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.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .