The POPVOX Blog

  1. Press Clip: House Greets Syria War Resolution With Intense Skepticism; Vote Could Go Down

  2. PRESS CLIP: Informal polls show deep opposition to Syria intervention

  3. PRESS CLIP: Announcing The Disrupt SF Hackathon Judges And A Ton Of New Prizes

  4. Press Clip: PopVox helps members of Congress hear from voters

  5. Issue Spotlight: Labor Day

    It's Labor Day! In June 1894, Congress passed an act declaring the first Monday in September Labor Day and a legal holiday. Labor Day was created by the nation's labor movement and dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers, according to the US Department of Labor.

    This Labor Day 2013 marks the centennial of the US Department of Labor -- and a new Labor Secretary Tom Perez. He linked the significance of Labor Day with Wednesday's 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington:

      "In his Wednesday speech, President Obama challenged us to address widening income inequality that is eroding the American Dream, invoking the marchers of 50 years ago who were engaged in that same struggle for economic justice. I join the president in the call for a higher minimum wage. It’s not just a moral imperative; it’s economic common sense. When we put more money in working families’ pockets, it boosts consumer demand, helping small businesses and jump-starting the entire economy."

    Here are some bills related to the minimum wage:

    Labor and Employment Legislation

    Job Training

    Workplace Rights

    • HR 675 Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act: To extend protections to part-time workers in the areas of employer-provided health insurance, family and medical leave, and pension plans.
    • S 665  Protecting America's Workers Act: to expand coverage under the Act, to increase protections for whistleblowers, to increase penalties for high gravity violations, to adjust penalties for inflation, to provide rights for victims or their family members.
    • HR 645 Equal Employment for All Act amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prohibit the use of consumer credit checks against prospective and current employees for the purposes of making adverse employment decisions.
    • HR 946 National Right-to-Work Act preserves and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities
    • HR 1373 Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act To improve compliance with mine safety and health laws, empower miners to raise safety concerns, prevent future mine tragedies.

    Work & Family

    Wages

    • HR 438 Fair Pay Act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on account of sex, race, or national origin.
    • HR 2013 Davis-Bacon Repeal Act To repeal the wage rate requirements commonly known as the Davis-Bacon Act.

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  6. Issue Spotlight: Marijuana

    In November 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana use. This week, US Attorney General Eric Holder said the US Justice Department is "deferring its right to challenge their legalization laws at this time." 

    Meanwhile, 18 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws allowing for the medical use of marijuana. California led the way in 1996 when its voters passed Proposition 215, legalizing medical marijuana. This state-level activity is prompting greater interest in federal marijuana legislation. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on Sept. 10 to discuss “Conflicts between State and Federal Marijuana Laws.” And nearly a dozen bills have been introduced in the US Congress.

    History of Marijuana Laws

    Throughout early American history, marijuana use was legal under both federal and individual state laws. In fact, from 1850 to 1941, cannabis was included in the United States Pharmacopoeia as a recognized medicinal. By the end of 1936, however, all 48 states had enacted laws to regulate marijuana.

    The federal government's first attempt to regulate marijuana, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, made possession or transfer of cannabis illegal throughout the US, but for medical and industrial uses. An excise tax was established for these permitted uses. In 1969, the Supreme Court held the Marijuana Tax Act to be unconstitutional. In 1970, with President Nixon's urging, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act placing marijuana in Schedule I—the most restrictive of five categories for substances with "no currently accepted medical use"—along with heroin, LSD, peyote and psilocybin (mushrooms). Drugs of abuse with recognized medical uses, including opium, cocaine and amphetamine, were assigned to Schedules II through V based on their potential for abuse. (Source: Congressional Research Service.)

    Marijuana and Hemp Legislation in Congress

    And nearly a dozen bills have been introduced in the US Congress -- and Congress needs to hear from its constituents. (List updated 8/7/13)

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  7. The POPVOX Top 20: Aug 23 - 29

    Defunding Obamacare is the Top Priority of POPVOX Users

    Once again, defunding Obamacare was the top priority among POPVOX users in the past week. The proposal urges members of Congress to sign on to a letter by Congressman Mark Meadows committing to defunding Obamacare in any spending bill this Fall. Close to 6,000 people have shared their voice about the Meadows letter -- and the vast majority are supporting it -- through a POPVOX sponsored campaign* by Heritage Action. Congressman Meadows delivered the letter to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor last week, but is still seeking additional support.

    Want to be a part of the POPVOXnation conversation? Please join us on Facebook or Twitter. It's a great way to stay connected with the POPVOX team and Congress. Thanks for using POPVOX!

    POPVOX Roundup: Week of Aug 23 - 29

    Here are the bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in the past week. Keep in mind that these numbers aren't aggregates of total support, but just what happened in the past seven days.

    • Obamacare#1 Defunding Obamacare in a Spending Bill: Urging members of Congress to sign on to Rep. Mark Meadows's letter committing to defunding Obamacare in any spending bill this Fall. (Sponsored campaign* by Heritage Action.) 

      901 Support | 31 Oppose

    • HR 2818#2 Surveillance State Repeal Act: To repeal the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

      680 Support | 6 Oppose

    • HR 3018#3 A bill: to amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to permit States to require proof of citizenship for registration to vote in elections for Federal office.

      299 Support | 35 Oppose

    • HRes 306#4 A resolution providing for the consideration of the resolution (HRes 36) establishing a select committee to investigate and report on the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

      301 Support | 22 Oppose

    • HR 3018#5 Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act: To increase the excise tax and special occupational tax in respect of firearms and to increase the transfer tax on any other weapon.

      12 Support | 311 Oppose

    • S 1426#6 Password Protection Act: to prohibit employers from compelling or coercing any person to authorize access to a protected computer.

      276 Support | 28 Oppose

    • HR 3018#7 A resolution expressing disapproval over the gun violence plaguing America's communities, and calling on the Congress to enact comprehensive gun reforms that reduce gun violence.

      11 Support | 272 Oppose

    • HR 2682#8 Defund Obamacare Act: To prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

      262 Support | 19 Oppose

    • HJR 56#9 The Equal Rights Amendment resolution proposing an amendment to the US Constitution relative to equal rights for men and women.

      45 Support | 220 Oppose

    • HR 3016#10 Jobs for Urban Sustainability and Training in America Act: to provide grants to cities with high unemployment rates to provide job training, public works, and economic development programs.

      41 Support | 187 Oppose

    • HR 2959#11 National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act: to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State.

      201 Support | 27 Oppose

    • HR 3014#12 Fresh Start Act: To permit expungement of records of certain nonviolent criminal offenses.

      61 Support | 165 Oppose

    • HCRes 40#13 A resolution: expressing the sense of Congress that the President is prohibited under the Constitution from initiating war against Syria without express congressional authorization and the appropriation of funds for the express purpose of waging such a war.

      204 Support | 6 Oppose

    • HR 2910#14  Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Act: To protect American children and their families from the epidemic of gun violence by banning access to certain weapons, strengthening the Nation's mental health infrastructure, and improving the understanding of gun violence.

      15 Support | 182 Oppose

    • HR 2465#15 Recognizing Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency Act: To require the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to submit to Congress an annual report on the effects of gun violence on public health.

      14 Support | 177 Oppose

    • HR 2648 #16 A bill to prohibit the sale or other disposition of a firearm to, and the possession, shipment, transportation, or receipt of a firearm by, certain classes of high-risk individuals.

      8 Support | 120 Oppose

    • S 1337 #17 Crime Gun Tracing Act: to promote the tracing of firearms used in crimes.

      7 Support | 114 Oppose

    • HR 2665 #18 A bill to ensure secure gun storage and gun safety devices.

      4 Support | 92 Oppose

    • HR 2356#19 We Are Watching You Act: To provide for notification to consumers before a video service collects visual or auditory information from the viewing area and to provide consumers with choices that do not involve the collection of such information.

      77 Support | 9 Oppose

    • HR 2464#20 Improving Gun Safety Standards Act: To amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to remove the exclusion of pistols, revolvers, and other firearms from the definition of "consumer product" in order to permit the issuance of safety standards for such articles by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

      2 Support | 83 Oppose

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

    *POPVOX invites organizations to create "sponsored campaigns" on POPVOX, which include policy principles and actionable items directed at Congress. 

  8. Issue Spotlight: Cruise Ships

    Cruises are a big industry. More than 10 million cruise passengers embarked on cruises from US ports in 2012, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. However, several high profile incidents and outbreaks of illness has resulted in Congress taking a closer look at the industry.

    Congress has proposed several bills to address cruises, which we're highlighting. Weigh in on these proposals and POPVOX will deliver your message to Congress, guaranteed.

    Cruise Ship Legislation

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  9. Issue Spotlight: The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

    Fifty years ago today, more than 200,000 people came to the nation's capital for the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." However, the stated goals of the demonstration were much broader, including "a comprehensive civil rights bill" that would do away with segregated public accommodations; "protection of the right to vote"; mechanisms for seeking redress of violations of constitutional rights; "desegregation of all public schools in 1963"; a massive federal works program "to train and place unemployed workers"; and "a Federal Fair Employment Practices Act barring discrimination in all employment". (Source)

    On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King stood at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. (See photos from Life Magazine.) The 1963 march was organized by Bayard Rustin, a key advisor to Dr. King, who helped inform him of the Gandhian philosophy of nonviolence. (Weigh in on a resolution honoring Rustin.)

