California apparently sterilized over 130 female prisoners between 2006 and 2010 under, ah, legally questionable conditions -- usually by citing dubious or nonexistent medical emergencies. Oh, and by pressuring the prisoners. It gets better: one Dr. James Heinrich performed the vast majority of these sterilizations, and claimed, naturally, that he saved the state money because he prevented the conception of children who were all just going to end up on welfare anyway. Did I wake up this morning in the Pinochet dictatorship? No, I do not believe I did. California law mandates that prisoners can only be sterilized if a) they consent to it and b) the state approves. Hence SB 1135, the Prison Sterilization Prohibition Bill, gets a hearing in the California state Senate Public Safety Committee next week; the bill would outlaw sterilizing prisoners except under considerably more limited circumstances. Color of Change helps you tell the state Senate to support SB 1135.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Club helps you tell Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett and DEP Secretary Abruzzo to set "meaningful limits" on smog pollution from coal plants. The state DEP is taking comments on a smog-control plan, since around two-thirds of good Pennsylvanians still live in Southeastern and Southwestern counties with too much smog, but the state plan would actually let coal plants pollute more, partly by setting limits on large plants too high and partly by letting coal corporations average their emissions across multiple plants (so that coal corporations can get unearned "extra credit" from operating cleaner plants in relatively unpopulated areas). Why won't the Corbett Administration do more to rein in coal pollution? They'll surely say it would "kill jobs," as if coal corporations wouldn't need to hire people to help them refit their plants, but their real reason, I'm sure, is that bad smog regulations would please the big donors in the coal industry whose help the hugely unpopular Tom Corbett would surely need to get re-elected.