U.S. Senate Retains Affirmative Action Transportation Contracts
The U.S. Senate voted 58 to 37 against a proposal that would have eliminated the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program from a bill authorizing transportation projects for the next six years. The DBE requires that at least 10 percent of highway construction contracts be awarded to companies owned by women and minorities. Since the inception of the program in the 1970’s contracts awarded to women and minorities have increased from 2 to 15 percent, according to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
The proposal to drop the program was sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who stated that the program was “unfair, unconstitutional, and just plain un-American.”
Supporters of the program claim that it is constitutional and essential to eliminating discrimination in the construction industry. Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) said McConnell’s proposal was a “clear demonstration” of why the Republican party has difficulty attracting women and minorities.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .