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More Offshore Drilling May be Coming

 

 

In late April, President Trump signed an executive order that could open up more areas in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic to offshore drilling. This move comes in sharp contrast to President Obama, whose actions sought to place more areas off-limits to oil and gas exploration off of America’s coastline.

 

President Trump’s order does not mean that offshore drilling in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf or other areas will happen; instead, it begins a regulatory process that could eventually lead to oil and gas production in these areas. This would take years, perhaps over a decade, to happen.

 

Reaction from energy companies has been supportive, while environmental groups have expressed their displeasure. Politicians from the affected states are falling on both sides of this issue.

 

In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Mark Warner, both Democrats, support offshore drilling as long as Virginia receives a share of the revenue from it. Republican Representative Barbara Comstock from that state has introduced legislation that would provide this revenue-sharing for the commonwealth. Other Republican members of that state’s delegation support offshore drilling, while Democratic members from the House delegation oppose it.

 

Alaska’s elected officials, such as Republican Rep. Don Young, are strongly in favor of expanded oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. At the opposite end of the country, Florida Democrats such as Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schulz have vowed to fight the president on this issue.

 

North Carolina’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, has expressed concerns about offshore drilling but has not stated that he opposes the President’s action. GOP Congressman Richard Hudson has praised the president for his move.

 

Do you support offshore oil and gas exploration? Or do you think that drilling for oil and gas off of our nation’s coast is the wrong direction for our energy policy?

 

Pennsylvania House Bill 271

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Pennsylvania, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

House Bill 271, Allow Internet gambling: Passed 38 to 12 in the state Senate on May 24, 2017

 

To allow slot machine licensees to offer interactive gambling online and to allow gambling parlors that offer these games be placed at Pennsylvania airports. The bill also allows the state lottery to offer interactive games online and legalizes online fantasy sports games.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Pennsylvania House Bill 271!

 

Ohio House Bill 114

 

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House Bill 114, Reduce renewable energy mandates: Passed 65 to 31 in the state House on March 30, 2017

 

To limit and reduce previous government mandates for "renewable" energy purchasing by utilities.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Ohio House Bill 114!

 

Tennessee Senate Bill 1180

 

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Senate Bill 1180, Ban post-viability abortions: Passed 27 to 3 in the state Senate and 38 to 0 in the state House on May 3, 2017

 

To ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless a doctor certifies that a fetus is not viable or that the procedure is necessary for the life or health of the mother.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Tennessee Senate Bill 1180!

 

Nevada Assembly Bill 99

 

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Assembly Bill 99: Accommodating LGBTQ youth in the foster care system: Passed 26 to 15 in the state Assembly on March 9, 2017 and 18 to 2 in the state Senate on April 4, 2017

 

To revise statutes and require new regulations pertaining to the Nevada foster care system to require that  youth in out-of-home placements must be treated, in all respects, in accordance with the child's gender identity or expression, regardless of their assigned sex at birth.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Nevada Assembly Bill 99!

 

New Hampshire Senate Bill 247

 

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Senate Bill 247, Modify lead poisoning laws and fund remediation of lead in homes: Passed 233 to 108 in the state House on May 4, 2017

 

To make various changes to the laws requiring assessment and testing in order to provide for earlier detection in children and to spend $3,000,000 over two years through a state lead remediation fund.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire Senate Bill 247!

 

North Carolina House Bill 335

 

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House Bill 335: Modify governor appointments for court vacancies: Passed 70 to 48 in the state House on April 26, 2017

 

To change how the governor makes appointments to fill vacancies on the state Supreme Court, court of appeals, superior court, or district attorney. For any such vacancy, the bill would have the governor choose from a list of three candidates recommended by the political party to which the justice, judge, or district attorney vacating office was affiliated. Under current law the governor simply appoints a replacement.

 

Comment below to share what you think of North Carolina House Bill 335!

 

 

U.S. House Bill 1180

 

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House Bill 1180: Allow more flexibility in overtime compensation: Passed 229 to 197 in the U.S. House on May 2, 2017

 

To allow private sector employers to offer employees paid time off instead of monetary compensation for every hour that employee works overtime. The paid time off shall be given at a rate of one-and-a-half hours per every hour worked overtime.

 

Comment below to share what you think of U.S. House Bill 1180!

 

Iowa Senate Bill 506

 

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Senate Bill 506, To allow "medical marijuana": Passed 45 to 5 in the state Senate on April 17, 2017

 

The bill allows for a limited number of companies to produce and sell marijuana for medical purposes called out in law, including the treatment of cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS). It expands on a law, which will expire in July, which allows the use of some marijuana purposes for the treatment of epilepsy if diagnosed by a neurologist. This bill would not allow marijuana in its smoked form.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Iowa Senate Bill 506!

 

Missouri House Bill 174

 

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House Bill 174, Protect pro-life speech and rights of conscience: Passed 105 to 44 in the state House on March 30, 2017

 

To prevent municipalities from limiting the rights of speech afforded to abortion-alternative providers, or requiring support of or participation in programs, services, or activities related to abortion if such participation is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such person.

 

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Michigan House Bill 4416

 

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House Bill 4416, Allow law-abiding citizens to carry pistol without special permit: Passed 59 to 49 in the state House on May 7, 2017

 

To establish that a law-abiding citizen may carry a concealed pistol in public. In other words, the bill would eliminate the requirement that an individual who is not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm must get a special permit to carry a concealed pistol.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Michigan House Bill 4416!

