Congress passed a transportation jobs bill that included a provision allowing the 3.4 percent interest rate for subsidized Stafford loans to stay the same for another year. New loans will not have a doubled interested as dictated by legislation passed five years prior.
This is a major win for students, especially because the average student in America leaves college burdened with several thousands in debt. And the Institute for Higher Education Policy looked at the years 2004-2009 and found that 40 percent of students that started paying off loans are delinquent with their payments sometime during the first five years of repayment.
The passage of this legislation signaled a bizarre semblance of accord among the Democrats and Republicans as it won by a huge margin in both the House and the Senate. It seems like each party wanted to claim the rewards of this bill as its own doing. How touching.
Recently, California just passed a statewide measure titled “Seth’s Law” in honor of Seth Walsh to reduce bullying in schools and gay suicides. The law calls for the establishment of anti-discrimination measures in schools to cover sexuality and gender, among various other social categories.
As wonderful as that may seem, it is not simply enough to implement legislation in order to reduce bullying. The United States needs to experience a cultural shift in order to improve its treatment of those outside the norm. Our society cannot condone dangerous mindsets like homophobia that may be likely to develop in certain environments and situations.
As a place of socialization, schools must include a system of education that values and embraces difference and teaches students to do the same. Though we’ve come far in this modern age, however, we, as a race, are still pretty primitive when it comes to dealing with difference.
Where? In Mississippi, the state that requires speaking parse tongue to pronounce its name, a new law seeks to shut down the one and only abortion clinic in the entire state. Why?
Apparently Republican Governor Phil Bryant wants to make the state abortion free. Taking effect this Sunday, the law requires the doctor performing the abortion to be OB-GYN with the rights to take patients to a local hospital. Supporters contend that this measure will ensure more safety if the same physician can go with the patient to the hospital despite the fact that complications are rare.
Of course, this rhetoric of lowering abortion rates and protecting women completely ignores the fact that abortion is a legal and constitutionally protected. Moreover, these same supporters of these types of legislation shy away from any funding and implementation of any sort of comprehensive sex education. Thankfully, a federal judge has blocked the law, but it’s clear that Mississippi wants to limit women’s choices.
In recent times, we have witnessed the spread of new voter laws across the entire United States. Legislators in various states have all proposed changes to voter identification laws, voter eligibility, and the actual process of voting.
The various changes these laws propose target minority and poor populations and aim to suppress their vote. Though supporters of the legislatio
n deny such a claim, it’s clear that they are effectively doing just that. For instance, a measure that refuses those who have felony convictions the right to vote disproportionately targets black and Hispanic populations, in which a higher percentage has such convictions. The Republican National Lawyers Association did a study of data from 2000-2010 and found absolutely no link between strict voter ID laws and voter fraud. In fact, they only found 311 cases of voter fraud. In sum, Republicans are not worried about voter fraud; they care about winning the vote and suppressing the minority and poor vote in order to do so