You'd think students getting ripped off by their colleges would be able to get at least some measure of justice through our courts -- except these colleges often put forced arbitration clauses into their enrollment agreements. You know the drill -- forced arbitration takes your grievances out of the courts and puts them in private arbitration hearing, with arbitrators who may be chosen by the school or not but who certainly know where their bread is buttered and will rule against you most of the time. But the Department of Education (not the most stalwart defender of college students, until lately) could remedy this problem simply by denying federal student loans to schools that put forced arbitration clauses into enrollment agreements. For-profit schools will whine that this would reduce opportunities for students, but it would only reduce opportunities for students to get ripped off. So Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell the Department of Education to banish forced arbitration clauses from student enrollment contracts.
Meanwhile, H.R. 4611, the No Money Bail Act, would prohibit using money bail in federal criminal cases, and also prohibit certain federal grants from going to states that still use money bail. What's the problem with money bail? Easy: poor folks who can't pay bail can't get out of jail, no matter how little risk they present to our communities. It's true you could get your bail money back if you show up for trial, but that would be of little consequence to you if you could never raise that money in the first place. And though some folks will no doubt object that getting rid of money bail will cost the public some revenue, note well that holding so many folks in prison because they can't pay bail costs the public revenue -- particularly when well over half of the folks currently in jail haven't been convicted of anything, and three out of every four of these have been charged with non-violent crimes that don't suggest they're a flight or public safety risk. So Color of Change helps you tell your Congressfolk to support the No Money Bail Act.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell the Obama Administration Department of Labor to implement its new overtime rules already, then Sign for Good still helps you do that. Time is of the essence: if Mr. Obama were to implement the rules today, Congress would have 60 days to pass a "resolution of disapproval" that would aim to repeal them, and that would put us in early May, which is plenty of time for an Obama veto. But if he waited until late November, that would put us in late January, and a Republican President presumably would sign the resolution and we'd have to start over again. But we should press Mr. Obama to get this victory now, because the new rules would mandate that employers pay overtime to workers making up to $50,400 annually -- the current ceiling is $23,660 -- and that means more than 13 million workers would get more money for working harder, like they deserve. Don't believe the hype that employers can't afford it. More money in more workers' pockets means more business for them, so they can't afford for us not to do it.