Wisconsin Republicans Vote for Anti-Union Bill, Breaking Law
Breaking Senate rules and Wisconsin law, Wisconsin Republican senators voted in conference committee yesterday to take away collective bargaining rights of public workers. In the absence of the 14 Democratic senators who fled the state in a strategy the make Governor Scott Walker (R) negotiate with them, the Republican senators voted in conference to strip the House bill of its spending measures to bypass the Senate 60 percent quorum. Then the Republican Senators voted 18-1, with only Republicans voting. The Republican senators violated the Wisconsin Open Public Meetings Law requiring that 24 hours' notice be given prior to a meeting.
After the Republican Senate vote, about 7,000 protestors peacefully descended on the Wisconsin Capitol carrying drums and horns and chanting. Over the past three weeks, tens of thousands of protestors have been gathering daily in Madison, WI to protest the anti-union bill. A significant number of protestors have also been sleeping in the Capitol Rotunda and are vowing to stay until the issue is resolved.
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, stated, "The feminist movement stands firmly with the public workers. This attack on public workers, many of whom are women who can hardly make ends meet while once again millionaires are given tax breaks, must stop."
Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO called the stand-alone union busting a nuclear option, and Democrats are vowing to fight back. Governor Walker's extreme anti-union bill proposes to reduce state workers' salaries and take away the right of unions to collectively bargain for benefits, hours, and working conditions. The bill would cut public workers' wages between six and eight percent.
Governor Walker, endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life, considers himself 100 percent pro-life and opposes abortion for all reasons, even in the cases of rape, incest, and when the woman's life is endangered. Walker also opposes stem cell research and is in favor of cuts to family planning funding.
Media Resources: Chicago Tribune 3/10/11; American Values Statement 3/9/11; New York Times 3/9/11; Democracy for America Statement 3/9/11; Governor Scott Walker Website 3/10/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/17/11
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. . . .