Category Archives: Government

GOP Utah Gov. Signs Ban on ‘Lifesaving Medical Care’ for Trans Youth

“It undermines the health and well-being of adolescents, limits the options of doctors, patients, and parents, and violates the constitutional rights of these families,” the ACLU of Utah’s executive director.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-28-2023 by Common Dreams.

We Won’t Be Erased – Rally for Trans Rights, Washington, DC on 10-22-2018 Photo: Ted Eytan/flickr/CC

Defying the guidance of the nation’s leading medical organizations, Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Saturday signed into law a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors in the state.

Passed by the Utah House of Representatives on Thursday and the state Senate on Friday, S.B. 16 prohibits gender-affirming surgeries for trans youth and bars hormonal treatment for new patients who were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria before the bill’s effective date, May 3. Continue reading

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GOP House Puts Big Oil’s Revolving Door Into High Gear

These lobbyists are not getting hired to advocate for American energy consumers—they will push an agenda that benefits the new majority’s donors no matter what it costs taxpayers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 1-27-2023 by Common Dreams.

Nancy Peele, chief of staff to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), is a former fossil fuel lobbyist for companies responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Photo: Nancy Peele/LinkedIn)

An analysis published Friday by the nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US revealed that numerous former fossil fuel lobbyists are being hired to work for the Republican-controlled 118th Congress, including in high-level positions on the House Natural Resources Committee.

“As the Republicans majority begins the new Congress, former oil industry lobbyists will have new and growing influence as top staffers for congressmen on key committees,” the analysis states. Continue reading

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EPA Allowing Vast Oil Refinery Waste to Pollute US Waterways

“It’s high time for EPA to crack down on the toxic pollution from oil refineries that’s threatening both wildlife and human health,” said one environmental justice advocate.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 1-26-2023 by Common Dreams

Exxon Mobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo: WClarke/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing to uphold its legal obligation to regulate the nearly half-billion gallons of toxic wastewater that petroleum refineries dump into the nation’s waterways on a daily basis, according to an exhaustive study published Thursday.

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), a watchdog founded by former EPA enforcement attorneys, analyzed publicly available records and found that in 2021 alone, the 81 refineries across the U.S. that discharge into rivers, streams, and estuaries released 1.6 billion pounds of chlorides, sulfates, and other dissolved solids harmful to aquatic life; 15.7 million pounds of algae-feeding nitrogen; 60,000 pounds of selenium, which can cause mutations in fish; and other pollutants, including cyanide; heavy metals such as arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc; and petrochemicals like benzene. Continue reading

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‘2022 Was Deadly’: Killings of Journalists Jumped by Nearly 50%

The deadliest year for media workers since 2018 was driven in large part by the war in Ukraine and a rise in killings in Latin America.

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-25-2023 by Common Dreams

The funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Ramallah. Photo: YouTube/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Driven in large part by Russia’s war in Ukraine and a rise in violence in Latin America, 2022 was the deadliest year for journalists in four years and saw nearly a 50% increase in murders, killings in crossfire, and deaths as the result of dangerous assignments, according to a report released Tuesday.

In its annual report on the killings of members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) confirmed that at least 41 journalists and media workers were killed in direct connection to their work, including nearly two dozen who were murdered in retaliation for their work. The group is still investigating the motives for the killings to 26 other journalists, bringing the total number of media workers killed last year to 67. Continue reading

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‘Free the Books,’ Say Opponents of New Florida Law as Teachers Remove or Cover Libraries

“Florida considers books to be more dangerous to students than assault rifles,” noted one observer. “This is truly a dystopian state.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-24-2023 by Common Dreams

A anonymous Manatee County, Florida middle school teacher shared this photo of a covered classroom library with students’ demands to “Free the Books” and another sign designating a “safe zone” for in the event of a shooting. (Photo: Tamara Solum/Facebook)

Teachers in at least one Florida county this week began removing or covering books in their classrooms to avoid running afoul of a new law requiring every volume to be vetted by a state-trained “media specialist”—violation of which could result in felony charges.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports the Manatee County School District has directed teachers to remove all books that have not been approved by a specialist, who will ensure that all titles are “free of pornography,” are “appropriate for the age level and group,” and contain no “unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination.” Continue reading

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Iowa Republicans Push ‘Profoundly Cruel and Petty’ Food Benefit Restrictions

Under the new legislation, Iowans would no longer be allowed to purchase fresh meat, white grains, nuts, canned fruits, American cheese, and other foods with SNAP benefits.

