The confirmation hearing for President-elect Barack Obama's Labor Secretary nominee Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA), a leader and fighter for women and people of color, ran smoothly Friday. Republican questioning of Solis focused on union issues, particularly organizing rights. According to the Los Angeles Times, many questions focused on a bill that Solis co-sponsored, the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have made it easier for workers to form unions. Solis reportedly refused to comment on the bill because she could not speak for the incoming administration on the matter because she had not spoken with President-elect Obama about it, according to the New York Times.
In the House, Solis is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Natural Resources Committees, and the House Select Committee of Independence and Global Warming. She is also a former chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues and she authored a record 17 anti-domestic violence laws as a California State Senator.
In her testimony, Solis discussed the current economic crisis and noted that "families are struggling in the face of wage disparities, which significantly impact women of color. A Latina earns on average 57 cents for every dollar that a man earns. An African-American woman earns just 68 cents for every dollar that a man earns. These wage disparities directly contribute to a cycle of poverty and lower retirement savings and Social Security benefits for women throughout their lifetime."
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 12/19/08; Testimony of Hilda Solis 9/9/09; LA Times 1/10/09; The New York Times 1/10/09
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .