State legislation of the week! - 7/21/11

Reproductive Rights - New Hampshire

Last month, New Hampshire legislators voted to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, causing six clinics in the state to stop providing birth control. Last week, the state's exective council had a chance to reverse this vote, but anti-choicers won out. It's a bleak situation for women in New Hampshire, not to mention all the other states who are marginalizing women's health issues.

Redistricting - Wisconsin

Redistricting maps were passed in the state Senate today. No democrats voted for the maps. Wisconsin conservatives hope that the state House will vote on the maps on Wednesday of next week, and Scott Walker will sign off in time for the redistricting to go into effect for the recall elections on August 19. Democrats claim these sneaky moves are illegal and say that the Republicans are just trying to improve their chance of maintaining the majority (the recall elections could flip the Senate to a democratic majority).

Civil Rights - Colorado

The Denver City Council stuck up for immigrants' rights by overturning a voter-approved initiative that unfairly targeted undocumented immigrants. The initiative pertained to unlicensed drivers and included specific clauses regarding "illegal aliens" that the council didn't seem to think were appropriate. It's still illegal to drive without a lecense in Denver, but the consequences will be the same for everyone.

Education - Georgia

In response to the huge cheating scandal in Atlanta public schools, in which teachers and administrators were found to have been changing answer sheets to make their students score higher, a democratic Georgian legislator introduced a bill that would require teachers who are caught cheating to return any bonuses they may have recieved for the high scores of their students. Makes sense... but it doesn't seem very proactive. What happened to attacking the problem at the root? Work on making your public schools less corrupt.

Civil Rights AND Education - Massachusetts

The MA House is currently deciding whether or not undocumented immigrants should be allowed to pay reduced in-state tuition for state colleges and universities. The bill that would allow immigrant students to pay in-state tuition passed the Senate a while ago, but hasn't budged in the House. Governor Patrick made an appearance at a hearing this week and urged legislators to vote in favor of the bill, reminding them that "we're talking about real people whose ambitions are caught up in the only community, in most cases, that they know." Preach, Patrick!