    President Obama reflected on the march in a proclamation:

    "Today, we remember that the March on Washington was a demonstration for jobs as well as freedom. The coalition that brought about civil rights understood that racial equality and fairness for workers are bound together; when one American gets a raw deal, it jeopardizes justice for everyone. These are lessons we carry forward -- that we cannot march alone, that America flourishes best when we acknowledge our common humanity, that our future is linked to the destiny of every soul on earth."

    The 50th Anniversary March on Washington

    Last weekend, several organizations, led by the National Action Network, convened a march on Washington as a "continuation of the efforts 50 years ago." They called to attention a broader set of issues, listed below, than did Dr. King 50 years ago. POPVOX would like to identify a few bills related to the issues raised during last weekend's march that are currently being considered by Congress.

    Weigh in on these bills and POPVOX will deliver your message to your lawmakers. Please keep in mind that this list is a small sampling of the bills being considered by Congress related to these issues. Visit the POPVOX Bills Page to find more bills.

    Jobs & the Economy, Including Unemployment

    Voting Rights and Claims of Voter Fraud

    • S 1336 to permit States to require proof of citizenship for registration to vote in elections for Federal office.
    • HR 2829 Restoring Important Voter Eligibility Requirements to States Actto require an applicant for voter registration for elections for Federal office to affirmatively state that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements for voting in such elections as a condition of completing the application, to require States to verify that an applicant for registering to vote in such elections meets the eligibility requirements for voting in such elections prior to registering the applicant to vote.
    • HJR 44 A resolution proposing an amendment to the US Constitution regarding the right to vote.
    • HR 376 Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act: to allow all eligible voters to vote by mail in Federal elections.
    • S 123 Voter Empowerment Act: to modernize voter registration, promote access to voting for individuals with disabilities, protect the ability of individuals to exercise the right to vote in elections for Federal office
    • HR 281 Voter Access Protection Act: to prohibit a state or local election official from requiring an individual to: (1) present a photo identification (or a copy if voting by mail) as a condition for receiving or casting a ballot in any election for federal office, or (2) cast a provisional ballot solely on the grounds that the individual does not present a photo identification at the polling place.

    Workers' Rights

    Criminal Justice and Sentencing, Stand Your Ground Laws and Gun Violence

    Women's Rights

    • HR 438 Fair Pay Act: to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on account of sex, race, or national origin.
    • HR 377 Paycheck Fairness Act: to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.

    Immigration

    LGBT Equality

    • S 815 ENDA: to prohibit the employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
    • HR 2523 Respect for Marriage Act: To repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage.

    Environmental Justice Among Minority Communities

    Youth, Including Student Loans

    • S 1170 Youth Jobs Act: to provide for youth jobs
    • S 1066 Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act: to allow certain student loan borrowers to refinance Federal student loans.
    • HR 1330 Student Loan Fairness Act: To increase purchasing power, strengthen economic recovery, and restore fairness in financing higher education in the United States through student loan forgiveness, caps on interest rates on Federal student loans, and refinancing opportunities for private borrowers.

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  10. The POPVOX Top 20: Aug 16 - 22

    Defunding Obamacare is the Top Priority of POPVOX Users

    Defunding Obamacare was the top priority among POPVOX users in the past week. The proposal urges members of Congress to sign on to a letter by Rep. Mark Meadows committing to defunding Obamacare in any spending bill this Fall. Nearly 5,000 people have shared their voice in support of defunding Obamacare in a spending bill through a sponsored campaign* by Heritage Action.

    Want to be a part of the POPVOXnation conversation? Please join us on Facebook or Twitter. It's a great way to stay connected with the POPVOX team and Congress. Thanks for using POPVOX!

    POPVOX Roundup: Week of Aug 16 - 22

    Here are the bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in the past week. Keep in mind that these numbers aren't aggregates of total support, but just what happened in the past seven days.

