POPVOX’s Countdown of the Top Bills in 2013


I frequently use POPVOX to explore information about a bill — what’s in the text of a bill, who introduced it, what other’s are saying about, who those others are (individuals and corporations/organizations) — and to write a letter of opposition or support to my elected representatives.  My observation is that the right-wing nut jobs have more of a propensity to support/oppose legislation than do reasonable folks.  Those of us who oppose the right-wing agenda need to become more active and vocal so our elected representatives in Congress understand they need to support us too — not just the very loud and radical right wing base.

Here’s a copy of an email I received today from POPVOX itemizing the top 50 bills that garnered the most activity on POPVOX during the first half of the 113th Congress:

by RACHNA on DECEMBER 31, 2013

Members of Congress introduced more than 6,600 bills and resolutions in 2013. The Second Amendment and gun control legislation dominated the top bills list, the majority of which were introduced in the beginning of the year. Not surprisingly, the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” was also a top priority among POPVOX users, and also the House has voted to repeal some or all of it nearly 50 times.  

The Countdown of the Top 50 Bills

Together, POPVOX users from every state and Congressional district sent more than 900,000 messages to their lawmakers in Washington. These are the top 50 bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in 2013, ranked by the aggregate number of combined support and opposition.

  • HR 321
    #50 Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act

    Would allow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct crucial scientific research into firearm safety, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). 

    146 Support | 3,076 Oppose

  • HR 1369
    #49 Firearm Risk Protection Act

    Would require gun buyers to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a weapon and imposes a fine of $10,000 if an owner is found not to have the required coverage; service members and law enforcement officers are exempt from this insurance requirement, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

    99 Support | 3,157 Oppose

  • HR 965
    #48 Banning Saturday Night Specials

    Would prohibit the possession or transfer of junk guns, also known as Saturday Night Specials.

    152 Support | 3,133 Oppose

  • HR 900
    #47 Cancel the Sequester Act

    A one-sentence bill that would cancel the sequester, or across-the-board federal spending cuts that were implemented in 2013.

    2,406 Support | 899 Oppose

  • HR 890
    #46 Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act

    Extends the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through December 2013 and overturns President Obama’s efforts to waive welfare work requirements, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). This bill passed in the House on March 13, 2013, and is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

    3,208 Support | 120 Oppose

  • HR 1005
    #45 Defund Obamacare Act

    To deauthorize appropriation of funds, and to rescind unobligated appropriations, to carry out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

    2,905 Support | 478 Oppose

  • HR 1094
    #44 Safeguard American Food Exports Act

    To prohibit the sale or transport of equines and equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for human consumption.

    2,727 Support | 707 Oppose

  • HR 61
    #43 Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act

    Would stop the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from providing federal family planning assistance under Title X to abortion businesses until they certify they won’t provide and refer for abortions, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

    934 Support | 2,513 Oppose

  • HR 431
    #42 Gun Transparency and Accountability (Gun TRAC) Act

    Would once again allow ATF to use information on guns traced to crimes; it would remove the requirement that background checks be destroyed within 24 hours; and it would eliminate the ban on federally required inventory audits of gun dealerships, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Jackie Speier(D-CA).   

    102 Support | 3,348 Oppose

  • HR 793
    #41 Firearm Safety and Buyback Grant Act

    Would establish a grant program within the Department of Justice in which grants would be eligible to state, tribal, and local units of government and law enforcement agencies to carry out anti-violence campaigns, gun safety campaigns, and firearms buyback programs, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA).

    98 Support | 3,370 Oppose

  • HR 2959
    #40 National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act

    To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State. This bill was passed by the House in the 112th Congress, but hasn’t been voted on in this Congress.

    3,106 Support | 385 Oppose

  • HR 236
    #39 Crackdown on Deadbeat Gun Dealers Act

    Would increase the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to: Inspect federal firearms licensees (FFLs) for compliance with recordkeeping requirements by increasing the allowable inspections per year from one to three; Increase the penalties for knowingly misrepresenting any facts about a firearms sale; and Authorize the Attorney General to suspend a dealer’s license and assess civil penalties for firearms violations, including failure to have secure gun storage or safety devices, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI).

    184 Support | 3,319 Oppose

  • Guns
    #38 Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment

    A bipartisan group of senators — Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen.Joe Manchin (D-WV) — introduced a compromise proposal to expand background checks. The proposal would require states and the federal government to send all necessary records on criminals and the violently mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It also extends the existing background check system to gun shows and online sales. The Senate rejected the proposal in a 54 to 46 vote on April 17, 2013 — six votes short of the 60 needed.

    197 Support | 3,343 Oppose

  • S 47
    #37 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act

    To reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, and includes measures on campus safety, tools to reduce domestic violence homicides, and protections for at-risk groups such as immigrants, tribal victims and members of the LGBT community, according to bill sponsors, Sen. Patrick Leahy(D-VT) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID). This bill was enacted into law after being signed by the President on March 7, 2013.

    573 Support | 3,008 Oppose

  • S 374
    #36 Fix Gun Checks Act

    To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.Reported by Committee on Mar 12, 2013, and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate.

    218 Support | 3,532 Oppose

  • HR 45
    #35 Repeal “Obamacare”

    To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. This bill passed in the House on May 16, 2013 by a 229-195 vote, and is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

    2,970 Support | 899 Oppose

  • HR 238
    #34 Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act

    Would prohibit gun dealers whose licenses are revoked to convert their inventory to personal collections, to be sold without conducting background checks on purchasers, under current law, according to bill sponsor, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).

    178 Support | 3,714 Oppose

  • HR 35
    #33 Safe Schools Act

    Would repeal federal laws mandating “gun free zones” around schools, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX).

    3,970 Support | 185 Oppose

  • HR 538
    #32 PLEA Act

    To protect the Nation’s law enforcement officers by banning the Five-seveN Pistol and 5.7 x 28mm SS190, SS192, SS195LF, SS196, and SS197 cartridges, testing handguns and ammunition for capability to penetrate body armor, and prohibiting the manufacture, importation, sale, or purchase of such handguns or ammunition by civilians.

    143 Support | 4,051 Oppose

  • HR 575
    #31 Second Amendment Protection Act

    Would prohibit funding to the United Nations unless the President can certify that a United Nations treaty does not infringe on individual rights protected by the Constitution, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX). 

    4,083 Support | 145 Oppose

  • HR 437
    #30 Assault Weapons Ban

    Would ban the future sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of 157 specific kinds of semi-automatic guns and impose the same restrictions on ammunition magazines that contain more than 10 rounds. Excludes 2,258 legitimate hunting and sporting rifles and shotguns by specific make and model, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).

    160 Support | 4,227 Oppose

  • S 815
    #29 Employment Non-Discrimination Act

    To prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill passed in the Senate on November 7, 2013 by a 64 to 32 vote, and is awaiting consideration by the House.

    233 Support | 4,178 Oppose

  • HR 227
    #28 Buyback Our Safety Act

    To establish a gun buyback grant program.

    134 Support | 4,292 Oppose

  • S 2
    #27 Sandy Hook Elementary School Violence Reduction Act

    To reduce violence and protect the citizens of the United States.

    169 Support | 4,357 Oppose

  • HR 25
    #26 Fair Tax Act

    Would repeal all Federal corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital gains taxes, the death tax, and gift taxes – and replace them with a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA). 

    4,219 Support | 333 Oppose

  • HR 226
    #25 Support Assault Firearms Elimination and Reduction for our Streets Act

    To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit against tax for surrendering to authorities certain assault weapons.

    143 Support | 4,488 Oppose

  • S 174
    #24 Ammunition Background Check Act

    To appropriately restrict sales of ammunition.

