Voter ID Bill Sponsor Resigns After Drunk Driving Charge
Ohio state Representative Robert Mecklenborg announced Sunday that he is resigning after news of a drunk driving charge became public. Rep. Mechlenborg, chairman of the House Government and Elections Committee and sponsor of a controversial bill requiring voters to show a valid photo ID to register, was arrested in Indiana last April for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and with an expired driver's license. According to media reports, he was accompanied in his car by a young woman and was found with Viagra in his system. His announcement of resignation came just days after Republican House speaker William Batchelder publicly asked him to leave office.
Information regarding the arrest was not made public at the time, but surfaced late last month, just one day after Mecklenborg delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor in favor of House Bill 125, which would ban abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat.
Mecklenborg sponsored a voter ID bill (HB 159) just days after the arrest and without a driver's license of his own. The most restrictive state voter ID bill yet, it would require voters to show one of the following at the polls: Ohio state ID card, Ohio driver's license, Military photo ID, or U.S. passport. According to American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, HB 159 could deny the right to vote to thousands of citizens who do not have the very limited acceptable forms of identification. They claim that it would disproportionately affect low-income, disabled, racial and ethnic minorities, college students, and the elderly. The bill has passed the House and awaits a vote in the Senate.
Media Resources: Boston Herald 7/18/11; TPM 7/18/11; Columbus Business First 7/18/11; Columbus Dispatch 6/30/11; American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio 6/30/11
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. . . .