Stuff Is Happening: Fighting Long Lines, Gas Prices, and Corruption
Updated: May 3
I've compiled a few constructive political happenings to follow on from my post two days ago. As I've said before, even though we might not necessarily agree with the way politicians go about solving our problems, we can still be grateful for the little positive acts of co-operation and care that go on in the political arena every day. Even though the news media often makes things seem like the world is ending, paying attention to the little things can help us stay grounded and recognize the good that is all around us. What little things are you thankful for?
I hope that you enjoy reading and have a wonderful evening!
-- Seal with a Pen
A smartwatch may soon help you through airport security. Nobody really likes the long lines and scanning process at airport security, but at least one step of the process is about to get easier. Arizona has become the first state to allow you to securely load your driver's license and ID onto your phone and smartwatch, which, among other features, will allow you to confirm your identity in airport security simply by tapping your watch on a sensor. While the feature is being launched for PreCheck passengers at the Phoenix airport only for the time being, it's supposed to launch in several more states including Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Ohio in the near future, a list which includes both red and blue states. Soon enough, you may be able to carry around your ID with you digitally and never need a physical card again. Read more: https://www.govexec.com/technology/2022/03/apple-wallet-goes-live-id-verification-tsa-checkpoint/363616/ (Government Executive), https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2022/03/apple-launches-the-first-drivers-license-and-state-id-in-wallet-with-arizona/ (Apple press release)
Congresspeople are considering action to reduce gas prices. While we all may disagree on how to run the economy and how best to move forward with competing economic and environmental interests, most Americans agree that high gas prices are bad. When gas prices are high, many American families suffer from the squeeze, especially those living paycheck-to-paycheck. With average gas prices this year already the highest since 2014, it may be comforting to know that our representatives in Congress are seeking relief for the American people. While Biden hasn't ordered anything new yet, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans has suggested that he take three steps to curb oil prices: 1) store more fuel in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for use in future crises, which would provide an incentive for U.S. oil producers to produce more oil; 2) provide subsidies and loans to oil producers to increase domestic oil and gas production; and 3) appeal to oil producers' sense of patriotism to reduce prices while establishing long-term investments in U.S. energy independence. You can read the whole letter here. Other congresspeople are pushing Biden to increase production of clean energy technologies in order to make clean electricity and electric vehicles more affordable for average Americans instead. Read more: https://www.politico.com/minutes/congress/03-25-2022/a-much-eyed-law/ (POLITICO), https://www.eenews.net/articles/manchin-gop-suggest-using-defense-production-act-for-energy/ (E&E News)
Courts confront gerrymandering threat. We all know that some politicians like to protect their own power, which is why a recent ruling out of Maryland is very exciting. One way that politicians protect themselves is through a process called "gerrymandering," where they draw their districts in a way that makes it easier for them to be re-elected. The bipartisan group RepresentUs explains the process very well on their website here. (Ignore the petition sign unless you're interested.) While many states have gerrymandered maps, drawn by both parties, one of the worst is in Maryland, with strange entangled lines that look like a nest of snakes. Happily, for the first time in the state's history, a state court has struck down the map as unconstitutional. This ruling means that the citizens of Maryland will have more control over who they send to Congress, with more competitive elections. Read more: https://reason.com/2022/03/25/judge-tosses-marylands-highly-gerrymandered-congressional-map/ (Reason), https://apnews.com/article/maryland-congress-05589b4c9240f458acf4ac5995b5a80e (Associated Press)
On the docket for next week in Congress. Just as a taster of what I might have the privilege of covering next week, here's a few of the things that POLITICO claims will be coming up for consideration next week in Washington:
A bill to improve American competitiveness with other nations, especially China.
Additional funds for the Coast Guard.
A bill to help Americans save for retirement.
Placement of two statues of Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first two female Supreme Court Justices, in the U.S. Capitol.
Further trade sanctions on Russia in response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.