    • Obamacare#1 Defunding Obamacare in a Spending Bill: Urging members of Congress to sign on to Rep. Mark Meadows's letter committing to defunding Obamacare in any spending bill this Fall. (Sponsored campaign* by Heritage Action.) 4,781 Support | 5 Oppose
    • HR 2682#2 Defund Obamacare Act: To prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 1,094 Support | 43 Oppose
    • HR 2910#3  Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Act: To protect American children and their families from the epidemic of gun violence by banning access to certain weapons, strengthening the Nation's mental health infrastructure, and improving the understanding of gun violence. 94 Support | 469 Oppose
    • HRes 318 #4 A resolution expressing disapproval over the gun violence plaguing America's communities, and calling on the Congress to enact comprehensive gun reforms that reduce gun violence. 27 Support | 501 Oppose
    • HR 2959#5 National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act: to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State. 465 Support | 60 Oppose
    • HR 2465#6 Recognizing Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency Act: To require the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to submit to Congress an annual report on the effects of gun violence on public health. 89 Support | 407 Oppose
    • HR 2665 #7 A bill to ensure secure gun storage and gun safety devices. 25 Support | 454 Oppose
    • HR 3018#8 Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the excise tax and special occupational tax in respect of firearms and to increase the transfer tax on any other weapon. 24 Support | 442 Oppose
    • S 1337 #9 Crime Gun Tracing Act: to promote the tracing of firearms used in crimes, and for other purposes. 25 Support | 439 Oppose
    • HR 2648 #10 A bill to prohibit the sale or other disposition of a firearm to, and the possession, shipment, transportation, or receipt of a firearm by, certain classes of high-risk individuals. 25 Support | 437 Oppose
    • S 744 #11 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act: to provide for comprehensive immigration reform. 15 Support | 390 Oppose
    • S 1335#12 Sportsmen's Act: to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting. 154 Support | 72 Oppose
    • Rules #13 The Salmon Rule: A proposal recommending that House Members vote against any rule governing debate in the US House of Representatives if the bill did not have the support of the majority of the majority. This standard was known as the "Hastert Rule," and has now been supported by Rep. Matt Salmon. (Sponsored campaign* by Heritage Action.) 204 Support | 5 Oppose
    • HR 2464#14 Improving Gun Safety Standards Act: To amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to remove the exclusion of pistols, revolvers, and other firearms from the definition of "consumer product" in order to permit the issuance of safety standards for such articles by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 10 Support | 179 Oppose
    • HR 2812#15 Justice Exists for Us All Act: To encourage States to prohibit "stand your ground" laws and require neighborhood watch programs to register with local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice, to direct the Attorney General to study such laws. 9 Support | 147 Oppose
    • HR 2625 #16 Student Protection Act: To protect the rights of children. 133 Support | 6 Oppose
    • S 1212 #17 Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act: to amend the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to facilitate the establishment of additional or expanded public target ranges in certain States. 123 Support | 5 Oppose
    • HR 2567 #18 Child Handgun Safety Act: To require that all handguns manufactured, sold in, or imported into, the United States incorporate technology that precludes the average five year old child from operating the handgun when it is ready to fire.6 Support | 118 Oppose
    • HR 2799 #19 Sportsmen's Heritage And Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act: To establish the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee to advise the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting, recreational shooting 13 Support | 100 Oppose
    • HR 2405 #20 Firearm Recidivist Sentencing Act: to clarify the circumstances under which the enhanced penalty provisions for subsequent convictions apply. 6 Support | 101 Oppose

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

    *POPVOX invites organizations to create "sponsored campaigns" on POPVOX, which include policy principles and actionable items directed at Congress. 

  11. PRESS CLIP: The Debate Over the ERA Continues

  12. PRESS CLIP: Proposed Law Would Permit Pets on Amtrak Trains

  13. Issue Spotlight: Museums and Memorials

    Summertime in Washington, DC means lots of tourists visiting the nation's capital. The Smithsonian Institution, founded in 1846, is the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. 

    Congress has proposed several other museums and memorials, which we're highlighting. Weigh in on these proposals and POPVOX will deliver your message to Congress, guaranteed.

    New Museums and Memorials

    How Museums are Run

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  14. The POPVOX Top 20: Aug 9 - 15

    Gun Legislation Once Again Tops This Week's List

    Once again, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act (HR 2959) was the most popular bill on POPVOX this past week. According to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Rich Nugent (FL-11), the bill would provide reciprocity for individuals holding concealed-carry licenses -- just as a driver's license is valid across the country. And nearly nine in ten POPVOX users weighing in on the bill this past week agreed. A previous version of the bill was passed by the House in 2011.

    Want to be a part of the POPVOXnation conversation? Please join us on Facebook or Twitter. It's a great way to stay connected with the POPVOX team and Congress. Thanks for using POPVOX!

    POPVOX Roundup: Week of Aug 9 - 15

    Here are the bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in the past week. Keep in mind that these numbers aren't aggregates of total support, but just what happened in the past seven days.

