The North Carolina state legislature passed H129, the Level Playing Field/Local Government Competition Bill, which would do pretty much the opposite of what the name suggests -- it would hinder local government efforts to build wireless broadband networks, because, you know, their networks are so big and bad they stomp all over the big corporations who want to build their own networks. Except that, er, big corporations typically don't even want to build into the rural and urban areas municipal wireless networks typically serve. The big corporate game is, as usual, to prevent government from doing anything worthwhile for the people who own it. The Founders mistrusted concentrated power, and corporations concentrate power better than anybody these days; your municipal government, at least, belongs to you, and you certainly have more control over your local government than you do over any corporation. Anyway, North Carolina's Governor, Beverly Perdue, has suggested she'll veto the bill, so Free Press helps you encourage her to do that.
Meanwhile, GenOn Energy's Portland Generating Station, sitting on the Delaware River in northeastern Pennsylvania, has been giving the gift of sulfur dioxide emissions to New Jersey for many years now. Sulfur dioxide emissions tend to exacerbate heart disease and respiratory ailments (including asthma); they're also a precursor to acid rain, and though both sulfur dioxide emissions and acid rain have been falling for many years nationwide, a few plants (such as the Portland plant) still emit a lot of junk. The Portland station, of course, claims that it's in line with Pennsylvania environmental standards, and it may well be -- but, unfortunately, its pollution drifts into another state, which means the EPA (at the request of NJ Gov. Chris Christie and DEP head Bob Martin) can now get involved. The EPA has responded with a weak plan to fix the Portland problem, however, and so CREDO encourages you to tell them to do more. Enjoy this moment, for it may be the only time you agree with Chris Christie on anything. That'll be something to tell your grandkids about. And the moment you agree with Scott Walker or John Kasich on anything might never arrive.
Meanwhile, the Obama Administration plans not just to build more nuclear power plants, but more nuclear bomb factories! See? It really is Bush's Third Term! We already have enough bombs to blow up the planet over 200 times, just like we did in the '50s, and this year's Defense Authorization bill asks for a 20 percent increase in nuke funding, to some $85 billion over the next ten years. This, as programs good Americans actually need get cut! (OK, that's my quota of exclamation points for this paragraph.) Of course, Congress still underfunds our ongoing search for loose nuclear materials, an initiative that does actually fight terrorism pretty well. I wonder why our President doesn't get on TV and defend that initiative? I know, he's got a lot of initiatives to defend, but still. Peace Action West helps you oppose the increase in nuclear weapons funding.
Finally, the U.S. Sentencing Commission will hold a hearing on crack sentencing retroactivity on June 1. To recap: Congress passed a law last year that reduced crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparities from 100:1 (i.e., five grams of crack getting the same sentence as 500 grams of powder) to 17:1 (28 grams of crack to 500 grams of powder). However, the law didn't apply the changes retroactively to folks already in jail for crack possession. The awesome addicting power of crack cocaine being largely a myth (and, conveniently, a myth that seems to put a disproportionate number of black folks in jail), it doesn't make sense to continue to enforce the old sentences. It's not like the Sentencing Commission hasn't retroactively applied other sentencing guideline changes or anything. Families Against Mandatory Minimums provides a sample letter you can write to the Commission; they also provide a petition to sign.