    187 Support | 4,769 Oppose

  • S 336
    #23 Marketplace Fairness Act

    Would give states the option to require the collection of sales and use taxes already owed under State law by out-of-state businesses, rather than rely on consumers to remit those taxes to the States—the method of tax collection to which they are now restricted, according to bill sponsor, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY).

    205 Support | 4,861 Oppose

  • HR 137
    #22 Fix Gun Checks Act

    To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.

    522 Support | 4,595 Oppose

  • S 147
    #21 Common Sense Concealed Firearms Permit Act

    To establish minimum standards for States that allow the carrying of concealed firearms.

    215 Support | 5,017 Oppose

  • S 34
    #20 Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act

    To increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists.

    390 Support | 4,842 Oppose

  • S 22
    #19 Gun Show Background Check Act

    To establish background check procedures for gun shows.

    442 Support | 5,049 Oppose

  • S 82
    #18 Separation of Powers Restoration & Second Amendment Protection Act

    To provide that any executive action infringing on the Second Amendment has no force or effect, and to prohibit the use of funds for certain purposes.

    5,728 Support | 243 Oppose

  • HR 410
    #17 Restore the Constitution Act

    To provide that any executive action infringing on the Second Amendment has no force or effect, and to prohibit the use of funds for certain purposes.

    5,914 Support | 263 Oppose

  • HR 499
    #16 Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act

    To decriminalize marijuana at the Federal level, to leave to the States a power to regulate marijuana that is similar to the power they have to regulate alcohol.

    5,824 Support | 420 Oppose

  • S 35
    #15 Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act

    To require face to face purchases of ammunition, to require licensing of ammunition dealers, and to require reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition.

    308 Support | 6,558 Oppose

  • S 33
    #14 Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act

    To prohibit the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices.

    324 Support | 6,863 Oppose

  • HR 65
    #13 Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act

    Raising the age of legal handgun ownership to 21.

    514 Support | 7,193 Oppose

  • HR 21
    #12 NRA Members Gun Safety Act

    To provide for greater safety in the use of firearms.

    536 Support | 7,770 Oppose

  • HR 34
    #11 Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act

    To provide for the implementation of a system of licensing for purchasers of certain firearms and for a record of sale system for those firearms.

    362 Support | 8,402 Oppose

  • HR 141
    #10 Gun Show Loophole Closing Act

    To require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions occurring at gun shows.

    1,406 Support | 7,591 Oppose

  • HR 2682
    #9 Defund Obamacare Act

    To prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    9,365 Support | 307 Oppose

  • S 150
    #8 Assault Weapons Ban

    To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited.

    633 Support | 9,409 Oppose

  • HR 142
    #7 Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act

    To require face to face purchases of ammunition, to require licensing of ammunition dealers, and to require reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition.

    617 Support | 9,508 Oppose

  • HR 117
    #6 Handgun Licensing and Registration Act

    To provide for the mandatory licensing and registration of handguns.

    553 Support | 9,619 Oppose

  • HR 133
    #5 Citizens Protection Act

    To repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and amendments to that Act.

    9,671 Support | 651 Oppose

  • HR 138
    #4 Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act

    To prohibit the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices.

    756 Support | 10,828 Oppose

  • S 744
    #3 Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act

    To provide for comprehensive immigration reform. This bill passed in the Senate on June 27, 2013 and is awaiting consideration by the House.

    1,385 Support | 10,212 Oppose

  • HJRes 15
    #2 Repealing the 22nd Amendment

    Proposing an amendment to the US Constitution to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

    151 Support | 12,984 Oppose

  • S 649
    #1 Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act

    To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.

    304 Support | 14,110 Oppose

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Congressional Republi-Nazis Propose Marriage Unequality

RepubliNaziCurrently, there are twenty-nine Republi-Nazis in the US House who have proposed that only certain individuals, one man and one woman, are worthy of the pursuit of happiness using a contract of marriage:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the `Marriage Protection Amendment’.

SEC. 2. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

The following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

`Article–

`Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.’.