    • HR 2959#1 National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act: to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State. 1,411 Support | 196 Oppose
    • HR 2465#2 Recognizing Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency Act: To require the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to submit to Congress an annual report on the effects of gun violence on public health. 178 Support | 932 Oppose
    • HR 2910#3  Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Act: To protect American children and their families from the epidemic of gun violence by banning access to certain weapons, strengthening the Nation's mental health infrastructure, and improving the understanding of gun violence. 157 Support | 827 Oppose
    • HR 2464#4 Improving Gun Safety Standards Act: To amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to remove the exclusion of pistols, revolvers, and other firearms from the definition of "consumer product" in order to permit the issuance of safety standards for such articles by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 42 Support | 600 Oppose
    • HR 3018#5 Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the excise tax and special occupational tax in respect of firearms and to increase the transfer tax on any other weapon. 32 Support | 604 Oppose
    • HR 2682#6 Defund Obamacare Act: To prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 552 Support | 64 Oppose
    • S 1406#7 Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act: to amend the Horse Protection Act to designate additional unlawful acts under the Act, strengthen penalties for violations of the Act, improve Department of Agriculture enforcement of the Act. 274 Support | 312 Oppose
    • S 912#8 Television Consumer Freedom Act: to allow multichannel video programming distributors to provide video programming to subscribers on an a la carte basis. 475 Support | 23 Oppose
    • HR 2652 #9 Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act: to create protections for depository institutions that provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses. 271 Support | 115 Oppose
    • S 1335#10 Sportsmen's Act: to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting. 179 Support | 183 Oppose
    • HR 2009#11 Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act: To prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. 251 Support | 21 Oppose
    • HR 2812#12 Justice Exists for Us All Act: To encourage States to prohibit "stand your ground" laws and require neighborhood watch programs to register with local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice, to direct the Attorney General to study such laws. 21 Support | 240 Oppose
    • HR 2648 #13 A bill to prohibit the sale or other disposition of a firearm to, and the possession, shipment, transportation, or receipt of a firearm by, certain classes of high-risk individuals. 11 Support | 206 Oppose
    • HRes 318 #14 A resolution expressing disapproval over the gun violence plaguing America's communities, and calling on the Congress to enact comprehensive gun reforms that reduce gun violence. 10 Support | 195 Oppose
    • S 1337 #15 Crime Gun Tracing Act: to promote the tracing of firearms used in crimes, and for other purposes. 12 Support | 184 Oppose
    • HR 2735 #16 PLANT Act: To direct the United States Sentencing Commission with respect to penalties for the unlawful production of a controlled substance on Federal property or intentional trespass on the property of another that causes environmental damage. 50 Support | 126 Oppose
    • HR 2711#17 Citizen Empowerment Act: to establish certain procedures for conducting in-person or telephonic interactions by Executive branch employees with individuals. 159 Support | 16 Oppose
    • HR 2567 #18 Child Handgun Safety Act: To require that all handguns manufactured, sold in, or imported into, the United States incorporate technology that precludes the average five year old child from operating the handgun when it is ready to fire. 9 Support | 154 Oppose
    • HR 2665 #19 A bill to ensure secure gun storage and gun safety devices. 12 Support | 150 Oppose
    • HR 2625 #20 Student Protection Act: To protect the rights of children. 155 Support | 7 Oppose

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

    *POPVOX invites organizations to create "sponsored campaigns" on POPVOX, which include policy principles and actionable items directed at Congress. 

  15. Issue Spotlight: Mobile Devices and Wireless Communication

    Unlocking Cell Phones and Other Wireless Proposals

    As we all know from experience, when you sign a contract with a wireless carrier, you get a cell phone at reduced price as long as you stay with them...unless you "unlocked" your phone, which involved a software alteration and required a new SIM card.

    Beginning January 26, 2013, "unlocking" your phone became illegal under federal law. Specifically, the US Copyright Office and Library of Congress no longer allowed phone unlocking as an exemption under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). (Read the full ruling.) But don't worry if your phone has already been unlocked before the January law change: you're "grandfathered" in and won't face any legal issues.

    In July, the House Judiciary Committee approved the bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act (HR 1123), which would restore the exemption that permits consumers to unlock their cell phones without the approval of their wireless provider. It still needs to be voted on by the full House and Senate before it becomes law. Weigh in on this and other bills related to cell phones. POPVOX will deliver your message to Congress, guaranteed, and aggregate your voice with others. (Learn how POPVOX works.)

