
- BARRASSO, John (R-WY) SD-307 224-6441
- BAUCUS, Max (D-MT) SH-511 224-2651
- BOOZMAN, John (R-AR) SH-320 224-4843
- BROWN, Sherrod (D-OH) SH-713 224-2315
- #BURR, Richard (R-NC) SR-217 224-3154
- CHIESA, Jeff (R-NJ) SR-C1 224-3224
- #COATS, Daniel (R-IN) SR-493 224-5623
- COBURN, Tom (R-OK) SR-172 224-5754
- CORNYN, John (R-TX) SH-517 224-2934
- *CRAPO, Mike (R-ID) SD-239 224-6142
- DURBIN, Richard J. (D-IL) SH-711 224-2152
- ENZI, Michael B. (R-WY) SR-379A 224-3424
- HATCH, Orrin G. (R-UT) SH-104 224-5251
- *HELLER, Dean (R-NV) SH-324 224-6244
- #ISAKSON, Johnny (R-GA) SR-131 224-3643
- JOHNSON, Ron (R-WI) SH-328 224-5323
- LANDRIEU, Mary L. (D-LA) SH-703 224-5824
- LEE, Mike (R-UT) SH-316 224-5444
- McCONNELL, Mitch (R-KY) SR-317 224-2541
- *MORAN, Jerry (R-KS) SR-361A 224-6521
- MURRAY, Patty (D-WA) SR-154 224-2621
- MURPHY, Christopher (D-CT) SH-303 224-4041
- #PORTMAN, Rob (R-OH) SR-448 4-3353
- REID, Harry (D-NV) SH-522 224-3542
- RISCH, James E. (R-ID) SR-48 3 224-2752
- ROBERTS, Pat (R-KS) SH-109 224-4774 –s
- RUBIO, Marco (R-FL) SR-284 224-3041
- #SHELBY, Richard C. (R-AL) SR-304 224-5744
- TESTER, Jon (D-MT) SH-706 224-2644
- #TOOMEY, Patrick J. (R-PA) SR-248 224-4254
- WARNER, Mark R. (D-VA) SR-475 224-2023
- WHITEHOUSE, Sheldon (D-RI) SH-530 224-2921
Voted for Gillibrand in Armed Services Committee (3)
Secondary Targets: Armed Services committee members who voted NO on S.967 in committee but could/should change their mind and support (3)
Additional Targets for Support
Democrats not on the bill who voted for VAWA (note: All Dems voted for 2013 VAWA) (6)
Republicans who sponsored and/or voter for VAWA 2013 (9):
- *AYOTTE, Kelly (R-NH) SR-144 224-3324
- #CHAMBLISS, Saxby (R-GA) SR-416 224-3521
- #COCHRAN, Thad (R-MS) SD-113 224-5054
- #CORKER, Bob (R-TN) SD-425 224-3344
- #FISCHER, Deb (R-NE) SR-383 224-6551
- #FLAKE, Jeff (R-AZ) SR-368 22 4-4521
- #HOEVEN, John (R-ND) SR-338 224-2551
- #McCAIN, John (R-AZ) SR-241 224-2235
- #WICKER, Roger F. (R-MS) SD-555 224-6253
Good luck with your calls, faxes, letters, and emails. If you hear something concrete from your Senators as to how they might vote, please come back and let us know in the comment section of this blog. Thanks!