H.R. 3899/S. 1945, the Voting Rights Amendment Act, would plug the hole the Supreme Court blew in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 essentially by inserting a new formula for determining which states and municipalities have to get changes in their election law pre-cleared by our federal government -- states and municipalities that have broken federal election law five times in the previous 15 years would be subject to pre-clearance. You may know that right after the Supreme Court worked their will in Shelby County v. Holder, a lot of states and municipalities rushed to put new voting restrictions in place. If the Voting Rights Amendment Act passed, many of those would have to get those restrictions pre-cleared, and the Justice Department would likely strike many of them down -- but not if Congress waits another few months to pass it, which I certainly wouldn't put past them. But again: it doesn't matter what they want; it matters what we want. Common Cause helps you tell Congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act with a quickness.
Meanwhile, Public Citizen helps you tell the FDA to mandate that generic drugs carry the latest safety warnings. What's that, you say? Generic drugs don't already do that? No, they do not, even though they account for over four out of five prescriptions, because of a strange loophole that actually prevents generic drug manufacturers from updating their safety labeling unless the FDA specifically tells them to do so. The FDA would actually like to close this loophole, but, alas, generic drug corporations wouldn't, and I sure hope it's for some reason other than because they'd have to be just as accountable for the problems their drugs cause as name-brand drugs. In any case, allowing generic drug makers to continue to evade accountability essentially amounts to a hostage situation -- you want the cheaper drugs, you take the risk, they seem to be saying to drug consumers. Of course, the FDA works for those consumers, at least nominally, so the FDA can compel generic drug makers to do the right thing. It's how our government ought to work, after all.
Finally, Carrie Tyler of Las Vegas, NV has started a petition on change.org with which you may tell President Obama to pardon her brother Timothy, who received a mandatory double-life-without-parole sentence for selling some pot and LSD to a friend-whoops-police-informant, solely because he'd had two prior drug convictions for which he didn't even do time. Note to the haters: no one argues that Mr. Tyler should have "gotten off" for his crime, but double life without parole for one pot and LSD sale? That's not a punishment; that's a bludgeoning, and how is it supposed to rehabilitate him? And how is his imprisonment getting the taxpayers (who've footed a half mil for Mr. Tyler's 20-years-so-far in jail) their money's worth? Now, Mr. Obama has been parsimonious with the pardon pen during his tenure, but he has lately granted clemency to eight offenders serving mandatory minimums under the old crack/powder cocaine sentencing regime, and seems to be looking to do more in this area, so perhaps he'll notice this petition's 200,000-plus signers so-far.