The House Judiciary Committee held hearings last week on H.R. 5, the Equality Act, a bill which would extend the protections of the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act (among other laws) to gay and transgender folks. Because yes, landlords can reject you just for being gay or transgender, and so can employers, schools, and banks, and they should only be able to reject you for good reasons -- like, you know, being a bad tenant, employee, student, or borrower. So don't get flummoxed by all the whining right-wingers do about people being "forced" to hire gays when they're bad workers, not just because the Equality Act won't compel anyone to do that, but because you don't have a "right" to a certain kind of neighbor or student or employee if your "right" is all about denying other people their rights. So People for the American Way helps you tell your Congressfolk to support all Americans' rights by passing the Equality Act.
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania state legislature is contemplating a swarm of pro-pollution bills -- namely, HB 430, HB 509, HB 762, HB 806, and HB 1055 -- and the Sierra Club helps you tell your PA state legislator to protect our air and water by rejecting these bills. How would these bills make our air and water dirtier? Mainly by giving the legislature veto power over clean air and clean water regulations issued by the Executive branch-- but also by rubber-stamping drilling permits whenever the state Department of Environmental Protection has a backlog, which surely wouldn't prompt gas and oil drilling corporations to flood the DEP with bogus permits, would it? And also by mandating a "collaborative" approach to regulating, rather than a "punitive" one, an approach I guess they'd also have us adopt with burglars, rapists, and murderers. The polluters have lost the argument, but they won't concede defeat unless we make them.
In other news, H.R. 1948/S. 518, the Lymphedema Treatment Act, would mandate that Medicare cover certain items used in treating lymphedema, including compression garments and bandaging systems. Lymphedema, as you may know, occurs when a blocked lymph node traps lymphatic fluid somewhere in the body, causing swelling in soft tissues. It might not end there, though: after swelling, you might get discoloration of the skin, dermal thickening, or ulcers (among other things) and you'd also be at a higher risk for infections. Lymphedema is often a side effect of cancer treatments that compromise the lymphatic system; there's no cure as of yet, but folks with lymphedema can manage the condition somewhat. And an astounding 58 out of 100 Senators (including 18 Republicans) seem to agree that Medicare should cover some of the equipment used to treat lymphedema, so Breast Cancer Action helps you tell your Congressfolk to help lymphedema sufferers get the treatment they need by passing the Lymphedema Treatment Act.
Finally, our Administration still has a jones to open up our Grand Canyon to uranium mining, even though such mining would pollute the Colorado River, and therefore also the drinking and irrigation water upon which close to 40 million good folks depend. But H.R. 1373, the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, would permanently shield over a million acres of public land surrounding the Canyon from mining leases. The 20-year moratorium on uranium mining in the Canyon has certainly helped matters, but why not do better? Because our President believes that public lands exist only to make some boss, somewhere, some money? Because our Senate insists on inhabiting the wrong side of history, and our House might be too timid to oppose them? Because "free" markets and "socialism"? Environmental Action helps you tell your Congressfolk to protect our Grand Canyon by passing the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act.