On Tuesday, state Representative Bill Cook (R-Beaufort County) introduced a controversial "Equalizing Voter Rights" bill (SB 667) that would negatively impact North Carolina students who are registered to vote where they attend school as opposed to being registered at their parents address. The bill would only apply to students from North Carolina attending college in the state. It would make such students ineligible for dependent status on a parent or guardian's state income tax forms. The bill was filed on Tuesday and is also paired with a larger voter suppression bill that would limit early voting days and times and ban same-day registration (SB 666).
Last year, 17 states passed voter suppression laws that increased wait times at the polls, decreased early voting days, and mandated state-issued ID requirements for voting. New laws affecting the election process have already been suggested this year in preparation for the 2014 mid-term elections. The Supreme Court is also currently debating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires areas with a history of voting discrimination to have any changes made to voting laws reviewed by the Department of Justice.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .