House Passes Bill to Notify Public About Sex Offenders
The House passed a bill Tuesday night (5-6) that would require states to inform the public when dangerous sex offenders are released from prison and move to their neighborhoods. The federal version of New Jerseyís "Meganís Law" would let states decide how much danger the offenders pose and how much public warning is appropriate. The bill is named for seven-year-old Megan Kanka who was raped and killed in 1994, allegedly by a convicted sex offender who lived across the street from her in Hamilton Township, NJ. Another measure, which passed 414-4, would enable federal prosecutors to ask for life sentences without parole for repeat sexual assault offenders. The House also passed a bill expanding federal anti-stalking provisions to include strangers crossing state lines to injure or harass another person.
In the California kidnapping and murder trial of Richard Allen Davis, Davis came close to admitting he raped 12-year-old Polly Klaas after abducting her from a slumber party. When presented with the possibility that evidence of semen had been found -- a lead that turned out to be false -- Davis replied, "Then, hey, then Iím guilty of it. Thatís all there is to it." Davis has maintained that he was intoxicated and does not remember the abduction nor sexual assault, but that he killed Polly in order to avoid being found out and sent back to prison.
Media Resources: The San Francisco Chronicle - May 7, 1996
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. . . .