 

Trump Pulls US from Climate Agreement

 

The U.S. is going its own way on climate change policy. For President Trump, that’s exactly what he wants. His decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate change accord is a way to protect jobs and preserve national sovereignty. For critics, it means the U.S. will be making environmental problems worse.

 

What does President Trump’s decision mean?

The practical effects may be very little. The Paris climate accord sets carbon emissions goals for participating nations to meet, but these goals are voluntary. The goals for the U.S. would have been a 26-28% reduction in carbon by 2035. It is highly unlikely that this goal was achievable. There is no penalty if the U.S. would not have made those reductions, however.

 

The agreement also asks wealthier countries to send more foreign aid to poorer countries as a way to help those nations deal with climate change. Again, however, there is no penalty for failing to comply.

 

The overall goal of the treaty is to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees by the end of the century. There are 195 nations who have signed it.

 

While proponents of it acknowledge that the accord is not binding, they see it as a way to build consensus among nations to reduce carbon emissions. Critics, however, see complying with its standards as causing higher energy prices and job losses, without doing much to stop climate change.

 

The U.S. signed the agreement in 2016. This was controversial, since President Obama did not submit it to the Senate for ratification. His administration said that it was an “executive agreement,” not a treaty that requires approval by the Senate. According to the accord, withdrawal can only happen three years after the agreement goes into effect in a country and then one year after notification, so the U.S. date for withdrawal is actually in 2020.

 

Do you agree with the president’s decision to withdraw from this agreement? Or do you think that the U.S. should be working internationally to reduce carbon emissions?

 

Florida House Bill 1239

 

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House Bill 1239, Increase penalty for illegally passing a school bus: Passed 118 to 0 in the state House on April 28, 2017 and 28 to 6 in the state Senate on May 1, 2017

 

To authorize enhanced penalties for failing to stop for a school bus if it causes someone to be injured or killed. In addition to existing penalties the bill would authorize a $1,500 fine, one-year driver license suspension, and additional points added to a driver license record. Additional penalties could include community service, participation in victim’s impact panel sessions and attending a driver improvement course.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Florida House Bill 1239!

 

Colorado Senate Bill 183

 

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Senate Bill 183, Spend $100,000 on grants related to the commissioning of the U.S.S. Colorado nuclear attack submarine: Passed 29 to 6 in the in the state Senate on May 8, 2017 and 65 to 0 in the state House on May 9, 2017

 

To conform state election laws with the results of voter-approved ballot initiatives in 2016. The bill would restore the party-based primary voting system for the U.S. Presidential election. The bill requires the general assembly to pay for any presidential primary elections. The bill also provides for unaffiliated voters to receive ballots for primary elections.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Colorado Senate Bill 305!

 

Arizona House Bill 2166

 

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House Bill 2166, Affirm that retired state employees returning to work must pay into retirement system: Passed 39 to 20 in the state House on February 13, 2017 and 28 to 2 in the state Senate on April 20, 2017

 

To clarify that an employer is required to pay into the Arizona State Retirement System on behalf of a retired member who returns to work in state employment.

 

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West Virginia Senate Bill 237

 

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Senate Bill 237, Repeal obsolete tax regulations: Passed 33 to 0 in the state Senate on February 15, 2017

 

To repeal certain tax related rules and regulations which are no longer authorized or are obsolete

 

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Wisconsin Assembly Bill 238

 

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Assembly Bill 238, Seek work requirement to receive housing assistance: Passed 61 to 35 in the state Assembly on May 10, 2017

 

To request that the federal government allow Wisconsin to impose a work requirement on recipients of the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Wisconsin Assembly Bill 238!

 

U.S. House Bill 1039

 

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House Bill 1039: Allow probation officers to make arrests with no warrants: Passed 220 to 177 in the U.S. House on May 19, 2017

 

To allow a probation officer to arrest someone without a warrant if there is probable cause that the person assaulted or obstructed a probation officer.

 

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A Right to Try Experimental Drugs

 

If you have a terminal illness, what types of drugs should be available to you? Should you have the right to try medicine that has proven to be safe, but has not yet met federal standards of effectiveness?

 

That is the question that is behind the debate over “right to try laws.” These laws would allow patients with a terminal illness to have access to experimental medication, as long as their use is supervised by a doctor.

 

Thirty-three states have passed “right to try” laws. The Alaska House of Representatives passed legislation this year, as did both houses in the Iowa legislature. Other states, such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island, are considering similar bills.

 

Supporters of this legislation say that patients who are facing death should have the right to try any medication that could possibly cure their disease or prolong their life. Critics contend that these laws give patients false hope and could possibly interfere with drug trials.

 

Congress is also considering federal legislation that would have more impact than state bills. As a federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration is not subject to state authority. That means that state laws do not have a direct impact on whether or not patients can obtain this medication.

 

President Trump has expressed support for this effort. When he was governor of Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence signed a “right to try” bill into law.

 

Regardless of the controversy in the medical community or the practical impact, “right to try” laws garner strong bipartisan support in the states where they are considered. With health care a hot topic in Washington, D.C., we could see action on a national bill this year.

 

Do you support “right to try” legislation?

 

Virginia Assembly Bill 2168

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Assembly Bill 2168, Establish government entity to promote tourist trains: passed 33 to 7 in the state Senate on February 17, 2017

 

To establish the Virginia Coal Train Heritage Authority as a 25-member board to cooperate with private entities, local governments, and other states in developing a tourist train.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Virginia Assembly Bill 2168!

 

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