The Iowa Senate on Tuesday approved SF 2416,
a bill to sharply increase fines on employers violating Iowa state wage
laws, crack down on the practice of misclassifying employees as
"independent contractors" to evade those laws, and protect workers
reporting violations from retaliation.
Since the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) established the
requirement that first time voters present some form of identification
before voting in a federal election, voter identification requirements
of all sorts have been enacted across the country.Currently
26 states have laws that are more restrictive than the HAVA mandate,
and 21 states require ID from voters every time they vote.These laws have been passed by arguing they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, even though all evidence suggests that such fraud is extremely rare and poses no threat to the integrity of our voting systems.Instead, these fraud arguments have merely been a partisan tool, used for decades, to suppress turnout
among new groups entering the electorate in large numbers and
threatening the power of those currently in charge, whether they be
minorities, immigrants or students.
The Kansas State Supreme Court temporarily blocked
a grand jury investigating an abortion provider from collecting more
than 2,000 patient records, including patients who didn't end up having
an abortion. The provider, Dr. Tiller, and his attorneys objected to
the subpoena of patient records as a violation of women's constitutional rights. The Center for Reproductive Rights also filed a petition
on behalf of patients to stop the subpoena's. The Court, at least for
now, agreed the subpoenas raised "significant issues" about patients'
privacy. A final decision will be made by February 25th.
It took two days after the Kansas tornadoes nearly wiped Greensburg, Kansas
off the map before a significant number of military vehicles
arrived, most streaming in from Wichita about 100 miles away. As
Kansas State Senator Donald Betts Jr.,
Nearly 650,000 people are released
from state and federal prison every year, with larger numbers
reentering communities from local jails. Over 50 percent of those
released from incarceration are sent back to prison for a parole
violation or new crime within 3 years.
Tax cuts for seniors? Helping older voters on fixed incomes seems like
a good idea to many legislators, but a number of states are passing tax
cuts for taxpayers over age 65 regardless of whether the seniors need