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.
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. . . .