  • Rep Tim Huelskamp [R-KS]
  • Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6]
  • Rep Bridenstine, Jim [OK-1]
  • Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5]
  • Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10]
  • Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3]
  • Rep Fleming, John [LA-4]
  • Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-8]
  • Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1]
  • Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4]
  • Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1]
  • Rep Hultgren, Randy [IL-14]
  • Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3]
  • Rep Jones Jr., Walter B. [NC-3]
  • Rep Jordan, Jim [OH-4]
  • Rep Lankford, James [OK-5]
  • Rep Meadows, Mark [NC-11]
  • Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19]
  • Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4]
  • Rep Pearce, Stevan [NM-2]
  • Rep Pittenger, Robert [NC-9]
  • Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16]
  • Rep Schweikert, David [AZ-6]
  • Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9]
  • Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4]
  • Rep Stockman, Steve [TX-36]
  • Rep Walberg, Tim [MI-7]
  • Rep Westmoreland, Lynn  [GA-3]
  • Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10]

Now, you may think I’m being a bit harsh by calling these 29, angry white men, “Republi-Nazis,” but their variant of the original Nazism is real and totally in opposition to the principles our founding fathers espoused.  Nazism is an ideology that claimed the “Aryan Master Race” was superior to all other races.  The Republi-Nazis believe that we do not live in a Democracy, but instead live in some fantasy Theocracy—that our founding fathers, in their infinite wisdom, created our constitution based on the “Christian” bible  (whatever that is, because their interpretations of what they call the “bible” tend to differ vastly from mine).  Further, they believe that only heterosexual men and women are the chosen few who deserve a “pursuit of happiness” and who deserve abundant tax breaks at the expense of all others with which to pursue their every whim.  They believe that all “Christian(?)” heterosexual members of our society should cooperate for national unity against the heinous hoards who would be the demise of our society.  Somehow, I do not believe Jesus would make or endorse  such an argument.  And frankly, since GOD created all of mankind, not just the heterosexual members of mankind, I do not believe GOD would be making or endorsing that argument either.  And please note, that I’m not even scratching the surface yet—and that I’m not going to stray into the area of their feelings of superiority over women and their needs to regulate the uses of various women’s body parts in this piece.

It is time to take a stand and call this errant behavior what it is.  Whether you call it a variation of Nazism or Fascism, it’s NOT Americanism and it needs to stop!  Take the time to write your Congressmen and let them know what you think and where you stand on this issue.  If you’re in Nevada, you can go to the LINKS page (above in the header) to find links to email or to tweet your opposition to Nevada’s members of Congress.  You can also find this bill on POPVOX where you can OPPOSE and send an email to your designated members of Congress (based on your address).

Here’s a copy of my email to Rep. Mark Amodei using POPVOX:

I oppose H.J.Res. 51 which proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the United States declaring that marriage can be only between one man and one woman. Really, one man can only be married to one woman? If marriage is between only one man and one woman, does that outlaw divorce?

We don’t live in a “theocracy” as too many of the currently elected members of the REPUBLIBAN believe. It is NEVER acceptable to treat some members of our society in a preferential manner, while essentially levying a penalty tax on others. If you believe “marriage” is only a religious thing for the preferential few, then why does a state have to issue a license? Why does the couple have to go to court to obtain a dissolutionment of that marriage? Because, it’s NOT just a religious thing.

— It’s a LEGAL thing. That’s why they call it a CONTRACT of marriage.

— It’s a TAX thing. Married people benefit from TAX DEDUCTIONS.

It is NOT appropriate for members of our U.S. government to act like Hitler’s Nazis, branding certain individuals as acceptable and therefore, endowed with certain rights, and declare others as unacceptable and not entitled to the same pursuits as the chosen few.

Legislative Bill Tracking 101

— by Marla Turner, NSDP Secretary

With the new Congress sworn in and the Nevada Legislature set to start on February 4th, it’s a good time to refresh ourselves on how bills become law and how we can track their progress. At both the federal and state levels, the process of getting a bill signed into law is a complex one.

