It is an interesting time with a lot of change in the United States right now and people are starting to take notice. For the past few weeks, TikTok has been flooded with videos of concerns for bills being passed and considered right now with particular attention to the “TikTok ban,” but, although very important, there are many key and questionable bills that you may not have heard of.
1. The Willow Project:
This one has been very debated in the conservation community but is not well heard of elsewhere. The Willow Project is an oil drilling project in northern Alaska in the National Petroleum Reserve. The project originally set out to drill 250 oil wells which would release 70 million metric tons of additional CO2 from the project in U.S. emissions — and another 60 million tons internationally — equivalent to just 0.03 percent of U.S. emissions in 2021, according to the estimates. This is a significant increase and would drastically speed up the process of climate change. Trump had passed this during his presidency but environmental and indigenous groups challenged the decision through the rest of his presidency so it was reevaluated by Biden’s administration. Unfortunately, Biden also chose to pass it, with some modifications to make it less severe, but it is still significant enough to do serious damage to the planet and future generations. So be weary, protest, and educate others for the sake of our planet.
2. South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023 or bill 3549:
There has been a lot of debate about abortion recently with Roe v Wade being overturned back in June and this bill is one such product of that. The bill looks to ban abortion as many other states have done, but with a twist; it wants to make it so that women who get an abortion would be homicide criminals meaning that they could face penalties as cruel as prison time to a death sentence. This bill has not been passed, but is being highly debated. If it were to get passed other states may try to enact it which is a very scary thought. You’ll want to keep this one in mind if you have family there or are planning to move there, and if you don’t you’ll still want to keep it on your radar in case other states follow suit.
3. Florida bill HB 991:
This bill aims to suppress the presses freedom of speech when talking about public figures. For example, the press could no longer comment on crappy things a public figure has done to inform the public before they make significant political decisions. They would not be allowed to call them homophobic, transphobic, or racist even if it were true without being sued or serving jail time. This could lead to many making decisions that do not align with their values or their goals. Also, journalists who comment on Florida’s public figures that live in a different state can still be sued through this bill.
4. Tennessee bill senate bill 3:
This bill was passed and makes it so that those who are transgender and under the age of 18 can no longer receive gender affirming care, meaning a few things. Firstly, it means that if they go to therapy their psychologist, social worker, or therapist of any kind can be sued for malpractice and loose their license just for using someone’s preferred pronouns if they do not match their biological sex. This will make this community very uncomfortable in these situations and feel very underrepresented and probably not get the help they need. Secondly, it mean that they can not get care that would help them transition such as hormones or surgeries even with parent approval. Even worse is that this isn’t just in Tennessee and at the time I started writing this article it was just being debated here in Kansas, but sadly it was recently passed in Kansas. If you want to put a stop to this write your local politicians, protest, and educate others.
5. Indiana house bill 1608:
This bill prevents grade school teachers from talking about anything that concerns the LGBTQ+ community even if directly asked by students. It goes further by banning teachers from using preferred pronouns or names given to them by the student without the consent of a parent which can lead to many issues for many in this community who may not share views with their parents. A section of this bill also made it so that teachers who do not use preferred pronouns of the child will not be punished as they were before for not respecting their boundaries. This bill has been passed.
These are just a few of the bizarre bills being passed right now that have the potential to suppress certain minorities and potentially harm our society as a whole. Be on the look out for these things and if you do not agree with them write to your local and state politicians, protest, and educate others so that we can hopefully reduce this discrimination.