The Midwest Report is a daily news-roundup dedicated exclusively to the American Midwest.
1) Ohio – Story One
“Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs and Braids,” by (blogger) Black Girl With Long Hair, and published on 06/20/13.
“The Lorain Horizon Science Academy in Ohio is facing heat from the natural hair community after a copy of a letter to parents that included a ban on afro puffs and ‘small twisted braids’ was posted online…
It’s unclear what the administration means by small twisted braids, but if they are referring to box braids they are banning a protective style that black girls have worn for generations. Afro-puffs are essentially the black version of the ponytail (when pulled back our hair puffs out instead of laying down), and yet the rules do not have a ban on ponytails for students of other ethnicities…
The dress code restrictions highlight an age-old struggle that naturals face from both within and outside of the black community. Our hair is viewed as radical, funky or unruly in its natural state, and restrictions are sometimes placed on us in academic and professional settings that do not extend to our non-black counterparts.”
2) Ohio – Story Two
“Ohio called a gun conduit,” written by Joshua Jamerson for the Columbus Dispatch, and published on 06/22/13.
“Federal data released this week show once again that Ohio is a top source for guns involved in crimes in other states. And the state remains among the weakest when it comes to gun laws. Criminals know that, law-enforcement officials say, so it’s no surprise that Ohio guns show up in so many criminal acts in other states.
‘People know they can come to Ohio, get a gun, and take it someplace where there are tougher restrictions,’ said Columbus Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. ‘It happens at gun shows in the sticks and through underground schemes on city streets.’
Sometimes, it’s a lot of guns, such as the 183 that ended up involved in New York crimes, or just one, such as the Ohio gun linked to a crime in Vermont. In all, 1,601 guns were first legally purchased in Ohio last year and then linked to crimes such as robbery and homicide in 36 other states.”
3) Wisconsin – Story One
“Wisconsin lawmaker: Republicans use ‘Taliban’ tactics against women,” written by Steve Frank for MSNBC, and published on 06/21/13.
“Wisconsin is doing everything but thriving under Republican Gov. Scott Walker: the economy now ranks 49th out of 50 states in the nation, while landing 44th in job creation. The Badger State is also fifth worst when it comes to good private sector wages, and those wages are dropping twice as fast as the national average…
So what are Republicans doing to reverse the state’s disastrous economy? By ramping up the war on women, of course. Things got ugly last week when the Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill that requires women seeking an abortion to first get a state-mandated, medically unnecessary ultrasound…
“Anti-women legislation has been their priority, not creating jobs,” Taylor told Schultz. ”This is no different than what I experienced when I went to Turkey and heard of what the women in the Middle East are experiencing with the Taliban trying to silence them for being at the table.” The state House also passed the ultrasound bill and Walker says that he will sign it, declaring “I think most people think ultrasounds are just fine.”
4) Wisconsin – Story Two
“Group tries to storm Senate to protest ultrasound bill,” written by Jessica VanEgeren for the Capital Times, and published on 06/21/13.
“An attempt to make a political statement against a recently passed bill that would require women to obtain an ultrasound prior to an abortion led to a confrontational run-in outside the Senate chambers at the Capitol Thursday.
The crowd of roughly two dozen had started the day with the intention of delivering coat hangers to the Capitol offices of four Republican politicians they deemed the most vocal and supportive of the ultrasound bill, according to Kelley Albrecht, one of the women protesting the bill…
‘We are tired of not having our voices heard,’ Albrecht said. ‘Women are being shamed for being raped. They are being shamed for saying words like ‘vagina’ and they are being shamed for saying ‘no.’’… ‘This bill has nothing to do with abortion,’ Albrecht said. ‘It has to do with controlling women.’”
“NARAL condemns ‘outrageous’ Iowa abortion law,” written by Julian Hattem for The Hill, and published on 06/21/13.
“Abortion-rights supporters are denouncing an ‘outrageous’ Iowa law that will require the governor to personally sign off to pay for abortions with state Medicaid funds.
The law, signed by Gov. Terry Branstad (R) on Thursday, requires the governor’s office to approve each reimbursement from the state’s Medicaid program to hospitals or clinics that provide abortions in cases of rape, incest, fetal anomaly or when the life of the mother is at risk.
‘Women in Iowa already face so many barriers in trying to get safe, legal abortion care,’ NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement on Friday. ‘Now their governor will be deciding personally on a case-by-case basis, whether a woman’s doctor will be paid for providing a legal, medically appropriate, and constitutionally guaranteed procedure.’…The legislation is the first of its kind in the country.”
“Missouri bill fights federal gun laws,” written for the Associated Press, and published on 06/21/13.
“The Missouri legislation is perhaps the most extreme example of a states’ rights movement that has been spreading across the nation. States are increasingly adopting laws that purport to nullify federal laws — setting up intentional legal conflicts, directing local police not to enforce federal laws and, in rare cases, even threatening criminal charges for federal agents who dare to do their jobs…
‘It seems that there has been an uptick in nullification efforts from both the left and the right,’ said Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles who specializes in constitutional law. Yet ‘the law is clear — the supremacy clause (of the U.S. Constitution) says specifically that the federal laws are supreme over contrary state laws, even if the state doesn’t like those laws,’ Winkler added.”
7) North Dakota
“Petitions on ND Abortion Laws Short on Signatures,” written by James MacPherson for the Associated Press, and published on 06/21/13.
“Efforts to give North Dakota voters a chance to repeal three of the state’s strict new anti-abortion laws are falling short of signature goals, organizers say, in part because of a lack of support from women’s groups, which say they prefer to fight the restrictions in court.
The measures are among four that the Republican-controlled Legislature and GOP Gov. Jack Dalrymple approved this year that would make North Dakota the most restrictive state in the nation to get an abortion. Each of the three petitions seeking to put measures up for a statewide vote ballot needs at least 13,452 valid signatures from North Dakota voters.
“I don’t think we’re going to have enough signatures by the Monday midnight deadline,” Gary Hangsleben told The Associated Press on Friday. “I think we’ll be 2,000 or 3,000 short.”
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