President Obama, New York to Take Harsher Stance on Gun Control
On Monday, President Barack Obama announced that he will be revealing a proposal of new gun control policies and is willing to take executive actions if necessary. Currently, the President is considering up to 19 different executive orders that he could take to effect stricter gun control without having to wait for approval from Congress. "I'm confident there are some steps that we can take that don't require legislation and that are within my authority as president," Obama said in his press conference. "And where you get a step that has the opportunity to reduce the possibility of gun violence, then I want to go ahead and take it."
In addition to action at the federal level, the state Senate of New Yorkapproved the first piece of legislation regulate guns since the Sandy Hook shooting. The bill, which would be the strictest in the nation, expands the definition of what is considered a banned assault weapon, increases penalties for criminal gun possession, and creates a database of submitted gun permits. N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that the New York Senate "made a bold statement, coming together in a bipartisan, collaborative manner to meet the challenges that face our state and our nation, as we have seen far too many senseless acts of gun violence."
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association (NRA) launched a new smartphone and tablet app that includes a game simulating shooting practice approved for children as young as four. "NRA: Practice Range" includes access to the NRA new, educational materials, and online resources along with the shooting practice game which features nine firearms, targets in the shape of coffins, and some guns that be upgraded for $0.99.
Media Resources: BBC 1/15/2013; Fox News 1/15/2013; Reuters 1/15/2013; SF Gate 1/15/2013; Huffington Post 1/14/2013
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. . . .