Good news for people who want to do good: Week 62


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 the Obamas with a very special guest.

Four states and D.C. pass bills to expand reproductive rights

The determined effort by organizations like Planned Parenthood to broaden and expand reproductive rights across the country is having notable success.

Four states and Washington D.C. have passed bills that advance this crucial fight.


In New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy reversed a move by his Republican predecessor Chris Christie, restoring funding to Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health care providers. In Maine, state senators pushed back against right-wing Gov. Paul LePage to require insurance companies to cover all preventive care services, including things like ob-gyn exams and cancer screenings.

In Washington state, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee required insurance companies to cover abortion services and to provide contraception coverage with no out-of-pocket costs. In Utah, the governor signed a new law expanding Medicaid to those who fall in the "coverage gap" — which includes thousands of women, mostly women of color, who will now be able to access health care.

And in the nation's capital, Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation to increase availability and affordability of birth control.

ACTION ALERT: Join the Repeal the Trump Tax Tour!

Hit back against the GOP tax scam by joining the Repeal the Trump Tax Tour at one of more than 100 nationwide events. The tour aims to hold Republican members of Congress accountable for their wildly unpopular, and disastrous, tax bill, which they set up to benefit the wealthiest people in the country at the expense of working people.

A national day of action will take place on April 15, 2018, the one-year anniversary of the Tax March. RSVP now to an event near you.

North Carolina prisons will no longer use shackles and restraints on pregnant inmates during labor

In another paramount victory for reproductive justice, pregnant inmates in North Carolina will no longer be subject to shackling while going into labor and giving birth.

The win comes after SisterSong, an Atlanta-based reproductive justice collective supporting women of color, led the fight against this cruel and dangerous practice.

As the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists noted previously, "Physical restraints interfere with the ability of health care providers to safely practice medicine by reducing their ability to assess and evaluate the mother and the fetus and making labor and delivery more difficult. Shackling may put the health of the woman and fetus at risk."

And as Omisade Burney-Scott, a SisterSong representative, noted, "With people of color overrepresented in the prison system, this issue falls hardest on people who already struggle with health disparities and higher rates of pregnancy complications and maternal mortality."

ACTION ALERT: Hold your members of Congress accountable during the recess!

There's still time to give your lawmakers an earful about the issues that are most important to you while they’re on recess, from now until April 9.

To help get you started, Indivisible has a list of town hall questions you can take to your senators and representatives.

Find a local town hall here, via the Town Hall Project.

New Jersey lawmakers advance six gun-safety bills

Under their new Democratic governor, New Jersey lawmakers have advanced a package of six gun-safety bills that had previously been vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign all of them.

The bills cover things like stricter requirements for concealed-carry permits, stronger restrictions for convicted domestic abusers, requirements that retailers stock "smart guns" to advance safer gun ownership in homes, limiting the size of ammunition magazines, expanding background checks, and banning the sale of .50 caliber rifles.

Murphy campaigned on a platform of sensible gun control, and by signing these bills into law he's staying true to those promises and protecting his constituents.

ACTION ALERT: Tell Bass Pro Shops to end the sale of assault weapons!

After the mass shooting at a Florida high school, Dick's Sporting Goods announced it would no longer sell military-style weapons or accessories.

Now it's time for another major retailer, Bass Pro Shops, to do the same. Sign the petition to tell CEO John Morris that these weapons have no place in civilian hands, or on his stores' shelves.

Brooklyn Defender Services and ACLU launch immigrant empowerment campaign

Brooklyn Defender Services, in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Immigrant Defense Project, have launched a crucial campaign to give immigrant communities the information and resources they need when dealing with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The campaign, called We Have Rights, includes four videos available in seven languages covering what to do during various encounters with ICE agents.

There is also a downloadable emergency preparedness plan in the event of arrest or removal so that families and loved ones can be protected and cared for.

"We hear from our clients daily about how scared they are and about their desire to know what do if and when ICE comes for them or a loved one," Scott Hechinger, senior staff attorney and policy director at Brooklyn Defender Services, said in a press release.

"We want immigrants to know that they are protected under the Constitution," added Natalie Montelongo, an ACLU campaign strategist.

ACTION ALERT: Tell your senators to reject Pompeo as secretary of state

CIA Director Mike Pompeo is a terrible choice for secretary of state and would only do further damage to the nation's standing on the global stage.

Indivisible has all the disturbing details of Pompeo's record and views, as well as the scripts you need to tell your senators why they must reject his nomination for the crucial diplomatic post.

Former U.S. Census Bureau chiefs warned about "risky" addition of citizenship question

The Trump administration announced that it would add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a move that would very likely suppress participation among immigrant communities.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee immediately moved to sue the administration for this unconstitutional gambit.

And former Census Bureau chiefs from both Republican and Democratic administrations had tried to warn Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross against implementing such a question.

In January, they sent a letter to Ross, as reported by the Washington Post, noting that "It is highly risky to ask untested questions in the context of the complete 2020 Census design."

They also noted that adding the question, especially at such a late point in time, would have a deleterious effect on "the accuracy of the enumeration and success of the census in all communities."

Instead, they urged a multi-year testing process for such precarious questions. And they challenged Ross to adhere to his stated claims of principle.

"Because we share your goal of a 'full, fair, and accurate census,' as the Constitution requires, we urge you to consider a prudent course of action in response to the Justice Department’s untimely and potentially disruptive request."