Los Angeles Police Commission Approves New Discipline Guidelines
Police officers in Los Angeles who commit offenses such as degrading women and minorities will face stricter punishments as of Tuesday, June 24. The Los Angeles Police Commission has affirmed a new set of discipline guidelines which suggest penalties varying from reprimands to termination. The new guidelines regard "racist or sexist behavior or any form of sexual misconduct, including verbal sexual harassment" as one of the four most serious offenses a police officer can commit. According to the guidelines, a domestic violence felony can result in termination. A first offense of hanging photos of a "sexually biased nature" in the work place can result in a five to nine-day suspension. A Police Commission task force which included members of the police officers union, community groups and the American Civil Liberties Union formulated the guidelines in an attempt to make the LAPD's internal discipline better reflect the severity of officers' offenses. Before the Police Commission approved the recommendations, department supervisors were free to assign punishments in any manner they wished. While the reforms are not binding, members of the task force hope the guidelines will eventually become the standards supervisors follow in punishing officers.
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. . . .