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SCOTUS rules for Trump on ballot issue; CA high school students earn Google Career Certificates in high-demand fields; NY faith leaders help people address ecological grief; and a group offers abortion travel benefits for Mississippi women.

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The SCOTUS rules no state can remove a federal candidate from an election ballot saying that power rests with Congress, Super Tuesday primaries are today in sixteen states and a Colorado Court rules in the killing of Elijah McClain in police custody.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

ACLU of AZ seeks to support access to abortion

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023   

The ACLU of Arizona was successful in defeating 93% of the bills it opposed during Arizona's last legislative session, which the group claims makes it the most successful session to date.

Belen Gonzalez, president of the organization, said their biggest challenge this year was a divided government where the Republican-controlled legislature attempted to advance what the group calls "anti-civil rights and liberties bills."

Gonzalez argued it is time for a "bold move," toward ensuring what she called "true reproductive freedom." She added next November, they are proud to stand with abortion advocates who plan to ask Arizona voters to expand and protect the right to abortion in the Arizona Constitution.

"This measure will enshrine abortion as a constitutional right in Arizona," Gonzalez explained. "Ensuring that anyone who needs abortion care can get it and that providers are not criminalized for providing health care."

The Arizona Abortion Access Act needs close to 384,000 signatures from voters by July 3 of next year to have the measure on the November 2024 ballot. If passed, it would permit abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions would also be permitted past the point to "protect the physical and mental health," of the mother. Abortion is currently prohibited after 15 weeks in Arizona.

The ACLU of Arizona said the state's 2023 legislative session consisted of continued attacks on democracy.

Darrell Hill, the group's policy director, said Arizona leads the way with anti-democracy bills. One of the bills to catch Hill's eye was Senate Bill 1324, which would have removed the guarantee for a secret ballot by requiring images of all ballots be posted online. Hill argued it would have led to possible voter intimidation.

"The example we used is a situation where a wife and a husband might vote differently, and that husband asks the wife to mark her ballot in a certain way so that he could go and verify that she voted in the that way he wanted."

Secretary of State Adrian Fontes recently released the state's Elections Procedures Manual, which is a rule book informing county officials on how to administer elections in accordance with state law. Hill added they have already weighed in and asked the Secretary of State to expand his instructions surrounding voter registration and ID.


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