Good news for people who want to do good: Week 53


News you actually want to know, and what you can do to make a difference.

Welcome to your weekly roundup of good news about good people, how you can help make a difference — and a picture of President Obama to make you smile.

New Jersey's new Democratic governor will take up 11 bills Christie vetoed

Out with the old and in with the new and improved! Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie issued a number of vetoes on crucial bills, but his Democratic successor is ready to give many of them new life.

Gov. Phil Murphy will be taking up 11 bills vetoed by Christie, including: requiring that gun retailers stock at least one "smart gun" model in their stores, weapons which help stem the horrible tide of accidental shootings in the home and elsewhere; reducing the permitted size of ammunition magazines; expanding paid family leave in the state; increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour; barring gender-based pay discrimination and discrepancies; and restoring state funding for women's health clinics like Planned Parenthood.


It sounds like New Jersey, under Murphy's governance, is going to get a lot safer and a lot more equal than it was while Christie was in power.

Virginia's only black statewide officeholder inspires courage by bowing out of tribute to Confederate general

Numerous statues and other commemorations of Confederate generals have come down all around the South and elsewhere in recent months. Yet some folks still seem to deem it appropriate to "honor" men who fought to keep the barbaric practice of slavery alive.

But for Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the state's only black officeholder, that kind of twisted tribute was not something of which he could or would be a part.

On Monday, Jan. 22 — the day after Stonewall Jackson's birthday — Republican state Sen. Emmett W. Hanger Jr. called for the Senate to adjourn for the day in honor of the Confederate general.

Immediately after, Fairfax quietly left the dais, moving from his spot as presiding office to a bench used by Senate pages.

It was a subtle but meaningful moment, one that showed admirable courage on the part of Fairfax.

"I just wanted to, in a very respectful but very definite way, make it clear that these were not adjournment motions that I felt comfortable presiding over, and I was not going to do it," he told reporters afterward.

Hear hear, Lt. Gov. Fairfax.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has a message for the nation: I am woman. I resist!

The one-year anniversary of the Women's March proved that this movement isn't going anywhere. And the Congressional Progressive Caucus wants to make sure everyone knows it.

ACTION ALERT: Women, tell your resistance story!

Hey, ladies — even if your voice is still hoarse from the Women's March Part Deux, you can still tell your story with your keyboard.

Head to to speak out about your experience in the Trump Era, and tell others why and how you fight back.

Montana governor protects net neutrality rules for his constituents

The Trump administration's assault on net neutrality regulations would spell disaster for the concept of free and open, and easily accessible, debate on the internet.

Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock had something to say about that, and he put his signing pen to paper.

"Through an executive order, Gov. Steve Bullock declared on Monday that any internet service provider with a state government contract cannot block or charge more for faster delivery of websites, two core aspects of net neutrality, to any customer in the state," The New York Times recently reported.

"If you want to do business with Montana, there are standards on net neutrality you will have to follow," Bullock declared.

And he urged other governors to follow his lead. "This is simple plug and play for other states to do as well," he noted.

ACTION ALERT: Speak out for safety and tell the government to ban bump stocks!

Bump stocks are unregulated accessories that can essentially turn a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun, allowing it to fire even more bullets in less time. These devices are dangerous and completely unnecessary.

Join in telling the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to ban bump stocks and protect lives!

Voters in the Beaver State made sure all Oregonians have access to health care

The fight for accessible and affordable quality health care seems never-ending. So Oregon voters took matters into their own hands.

Measure 101 — a statewide referendum securing funding for the Oregon Health Plan, a state-run health insurance plan for low-income residents — passed by a massive margin on January 23, with 62 percent of Oregonians voting in favor.

"It really confirms that Oregonians prioritize making sure all Oregonians have access to health care," said state Rep. Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis), a member of the legislative committee that crafted the tax package. "The margin speaks for itself."

And he noted the message this sends about the people of his state.

"When people’s health care is on the line, folks are going to come out of the woodwork to make sure this thing passes," he said. "That’s a fundamental value Oregonians have."

ACTION ALERT: Get educated on your voting rights!

The right to vote ought to be sacrosanct, and every American should be fully informed as to their constitutional right to the ballot.

Indivisible and Spread the Vote are here to help, with a thorough and informative guide all about the history of voting rights and attempts to attack it through voter ID laws and other duplicitous acts.

Read it, learn it, and share it far and wide — because we all know the Trump administration and the Department of Justice under Jeff Sessions are hoping you won't.

Actress Alyssa Milano has a history lesson on the Equal Rights Amendment for you

The Equal Rights Amendment was originally written by feminist activists Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, and was first proposed in Congress in 1923.

And it is still waiting for ratification.

If you aren't familiar with the amendment and its history, actress and activist Alyssa Milano offered a succinct and superb history lesson on the matter. Here are a few highlights, but you should definitely read the whole thread, and spread it far and wide:

 Mazel tov, Tammy Duckworth and family!

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth made some history in the most adorable way possible:

Duckworth will be the first sitting senator to give birth, but she was quick to recognize the wider truth: