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Policy Pulse 7.17.23


Causes - powered by Countable - provide millions of advocates an intuitive understanding of pending legislation and streamlines the communication process with lawmakers, enabling advocates to influence voting decisions effectively. Advocates can also sound off on issues of national, local, or personal importance: policy, news, campaigns, and more. 

As the only advocacy software to also run a community that consistently engages, Causes gives Countable a unique perspective. We get first-hand insights into what advocates think about and discuss, and we're passing these insights on to you. 

In this weeks policy pulse, we’ve gathered the latest bills advocates are talking about as well as highlighting comments from the advocates themselves.

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BILL: Make Fentanyl a Schedule I Drug? - Halt Fentanyl Act - H.R.467

The Bill

H.R.467 - HALT Fentanyl Act

Bill Details

  • Introduced by Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) on Jan. 24, 2023
  • Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Judiciary | Senate - Judiciary
  • House: Passed 
  • Senate: Not yet passed
  • President: Not yet signed

Bill Overview

  • If the act becomes law, fentanyl-related substances would be classified as Schedule I drug, meaning they have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

What's in the bill?

Reclassifies fentanyl-related substances

  • Fentanyl-related substances will be classified as Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act under the bill. Schedule I controlled substances are drugs, substances, or chemicals that have a high potential for abuse and currently have no accepted medical value. 

Changes fentanyl-related penalties

  • Under the bill, crimes involving fentanyl-related substances and fentanyl analogs will be subject to the same penalties (e.g., offenses involving 100 grams or more trigger a 10-year mandatory minimum prison term). 

Alters requirements for research

  • The bill will establish a new registration requirement and process for researching fentanyl-related substances to understand their overall health effects better. The changes would expedite research into these substances.

Grants law enforcement with tool kits

  • It will provide police officers and other law enforcement with tools to help keep fentanyl or fentanyl-related substances off the streets.

What advocates are saying:

To be honest...

I have to admit, I know very little about this drug. Other than thousands of Americans die every year. I am watching the news, seeing Republicans blaming an open border, Biden administration not doing anything. Well from what I see both parties do very little to rein in border control or giving monies needed to control drug use, or rehabilitation. Each quick to blame the other. Our borders need to be closed and only allow normal immigration entry. Drug rehab facilities need to be free and accessible. Both parties are making money from an open border. Someone is making money on fentanyl sales or all this would stop. 


Absolutely not. 

"Just say no"....the old war on drugs line.

This would not solve the drug issues on the street, but would harm patients who benefit from it.

This isn't correct.

Considering they gave it to me after surgery (while in the hospital) I can say from personal experience the statement it "currently have no accepted medical value" isn't correct. 

It's illegal fentanyl that we have a problem with in this country, not with how it's legally handled. 

Do not pass this bill.

I support restricting the flow and distribution on fentanyl, but the "War on Drugs" never worked and just resulted in the mass incarceration of far too many Black men and women while the drugs continued to flow. 

This bill is not the answer. We must institute better systems for helping people to avoid drug addiction, stop the over-prescription of opiates, and provide free and equitable healthcare for all. If people did not have reasons to use fentanyl and good means of resisting its pull, then we wouldn't have such terrible problems with overdose deaths in this country.

Do not pass this bill.


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BILL: Should Prior Drug Offenders Get SNAP Benefits? - RESTORE Act - H.R.3479

The Bill

H.R.3479 - Re-Entry Support Through Opportunities for Resources and Essentials (RESTORE) Act

Bill Status

  • Introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) on May 18, 2023
  • Committees: House - Agriculture
  • House and Senate: Not yet voted
  • President: Not yet signed

Bill Overview

  • The bipartisan Re-Entry Support Through Opportunities for Resources and Essentials Act (RESTORE Act) seeks to repeal the 1996 ban on people with drug felony convictions receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, enabling them to apply for the program before their release.
  • In 1996, Congress introduced a lifetime SNAP ban as a part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act signed by President Clinton. SNAP provides food assistance to low-income individuals through an EBT card, which can be used like a debit card to purchase eligible food from authorized stores. It is the largest federal nutrition program in the U.S. 

What's in the bill?

Improves re-entry for formerly incarcerated people 

  • The RESTORE Act aims to codify the Department of Agriculture (USDA) waiver, granting ex-offenders the ability to apply for SNAP benefits up to 30 days prior to their release, ensuring better access to essential resources.

Ends state denial of SNAP eligibility based on felony drug convictions

  • The RESTORE Act removes the ability for states to deny SNAP eligibility due to prior drug convictions. Currently, states can opt out of enforcing the ban, and 22 states still limit SNAP eligibility.

Combat hunger, poverty, addiction, and recidivism

  • The RESTORE Act recognizes that removing the drug felony ban allows returning individuals to prioritize finding employment and housing instead of worrying about feeding themselves and their families.

What advocates are saying:

How is this even a question?

Should they get food? Are you kidding me? This shouldn't even be a question. Yes, people who needs it should be able to get food. 

People deserve food.

Drug use doesn't carry a penalty of death by starvation. Depriving drug users of food will also lead to more crime as they will do anything to get food before they die of hunger.

Yes, support.

No human deserves to go hungry, especially not in the richest country in the world.


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BILL: Should Parents Control School Curriculum? - Parents Bill of Rights Act - H.R.5

The Bill

H.R.5 - Parents Bill of Rights Act

Bill Status

  • Introduced by Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA)
  • Committees: House - Education and the Workforce | Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • House: Passed House 
  • Senate: Not yet voted
  • President: Not yet signed

Bill Overview

  • The bill, passed in a 213-208 vote, ensures the rights of parents are honored and protected in the nation's public schools.
  • The bill enshrines parents' rights to know what is going on in their children's education and a right to have access to teacher-parent meetings, school budget decisions, curriculum and books, and the ability to speak before a school board. 
  • The bill encapsulates other GOP priorities, such as policies on transgender students.
  • While there were no Democrat votes in support of the bill, some amendments received bipartisan support. One of these includes a requirement to provide parents with notice of major cyberattacks and the GAO to submit a report evaluating the impact of the bill on protecting parents' rights.
  • The bill offers a national expansion of Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" Act, signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
  • The bill has a slim chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate or being signed by President Biden.

What's in the bill?

Makes curriculum and library catalogs available to parents

Enables parents to stop "woke indoctrination" in schools

  • Parent's rights activists have been worried about "woke indoctrination" in schools, with issues like critical race theory and gender identity theory being hot-button topics. The bill would enable parents to have a say in the curriculum and to challenge the school district on what is taught to their children.

Allows parents to know about transgender rights at school

Allows parents a higher degree of direct control

What advocates are saying:


If you want full control over what is taught to your kids, home school them. Otherwise, leave it to the professionals.


Parents HAVE the right to know what's being taught. All this will do will be to give radical voices power to stop real education. No more of this. Our children need to learn the real history of this country and learn to live and be with others different than them. This bill is deeply racist and discriminatory and must never pass. 

No way.

By the time I get through with people all disagreeing over what should be in the curriculum, there won't be anything left to teach.

I'm opposed.

As a former educator, I know that parents are too far removed from what is relevant to present day education.  Parents tend toward prejudice and the past.  

When are we going to talk about the real issue?

Parents who want to control the curriculum need to find a like-minded private school, or homeschool. 

When are we going to discuss the REAL education problem in this country, teacher shortages caused by recruitment and retainment failures all across our nation? When?