by Max Brantley
* STIFF THE WORKERS: The House Public Health Committee (John Burris, prop.) today rejected Rep. Jim Nickels' modest bill to add a week, from 25 to 26, to unemployment benefit payments.
If he'd testified that there were a number of Republican doctors on unemployment, he might have done better.
* STIFF THE VOTERS: Poor folks and minorities will bear the burden of Sen. Bryan King's bill to require a photo ID at the polls. It's in Senate committee at the moment. Identification is already requested, based on full identification at registration time. Republicans have yet to produce a shred of evidence of in-person voter impersonation. But Republicans nationally have pushed this idea, a product of the Koch-financed lobby to shape state legislation to their liking, because studies show it suppresses voting by groups that tend to favor Democratic candidates. With Republicans in the majority now, you hardly need to check back to see if the bill is approved in committee. Corn through a goose. UPDATE: It came through a committee with 5-3 Republican advantage on a voice vote, but only after Bryan King got all bent out of shape because Sen. David Johnson asked questions noting the aim of the bill, to suppress minority and elderly voters.
* STIFFING OF WOMEN DELAYED: Sen. Jason Rapert's bill to ban abortions beginning with the 12th week of pregnancy was delayed in House Public Health this morning after being amended to allow exceptions for "highly lethal fetal disorder." In other words, an exception when the fetus will die. This is a narrow exception that doesn't seem to allow exceptions for fetal anomalies in which a live birth is possible, but of a child with grave medical problems. Doctors who performed abortions in violation of the act would no longer face a felony, but loss of license. The amendment doesn't fix the core unconstitutionality of the bill. The Supreme Court has said states may not ban abortions before viability of the fetus. SURPRISE: Chairman Burris ruled the bill was endorsed on a voice vote, but a roll call was requested. Needing 11 votes, it failed on a 10-6 vote. Burris said he'd put it on the active calendar and call it up again with an effort to insure members were in attendance. (Or you may be sure they'll be punished by the GG&F Caucus.)