The federal Department of Transportation, having declared trains shipping oil an "imminent hazard" to the general public, has decided to issue new regulations governing their safety -- but, ho hum, oil and rail corporations oppose them, because money I mean big gummint overreach I mean JOBZ!!!!! But I bet the good citizens of Lynchburg, Virginia -- who had their drinking water fouled by 15 derailed oil cars in April -- would feel differently, as would those who've had their lives disrupted by the four other serious oil train-related accidents in America since the beginning of 2013. So the Sierra Club helps you tell the Department of Transportation to adopt the most vigorous rules possible. The DOT plan isn't perfect, and the Sierra Club action alert makes it easy for you to ask them to do better, but their plan does mandate that oil transport corporations notify the public and local first responders when one of their trains rolls through. Oil and rail corporations who squeal SOSHULIZM!!!!!! or TEH JOBZ TERRORIZTZ!!!! need to explain how corporations telling folks they'll be moving dangerous stuff through their neighborhood is "socialist" or "terrorist," as opposed to some other adjective one might use, like "reasonable."
Meanwhile, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell your Senators to support S. 1410, the Smarter Sentencing Act, then Families Against Mandatory Minimums still helps you do that. S. 1410 has 32 Senate sponsors, including six Republicans, four of whom you'd expect (Lee of Utah, Paul of Kentucky, Flake of Arizona, Cruz of Texas) and two you wouldn't (Johnny Isaakson? Ron Freaking Johnson?); its House companion, H.R. 3382, has 50 sponsors, including Paul Ryan and 13 other Republicans, and these days that's about as bipartisan as things get. The Smarter Sentencing Act doesn't end mandatory minimum sentences, but does reduce a lot of mandatory drug sentences, and also allows judges to sentence lowest-level drug offenders below mandatory minimums -- plus it makes the crack cocaine sentencing reforms enacted by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive. The die-hard tough-on-crime crowd may be soothed by the fact that the bill only affects non-violent drug offenders. They may also be soothed by the fact that the bill reduces the amount of taxpayer money we waste locking up people who aren't that much of a threat to society. Of course, many of these die-harders are just haters, but no one ever said fishing for souls would be easy.