AZ High Court Refuses to Hear Case Against Napolitano
The Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a petition by conservative lawmakers charging that Governor Janet Napolitano overstepped her gubernatorial authority when she signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation for state workers. Passed last June, the measure-which applies to state workers in the executive branch-also stipulates that employees who harass others based on sexual orientation may be terminated. Napolitano's camp was pleased with the Supreme Court's decision, and Chief lead counsel Tim Nelson appeared confident the order would stand. "I don't know that the Legislature can impede on the executive branch in that way, he said, according to Capitol Media Services.
The Christian legal group Alliance Defense Fund filed the lawsuit on behalf of six Republican lawmakers. One of the plaintiffs, Rep. Doug Quelland (R-Phoenix) told CMS, "The people in my district don't consider it discrimination." The executive order could still face challenges in the lower courts, or it may be overruled in the Legislature, with a veto-proof majority, according to PlanetOut. Similar executive orders have been signed in six other states and President Clinton signed a measure in 1998 banning discrimination based on sexual orientation for federal workers, according to Lambda Legal Defense, reported PlanetOut.
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. . . .