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State Legislatures

Wins At The Ballot Box For Abortion Rights Still Mean Court Battles

Before Ohio voters amended their constitution last year to protect abortion rights, the state’s attorney general, an anti-abortion Republican, said that doing so would upend at least 10 state laws limiting abortions. But those laws remain a hurdle and straightforward access to abortions has yet to resume, said Bethany Lewis, executive director of the Preterm abortion clinic in Cleveland. “Legally, what actually happened in practice was not much,” she said. Today, most of those laws limiting abortions — including a 24-hour waiting period and a 20-week abortion ban — continue to govern Ohio health providers, despite the constitutional amendment’s passage with nearly 57% of the vote. For abortion rights advocates, it’s going to take time and money to challenge the laws in the courts.

Colorado Looks To Rental-Car Fee To Fund Passenger Rail Projects

Denver, Colorado - Colorado legislators plan to introduce a bill that will increase the state fee on rental cars by $2 to $3 per day to help pay for proposed passenger rail service along the Front Range and to Craig, Colo., the Colorado Sun reports. The fee would generate as much as $50 million annually, which the state would use for matching funds for federal grant programs — specifically targeting the $60 billion for rail projects in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. “I really want to make sure Colorado gets some of that money,” state Senate President Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder) told the Sun.

Thousands March For Missing And Murdered Indigenous People

On Valentine’s Day, actions were staged throughout several Minnesota cities and  Indian reservations to memorialize Indigenous people who are missing, or have been murdered. Minneapolis, Duluth, Bemidji, Fargo-Moorhead, Mahnomen on the White Earth  Indian Reservation and the Red Lake Indian Reservation all organized events including opportunities for family members to speak of their lost loved ones and the community to show support. Nearly 300 braved the cold weather in Bemidji on Wednesday, also recognized as the Day of  Remembrance for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives, to hear organizers and family members speak of lost relatives and their efforts to prevent future cases of missing, or murdered, people.

2023 Was The Year Of Anti-Trans Hysteria

There was a lot of screaming and shouting at the Rally to End Child Mutilation, hosted in October 2022 in Nashville, Tenn., by right-wing podcaster Matt Walsh, who has said he would ​“rather be dead” than have a transgender child. Compared with the noisy attendees, the Proud Boys were relatively quiet. Escorted by police amid a crowd of hundreds outside the Tennessee state house, the black-and-yellow-clad men stood arms akimbo, their tactical cargo pants bloused over their boots, their silent presence an implied threat of enforcement for what the rest of the rally’s speakers said.

Tackling The Problem Of ‘Captive Audience’ Meetings

Political and religious coercion in the workplace is a growing problem affecting workers from all backgrounds and across the political spectrum. U.S. employers have tremendous power over worker conduct under current federal laws. For example, employers can require workers to attend “captive audience” meetings—and force employees to listen to political, religious, or anti-union employer views—on work time. In the face of this growing threat, legislators in 18 states have advanced bills to protect workers from offensive or unwanted political and religious speech unrelated to job tasks or performance.

Boston March October 7 To Demand: Indigenous Peoples Day Now!

United American Indians of New England (UAINE), the North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) and other organizations have called for a march and rally on Oct. 7 to demand that the Massachusetts legislature forever replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. This decades-long struggle of Indigenous peoples in Massachusetts, where the Pilgrims carried out “first encounter” land thefts and genocide, aims to overturn centuries of entrenched racist mythology wrapped up in the triumphalist federal holiday known as Columbus Day.  The 2017 murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the hands of fascists, and the police lynching of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, sparked a national wave of actions targeting racist icons, including Christopher Columbus. 

Momentum For New And Expanded Child And Earned Income Tax Credits

2023 legislative sessions saw strong momentum toward creating and expanding child tax credits. Three states created a new permanent child tax credit, one created a one-time child tax credit payment, and seven states improved existing child tax credits. These efforts build on the success of the federal Child Tax Credit in reducing child poverty and improving outcomes for children in the near and long term. Many states this year have also improved their earned income tax credits (EITCs). State EITCs, like the federal EITC, boost incomes for people paid low wages and provide greater support for people caring for children, helping them better make ends meet and thrive in the long run, research has found.
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