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Transparency Comes at No Cost

Jonathan Backer, a former RAC Eisendrath Legislative Assistant now working at the Brennan Center for Justice, recently wrote in the Huffington Post about the DISCLOSE Act, federal legislation that would revamp campaign finance disclosure rules. The DISCLOSE Act would require Super PACs, “independent expenditures” that have proliferated in the wake of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, as well as 501(c)4 “social welfare” organizations, to be more transparent, specifically by disclosing the source of all donations over $10,000. Read more…

No Small Feat

In recent weeks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staff have likely become much more educated about how their rulemaking reflects the teachings of Torah.

How many on the EPA staff are Jewish? I couldn’t say.

But there is good reason why the Agency has received countless emails with this faith-inspired message. Since April, the EPA has heard from hundreds of Jews across the country writing in support of the first-ever proposed limits on carbon emissions. In collaboration with our friends at the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), we’ve spread the word about this historic proposal and rallied a robust expression of support from the Jewish community.  Thank YOU for being one of the hundreds of American Jews who submitted comments to the EPA, sending a clear message that these standards reflect our community’s environmental and social justice values. Read more…

Supreme Court Denies Montana Challenge to Citizens United

UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.: Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued a statement that “the Court has sent a clear message today that it is blind to the disturbing realities of how we elect political leaders in a post-Citizens United world – one that prioritizes money over policy, passion, and intellect.” You can read the full statement here.

This morning the U.S. Supreme Court issued a summary 5-4 reversal of a Montana case that would have challenged Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that opened the door to unlimited corporate and union spending in political campaigns. The case, American Trade Partnership v. Bullock, considered whether the Citizens United decision can be applied at the state level, and specifically to Montana, which challenged the scope of the ruling. The high court’s summary reversal, which means the Court made this decision without hearing oral arguments, sends a clear message that the Justices are refusing to budge in their ruling on Citizens United. Read more…

Sowing the Seeds for a Just Farm Bill

On Thursday, RAC Legislative Director Barbara Weinstein joined leaders from six national organizations comprising the Jewish Farm Bill Working Group to deliver a petition with more than 18,000 signatures to House leadership and the Obama Administration urging that the upcoming Farm Bill emphasize economic and environmental justice priorities. Read more…

Keeping the Farm Bill a Food Bill

This week, the Senate is considering legislation that will affect if and how millions of Americans keep food on the table – the Farm Bill. Considered once every five years, the Farm Bill has a far-ranging impact on food in America and around the world, from foreign assistance and food safety, to environmental conservation and anti-hunger programs. Read more…

Join GreenFaith & See Results

We’d like to wish a hearty mazel tov to Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, MO, United Hebrew Congregation in St. Louis, MO, Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, IL, and Congregational B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim (BJBE) in Deerfield, IL – the four newest congregations to join the URJ-GreenFaith Partnership! Read more…

Two Ships

Today, two ships sit in a port in Seattle, WA. They are waiting to be inspected for the final time before receiving orders that their crews are fit to sail up the coast of the Pacific Northwest, along the Canadian coast and into the Arctic Circle. But after their journey, these two ships will represent much more than mere sea vessels: They are oil drilling rigs, and they will be facilitating the greatest expansion into domestic offshore drilling in U.S. history. Read more…

Florida’s Voter Purge: End in Sight?

Responding to a harsh rebuke from the U.S. Department of Justice, Florida elections supervisors announced late last Friday that they will stop using a flawed list of potential non-citizens to purge voter registration lists.

The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner the day before, saying that the voter purge appears to violate at least two federal voting laws and asking Detzner to inform the department by June 6 as to “whether the State intends to cease the practice [of using motor vehicle registry lists to update voting eligibility]… so that the Department can determine what further action, if any, is necessary.” The DOJ letter appeared to be a friendly reminder to state officials that Florida is subject to the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which created standards for maintaining voter registration lists. Several counties in Florida also fall under the jurisdiction of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires DOJ to review proposed changes to voting laws due to a history of institutionalized racial discrimination in these areas. Florida had not sought the appropriate review under Section 5, the letter points out, before beginning the purge. Read more…

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