The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio on Wednesday announced it is suing the state of Ohio over anti-abortion restrictions enacted as part of the 2014-2015 state budget.
“To put it simply, none of these amendments have any place in the state budget bill,” said Susan Scheutzow, ACLU cooperating attorney and partner at the law firm of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, in a statement. “This massive bill is not intended to deal with new policy; the single subject of the budget should be the appropriation of funds for existing government programs or obligations.”
The lawsuit claims the restrictions violate the Ohio Constitution’s “single subject” rule, which requires each individual law keep to a single subject to avoid complexity and hidden language. In the case of the budget, the ACLU argues that the law shouldn’t go beyond appropriating state funds and tax collection.
The three anti-abortion budget amendments in question ban public hospitals and abortion clinics from making transfer agreements that are required to keep clinics open; order clinics to take government-outlined steps, including showing a patient if a fetal heartbeat is detected, before carrying out an abortion procedure; and create a new “parenting and pregnancy” program that shifts state funds into private organizations that are barred from mentioning abortion services.
“The first two amendments have nothing at all to do with budget appropriations,” said Jessie Hill, ACLU cooperating attorney and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, in a statement. “The third is also unconstitutional because it creates and funds an entirely new government program, something that requires stand-alone legislation.”
The ACLU says the lawsuit is about promoting good government that follows the rules, regardless of where any individual stands on the issue of abortion.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Preterm, a women’s health clinic in Cleveland that provides contraception, family planning and abortion services.
One anti-abortion restriction that’s not being sued over: The state budget effectively defunded clinics like Planned Parenthood by deeming their non-abortion services less competitive.
Republican legislators and Gov. John Kasich approved the anti-abortion restrictions with the state budget in June. But Democratic critics say the new rules harshly restrict access to legal abortions protected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
CityBeat covered the state budget in further detail here.
A bill enacting new regulations on minor political party participation in state elections yesterday passed through the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate despite objections from the Libertarian Party and other critics that the bill will shut out minor parties in future elections. The bill now needs approval from the Republican-controlled Ohio House and Republican Gov. John Kasich, who would likely benefit from the bill because it would help stave off tea party challengers in the gubernatorial election. The proposal was sponsored by State Sen. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati.
The Greater Cincinnati Port Authority yesterday released drafts for contracts with operators who will manage Cincinnati’s parking meters, lots and garages under the city’s parking plan, which leases the parking assets to the Port Authority for at least 30 years. Xerox will be paid about $4.5 million in its first year operating Cincinnati’s parking meters, and it will be separately paid $4.7 million over 10 years to upgrade meters to, among other features, allow customers to pay through a smartphone. Xerox’s contract will last 10 years, but it can be renewed for up to 30 years. The city administration says the parking plan will raise millions in upfront money then annual installments that will help finance development projects and balance the budget, but critics say the plan gives up too much control of Cincinnati’s parking assets.
City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee yesterday approved nearly $854,000 in tax credits over 10 years for Pure Romance in return for the company coming to and remaining in Cincinnati for 20 years. The city administration estimates the deal will lead to at least 126 new high-paying jobs in downtown Cincinnati over three years and nearly $2.6 million in net tax revenue over two decades. Pure Romance is a $100 million-plus company that originally planned to move from Loveland to Cincinnati with support from the state and city, but Gov. John Kasich’s administration ultimately rejected state tax credits for the company. Kasich’s administration says Pure Romance didn’t fit into an industry traditionally supported by the state, but critics argue the state government is just too “prudish” to support a company that includes sex toys in its product lineup.
The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST),
Cincinnati’s vitriolic tea party group, yesterday appeared to endorse John
Cranley, who’s running for mayor against Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls.
Ohio conservatives are defending their proposal to weaken the state’s renewable energy and efficiency mandates, which environmentalists and businesses credit with spurring a boom of clean energy production in the state and billions in savings on Ohioans’ electricity bills. State Sen. Seitz compared the mandates to “central planning” measures taken in “Soviet Russia.” A study from Ohio State University and Ohio Advanced Energy Economy found Ohioans will spend $3.65 billion more on electricity bills over the next 12 years if the mandates are repealed. CityBeat covered the attempts to repeal the mandates in further detail here and the national conservative groups behind the calls to repeal here.
