After months of Republican stalling, the Senate unanimously voted yesterday to pass the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, an anti-crime bill that includes the Sex Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the Violence Against Women Act(VAWA). The law codifies VAWA for five years and authorizes $3 billion in funds for sexual assault and domestic violence prevention, including sexual assault prevention training for judges, battered women’s services, state-based services for victims of domestic violence, and transitional housing for victims of domestic violence. The law authorizes $94.5 million for victims of sex trafficking, creates special visas for victims of trafficking and slavery, and doubles the current maximum penalty for sex trafficking. In addition, the bill specifies that the United States withhold certain aid from governments who fail to enforce the provisions.
The Feminist Majority Foundation, along with other national women's organizations, has campaigned for the reauthorization of this crucial legislation. FMF President Eleanor Smeal spoke at several recent press conferences, alongside feminist leaders and women members of Congress, demanding that Republican stop their political game-playing with this essential bill. Just after the bill was passed, the President and Vice President each issued statements in support of VAWA and the Sex Trafficking Victims Protection Act, demonstrating a commitment to protecting women from sexual assault and domestic violence.
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .