VA Senate Pushes Gerrymandering Bill Through During Inauguration
While public attention was focused on the inauguration of President Obama, the Virginia state Senate quickly passed a redistricting measure that could give Republicans a majority in the state senate in 2015. The measure was passed on a 20 to 19 party-line vote while one Democratic state senator was in Washington, D.C., for the Inauguration ceremonies.
"We talk about the dangers of legislating on the fly. Well, this is the ultimate in danger," Senator Don McEachin of Henrico (D) said about the measure. "The public has no idea what we're about to do adopting this substitute, nor would they know in the next three days that it would take for this bill to ultimately pass."
Governor Bob McDonnell (R) had yet to read the legislation when it was passed. A spokesperson for the governor's office told reporters "The Governor was very surprised to learn that a redistricting bill would be voted on by the Senate today... He has not seen this legislation. If the bill gets to his desk he will review it in great detail at that time as he did with prior redistricting legislation."
The redistricting would potentially eliminate one democratic seat in the Virginia senate by creating one district that is predominantly minorities, and in doing so allowing Republicans to gain control of nearby districts.
Democratic Leader Richard Saslow (D-Fairfax) says that Democrats will challenge the measure in court if it passes the House. "If this plan stands, there will be litigation, you can be sure of that," he told reporters. "The Virginia Constitution says that the Virginia General Assembly shall redistrict in 2011 and every 10 years thereafter. This will be struck down. The collateral damage from this thing will be immeasurable. This isn't the last we've heard of this."
Media Resources: Richmond Times-Dispatch 1/22/2013; ThinkProgress 1/21/2013; Washington Post 1/21/2013
7/29/2014 Extensive Female Genital Mutilation Study To Be Conducted in the US - The Obama administration plans to conduct a large study on female genital mutilation (FGM) to try to assess how many girls and women in the US are at risk, and how many have already experienced, FGM.
According to experts, FGM tends to take place during summer break when parents take their daughter outside of the country for the practice.
Jaha Dukureh, a 24-year-old woman who grew up in Gambia, experienced FGM there, and then child marriage in the US, started a petition that gained more than 220,000 supporters. . . .
7/29/2014 Women Just Won Big In Mississippi - Feminist Majority Foundation leaders are elated by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a preliminary injunction against a Mississippi TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider) law that would have closed the only abortion clinic in the state. . . .