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Arizona, Wyoming and Alaska’s bans on gay marriage have been struck down after federal judges in Arizona and Wyoming struck them down.  The Supreme Court in a set of cases denied hearing appeals of gay marriage bans struck down in Alaska and other states.
A federal circuit court of appeals struck down a ballot measure passed by voters in 2006 that denies bail to undocumented immigrants that have been charged with “serious” crimes.  The law was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.  The federal circuit court held that the law violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, failed to address an acute problem and was applicable to an overly broad range of crimes.
Covered California, California’s health exchange has sent over 10,000 pre-termination notices to individuals who failed to submit proof of citizenship or residency after signing up for health insurance.  Under the Affordable Care Act, undocumented individuals are not eligible for health coverage, however there is still time for proper documentation to be submitted and prevent a disruption.
The parents of children attending private school through a voucher program have petitioned the court to join an ongoing lawsuit that has been filed by teachers union, PTA boards, school board associations and others.  The complaint argues that the voucher program is unconstitutional because it redirects public funds to private schools and creates a separate system of state-funded schools.  Parents want full-party status in the lawsuit because they believe they will suffer a real harm if the program is taken away, as many of them have only been able to send their children to private schools through the vouchers. 
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the ruling of the lower court and has reinstated Texas’ voter ID law.  The Court reasoned that the lower decision changed the law too close to the election and it was more important to maintain the status quo.  The law had been challenged by several groups who argued it created barriers to voting that disproportionately affected African Americans and Latinos. 
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

North Dakota Sees Rise in HIV and AIDS

Despite having incredibly low occurrences of HIV and AIDS in the state, North Dakota is seeing an increase in cases than the state has seen in several years.  North Dakota officials have stated there has been an increase in the northwest since an oil boom attracted thousands of non-residents to the area for work. 
The U.S. Department of Education has formally launched an investigation into the Recovery School district’s policy of school closures after a complaint was filed alleging the school closures violated the civil rights of African American students.  Specifically, the closures disproportionately impact African American students as well as do not provide them with alternative schools once their schools are closed.
California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed the nation’s first sexual assault bill that requires affirmative consent language to be a part of sexual assault policies across college campuses.  The “yes means yes” bill, as it is known, requires colleges to implement affirmative, voluntary, and conscious consent as a part of their sexual assault policies.
The Arkansas Supreme Court is poised to hear arguments regarding the voter ID law that took effect earlier this year.  The law requires those without proper identification to cast their vote through a provisional ballot, which will only be counted if a person submits proof of identification or signs an affidavit stating indigence or religious objection to being photographed.  The law was struck down by the lower courts as unconstitutional and the state appealed the rulings.
A federal appeals court recently upheld Ohio’s early voting period by striking a proposed shortened period.  The United States Supreme Court, however, overruled the lower court and granted an emergency order that would shorten the early voting period and allow polls to be closed on the Sunday before Election Day.