From the Union of Concerned Scientists, an announcement that my Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has introduced a bill called the Restore Scientific Integrity to Federal Research and Policy Making Act (S. 1358) (perhaps he’s been reading cosmic variance?) According to the UCS, the bill will:
Help prevent the manipulation of data by prohibiting federal employees from tampering with or censoring federally funded scientific research or analysis or directing the dissemination of false or misleading information; Protect government scientists and strengthen whistleblower protections by prohibiting supervisors from threatening or taking action against an employee who is developing or disseminating appropriate scientific research or analysis; Strengthen the independence of federal science advisory committees by banning political litmus tests, requiring that all appointments to science advisory committees be made without regard to political affiliation; Improve transparency of the science advisory process by requiring agencies to disclose in advance: the makeup of the committee, the process for identifying members and selecting members for balance of viewpoints or expertise, any conflicts of interest that members have, and a summary of the way the committee reached conclusions; Promote review of government science by requiring that each agency determine a peer review process appropriate for the agency’s functions and needs, and by eliminating the Office of Management and Budget peer review that may lead to unnecessary cost increases and delays in promulgating new health, safety, and environmental regulations; Establish an annual report to Congress by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which must address controversies regarding scientific integrity raised during the year, including any federal policy changes related to or administration efforts to promote scientific integrity.
All steps in the right direction. They have a handy pre-written letter to send to your senators to ask them to cosponsor the bill, which you can edit as you like.
Rep Henry Waxman (D-CA), a leader in the fight against politics-tainted science earlier introduced a similar bill in the House, which is still sitting in committee, so a similar letter to your reps is probably in order.
The UCS also has a sign-on statement for scientists on this general issue, if you are a scientist and interested in showing your support for scientific integrity in policymaking.