Your weekly guide to the goings-on in Congress...

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CONGRESS IS TAKING ACTION 🇺🇸

We can all agree that schools should be a safe place where students are free to learn, make friends, and find their purpose. Parents should be able to trust that when they drop their children off at school, it will be a safe place for them to learn and grow.

That’s why House Republicans passed legislation to fix shortcomings in the national background check system, and prior to that enacted mental health reform. It’s also why in January 2018, Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL)
a former sheriff  introduced the STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909).

Tragically, only two weeks after The STOP School Violence Act introduction in the House, 17 students and teachers lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida  shattering the trust of both parents and students across our country.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time. It happened at Freeman High School in Eastern Washington, at Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and too many others.

When this trust is broken, our communities are left broken, too. In this time of brokenness, we must have tough conversations with one another. We must ask the hard questions and work together to find viable solutions.


TODAY’S BIG THING: THE STOP SCHOOL VIOLENCE ACT OF 2018 ❌

This week, in their continued efforts to restore community trust and prevent other tragic acts of violence from happening, the House passed the STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909). With overwhelmingly bipartisan support, Congress voted on Wednesday to empower students, teachers, school officials, and law enforcement to identify individuals with the propensity to commit acts of violence and to intervene before they do.

WHAT DOES THIS BILL DO?

I’m glad you asked.

The STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909) provides a multi-layered approach to identify threats and prevent violence from taking place on school grounds. It provides much-needed resources, creates an anonymous reporting system, and calls for further coordination with law enforcement on this front.

More specifically, this bill provides funding for…

  1. Student violence prevention training to counter student violence against others and self, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students. This prevention training would be designed to give students and school personnel the ability to recognize and respond quickly to warning signs of school violence, and would include active shooter training.

  1. Technology to improve school security including the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems such as mobile apps, a hotline, and a website. This funding may also be used for metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other technologies to keep schools safe.

  1. School threat assessment and crisis intervention teams so that school personnel can respond to threats before they materialize.

  1. More coordination with law enforcement, in particular, with those officers who already staff schools.


WILL THIS HELP STOP SCHOOL VIOLENCE?

While it’s impossible to prevent all future tragedies, this bill is an essential step towards making our schools safer.

As bill sponsor and former sheriff, Rep. Rutherford explained, “I don’t want to be the best first responder to a mass casualty event. I want to stop these horrific events before they ever occur.”

In the midst of a robust dialogue, we must come together and have honest and courageous conversations with one another. It is from these kinds of conversations that Rep. Rutherford’s STOP School Violence Act was envisioned, and it is from these conversations that Congress will be able to innovate, lead and keep their commitment to the American people.


WHAT YOU CAN DO 💪

Wondering what you can do? Here are three easy actions you can take right now!

1. Watch and share what House Republicans are saying after passing the STOP School Violence Act.

WATCH NOW!

2. Spread the word by sharing this information with your friends and family! Let them know that the House is taking action on school violence.

Our goal is to make sure every kid has the chance to learn, make friends, and pursue their passions in a school that’s safe.

3. Let your voice be heard! This is your chance to share your thoughts/concerns/questions.

GIVE IT A SHOT!

QUESTIONS & COMMENTS FROM LAST WEEK 💬

LEE’S QUESTION

Does the tax cut affect the pretax amount I can contribute to my 401k?


MY ANSWER

Hey Lee,

Thanks for taking time to send us your question! I know there have been a lot of questions about retirees and 401ks under the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Unfortunately, a lot of the mainstream media rhetoric would have you believe that tax reform is making it harder to save for a secure retirement. It simply isn’t true.

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act did not affect the structure of retirement savings. This means that all of the current incentives for saving remain the same. So no, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act does not affect the pretax amount you can contribute to your 401k.

We hope this helps clear things up. Please let us know if you have any further questions!

Best,
Elizabeth & Katelyn


WHAT WE’RE READING 

📚 READ NOW…

TWEET: After reading the opinion piece in the @washingtonpost about aborting babies with Down syndrome, I struggled to put into words how offensive it is.
REPORT: February 2018 Report: Small Business Optimism Index
ARTICLE: Roll back: Repealing the worst of Dodd-Frank
ARTICLE: With $1 million Premera grant, Hope House plans new women’s shelter
FACT SHEET: School Safety Initiative: Facts, Issues, and Solutions


📹 WATCH NOW…

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers responds to a Washington Post article about aborting babies with Down syndrome.

ASK US A QUESTION NOW!

WHAT’S NEXT? ➡️

Your voice matters, America. After all this is the ‘Everyday American’. Please send us your thoughts and questions. Although we can’t answer everyone, we’ll highlight some in future emails, so stay tuned!

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