Friday, August 25, 2023

Last Call For The Road To Gilead Goes Through Ohio, Con't

Having been roundly defeated in their efforts to make the vote in November on Issue 1 enshrining reproductive rights into the state constitution more difficult by requiring 60% of the vote, Ohio Republicans led by GOP Secretary of State and US Senate hopeful Frank LaRose are changing the rules again, trying to put a thumb, arm, shoulder, torso and body on the scale to muddle the language of the ballot initiative.
In a 3-2 split decision Thursday, the Ohio Ballot Board rejected using the full text of a proposed reproductive rights amendment on the ballot in November, adopting instead summary language written by the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office that was criticized for being incomplete and inaccurate.

The board’s approval of the language – which is now titled Issue 1 for the November general election – was the next step in the process of voters deciding whether or not the Ohio Constitution will include the right to abortion, as well as contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care, and continuing one’s own pregnancy. Those last four items were all left out of the language approved by the ballot board majority.

The summary language does not change what the actual amendment would state in the constitution, but would be the last representation of the amendment voters read before the casting their approval or rejection.

The full text of the amendment will be available at boards of elections during the election, but not in the ballot booths with voters. LaRose said posters with the text will be accessible at voting locations.

In the summary language approved by the board, the medical term “fetus” is changed to “unborn child,” and the amendment’s “decision” language is changed to “medical treatment.”

The leader of the Ohio Ballot Board, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, said the changes were made by “staff” of the board, though Democratic board member and state Rep. Elliot Forhan said “I would assume that the buck stops with the secretary of state.”

LaRose during the meeting also said that, “having worked extensively on drafting this, I do believe it’s fair and accurate.”

LaRose has been vocal in his opposition of the amendment, even saying the effort around the previous Issue 1, which would have changed the threshold to approve a constitutional amendment had it not been roundly defeated, was targeting the abortion rights fight specifically.

At the beginning of Thursday’s meeting, he prefaced the board’s activity by saying the group was not there to “debate the merits” of the amendment or the marijuana ballot initiative also on the table at the meeting.

Board member and state Sen. Theresa Gavarone, however, gave a speech in the middle of the meeting harshly criticizing the amendment and calling it “a bridge too far,” even after multiple comments by LaRose about the neutrality with which the board was supposed to conduct their business.

“This is a dangerous amendment that I’m going to fight tirelessly against,” Gavarone said. “But that’s not why we’re here today.”

Gavarone also claimed, as anti-abortion groups throughout the state do as well, that the amendment is “an assault on parental rights.” Neither the amendment nor the summary approved by the board mention parental rights of any kind.

The senator continued her comments during the board meeting, saying the true nature of the amendment “is hidden behind overly broad language,” despite the fact that the board summary took out pieces of the full text.

The summary passed by the board does not include a list of the rights to “reproductive decisions” spelled out in the ballot measure, including contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, and miscarriage care, all of which would be impacted under the new constitutional amendment.
So one more set of hurdles on the amendment itself, and Republicans are forced to rewrite and hide the fact the ballot initiative will protect a number of reproductive rights for Ohioans, because that would be popular and the vote might actually pass.
Republicans of course can't have that. I fully expect that should the ballot initiative pass, the most corrupt GOP state legislature in the country will simply turn to the GOP-controlled State Supreme Court to interpret that the state's abortion ban meets the criteria of the language of the ballot amendment, or far more likely in a ruling that favors the amendment and strikes down the law, Republicans will ignore it fully.

I mean, we've already gotten to the point where the state is ignoring the Court's ruling on gerrymandering, now stuck in a permanent limbo where even if the state Supreme Court doesn't play ball, Republicans will ignore the ballot measure and the courts and continue to shut down abortion clinics and hospital procedures in the state anyway.

There just isn't any reason to believe that Republicans will pay attention to the ballot measure if it wins, or they'll just make it impossible to enforce with loopholes and evasions that would make Republicans in Florida and Texas jealous.

I do expect the ballot to win in November.

The real fight begins then.

The Moose Lady Is Loose: Civil War Edition

In a bid to make herself relevant in GOP politics again, Alaska's biggest loser called on people to rise up after Trump's arrest on Newsmax on Thursday night. 
Sarah Palin responded to Donald Trump’s arrest in Georgia on Thursday night by talking up the possibility of civil war. Speaking to Eric Bolling as the former president was booked at the Fulton County Jail on election interference charges, Palin slammed “those who are conducting this travesty and creating this two-tier system of justice.” “I want to ask them: What the heck?” the former Alaska governor said. “Do you want us to be in civil war? Because that’s what’s going to happen. We’re not going to keep putting up with this.” Addressing Bolling, Palin went on to say: “I like that you suggested that we need to get angry. We do need to rise up and take our country back.
If you didn't have Moose Lady on your bingo card calling for open revolt against the US, well, nobody did because she's the kind of GOP "luminary" that has to go on Newsmax to get any attention at all, and while it's pretty disturbing to see he call for civil war, I'm betting she'll have a good time with the attention she'll get in the near future...from federal law enforcement. 

All proving that we dodged a bullet with John McCain's loss to Obama, Jesus.

Going Viral In Kentucky, Con't

Welcome back to school here in Kentucky, kids. You may think Covid is over. Covid doesn't think it's over with you.

Two school districts in eastern Kentucky have canceled in-person classes this week after a rise in illnesses including Covid-19, respiratory viruses and strep among its students and staff, according to local officials.

The Lee County School District, which enrolls just under 900 students, reported an 82% decrease in attendance last Friday, which it attributed to illnesses including flu and colds, Superintendent Earl Ray Shuler said. 
Lee County started the school year on August 8. By Monday of this week, the attendance rate had dropped to 81%, with 14 staff members also out sick, Shuler said.

Shuler said all buildings and buses are being sanitized, and all student activities for the remainder of the week are canceled.

Classwork will be done remotely for the remainder of the week. In-person learning returns Monday.

Students who had Covid-19 will be required to wear masks for five days when students return to school, Shuler said.

Magoffin County Schools, which has approximately 1,800 students, has seen its student attendance plummet from 95% last week to 83% on Wednesday, Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Chris Meadows told CNN by phone.

Meadows said the district made the decision Wednesday to cancel classes for the remainder of the week and will have students return to school Monday.

“We just kept seeing a trend,” Meadows said. “It’s not an easy decision, I don’t like to close school.”
A not-so-gentle reminder that the pandemic is still very much with us, and with one out of every five kids sick already in some districts, it's only going to get worse once we hit the heart of flu and Covid season later this fall. 

Believe it, from the guy who's taking care of loads of leave of absence tickets at your local enterprise IT desk because HR forces you on to short-term leave if you're out sick more than 3 straight days. Those tickets are way up too since school started, with snotty little kids bringing diseases to and from the local petri dish with 35 kids stuffed in a classroom and getting mom and dad sick.

It's going to be a bad winter.
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