By Jake Johnson  Published 1-20-2023 by Common Dreams

Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, right, speaks during a committee hearing on January 18, 2023. (Photo: Pat Grassley/Facebook)

Republicans in the Iowa House introduced legislation this month that would impose a slew of fresh restrictions on the kinds of food people can purchase using SNAP benefits, sparking outrage among local groups who say the measure would exacerbate hunger in the GOP-dominated state.

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC), an interfaith group that operates the largest food pantry network in Iowa, noted in a statement earlier this week that if the bill passes, “Iowans could no longer use their SNAP benefits to purchase meat, nuts, and seeds; flour, butter, cooking oil, soup, canned fruits, and vegetables; frozen prepared foods, snack foods, herbs, spices—not even salt or pepper.” Continue reading

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Thousands Across US Demand Reproductive Freedom on Roe’s 50th Anniversary

“The overwhelming majority of Americans in all states support abortion rights—and women will fight to protect our rights and our lives,” said the executive director of Women’s March.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 1-22-2023 by Common Dreams

People rally for abortion rights at the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison on January 22, 2023. (Photo: Hedi Rudd, Paisley Koch/Women’s March via Twitter)

Thousands of people called for reproductive freedom at rallies around the United States on Sunday—the 50th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion a constitutional right until the Supreme Court’s reactionary majority overturned it last summer.

At more than 200 events in 46 states, demonstrators condemned the court’s 6-3 opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which enables states to curtail or even prohibit access to reproductive healthcare. Since the ruling was handed down on June 24, Republican lawmakers have enacted deadly abortion restrictions in 26 states, including near-total bans in several. Continue reading

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Kansas GOP Pushes Local Abortion Bans After Voters Rejected State Law

“This is an attempt to blatantly disregard the will of the people.”

By Julia Conley  Published 1-20-2023 by Common Dreams

Stop Abortion Bans rally in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 21, 2019. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

Kansas voters left little room for interpretation when a sizable majority voted in August to reject a ballot measure that would have paved the way for a statewide abortion ban—but that isn’t stopping Republicans from attempting to force residents to continue unwanted pregnancies by imposing city-by-city bans.

State Sen. Chase Blasi on Thursday introduced Senate Bill 65, which would authorize cities and counties “to enact local laws more stringent than state law regarding regulation of abortion” and would repeal the state law which prohibits “political subdivisions” from enacting bans. Continue reading

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Biden Admin Still Pushing Trump-Era Legal Positions After Two Years in White House

“As the previous administration violated legal and ethical norms at every turn, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s choice of continuity with the Trump DOJ’s positions erodes the integrity of the very institution he is determined to protect,” said one researcher.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 1-20-2023 by Common Dreams

Merrick Garland and Chuck Schumer in 2016 Photo: Senate Democrats/flickr/CC

Two years after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, his administration continues to advance Trump-era legal positions in dozens of court cases, a progressive watchdog group revealed Friday.

Former President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) “consistently made a mockery of the law throughout his four years in power,” the Revolving Door Project (RDP) noted in the latest release of its long-running litigation tracker. Continue reading

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OSHA Fines Amazon ‘Roughly 0.000013%’ of Annual Revenue for Worker Safety Hazards

For serious injuries linked to the company’s insistence that employees maintain a relentless pace of work, Amazon was fined $60,000—the amount it made “every four seconds in 2022.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-19-2023 by Common Dreams

Amazon Warehouse. Photo: Jaimie Wilson/flickr/CC

A paltry $60,000 fine for failing to keep employees safe at one of the world’s richest companies offered the latest evidence, according to one critic, that the system ostensibly meant to protect workers “is so broken.”

That was the assessment of Paris Marx, host of the podcast “Tech Won’t Save Us,” after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Wednesday it had issued a citation to Amazon for worker safety violations at three of its warehouses in Deltona, Florida; Waukegan, Illinois; and New Windsor, New York. Continue reading

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