Atheism / LGBT / Politics / Rights · September 21, 2006

Legislation tracking resource

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was looking for free services that carefully examined state legislatures for new legislation that discriminated against Atheists and LGBT or took away basic human rights. I wanted services that I could subscribe to in each state.

I didn’t find very many. I mean I’ve found ONE so far!

But I discovered today that I had overlooked a GREAT resource that is an excellent way of keeping track of state bills! I’ll give you a hint: there is a group of people in this country that watch legislation – religiously!

Yep. Conservative religious groups keep a close watch on the same sorts of bills that I’m looking for. Okay, I know this might not be news for everyone, but it was definitely a revelation to me!

Take the California Family Council (CFC) for example. This group has news briefings that include a listing of bills that are heard in committee over a 3-week period, an explanation of legislation that Churches consider to be important, and ‘action alerts’ for key bills.

The CFC’s little blurbs on bills that “need action now” are great too. For example, for Assembly Bill 1471 the CFC says:

AB 1471, the “California Community Sexual Health Education Act,” mandates that sex education in public schools includes all types of birth-control discussions, prohibits discussion of religion, and does not allow discussion of sexual orientation as it relates to certain sexually transmitted diseases. The bill has a penalty component for schools that do not comply and would also apply to charter schools.

Wow. That’s a great write up! At a glance I can see why this bill has the religious right upset, but even better I can see the reasons why I would want to support this bill! If I did want more information on a bill I would just use my page of links to state legislation and look up the text of the bill itself. I’m sure a brief Google search would help me analyze the bill further if needed.

These sorts of websites seem to work primarily via email – so I’m considering opening up a new email account to keep my own email uncluttered. If I find sites that utilize RSS I will choose them instead and put all their feeds together in an aggregator. Does anyone know of a way to send email to RSS? Hmm more research for me I think.

Well, that wraps up California – so what do I do for the other states? I found out that’s pretty easy to solve. By going through the CFC’s list of links I found a list of state family policy counsels. I found active councils in 31 different states, with another four in the process of forming. This is just great! I’ll be busy signing up all weekend!

The religious in America are efficiently organized, and non-believers are not. Since we have rational thought on our side, wouldn’t it make sense to use their resources for our needs?