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  • Democrats Expand Healthcare Access to 70,000 Montanans

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    CONTACT:  Carolyn Fiddler, National Communications Director, DLCC
                    fiddler@dlcc.org

    Democrats Expand Healthcare Access to 70,000 Montanans
    DLCC’s Grassroots Victory Program Helped Secure Votes Needed for Medicaid Expansion

    WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Today Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Michael Sargeant congratulated Montana Democrats for voting to expand Medicaid and provide an estimated 70,000 low-income Montanans with access to healthcare. The measure has just received final approval from the state legislature and heads to Governor Steve Bullock’s desk for his signature.

    “We congratulate Montana Democrats on their commitment to the well-being of tens of thousands of uninsured Montanans as they successfully bypassed the obstructionism of some of their Republican colleagues to expand Medicaid.

  • Happy Equal Pay Day, Ladies! These Republicans Think You Don’t Deserve It.

    April 14 is Equal Pay Day, an annual opportunity for hardworking men and women to pause and reflect on the fact that, on average, women still only make 78 cents for each dollar men earn.

    Republicans in Congress have repeatedly blocked Democrats’ attempts to pass pay equity legislation, and Republicans in state legislatures are in on the act, too. This year alone, the GOP has stymied equal pay bills in no fewer than five states.

    In Colorado, where women earn about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, Republicans in a Senate committee voted in unison to kill the state’s Pay Equity Commission. The PEC was established by Democratic majorities in 2010 to study and suggest solutions to eliminating pay disparities encountered by women and minorities.

    • Shortly after Senate Republicans killed the commission, a bill reviving it was introduced in the state House, where Democrats – who hold a majority in the lower chamber – supported it in a party-line committee vote.
    • And then Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate re-killed the commission in yet another party line committee vote just a week ago.

    This experience was echoed in Washington (where women also earn 80 cents for every man dollar), where the Democratic majority in the Washington House of Representatives passed equal pay legislation, only for Republicans to let the bill languish in the GOP-controlled Senate.

    Republicans in Virginia and Tennessee have spiked equal pay bills this year (79 and 83 women cents, respectively, on the man dollar). Republicans killed a similar measure in Montana, where women earn 74 cents for every dollar earned by men.

  • B for Bigotry

    Even as national outrage over Indiana’s new right-to-discriminate law continues to escalate, yet another GOP-controlled statehouse has passed a so-called “religious freedom restoration act.” Meanwhile, a red-faced Indiana legislature scrambles to “clarify” its shameful new law.

    Despite some Arkansas lawmakers’ best efforts to include specific anti-discrimination language to House Bill 1228, the state legislature gave final approval to the measure. The bill’s Republican sponsor refused the change, despite his earlier insistence that the legislation was not meant to allow discrimination.

    The Arkansas right-to-discriminate bill is substantively the same as Indiana’s despicable new law. The broad language in both measures potentially grants businesses and private citizens license to discriminate against gays and lesbians by using religious prejudices as a shield.

     Now that they’ve been thoroughly embarrassed by the outrage – both national and local – over the law, Indiana legislators will seek to “clarify” it before their session ends at the end of the month. They should spend their remaining weeks of session repealing the measure instead of attempting to tweak something so fundamentally and deeply flawed.

    Will Arkansas similarly seek to retcon their new right-to-discriminate law after the backlash spreads southward?

    And which state will pass the next one?

  • GOP Senator: “No reason” to protect women from doctors like me

    Seventeen years ago, future Alabama state Senator Larry Stutts was new mother Rose Church’s OB/GYN.  Rose was discharged from the hospital just 36 hours after giving birth. She returned about 36 hours later with complications and was treated and released. In another 36 hours, Rose was dead. 

    Less than a year later, “Rose’s Law” passed both the state House and Senate unanimously. The measure gives women a legal right to remain in a hospital for 48 hours after a normal vaginal delivery or for 96 hours after a cesarean section. Dr. Stutts was a named defendant in the wrongful death suit filed by Rose’s grieving husband.  (The case was settled out of court.)

    Fast forward to November 2014: Dr. Larry Stutts was elected to the Alabama state Senate as a Republican.

    Just a couple of months into his first term, Sen. Stutts is trying to repeal the law spurred by his own patient’s tragic demise. 

    Senator Dr. Larry Stutts (R-Sheffield) has offered SB289, which would repeal a woman’s legal right to remain in the hospital for 48 hours after a normal live birth and 96 hours if the birth was cesarean or presented complication. …

    Stutts took to Facebook to defend this measure saying, “I am proud to say that I am hard at work removing one-size-fits-all Obamacare-style laws from the books in Alabama.”

    Sen. Stutts may hope that invoking the “Obamacare” bogeyman will distract his colleagues and constituents from the real impetus for Rose’s Law. (Never mind that Rose’s Law predates Obamacare by over a decade.)

    Today, Stutts says he is joined by six “conservative colleagues,” to change the law.

    However, Stutts did not make his Senate colleagues aware of [Rose] Church's death while under his care or her relationship to the bill he is trying to eliminate.

    The “conservative colleagues” listed as co-sponsors of SB289 are all men, by the way. 

    Sen. Stutts also wants to repeal a law requiring doctors to notify patients if their mammograms show signs of dense tissue, which has been known to mask breast cancer. The notification measure was introduced by Democrat Roger Bedford, the senator (barely) unseated by Stutts last fall.

    Bedford introduced the bill after his wife was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, after months earlier receiving a mammogram in which her cancer had been masked by dense tissue.

    Mrs. Bedford was not informed about the inefficiency of a mammogram to detect cancer in women whose breasts contain dense tissue; by the time her cancer was detected by other means, the disease had spread into her lymph nodes. 

    Sen. Stutts further claims his bill that specifically undermines women’s healthcare is really about eradicating mandates and “emotional legislation.”