H.R. 2042, the so-called Ratepayer Protection Act, moved quickly through the House Energy and Commerce Committee at the end of last month, getting formally introduced and passed in a mere 48 hours. The bill hasn't come before the full House yet, but it's just a matter of time, and, as with so many bad ideas, they'll probably put it to a vote when no one's watching. Hence Union of Concerned Scientists helps you tell your House Rep to vote against the Ratepayer Protection Act. Why would we want them to reject something so innocuously-named? Because the name's a scam: the bill would essentially let states opt out of the EPA's plan to limit carbon emissions, by allowing them not to implement any reductions as long as some lawsuit against the plan, somewhere in their state, is being litigated. The only "ratepayers" this bill protects, then, are big coal corporations. All this mess, even though said plan gives states a lot of leeway in producing their own methods of meeting carbon reduction goals! That'll teach President Obama to reach out to the other side, right? I kid, of course.
H.R. 1310/S. 590, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, would start to address the problem of on-campus rape, by toughening up penalties for colleges when they don't report sexual assaults accurately, surveying students in a consistent and transparent manner, mandating uniform codes for investigation and discipline, and requiring a minimum amount of training for college personnel so they don't interfere with sexual assault investigations. If you're the fellow who says it's too hard to tell what women want, or that the lines between rape and consensual sex are too blurry, then please stop reading. No, seriously: I would feel tainted if you read on. Maintaining a civilized society requires maintaining boundaries, and it also requires seeing beyond your own self-interest, and statements like "it's too hard to tell what women want" lend themselves too easily to a lot of men's self-interest. Here's a good rule: if you're not sure she wants to have sex with you, don't have sex with her. CREDO helps you tell your Congressfolk to support the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.
Finally, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell affirmed earlier this week that health insurers are to provide all the legal options available to them that the Affordable Care Act mandates. If you're wondering why she went through the trouble, note that the National Women's Law Center studied plans from 100 health insurers and found that half of them -- half! -- failed to cover all FDA-approved birth control methods and/or demanded co-pays for birth control and preventive care for women and/or limited maternity/postnatal coverage rather arbitrarily and/or skirted their responsibilities in other ways. For those of you who saw the words "birth control" and immediately decided it was all based on "sincerely-held religious beliefs": if you think your religion abhors birth control, you wouldn't respond by limiting coverage or demanding co-pays; you'd refuse to cover any of it. No, I think health insurance corporations are just being jerks here. So CREDO helps you tell health insurance corporations to give women all the health care options the law requires them to give.