H.R. 1731/S. 738, the RECLAIM Act, has been around in various iterations for the last year; it aims to use money from the Abandoned Mines Land Fund to help historic coal communities clean up their land. Such an effort could actually create jobs, in communities that not only suffer from a lack of work (as coal corporations wind down their operations) but also from air, land, and water polluted by mountaintop coal removal and surface mining. Think maybe these good folks could figure out what to do with their communities if they just had a little help? I think so. But the original RECLAIM Act mandated priority to projects that actually sought input from local communities -- and the current version strips that part out! In other words, the bill now aims to listen as little to the communities actually suffering as possible, possibly so that some Senator's cronies can more easily feed at the public trough. Hence the Sierra Club helps you tell your Congressfolk to support more local community input into the RECLAIM Act.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee state Senate Judiciary Committee has moved SB 1085/HB 1111, the so-called "LGBT Erasure Bill," to the full Senate for a vote, which could happen this week; the bill has already passed out of the state House, meaning the full Senate vote is the last stand before Tennessee formally enshrines the "right" to discriminate against gays and transgendered folk into law. Tennessee stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in business revenue if they go through with this, just like North Carolina did, but we need to cut to the heart of the matter: religious folks don't have a right to refuse to serve gays just because they think Jesus told them so. Are they fully aware that one could just as easily claim a "right" to discriminate against blacks because the Bible "said" so? Maybe they are, now that I think about it, but if we wouldn't stand for that when it hurts black folks, we shouldn't stand for it when it hurts gays, either. The Tennessee Equality Project helps you tell the Tennessee state Senate to reject this "LBGT Erasure" bill.
Finally, closer to home, America has witnessed police brutality against black folks like it never has before, thanks to the ubiquity of cellphone cameras, and most folks now support some form of body cameras for police officers. But the Pennsylvania state Senate is mulling SB 560, which would make it virtually impossible for good Pennsylvanians to see body camera footage. You might say, well, if it relates to a criminal investigation, it isn't everyone's business, but this is also the age where one can protect the privacy of the accused and of victims with ease even within video footage, and SB 560 would give law enforcement more rights than they need to deny requests to see body camera footage. I don't believe we can't protect both privacy and the public interest at the same time. If I did, I guess I'd have to move to some police state or something; I mean, this is America. So the ACLU helps you tell your Pennsylvania state Senator to reject SB 560 and preserve the public interest in viewing certain body camera footage.