Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sends Disabilities Treaty to Floor
Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tried to make abortion the primary issue in the Committee's hearing today on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Despite their attempts, the treaty was voted out of Committee on a vote of 13-6 with three Republican Senators voting with the 10 Democrats on the Committee.
Although Republican Senators Richard Lugar (IN), Johnny Isakson (GA) and John Barrasso (WY) voted with the Democratic majority to send the treaty to the floor, all three joined with their fellow Republicans in a failed attempt to pass an anti-abortion amendment offered by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Democrats argued that the politics of abortion have no place in the discussion of the treaty which is about the rights of persons with disabilities. Senator Barbara Boxer suggested to the Republican Senators that if they want to have a debate on abortion, they should do so on the floor of the Senate, not in the discussion about a treaty on the rights of the disabled.
Committee Chair Senator John Kerry's Secondary Amendment to Rubio's anti-abortion amendment passed on a party line vote with all 10 Democrats voting yes and all 9 Republicans voting no. The Kerry Amendment stated that the treaty is a "non-discrimination instrument" that it does not address particular health programs or procedures, but "Rather, the Convention requires that health programs and procedures are provided to individuals with disabilities on a non- discriminatory basis."
The treaty, which has strong support from the disabilities community will now go to the Senate floor where ratification requires a two-thirds vote.
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .