COLUMN: From Here and Back Again

Jim Coufal

Our Friend, the Republican Party, Part 2.

As follow-up to Part 1, here are more state-level Republican actions that have taken place since Part 1 appeared. Keep in mind the Republican Party asserts it is the party of smaller, less-intrusive governing, as well as that of family values.
1. Oklahoma state legislator sponsored a bill to require a woman get written permission from her sexual partner if she wants to have an abortion.
2. The Arkansas Governor passed a bill that would allow a husband-rapist to sue his victim-wife to stop an abortion.
3. A Kentucky representative introduced a bill that would require at least two doctor’s visits and a permission slip from one’s wife before a man could acquire erectile disfunction-type drugs. The bill also specifies that only married men may obtain the drug and requires “a man to make a sworn statement with his hand on a Bible that he will only use a prescription for a drug for erectile dysfunction when having sexual relations with his current spouse.” (A Democrat-introduced spoof.)

4. In Alabama. a House bill would authorize a Presbyterian Church to independently employ full-time police officers to “protect the safety and integrity of the church and its ministries.” The “officers” would answer to the church.
5. An Iowa State Senator proposed legislation such that  a “person shall not be hired as a professor or instructor member of the faculty at such an institution if the person’s political party affiliation on the date of hire would cause the percentage of faculty belonging to one political party to exceed by 10 percent the percentage of faculty belonging to the other political party.”
6. In Indiana, a  new piece of legislation would allow students to pray in school, wear clothing or jewelry with religious symbols and discuss their faith in assignments. That’s already legal.
7. A bill in Florida would provide religious privilege in public schools so that teachers could provide religious viewpoints to students (e.g., LBGT students are destined for hell); allow science papers to consider religious assertions as equal to science-based facts when grading science papers (e.g., the earth is 6,000 years old); undermine efforts to stop the bullying of marginalized students (e.g., fat students are being punished by god); and sanction school-sponsored and teacher-led prayers and other religious activities.
8. Recently, the National League of Cities released a report tracking an outbreak of state laws stepping on and nullifying local progressive laws and policies across the country. The picture it paints in seven key areas is shocking to anyone who believes in local democracy. The report, “City Rights in an Era of Preemption,” says 24 states have preempted local minimum wage increases; 17 have stopped paid sick or family leave; three have voided anti-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals; three have stopped laws aimed at home-sharing (like AirBnB that has tightened affordable housing options); 37 have blocked local regulation of ride-sharing (that compete with the more heavily licensed taxis); 17 have blocked municipal broadband (challenging telecom monopolies); and 42 have limited local taxation and spending.
9. The Texas Senate advanced a bill that would allow doctors to not tell pregnant patients if something is wrong wth their unborn child.
10. In West Virginia, the Statehouse introduced a bill that seeks to anoint “The Holy Bible” as the “official state book of West Virginia.”
11. In Virginia and Minnesota, Republicans just introduced bills to gerrymander the presidency. They want to give unfair Republican districts even greater weight while Democratic voices are silenced.
The pace of such inane activities seems to allow for many more future “parts,” illustrating the friendly Republican party. If you have further examples of such actions, please do share them with us.
Jim Coufal of Cazenovia is a part-time philosopher and full-time observer of global trends. He can be reached at madnews@m3pmedia.com.

1 comment to COLUMN: From Here and Back Again

  • Larry Richardson

    I really wish I had time to sit around and think about all these things, but I am too busy trying to make enough of a living to pay the highest property and income taxes in the United States. New York is really a lovely state, but if I can ever retire, I will be forced to move to more affordable climes.

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