What are the states trying to pass this week? 8/4/11

This week brings lots of environmental legislation and lots of reproductive rights legislation. It just goes to show that states are like lemmings; where one goes, others will soon follow.

New York – Environment Issues

Gov. Cuomo signed a bill today that will allow for an increase in the number of power plants in New York. Also thrown into this bill are some measures to entice New Yorkers to go green. Part of the bill creates a plan for the government to provide low-interest loans to homeowners and businesses to be used for energy efficiency improvements. Those legislators think they’re so sneaky, bundling an energy efficiency program with a plan to build more power plants. Can you say conundrum?

New Jersey – More Environment Issues

Gov. Chris Christie has the opportunity to sign the nation’s first anti-fracking bill. Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, which is a gas drilling technique that may effect the quality and safety of drinking water. Most are doubtful that Christie, a Republican, will sign the democrat-backed ban on fracking. Read more about fracking in our recent blog post.

Massachusetts – Health Care

A group in Massachusetts has begun the process of getting an assisted suicide initiative on next year’s ballot. Called the “Death With Dignity” Act, the proposal would allow terminally ill patients, with only 6 months left to live, to choose to end their lives peacefully and painlessly. The issue is highly controversial because there’s a lot of room for mistakes. Right now, Oregon and Washington are the only states that permit physician assisted suicide by law.

Kansas – Reproductive Rights Issues

In recent months, Kansas has been a main battle ground of the continuing war on women. Republican Governor Brownback signed a ridiculous law in June that basically requires abortion clinics to jump through multiple hoops in order to get and maintain their licenses (janitors’ closets must be a precise size and the clinics must be kept at a certain temperature... seriously?!). This law is currently blocked by a US District Court, but on Monday, the American Association of Pro-Life OB/GYNs challenged the court and wants the hold to be lifted. They are in SUCH a rush to prevent women from being free to make their own decisions.

North Carolina – More Reproductive Rights Issues

North Carolina state legislators have overridden Governor Purdue’s veto of an extreme anti-choice law. The law requires a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, “counseling” for women seeking abortions (written by legislators, not doctors), and an additional ultrasound where the physician is required to show and explain every little detail. Why do conservatives insist on treating women like sub-human second-class citizens who can’t think for themselves?? This law is certainly, as the ACLU put it, “an insult to the women of North Carolina”, as well as a threat to every woman in the U.S.

Florida – Education (and a pinch of reproductive rights)

Legislators in Florida don’t want any federal funds from the Affordable Care Act… except if they can use the funds for an Abstinence Education Program. They’ve decided to accept money to go towards teaching children to abstain from sex. Their campaign called “It’s great to wait” forces religious beliefs regarding premarital sex upon students, ages 9-18. Looks like the line between church and state has again become blurry. Wouldn’t those funds be much better spent on a safe sex education program? I mean, let’s get real.