Social Issues

New Laws Take ‘Romeo’ Into Account

BY: - July 16, 2007

Lawmakers across the country are doling out tougher punishments for sex offenders – from satellite tracking to the death penalty – but a handful of states are starting to ease up on penalties in cases of youths arrested for sex. Laws enacted this year in Connecticut , Florida , Indiana and Texas try to draw […]

Money can’t buy good press

BY: - July 6, 2007

New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno (R) has asked the Albany County district attorney to investigate The Times Union of Albany for extortion, alleging that a salesman from the paper pressured him to buy advertisements in exchange for favorable coverage, according to a New York Times dispatch. The Times Union’s publisher called the […]

Tear down this wall — in Bismarck

BY: - June 29, 2007

Capitol Facility Management, tear down this wall. That was the cry from North Dakota lawmakers who voted to raze a wall they spent $175,000 erecting just last fall to divide a large committee room into two subcommittee rooms. The cost to level the partition: $13,000. The subcommittee rooms were seldom used because lawmakers were “jammed […]

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Divides States

BY: - June 21, 2007

University of Michigan stem cell scientist Sean Morrison recently got a telephone call from a woman offering to donate her leftover embryos from a fertilization procedure for his studies on Parkinson’s disease. What she didn’t know was that Michigan law prohibits research on human embryos. Morrison suggested that the woman contact a lab in another […]

Fla. history in the re-making

BY: - June 15, 2007

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it,” said legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In the Internet age, that could explain the surprising admission by Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp (R), elected second-in-command in November, that he personally did some favorable editing of an online biography. Kottkamp deleted news stories […]

Ohio gov defends LeBron in a big way

BY: - June 8, 2007

You can count Ohio’s governor as a loyal member of King James’ court. Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, a minister, called a 120-foot tall billboard of Cleveland Cavaliers pro basketball superstar LeBron James “spiritual,” WKYC reports. Strickland stopped state efforts to remove the giant Nike promotional sign because, he said, because it’s more “art” than “ad” […]

Sex Ed Landscape Shifting in States

BY: - June 4, 2007

While eighth-graders in North Clackamus, Ore., are learning the correct way to put on condoms, some of their counterparts in New Hanover, N.C., are using books that say, “There is not a lot of proof that condoms really work. Would you trust your life to one?” State and district officials are dealing with a variation […]

Leaving dog poop not a crime

BY: - May 25, 2007

School-age pranksters everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. A former Democratic Party activist in Colorado was found not guilty of illegally using a noxious substance when she left dog feces on the doorstep of Republican U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave’s office. Kathleen Ensz, who was the vice chairman of a state Senate district for her […]

Keep your hands to yourself!

BY: - May 18, 2007

Touchy subject. The Ohio Legislature passed a bill barring strip-club patrons from touching nude or semi-nude dancers. Under the bill, dubbed Ohio’s “11th Commandment” by The Plain Dealer , violators could be slapped with a $1,000 fine and one year in jail for touching what the paper described as “the naughty bits.” Gov. Ted Strickland […]

Paris pleads for a pardon

BY: - May 11, 2007

   Celebrity socialite Paris Hilton is desperately trying to avoid jail for repeatedly driving on a suspended license, and flattery seems to be part of her legal strategy. According to the Los Angeles Times , her petition seeking a pardon from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) praises him: “Let me first begin by saying that […]

Kids catch Iowa lawmakers goofing off

BY: - April 27, 2007

Iowa lawmakers seem to have free time on their hands – in spades. That’s what a group of schoolchildren learned on their trip to the Iowa Capitol, when they watched senators play solitaire on their computers during floor debates. Rookie state Sen. Bill Heckroth (D) chided his colleagues to pay attention, according to the Quad […]

What will lawmakers think of next?

BY: - April 20, 2007

Every restaurant in Florida would be required by law to make sure every rest-room stall is supplied with toilet paper at all times if a bill okayed by a state Senate committee this week winds up on the statute books. Sen. Victor Crist (R), the bill’s sponsor, said the measure was necessary to prevent food-borne […]