H.R. 2666, the so-called No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, would prohibit the FCC from regulating internet service prices -- which would render the FCC powerless to act when ISPs indulge in price-gouging or unduly restrictive data caps, since those are "rate issues." Even worse is S. 2283, the so-called Small Business Broadband Deployment Act, which would exempt small businesses from having to comply with net neutrality regulations -- and defines a small business as a business having fewer than 1,500 employees or 500,000 subscribers! Does that sound "small" to you? And don't the customers of these largely rural ISPs deserve the same right to go where they want to go on the internet as the rest of us? And while Comcast has some 139,000 employees now, how fast do you think they'd make the vast majority of them into "independent contractors" if this bill passed? Free Press helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject these attempts to destroy the FCC's net neutrality regulations, which enjoy the support of just about everyone not in some big telecom corporation's pocket.
Meanwhile, H.R. 4018 calls itself the "Consumer Choice and Protection Act," and purports to crack down on payday lenders and check-cashing joints (called "deferred presentment providers" in the bill, so now you know what that is), but actually does very badly at this sort of "cracking down." How? First, by amending the Truth in Lending Act to allow loose state laws on payday lending and check-cashing to supersede federal law, and second, by preventing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or CFPB) from issuing any regulations pertaining to payday lenders or check-cashers for two full years after the bill's passage. And that latter item really tells you all you need to know about H.R. 4018, because the CFPB has been working on "deferred presentment provider" regulations; why not let the CFPB write their rules and let good Americans comment on them? Because that wouldn't get the result financial predators want, that's why. So Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject H.R. 4018.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell your Senators to support sentencing reform, then both the ACLU and the Friends Committee on National Legislation help you do that. Both action alerts help you support S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, an actually bipartisan effort, unlike so many legislative initiatives that claim that mantle. "Incarceration in the U.S. has gone beyond a system of rehabilitation, retribution, or even deterrence," says the most recent email missive from FCNL. "It has become mass incarceration -- a set of reactive rather than effective practices." And that's absolutely true: we put as many people we can in jail simply because we're afraid of what will happen if we don't -- though we should be afraid of what will happen when we fail to rehabilitate wrongdoers. And S. 2123 is a step in the right direction: it will essentially end solitary confinement for children and roll back mandatory minimums, particularly drug-related mandatory minimums. It's the beginning of what we need to do to become a sane and healthy society again.