Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced S. 967, the Military Justice Improvement Act (which may get attached to the upcoming defense authorization bill). S. 967 would take military sexual assault cases away from the military chain of command and give it to military prosecutors. A little over one percent of reported sexual assault cases in the military went to trial in 2012, and I can't help but think that's because our military lets commanders squash cases before the military's own justice system can handle it. I'm sure many commanders prefer it the way it is, so that they don't get in trouble with their superiors, but I'm also sure defenders of the status quo shriek that the military just can't respond quickly enough to national security situations if they're dealing with so many sexual assault cases. To which I'd respond that a unit where some members prey sexually on others probably ain't responding to very much of anything very efficiently. Besides, the time for justice is always now, not "when convenient." Both CREDO and the National Women's Law Center help you tell your Senator to support the Military Justice Improvement Act.
Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has passed an Intelligence authorization bill that would force the Executive branch to report publicly on civilian casualties from drone strikes. We'd prefer to end overseas drone strikes, of course, but we've already advocated for that several times, and when you can't bring the hammer down on evil, you can at least shine a light on it. Yes, it's evil to kill innocent people, even if you're trying to fight terrorism, even if you're trying to save our soldiers' lives by making machines do the killing. And our government has been, ah, underreporting the civilian deaths overseas -- and the independent agencies exposing government lies may not even be finding all of the dead themselves. Move On helps you tell Congress to support reporting of drone strike deaths. The drone strike reporting section might not make it into the final Intelligence auth bill, of course -- but it could also make it into the Defense authorization bill, or it could be a freestanding bill (always my preference, frankly). But it won't be law at all unless we inform Congress of our will.
Finally, H.R. 2728, the so-called Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, would prevent our government from regulating fracking wherever federal and state authorities overlap. Sound to you like trying to kill an ant with a sledgehammer, and missing the ant? It gets worse: the bill would prevent our government from enforcing any fracking rules or regulations in any land in any state -- even federally-owned land! -- if that state has any fracking regulations. That would be true even if that state had fracking regulations for federal lands that didn't meet federal standards. Why is Congress telling our federal government to abandon oversight of federally-owned lands? Because Congress only cares about money, and they'd like the gas drilling corporations to give it to them, either in the form of campaign contributions or in the form of consulting gigs when they leave Congress. Such is the nature of much "federalism" these days. The Environmental Defense Fund helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject H.R. 2728, so we can better protect our air and water.