To start, you’ll want to set up your online legislative accounts and take some time to review the bill drafts that have been submitted. Then you can decide on which bills you want to track. When finished, you will receive email notifications about what’s happening to the items you’re interested in. This will help you determine which legislators you want to contact and when.

How a Bill Becomes Law
Federal – Every few years, the U,.S. government prints an updated version of “How Our Laws Are Made.” The 2007 version is a bit formal so you may wish to check out U.S. Government Info’s more concise version instead.

NevadaThe 2011 Legislative Manual describes in great detail how a bill works its way through the legislature.

Bill Drafts
The majority of Nevada’s bill draft requests (BDRs) have already been submitted. Each Assembly representative and Senator may submit a few more BDRs through the 8th day of Session and Standing Committees have until the 15th day of Session.
How to Track Bills
Congress
To follow the status of all Congressional bills and their incarnations, visit the Thomas Library. You can also track bills at GovTrack.US.  You can also track and send comments about various bills using POPvox. To be able to send comments regarding a bill being considered by congress, you’ll either need to register for a log-in or use a social media account to log into POPvox.  It does, however, come in handy to view what other people, groups, corporations are saying about any particular bill.

House of Representatives
Visit the Document Repository to see the bills waiting to be considered on the House floor.  You can also check roll call votes, status of  “discharge petitions,”  bill summaries and their status, bill text, and bills that have been passed into law at the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Senate
Track all Senate legislation, nominations, and votes here.

NV Legislature

  • Check out NELIS to get info on all the bills, committees and budget activity.

Tips for Contacting Your Legislator

There will be times when you want to let your elected officials know how you feel about a certain issue. It’s important to be judicious about this because you want to be as effective as possible. Think about which issues are truly important to you: if you contact your legislator about every issue all the time, you will not be taken seriously.

Here’s a list of helping Dos and Don’ts for contacting your legislator. Thank you to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel for reviewing the following list and making some helpful suggestions.

DO…..

  • Be respectful and courteous. There are plenty of ways to adequately communicate your feelings on a subject without resorting to personal attacks or profanity.
  • Let them know if you are their constituent. As the session moves along, they will hear from more and more people. Those who are their constituents will get top priority.
  • If you are referring to a specific piece of pending legislation, cite both number and title.
  • Do your homework. Know your subject matter. You do not need to be an expert, just a reasonably informed and concerned citizen.
  • Tell your own personal story about why the issue is important to you. Make it a story they can repeat.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Keep your comments short. No one wants to read a whole page or more of single spaced diatribe.
  • Offer to get more involved (such as testifying at an appropriate hearing).Let them know you will help them.
  • Leave or send written materials that back up your position if possible.
  • Do the ASK. (1): Request their commitment to your philosophy. (2): Ask for a direct response.
  • Give your contact information so they can get back to you.
  • If meeting with them in person, send a written thank-you note for their time.
  • And remember to THANK THEM if they vote or act how you want them to. .

Remember, it is up to you to educate your legislator about why you support or object to certain legislation. Think of yourself as a kind of consultant: you have insights that will help the legislator better understand the ramifications of a bill or issue, so tell them how it will impact you in real, personal terms.

DON’T…..

  • Use a form letter. That defeats the purpose of all of the above.
  • Contact a legislator at odd hours and times – legislators are human and they need their sleep and family time.
  • Corner them at inappropriate times – church, dinner, at a red light, etc.
  • Address them incorrectly. Know their titles and use them accordingly. A U.S. Senator is not Mrs. Smith, but the Honorable Senator Smith.
  • Discuss multiple issues at the same time.
  • Guess or bluff the answer to a question if you don’t know. You will lose all credibility. Tell them honestly that you don’t know – but that you’ll find out and will get back to them. And then do it. Get back to them.
  • Cite references that you haven’t seen, don’t have tangible documentation, or that you have no first-hand knowledge of.
  • Be confrontational or threaten them in any way.
  • Burn your bridges with a legislator. While they may not support you today, you may need them tomorrow.

Happy legislating!