April 14, 2005
The Oregon state Supreme Court has tossed out close to 3-thousand marriage licenses issued to same sex couples in one county. Judges ruled that even if a county has questions about the constitutionality of the state’s marriage laws officials have no authority to change them. Last year, Multnomah county officials handed out marriage licenses to nearly 3-thousand same sex couples until a judge ordered them to stop. Oregon voters opted to approve a constitutional amendment to make marriage in the state only available to one man and one woman. However, the Oregon state court left open the legal possibility that the state could institute civil unions for same sex couples.
The civil union legislation in Connecticut will be debated by the state Senate next week. The state House passed the measure late last night after approving a provision that also reserves marriage only for one man and one woman.
Also in Connecticut, Yale graduate assistants voted to go on strike for one week beginning on Monday. Melinda Tuhus reports from New Haven.
Mexico’s state run oil company is the source of an ammonia spill and explosion, the most recent toxic accident from aging pipelines. Shannon Young has the story from Oaxaca.
Police arrested a Texas oilman and two oil traders today in the U.S. Justice Department’s probe into the United Nation’s “oil-for-food” program. From KPFT in Houston, Renee Feltz reports.
A deadly flu virus from the 1950’s was sent around the world by mistake from a U.S. lab. Brian Zinn reports from D.C.
House of Representatives Passes Bankruptcy Reform Bill (4:02)
The House of Representatives passed a bankruptcy reform bill today that will make it harder for most people to wipe out their debt by filing under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy code. The bill is now on its way to George Bush’s desk where the President has said he’ll sign it. It’s considered the second major victory for corporate interests in Washington this year following the passage of another bill to limit class action lawsuits. Other business backed measures such as the energy and medical malpractice bills are also beginning to make their way through Congress. Mitch Jeserich reports.
Legislation Requiring Pharmacists to Fill Contraception Prescription in Congress (2:28)
The Arkansas House passed a bill yesterday that would require hospitals that choose not to provide emergency contraceptive pills to rape victims to refer them to a hospital or clinic that will prescribe them. Meanwhile, legislation was introduced in the U.S. Congress today that would require pharmacists to fill prescriptions for some birth control pills. Women’s rights groups are concerned with the growing number of pharmacists who refuse to dispense these prescriptions across the country. Dolores M. Bernal reports from the Capitol.
Consumer’s Rights Advocates Release GMO Field Test (2:00)
The European Union is considering suspending imports of animal feed from the US this week after receiving shipments of genetically engineered corn. Meanwhile, consumers’ rights advocates in Texas say tens of thousands of experimental crops could contaminate the domestic food supply. From KPFT in Houston, Erika McDonald reports.
Witnesses Observe Anniversary of Rwandan Genocide (3:50)
A moment of silence was observed as part of the activities to mark the 11-year anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Witnesses gave moving testimonies at a landing site at Golo in the Mpigi district next to mass graves of victims of the genocide. Joshua Kyalimpa reports.
Sacred Land Threaten by Urban Sprawl in New Mexico (3:02)
Albuquerque, New Mexico’s sprawling suburbs are threatening sacred places of its original inhabitants. One such area is situated near ancient volcanoes on the west side of the city. Most of the 17-mile-long cliff created by ancient eruptions is protected by its status as a national monument, but the city plans to extend a major thoroughfare through part of the monument to accommodate existing and future development. As Leslie Clark reports, proponents of the road extension say the construction is inevitable and necessary, while Native Americans and others in the city say its desecration.
Wisconsin Seeks to Rollback Environmental Regulations (3:55)
Wisconsin’s state assembly has passed two bills that seek to relax environmental regulations for industry by giving the Department of Natural Resources more leeway to allow factories to pollute and limit the ability of the public to contest that pollution in court. Campaign watchdog groups and environmentalists are lambasting the speed with which the bills were passed in the assembly and the lack of public input in the process. Steve Zelaznik of WORT has the story.