Hot on the heels of the Chicago Police Department's release of hundreds of records documenting police brutality, the ACLU helps you tell the Department of Justice to mandate that American police departments share data concerning the killing of civilians. The vast majority of police contacts with civilians don't end in violence, but that fact doesn't make a single instance of violence acceptable, and that fact also doesn't justify police departments concealing information concerning the violence officers do commit. And, frankly, you wouldn't be reading too much into things to see a certain pattern in the violence we do hear about (cough racism cough). But transparency and disclosure are, I would think, the best tools police departments could have to account to the public -- and such accountability might even help us get past the media obsession with single instances of violence, so we can finally see how big the problem really is and fix it accordingly. But some right-wingers seem to think admitting your mistakes and fixing them doesn't have to be part of everyone's code. Well, it does -- especially when you're a public servant.
Pennsylvania residents, take note: HB 2046 would rein in law enforcement use of cell site simulation devices, better known as "stingrays." Stingrays, as you may recall, pretend to be cell phone towers, and enable law enforcement to sweep up all sorts of data from cell phones that think they're sending their data to an actual tower. No doubt you see the problem with that -- that law enforcement will be able to collect all kinds of other data that don't pertain to their investigation and that they don't have a right to see. So HB 2046 would require law enforcement to get a warrant before using a stingray and would force them to immediately delete any data they collect that doesn't pertain to the investigation for which they have a warrant. And HB 2046 would only allow law enforcement to forego getting a warrant for a handful of purposes, including testing, locating missing persons, and recovering stolen stingrays. So Restore the 4th Susquehanna Valley has started a petition on Change.org which helps you tell your PA state legislators to support citizen privacy by supporting HB 2046.
Finally, H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016, would, among other things, hand out federal money to three states in the form of block grants, which would come with very, very general instructions about how the money should be spent, and give those states a lot of leeway in how they spend it. A state could, for example, decide to take money normally marked off for reduced lunch prices for underprivileged children and use it instead to, say, block implementation of USDA nutrition standards. You'd think our government would be more conscious of the notion of following federal rules when taking federal money. But when your goal is to weaken our government, rather than make our government work more efficiently -- or, more precisely, when you decide the former is equal to the latter -- then rules go out the window. No wonder at least one House Rep submitted an amendment to retitle the bill the "Hunger Games Act of 2016"! (Sadly, it didn't pass.) Moms Rising helps you tell your House Reps to reject H.R. 5003 and its nefarious block grants, which will take food out of school childrens' mouths.