Los Angeles City Council Moves to Strengthen Rape Investigations
With the help of the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women , two Los Angeles city council members have proposed a new bill that would create a local version of the federal Debbie Smith Act, which authorizes money to reduce the national backlog of untested DNA rape kits. Council members Jack Weiss and Jan Perry’s proposal to the Los Angeles City Council follows the recent revelation that thousands of untested rape-evidence kits were destroyed by the LAPD. In addition to endorsing the legislation of the Debbie Smith Act, Weiss and Perry’s bill increases local funding for DNA testing so that all rape evidence can be inventoried and tested, regardless of whether or not a suspect has been identified. Current LAPD protocol encourages detectives to only test evidence in cases where a suspect has been identified, leaving “critical evidence locked away in the LAPD’s freezers while rapists are free to assault more women,” said Weiss. Weiss and Perry’s bill will prohibit police from destroying DNA rape kits, and will mandate that all tested evidence be put through the California Cold Hit program, which matches DNA evidence with offender databases. According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, states that use cold hit programs on DNA rape evidence are finding up to a 48% “hit rate” on other unsolved rape cases.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times, 09/21/02; Jack Weiss Press Release, 09/20/02; Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, 09/27/02
10/13/2015 EEOC Launches Hollywood Gender Discrimination Probe - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has contacted several women directors in Hollywood in an effort to determine whether legal intervention is necessary to disrupt the industry's discriminatory hiring practices.
In a letter sent to some 50 women filmmakers, the EEOC - which is responsible for protecting individuals from employment discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion and national origin through enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - requested interviews with them to "learn more about the gender-related issues" women behind the camera face in both the film and television industries.
In May, following the release of a study by the San Diego State University Center for the Study of Women in Television in Film revealing only 7 percent of 2014's 250 top-grossing movies were helmed by women, the ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women's Rights Project urged state and federal rights agencies to investigate Hollywood's failure to hire equal numbers of women. . . .
10/12/2015 Report Finds Texas' HB2 Increases Abortion Wait Times - A new report released by the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Policy Evaluation Project found patients seeking abortions in Texas have experienced an increase in wait times since the passage of HB2, the 2013 Texas omnibus anti-abortion bill that attempts to cut off abortion access by requiring abortion providers in the state to fulfill medically unnecessary ambulatory surgical center requirements and secure hospital admitting privileges.
More than half of 42 clinics providing abortion in Texas have been forced to shut their doors since HB2 passed two years ago, leading Texas women to wait up to 20 days for a first consult at one of the surviving 18 reproductive health clinics operating in the state, the second most populous in the nation. . . .
10/9/2015 Federal Judge Orders Anti-Abortion Group to Cede Footage to NAF - On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and its leader David Daleidan must turn over all previously unreleased "sting" videos and outtakes of National Abortion Federation (NAF) meetings the group obtained surreptitiously as part of a smear campaign against the abortion provider.
U.S. . . .