Erin Andrews, an ESPN sportscaster who was recently victimized by a stalker, came out in support of the Simplifying the Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe Act of 2010 (STALKERS) yesterday at a press conference. The bill, which seeks to update and strengthen current federal anti-stalking laws, was introduced in the house last week by Congresswomen Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Virginia Foxx (D-NC), according to CNN. Andrews said that because stalking legislation has not advanced with changing technologies, the bill will modernize stalking legislation to "give law enforcement the tools they need to combat stalking in the digital age."
Andrew's stalker, who followed her to three states to film her through the peepholes of hotel rooms, was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison. Andrews stated on the Huffington Post that while her stalker "will be in prison for a little over two years," the nude videos he filmed "will be on the Internet for the rest of my life." She also emphasized her desire to push STALKERS forward, saying, "I'm showing my face. I'm lending my voice. And I'm here to give this law some teeth," reported Salon.
The bill updates federal stalking law to include technologies, such as text messaging, and allows for stricter punishment when the victim is elderly or a minor, according to Salon. Additionally, the bill raises the maximum prison sentence for stalking to five years and broadens the definition of stalking to "conduct [that] would be reasonably expected to cause the other person serious emotional distress." The law could potentially be used as a model for reforming state stalking laws as well.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), plans to introduce a version of the bill in the Senate.
Media Resources: Salon 7/27/10; CNN 7/27/10; Huffington Post 7/27/10
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. . . .