Common Cause helps you tell your Reps and Senators to support H.R. 2867/S. 1659, the Voting Rights Advancement Act. Renewing and strengthening the Voting Rights Act used to be a bipartisan cause, but the bill just got its first Senate Republican co-sponsor, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. And the Supreme Court, as you know, struck down a significant part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. I dare Republicans to say, well, the Supreme Court spoke, and we have to follow their will -- not just because they tend to say the exact opposite when, say, a Kentucky county clerk decides she's not going to issue any marriage licenses to gay folks, but also because the Supreme Court all but invited Congress to fix the Voting Rights Act in a way that would satisfy their concerns. The Voting Rights Advancement Act does that, by applying pre-clearance formulas to any state or municipality that establishes a pattern of voting rights violations, not just Southern states. But clearly we'll need to tell Congress to do the right thing, perhaps many times. Of course, we're Americans, so we're up for that.
S. 1500, the so-called Sensible Environmental Protection Act, would allow corporations to dump certain pesticides in our waterways without a permit. "Certain pesticides" only include those "authorized for sale, distribution, or use" under federal law, but don't feel better, because S. 1500 doesn't say how much of an "authorized" pesticide a corporation can dump without a permit, and this is a fairly important matter to consider when determining how to protect our waters. Sadly, S. 1500 bill has a certain "bipartisan" sheen -- five of its 15 co-sponsors are Democrats, leaving a mere 41 who might filibuster the bill. And one of those five is North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp, who just swore off a run for state Governor in 2016 and thus will need, ah, help getting re-elected to the Senate in 2018. None of that is our concern, of course -- protecting clean water from pollution is our concern. Hence Penn Environment helps you tell your Senators to actually be sensible about the environment and reject S. 1500. (Like how they re-define "sensible" to make your concerns look "insensible"?)
Meanwhile, the Child Nutrition Act expires on September 30. You recall that one of the few things the USDA has done well under President Obama is improve nutrition standards in school lunches -- which, naturally, has resulted in the House repeatedly trying to roll back this standard, by promoting legislation letting lagging school districts "opt out," instead of telling them to get with the program, as civilized people would do. And their arguments in favor of this absurdity? That some indeterminate number of kids throw away their school-provided apples instead of eating them, and that government is tyrannical because it sets standards for food provided in public schools, instead of just letting kids eat whatever they like. Because the only thing that says "freedom" more than letting kids pursue the ephemeral sensations offered by junk food without the distraction of discipline? Letting them get obese and suffer from intractable health problems well into adulthood! The Union of Concerned Scientists helps you tell Congress to protect child nutrition standards.