Public Policy Update - September 2023
Philanthropy Southeast regularly provides members with updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, Philanthropy Southeast's vice president of member engagement, at email@example.com.
Action Alert: October 4 Day of Action to Support the Universal Charitable Deduction
Next Wednesday, October 4, philanthropic leaders throughout the country will reach out to key lawmakers urging them to support legislation to restore the universal charitable deduction.
All Philanthropy Southeast members can add their voice to this effort – next Wednesday, contact your members of Congress and ask them to support the Charitable Act (S. 566/H.R. 3435), restore the universal charitable deduction and incentivize giving to help reverse the recent decline in charitable contributions.
In support of the Charitable Act, Philanthropy Southeast will be sending a letter to lawmakers in our region serving on key tax-writing committees. However, it’s vital that lawmakers hear from their constituents so that the universal charitable deduction remains a priority.
Here’s how you can join us in supporting the Charitable Act:
- Call your House representative and senators – look up their contact information here.
- Post a message to your legislators on social media – make sure you use the #CharitableAct hashtag. House members on X, formerly known as Twitter, are listed here. Senators’ accounts are listed here.
- Send an email: Our partners at the United Philanthropy Forum have created a tool that makes it easy to send a message to your representatives and senators. Access it here.
The Charitable Act would restore the non-itemizer charitable deduction and increase the amount taxpayers could deduct to approximately $4,600 for individuals ($9,200 for joint filers). The legislation would also make gifts to donor-advised funds eligible for the universal charitable deduction.
This action comes at a critical time – last year, giving dropped 10.5 percent after inflation. At the same time, recent polling shows 87 percent of voters support restoring the universal charitable deduction, and more than half of voters would give more if they could take advantage of the deduction.
Please join us next week in calling for Congress to restore a charitable deduction available to all American taxpayers – ask your lawmakers to pass the Charitable Act now!
If you have questions about the Charitable Act and how you can support it, contact Jaci Bertrand at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supreme Court Clears Way for Second Black-Majority District in Alabama
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a request from Alabama officials to use a congressional district map passed by the state legislature in July.
In early June, a 5-4 Supreme Court majority ruled that Alabama lawmakers violated the Voting Rights Act by passing a congressional district map that included only one Black-majority district out of seven in a state where more than 25 percent of residents are Black.
However, when lawmakers convened this month to draft a new map, the plan passed into law still only included one Black-majority district. Like the previous map, it drew a court challenge from voters and civil rights organizations and was also found to have violated the Voting Rights Act.
This week’s ruling means that the 2024 congressional elections in Alabama will be held under a new map approved by a federal district court.
The rejection of the Alabama map has sparked challenges to others in Georgia and Louisiana that could determine control of the House following next year’s elections.