Earlier this week, both the Maine State Senate and House voted down LD 1428, a bill that would have authorized discrimination in the name of religion. The so-called "religious freedom" bill actually had little to do with religious freedom, which the ACLU of Maine has a long (and successful) history of defending, but would have created a gaping exemption to the Maine Human Rights Act. We testified against the bill last month, along side our partners in the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, the LGBT Coalition, the Coalition for Maine Women, the Choice Coalition, and many more.
New Hampshire senate just passed a bill that would create a 25-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics. SB 319 passed 15 to 9, despite the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3 to 2 to reject the bill. The bill had strong bipartisan support in the senate; this most likely contributed to the bill’s passage. The bill is now headed to to the house for a vote.
The ACLU of Maine is urging the Health and Human Service Committee to pass LD 1686, "An Act To Address Preventable Deaths from Drug Overdose" a bill that will greatly increase access to Naloxone, a drug used to prevent deaths in the case of an opioid overdose. The committee is scheduled to have a work session on the bill Monday, February 24th at 1:00pm.
Each Friday, we’ll bring you updates on the latest civil liberties news from Maine and the nation.
Rand Paul Takes Action Against the N.S.A.
What does the Fourth Amendment mean in 2014? The question of constitutional surveillance is important, and increasingly so, with the proliferation of technology in everyday life and the escalation of threats to our security. Privacy remains a core constitutional protection, one which must not be balked at in the name of security.
The City of Portland should not be in the business of telling people where they can and cannot exercise their constitutional rights, and it should certainly not be banning speech in an area that has traditionally been used as a forum for public dialogue.
Abortion rates are dropping. According to an extensive report published by the Guttmacher Institute, the US abortion rate has reached its lowest level since the implementation of Roe v. Wade in 1973. The charted numbers reflect a slow increase until 1982, and then a fairly steady decline. Abortion rates declined 13% between 2008 and 2011, alone. While this information may come as good news to people on both sides of the choice debate, the decreasing numbers lead to some crucial questions.