The US Census released the 2010 population counts today, finding a 9.7 percent increase since 2000. As a result of population shifts, 10 states lost seats in the House of Representatives: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. By contrast, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Carolina, Texas Utah, and Washington gained seats. Texas had the greatest gain of four seats. This is the first time in several decades that California has not gained seats.
Media pundits have concluded that Republicans will gain an advantage since the gains occurred in Sunbelt states, which are reliably "red" states. However, Rob Richie, Executive Director of FairVote, clarified that the media is incorrect in its assessment of the partisan impact of the population increase on the House of Representatives. Although on the surface there appears to be an increase in Republican representation, this is not necessarily the case, depending where in the state the seat was gained.
Richie pointed out, "the reality is that population shifts not only impact numbers of House seats: they can impact the partisan leanings of states. All it takes is population changes causing one state to shift toward Democrats to undo all the huffing and puffing about electoral vote gains and losses."
Media Resources: Huffington Post 12/19/10; US Census Department 12/21/10
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. . . .