    Unlocking your Cell Phone

    Mobile Devices and Wireless Communication Legislation

    • HR 2309 Wireless Tax Fairness Act: To restrict any State or local jurisdiction from imposing a new discriminatory tax on cell phone services, providers, or property. -- Recently introduced. --
    • HR 2911 Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act : To require the Federal Communications Commission to expand eligibility for part 74 licenses to certain wireless microphone users, to establish safe haven channels for wireless microphones, and to authorize access by owners and operators of wireless microphones to the TV bands databases for the purpose of protecting wireless microphone operations from interference. -- Recently introduced. --
    • HR 1913 Application Privacy, Protection, and Security Act: would require app developers maintain privacy policies, obtain consent from consumers before collecting data, and securely maintain the data they collect.
    • HR 1730 Cell Phone Theft Prevention Act: to prohibit mobile service providers from providing service on mobile devices that have been reported stolen, to require such providers to give consumers the ability to remotely delete data from mobile devices, to prohibit the alteration or removal of mobile device identification numbers.
    • S 607 Updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act: To improve the provisions relating to the privacy of electronic communications.
    • HR 983 Online Communications and Geolocation Protection Act: To amend title 18, United States Code, with respect to disclosures to governments by communications-related service providers of certain information consisting of or relating to communications.
    • HRes 57 Resolution expressing the sense of the House that in order to continue aggressive growth in the Nation's telecommunications and technology industries, the US Government should "Get Out of the Way and Stay Out of the Way".
    • HR 210 To require retail establishments that use mobile device tracking technology to display notices to that effect.
    • HR 176 The Stop Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act: To prohibit universal service support of commercial mobile service through the Lifeline program.
    • S 418 The Do-Not-Track Online Act: A bill to require the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe regulations regarding the collection and use of personal information obtained by tracking the online activity of an individual.
  16. Issue Spotlight: Space Exploration and NASA

    NASA began operations in 1958 -- in response to the Sputnik crisis -- with 8,000 employees and an annual budget of $100 million. The Apollo mission quickly became a priority not only for NASA, but for our country as a whole, when in 1961, President John F. Kennedy declared "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth." Through Apollo, President Kennedy wanted showcase to the world US domination of the fields of science and technology, surpassing the Soviets. (More details on NASA history.)

    Since then, NASA has launched over 100 manned spaceflights and has many more missions planned in the future, including commercial space transportation.

    Members of Congress have introduced several bills related to space exploration and NASA funding. Weigh in on these bills, and POPVOX will deliver your message to Congress. (Updated 8/14/13)

    Space Exploration and NASA Legislation

    NASA Funding Bills

    • HR 2687 NASA Authorization Act (approved by the House Science, Space and Technology Committee): Would authorize $16.8 billion dollars for two years. Supports the continued development of the next generation of human space flight systems by investing in the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew capsule; directs more funds for development of SLS and Exploration Ground Systems than was included in the President’s request; ensures efficient and effective utilization of the International Space Station, the on-schedule development of the commercial crew program, and continued delivery of supplies with the Commercial Resupply Services program. Cancels the proposed reorganization of NASA education programs and prohibits the Asteroid Retrieval Mission. (According to the House Committee.)
    • HR 2616 NASA Authorization Act (the Democratic alternative): To authorize the programs of the NASA for fiscal years 2014, 2015, and 2016. (Would authorize $18.1 billion in FY 2014, growing to $18.87 bilion in FY 2016.)
    • S 1317 NASA Authorization Act (approved by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee): To authorize the programs of NASA for fiscal years 2014 through 2016. (Would authorize $18.1 billion.) Would allow funding of NASA's Asteroid Retrieval Mission.

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  17. Issue Spotlight: Drones and Unmanned Aircraft

    Issue Spotlight: Drones and Unmanned Aircraft

    Drones and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) -- and privacy issues -- continue to be a hot topic among lawmakers. In a letter responding to questions from Senator Rand Paul, the FBI stated that it had used unmanned aircraft in 10 cases for surveillance since 2006. The letter also stated that all "agents are trained on the Supreme Court's interpretations of a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment." (Read the letter.)

    Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), acting in response to legislation passed by Congress is 2012, has issued restricted category type certificates to unmanned aircraft systems, "an important step toward the FAA’s goal of integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace." (Source: FAA)

    And earlier this year, Senator Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to participate in an active, 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's nominee for CIA director. His topic? Drones. "I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court." (Watch his filibuster.)

    Drones and Unmanned Aircraft

    Already several bills related to drones and unmanned aircraft have been introduced in Congress -- with more to come, we expect. Weigh in and POPVOX will deliver your views to your Members of Congress -- guaranteed.

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

  18. The POPVOX Top 20: Aug 2 - 8

    Gun Legislation Tops This Week's List

    The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act (HR 2959) was the most popular bill on POPVOX this past week. According to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Rich Nugent (FL-11), the bill would provide reciprocity for individuals holding concealed-carry licenses -- just as a driver's license is valid across the country. And nine in ten POPVOX users weighing in on the bill this past week agreed.

    Want to be a part of the POPVOXnation conversation? Please join us on Facebook or Twitter. It's a great way to stay connected with the POPVOX team and Congress. Thanks for using POPVOX!

    POPVOX Roundup: Week of Aug 2 - 8

    Here are the bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in the past week. Keep in mind that these numbers aren't aggregates of total support, but just what happened in the past seven days.

    • HR 2959#1 National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act: to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State. 737 Support | 84 Oppose
    • HR 2910#2  Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Act: To protect American children and their families from the epidemic of gun violence by banning access to certain weapons, strengthening the Nation's mental health infrastructure, and improving the understanding of gun violence. 37 Support | 621 Oppose
    • S 1406#3 Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act: to amend the Horse Protection Act to designate additional unlawful acts under the Act, strengthen penalties for violations of the Act, improve Department of Agriculture enforcement of the Act. 313 Support | 161 Oppose
    • HR 2682#4 Defund Obamacare Act: To prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 379 Support | 40 Oppose
    • HR 2464#5 Improving Gun Safety Standards Act: To amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to remove the exclusion of pistols, revolvers, and other firearms from the definition of "consumer product" in order to permit the issuance of safety standards for such articles by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 29 Support | 375 Oppose
    • S 912#6 Television Consumer Freedom Act: to allow multichannel video programming distributors to provide video programming to subscribers on an a la carte basis. 382 Support | 13 Oppose
    • HR 2465#7 Recognizing Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency Act: To require the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to submit to Congress an annual report on the effects of gun violence on public health. 14 Support | 240 Oppose
    • HR 2711#8 Citizen Empowerment Act: to establish certain procedures for conducting in-person or telephonic interactions by Executive branch employees with individuals. 208 Support | 24 Oppose
    • HR 2009#9 Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act: To prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. 206 Support | 21 Oppose
    • S 1243#10 Amendment #1739 to S 1243: Eliminate military foreign assistance to Egypt. 159 Support | 10 Oppose
    • HR 2812#11 Justice Exists for Us All Act: To encourage States to prohibit "stand your ground" laws and require neighborhood watch programs to register with local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice, to direct the Attorney General to study such laws. 12 Support | 154 Oppose
    • HR 1961#12 Allowing the Delta Queen to resume overnight passenger operations: to extend the exemption from the fire-retardant materials construction requirement for vessels operating within the Boundary Line. 133 Support | 28 Oppose
    • S 1335#13 Sportsmen's Act: to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting. 85 Support | 72 Oppose
    • HR 3018#14 Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the excise tax and special occupational tax in respect of firearms and to increase the transfer tax on any other weapon. 9 Support | 130 Oppose
    • HR 313#15 Government Spending Accountability Act: To institute spending limits and transparency requirements for Federal conference and travel expenditures. 105 Support | 3 Oppose
    • HR 2818#16 Surveillance State Repeal Act: To repeal the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. 100 Support | 1 Oppose
    • HR 252#17 Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act: To recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to relocate to Jerusalem the US Embassy in Israel. 89 Support | 8 Oppose
    • HR 1582#18 Energy Consumers Relief Act: To protect consumers by prohibiting the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating as final certain energy-related rules that are estimated to cost more than $1 billion and will cause significant adverse effects to the economy. 88 Support | 9 Oppose
    • HR 217#19 Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act: To amend title X of the Public Health Service Act to prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions. 30 Support | 56 Oppose
    • HR 2579#20 Government Employee Accountability Act: to provide for investigative leave requirements with respect to Senior Executive Service employees. 79 Support | 7 Oppose

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

    *POPVOX invites organizations to create "sponsored campaigns" on POPVOX, which include policy principles and actionable items directed at Congress. 

  19. The POPVOX Top 20: July 25 - Aug 1

    Defunding Obamacare Top Priority on POPVOX

    Defunding Obamacare was the top priority among POPVOX users this past week. More than 5,000 users weighed in supporting the Defund Obamacare Act (HR 2682). Meanwhile, the House passed the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act (HR 2009), which would prohibit the the Secretary of Treasury from enforcing Obamacare.

    Want to be a part of the POPVOXnation conversation? Please join us on Facebook or Twitter. It's a great way to stay connected with the POPVOX team and Congress. Thanks for using POPVOX!

    POPVOX Roundup: Week of July 25 - Aug 1

    Here are the bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in the past week. Keep in mind that these numbers aren't aggregates of total support, but just what happened in the past seven days.