Ohioans renewing their driver’s licenses or state ID cards will no longer be asked whether they want to remain on the list of willing organ donors. The move is supposed to increase the amount of participants in the state’s organ donation registry by giving people less chances to opt out.
An Ohio Senate bill would ban red-light cameras. Supporters of the traffic cameras say they deter reckless driving, but opponents argue the cameras make it too easy to collect fines for the most minor infractions.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine awarded $17 million in grants to crime victims services around Ohio, including more than $49,000 to the Salvation Army in Hamilton County.
President Barack Obama is likely to appoint Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve, which would make her the first woman to lead the nation’s central bank.
Lost in their smartphones and tablets, San Francisco train passengers didn’t notice a gunman until he pulled the trigger.
Scientists are bad at identifying important science, a new study found.
Miley Cyrus hosted and performed on Saturday Night Live this weekend and I have to admit — she rocked it. You have to give it to the writers for coming up with some original ways to incorporate her recent now-ubiquitous scandals (VMAs, buzzworthy music videos, ever-exposed tongue), but MiCy deserves some credit, too.
Bitch may be feuding with Sinead O’Connor and giving twerking a bad name, but she is definitely a solid performer. The weak skits of the night (How dare SNL make a failed attempt at a cheerleader sketch when we all know the Spartans can never be topped? Too soon!) flopped because of poor ideas or shoddy writing, not due to Miley’s lack of acting skills. The trend so far this year is the best skits being prerecorded ones (the Girls spoof with Tina Fey, this week's Fifty Shades of Grey auditions), which kind of defeats the purpose of it being a live show. Nonetheless, the No. 1 sketch of the night perfectly blended a Miley earbug with the government shutdown: “We Did Stop.”
Meanwhile, Nori West is racking up finer garments before her fourth month on Earth (FOR FREE) than the rest of us can probably ever imagine owning. In our adult lives.
In Case You Missed It: Dumb and
Dumber To is actually happening.
Not to be confused with the cringe-worthy 2003 prequel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (which I totally saw in theaters the day it opened), this Farrelly Brothers sequel will feature OG stars Jim Carrey (Lloyd Christmas) and Jeff Daniels (Harry Dunne) picking up 20 years after the duo’s last adventure. In D&D2, which currently has an unspecified 2014 release date, one of the guys has a long-lost offspring, and they both embark on a journey to find the child in hopes of attaining a new kidney. Kathleen Turner will play Fraida Felcher, a character mentioned but never seen in two scenes of the original (Below). Sounds like she's the baby mama. And SPOILER ALERT: Jennifer Lawrence will make a surprise cameo as a young Fraida. Hopefully we’ll get to see the French Tickler in action. Billy the blind kid and Sea Bass will also return, played by their respective original actors.
And because behind-the-scenes movie peeks are so fun, here’s Quvenzhane Wallis on the set of Annie with her near-identical stunt double who is at least three times Q’s age. The Jay Z and Will Smith-produced remake, due in theaters during Christmastime next year, will also star Jamie Foxx in the Daddy Warbucks role, appropriately renamed “Benjamin Stacks.”
Although it’s been 13 years since Freaks
and Geeks originally graced our television screens, longtime fans and
newcomers discovering the fantastic series on Netflix or IFC can now experience
McKinley High in a whole new way. The Fine Brothers, Internet creatives behind
the popular React series, developed a Freak and Geeks
choose-your-own-adventure game that combines great television, old-school video
games and your inner 10-year-old’s favorite genre of books. Players can
actually click on different choices in the YouTube video, leading them to new
videos based on their selections. Play now!
Watch what you say to Siri: That robot voice on your phone is actually a real lady! Recently, we learned Lisa Frank is an actual, live human. Next up: Siri. Voice actress Susan Bennett has come forward as the woman behind the mysterious personal assistant living inside newer Apple mobile devices. The recent Apple software update iOS 7 gives users the option of a new “male” Siri voice, prompting Bennett to reveal Siri’s original real-life counterpart. Meet her here.
Check out these cool paintings on coins: