Roundup: Matthew Shepard Act Passes House, Heads to Senate

Emily Douglas

Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Protection Act moves to Senate; Indiana legislature wraps up session; Tennessee abortion bill advances in the House; Sen. Richard Lugar will back Dawn Johnsen.

Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Protection Act Moves to Senate
Thanks to Feministing for tipping us off to the House’s passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Protection Act and to Rep. Virginia Foxx’s testimony denying that Matthew Shepard was killed because he was gay.  The Shepard Act now heads to the Senate.  The Feminist Daily News describes the bill:

The bill
would amend existing federal hate crimes laws to include crimes where
the victims were targeted on the basis of sexual orientation, gender
identity, gender, and disability. It also would eliminate a requirement
that the victim was engaged in one of several "federally protected
activities" at the time of the crime in order to be protected by these
laws. Previous versions of the bill faced various legislative roadblocks under the Bush administration.

Indiana Legislature Wraps Up Session
The Indiana legislature is wrapping up its session; one bill relevant
to women’s health and reproductive rights passed, and another failed,
the Courier Press reports
Passed: "Lawmakers passed a proposal to lengthen prison terms for
people who
murder or attempt to murder a pregnant woman and cause the loss of her
pregnancy."  But a bill to require doctors who provide abortion
services to have admitting privileges at area hospitals failed after
Democrats added a provision to provide $28 million for a cervical and
breast cancer screenings for women.

Tennessee Abortion Bill Advances in House
The Tennessee bill that would codify that the state constitution right
to privacy does not protect abortion rights (the State Supreme Court
previously found that it did) has moved forward again, the Daily Times reports
The bill has already passed the Senate, and has now been approved by
the House Budget Subcommittee.  It’s not headed for a full House vote.

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Lugar Will Back Dawn Johnsen
Key Republican Sen. Richard Lugar will support the nomination of Dawn Johnsen, Politico reports.  The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

He is the first Republican to publicly declare his backing for
Johnsen, whose selection to head the Office of Legal Counsel has grown
into a fight about abortion rights and counterterrorism
practices…Lugar’s support does not guarantee the Senate will confirm
Sixty votes are needed to stave off a filibuster, and vote-counters say
they are aware of close to 60 "yes" votes for Johnsen, but they are not
declaring victory. One Democrat – Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson – has said
he will vote against Johnsen." 

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