Tag Archives: Utah

Rights Groups To Sue as Louisiana Requires Ten Commandments Displayed in Classrooms

“Our public schools are not Sunday schools,” the groups said, “and students of all faiths, or no faith, should feel welcome in them.”

By Edward Carver. Published 6-19-2024 by Common Dreams

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry. Photo:gov.louisiana.gov

Rights groups expressed outrage and promised legal action on Wednesday as Louisiana became the only state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in public classrooms.

The law requires all public classrooms, from kindergarten to university-level, to display the commandments in “large, easily readable font” by the start of 2025. Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed House Bill 71 into law Wednesday after declaring recently that he “could not wait to be sued.”

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‘Absolutely Absurd’: Tennessee GOP Advances Concealed Guns for Teachers

“We should not be afraid to send our kids to school, but extremist lawmakers are hellbent on expanding the gun lobby’s guns everywhere agenda and putting our kids at risk,” said one state campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-10-2024 by Common Dreams

Moms Demand Action members protest a Tennessee bill to arm teachers on April 9, 2024. (Photo: Moms Demand Action Tennessee/Facebook)

Gun control advocates, including families of mass shooting survivors, condemned Tennessee Senate Republicans for a 26-5 vote along party lines on Tuesday to advance legislation allowing teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms in public schools.

“Since the devastating shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville last year, the [Tennessee] Legislature has had the opportunity to take meaningful action on gun safety,” said Moms Demand Action executive director Angela Ferrell-Zabala. “Instead, they have chosen to ‘debate the safety of their communities’ behind closed doors in a process that has often excluded their constituents and their own colleagues.”

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60% of US Oil and Gas Infrastructure Now Protected by Anti-Protest Laws: Greenpeace

Fossil fuel companies have contributed millions of dollars to legislators who sponsored such laws, according to a new report.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 10-25-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Joe Brusky/Overpass Light Brigade/flickr/cc

In the seven years since the massive protests against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock, the fossil fuel industry and their allies in politics and law enforcement have been hard at work to prevent a repeat: Around 60% of oil and gas infrastructure in the U.S. is now shielded by anti-protest laws that make direct action much riskier for activists and frontline communities who want to protect their local and global home from dangerous pollution, a new Greenpeace report has found.

The report, Dollars vs. Democracy 2023: Inside the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Playbook to Suppress Protest and Dissent in the United States, reveals that fossil fuel companies made up nine of the 10 most determined lobbyists for anti-protest measures since 2017 and that 25 oil, gas, coal, and energy companies contributed more than $5 million to legislators who sponsored these laws.

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US Appeals Courts Halts ‘Climate Bomb’ Oil Rail Project Over Environmental Concerns

“This is an enormous victory for our shared climate, the Colorado River and the communities that rely on it for clean water, abundant fish and recreation,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett Published 8-18-2023 by Common Dreams

Oil and gas fields along the proposed route. Map: Uinta Basin Railway

U.S. Green groups and some Democratic politicians on Friday celebrated a federal appellate court’s ruling that pauses the development of the Uinta Basin Railway, a project that would connect Utah’s oil fields to the national railway network.

“The court’s rejection of this oil railway and its ensuing environmental damage is a victory for the climate, public health, and wild landscapes,” said WildEarth Guardians legal director Samantha Ruscavage-Barz. “The public shouldn’t have to shoulder the costs of the railway’s environmental degradation while the fossil fuel industry reaps unprecedented profits from dirty energy.”

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Montana Train Derailment Raises Fears of Similar Disasters on Proposed Uinta Basin Railway

The Stillwater County, Montana sheriff’s office said it was a “great stroke of luck” that none of the train cars were carrying oil that would have polluted the Yellowstone River.

By Julia Conley Published 6-25-2023 by Common Dreams

A freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed on a bridge in Stillwater County, Montana on June 25, 2023. (Photo: @MontanaFWP/Twitter)

A freight train derailment and the collapse of a bridge over the Yellowstone River in Montana on Saturday raised alarm as several cars carrying asphalt and molten sulfur tumbled into the river, prompting officials to take emergency measures at nearby water plants.

The incident also brought to mind for some critics the Biden administration’s plan to move forward with a railway project along the Colorado River—one that could place the drinking water of 40 million people at risk as trains transport crude oil from eastern Utah’s Uinta Basin to national rail lines.

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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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Researchers Warn Great Salt Lake’s Retreat Threatens Crucial Ecosystem, Public Health

“The lake’s ecosystem is not only on the edge of collapse. It is collapsing,” said one ecologist.

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-7-2023 by Common Dreams

Scientists are warning Utah officials that the Great Salt Lake is shrinking far faster than experts previously believed, and calling for a major reduction in water consumption across the American West in order to prevent the lake from disappearing in the next five years.

Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) led more than 30 scientists from 11 universities and advocacy groups in a report released this week showing that the lake is currently at 37% of its former volume, with its rapid retreat driven by the historic drought that’s continuing across the West. Continue reading

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Surveillance is pervasive: Yes, you are being watched, even if no one is looking for you

Video cameras on city streets are only the most visible way your movements can be tracked.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

Peter Krapp, University of California, Irvine

The U.S. has the largest number of surveillance cameras per person in the world. Cameras are omnipresent on city streets and in hotels, restaurants, malls and offices. They’re also used to screen passengers for the Transportation Security Administration. And then there are smart doorbells and other home security cameras.

Most Americans are aware of video surveillance of public spaces. Likewise, most people know about online tracking – and want Congress to do something about it. But as a researcher who studies digital culture and secret communications, I believe that to understand how pervasive surveillance is, it’s important to recognize how physical and digital tracking work together. Continue reading

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Biden Accused of Lighting Fuse for ‘One of the Nation’s Biggest Carbon Bombs’

“This is pouring another 5 billion gallons of oil on the fire every year and bulldozing a national forest in the process,” said one critic. “It’s a horrifying step in the wrong direction.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-7-2022 by Common Dreams

An oil trai outside Essex, Montana. Photo: Roy Luck/flickr/CC

The Biden administration came under fire this week after paving the way for an oil railway that its own projections suggest would increase planet-heating pollution in the United States by almost 1%.

President Joe Biden “should be doing everything in his power to respond to the climate emergency, but he’s about to light one of the nation’s biggest carbon bombs,” Deeda Seed, a campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity, said Wednesday in a statement. Continue reading

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Crackdown in the statehouse: Lawmakers edge out press access

The Iowa Senate Chamber. Photo: Miles530 /Public Domain

By Parker Higgins   Published 2-4-2022 by Freedom of the Press Foundation

In a growing number of state legislatures across the country, journalists are facing new rules and proposed legislation that breaks with traditions of public access to legislators. These moves are a troubling development in the increasingly rocky relationship between government officials and the press that covers them, and should be rolled back and opposed wherever possible.

Two recent shifts were highlighted in this month’s U.S. Press Freedom Tracker newsletter. In the Iowa and Kansas senates — both controlled by Republicans — legislators announced that journalists would no longer be allowed on the floor, and instead moved to a public gallery. In each case, lawmakers cited practical concerns and downplayed the First Amendment implications, but the effect has been to diminish the ability for journalists to effectively cover legislative action. Continue reading

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