    • HR 2682#1 Defund Obamacare Act: To prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 5,521 Support | 73 Oppose
    • HR 2812#2 Justice Exists for Us All Act: To encourage States to prohibit "stand your ground" laws and require neighborhood watch programs to register with local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice, to direct the Attorney General to study such laws. 62 Support | 1,014 Oppose
    • HR 2009#3 Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act: To prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. 809 Support | 121 Oppose
    • HR 313#4 Government Spending Accountability Act: To institute spending limits and transparency requirements for Federal conference and travel expenditures. 634 Support | 41 Oppose
    • HR 2579#5 Government Employee Accountability Act: to provide for investigative leave requirements with respect to Senior Executive Service employees. 601 Support | 71 Oppose
    • HR 357#6 Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act: to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law. 462 Support | 63 Oppose
    • HR 2769#7 Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act: To impose a moratorium on conferences held by the IRS. 456 Support | 33 Oppose
    • HR 2565#8 STOP IRS Act: To provide for the termination of employment of employees of the IRS who take certain official actions for political purposes. 406 Support | 35 Oppose
    • S 1335#9 Sportsmen's Act: to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting. 256 Support | 161 Oppose
    • HR 1541#10 Common Sense in Compensation Act: To establish limitations, for fiscal years 2013, 2014, and 2015 on the total amount in awards or other discretionary monetary payments which may be paid to any Federal employee. 311 Support | 37 Oppose
    • HR 890#11 Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act: To prohibit waivers relating to compliance with the work requirements for the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families. 334 Support | 11 Oppose
    • HR 2711#12 Citizen Empowerment Act: to establish certain procedures for conducting in-person or telephonic interactions by Executive branch employees with individuals. 297 Support | 39 Oppose
    • HR 2397#13 Amendment #101 to HR 2397: Ending authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. Bars the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215. 314 Support | 7 Oppose
    • HR 2768#14 Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify that a duty of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is to ensure that Internal Revenue Service employees are familiar with and act in accord with certain taxpayer rights. 228 Support | 15 Oppose
    • HR 1660#15 Government Customer Service Improvement Act: To require the establishment of Federal customer service standards and to improve the service provided by Federal agencies. 168 Support | 75 Oppose
    • HR 2748#16 Postal Reform Act: To restore the financial solvency of the US Postal Service and to ensure the efficient and affordable nationwide delivery of mail. 97 Support | 109 Oppose
    • HR 252#17 Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act: To recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to relocate to Jerusalem the US Embassy in Israel. 189 Support | 16 Oppose
    • Rules#18 The Salmon Rule: Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ) announced he would vote against any rule governing debate in the US House of Representatives if the bill did not have the support of the majority of the majority, a standard known as the "Hastert Rule." Rep. Salmon’s declaration was dubbed the "Salmon Rule." 189 Support | 9 Oppose (Sponsored campaign by Heritage Action*)
    • HR 2690#19 Innovate to Deliver Act: To enhance the long-term profitability of the US Postal Service through enhanced innovation, operational flexibility, workforce realignment, and regulatory relief. 67 Support | 116 Oppose
    • S 1243#20 Amendment #1739 to S 1243: Eliminate military foreign assistance to Egypt. 170 Support | 9 Oppose

    Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.

    *POPVOX invites organizations to create "sponsored campaigns" on POPVOX, which include policy principles and actionable items directed at Congress. 

  20. POPVOX Daily Digest - August 1 2013

    From our Hill sources:

    In the House:

    The House was in and passed two bills aimed at reining in the federal government — they were the last two bills that were part of the House Republican's "stop government abuse" set of bills.

    • HR 1582 The Energy Consumers Relief Act, which would allow the Department of Energy to reject Environmental Protection Agency regulations " energy-related rules that are estimated to cost more than $1 billion and will cause significant adverse effects to the economy." The House approved the bill 232-181.

       

    • HR 2879The Stop Government Abuse Act, aimed at reducing spending on conferences across the government.

      This bill combined three separate measures that failed to pass the House on Wednesday on an expedited basis. It would limit bonus awards to senior government officials, allow agencies to fire workers immediately for misconduct, and let people record conversations with federal officials. This bill passed 239-176.

    In the Senate:

    The Senate was also in, but only to approve two nominations — one of these was Samantha Power to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

    In a procedural vote, the Senate failed to advance a 2014 spending bill for transportation and housing programs. Republicans opposed the legislation because it would exceed the budget caps set under the 2011 Budget Control Act.

    Democrats blamed Republicans on the issue of budget caps for their refusal to support a conference with the House that would set spending levels for 2014.

    When Congress returns it will have to deal with the failure to pass 2014 spending bills. Most observers expect that it will address the issue by approving a continuing spending resolution.