It's electric: Los Angeles county has a robust public transit system and now leaders at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority want to create a fleet of environmentally-friendly electric buses. Two of the most heavily ridden routes are poised to transition to battery powered vehicles. While the price for an electric bus is the same as a fossil-fuel counterpart, the city will have to account for infrastructure changes like charging stations, which aren't cheap. The agency has proposed spending $138 million to buy 95 electric buses. According to the the LA Times, the Metro's goal is a completely zero-emission fleet by 2030, which would mean buying approximately 200 clean-energy buses per year starting in 2019. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti spearheaded the effort to galvanize thousands of city leaders from across the country in reaffirming a commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and ensuring cities and towns move towards renewable energy.
Social utility: Apparently Steve Bannon, one of President Trump's advisers and a chief architect of his presidential campaign, thinks that Facebook, Google and other behemoth tech platforms should be regulated like public utilities. What Bannon is suggesting wouldn't necessarily put these companies under government control, but it would mean that their businesses would potentially have increased oversight.. According to the Intercept, this idea contradicts net-neutrality, a controversial policy that keeps the internet free of government regulation and service-provider meddling. Now that social media is a ubiquitous part of American life, it's clear why some government officials want to have a say in how citizens use it, but Bannon's ultimate intentions are unclear.
Some of the real heroes: Disability rights advocates have been out in force protesting the GOP's health care overhaul effort. The nonprofit disability group Americans Disabled [for] Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT) has been leading the charge on disabled protests, and several members of their group have been arrested for demonstrating in government buildings. Now that the initial repeal and replace efforts have been quashed (for now), demonstrators are speaking out about their activism and their experiences fighting the GOP health care bills.
Transgender rights in peril:Texas has passed an anti-trans bathroom bill in a state Senate special session. After a 21-10 vote, the bill will now head to the state House for final approval. Given the transphobic leadership of Governor Greg Abbott, who revived the bill for the special session back in June, the fight for transgender rights in Texas has never been more dire. For more information on how to push back against this anti-trans legislation, the National Center for Transgender Equality has put together an action plan for both residents and people who don't live in the state but want to show their support.
Across the aisle: Republicans have made it clear that they're not happy with the ACA and have done everything in their power to repeal and replace it. After multiple defeats in the Senate and a narrow win in the house, it looks like the repeal that the GOP wanted isn't going to happen, but the conversation is taking on a new life. Centrist lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have created a coalition of about 40 House politicians that aims to fix what they see as he ACA's most glaring issues. Among the items on the agenda are stabilizing the insurance market, cost-sharing subsidies and the creation of a federal stability fund. What this all actually means for the repeal and replace plans is yet to be determined.