Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson refused to grant an injunction that would have stopped a new Pennsylvania voter ID law from going into effect today. Simpson's decision will most likely be appealed to the state Supreme Court. The law will require anyone voting in Pennsylvania to show specific government issued photo IDs. Pennsylvania's Secretary of State estimates that 758,000 registered voters lack the proper ID.
Elderly women, members of minority populations, college students, Pennsylvanians with disabilities, and transgender individuals have all testified in the case against the new law, claiming it would disenfranchise them. In his ruling, Judge Simpson wrote that those seeking the injunction blocking enforcement of the law did not show that "disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable," reported NBC.
Four of the six state Supreme Court justices would need to vote against the voter ID law for it to be overturned. Currently the court is split evenly with three Republicans and three Democrats. The seventh judge, Republican Justice Joan Orie Melvin, has been suspended while she faces criminal corruption charges, reports the Associated Press.
Earlier this year, Republican Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turazi claimed that the new law would "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania" in the November election. Opponents of the law have cited that the state does not have any evidence to suggest that voter fraud has occurred or will occur in Pennsylvania elections to justify a voter ID law. The US Department of Justice is also looking into the law due to evidence suggesting the law discriminates against minority groups.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .