A directive was issued this week by the Philadelphia Police Department that removes the passage of a lie detector test as a condition of employment. The Department made the decision after reviewing recent studies that show polygraph tests to be unreliable, often measuring a person’s nervousness as opposed to honesty. “I think that there are a lot of applicants who would have made outstanding police officers that were rejected because they couldn’t pass the polygraph,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson. Johnson argued that in the face of a recent wave of Philadelphia corruption scandals that clearly the polygraph is not weeding out all the potentially corrupt candidates, and that the department can better uncover character flaws by doing more extensive background checks. He also added that drug screening, which is one of the prime purposes of the polygraph, is more accurately done through new hair sampling techniques. There has been some dissent among anonymous Philadelphia officials, who argue that officers need as much screening as possible, and that the polygraph is good at catching bad candidates. Many cities in the U.S. still use polygraph tests, including Baltimore, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and Dallas. However, New York City, and many other cities, have never used them, and have no plans to instate them.
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. . . .