The Bulletin—June 19, 2013
The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the U.S. South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the U.S. South.
- The Texas Senate has passed a bill that places new restrictions on abortion providers. Governor Rick Perry added the bill, which is predicted to close most of the state's abortion clinics, to a special session of the state legislature's docket. The bill requires abortion-providing facilities to comply with the standards of an ambulatory surgical center, "even if they do not perform surgical abortions." Opponents argue that only five clinics—all in metropolitan areas—currently meet these standards, and women in rural areas of the state will face hardships if they seek abortions. As the Texas Tribune noted, the bill had a much higher chance of passing in a special session because Lt. Governor David Dewhurst planned "to suspend Senate procedural rules that give Democrats a strong voice in legislative debates."
- The North Carolina NAACP has organized a series of protests every Monday since April 29, 2013 in opposition to cuts in education, health care, and social programs, as well as proposed voter ID laws. Nearly five hundred protestors have been arrested so far. Though Governor Pat McCrory has characterized protests as "fueled by outside interests," a recent study has indicated that ninety eight percent of the protestors are from North Carolina.
- Florida's "Bong Ban" is set to take effect on July 1, 2013. The bill, which passed in April 2013, prohibits the retail sale of "certain smoking pipes and smoking devices." Violators of the new law will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. Retailers may still sell pipes and smoking paraphrenalia for tobacco use, however, leading some to question the bill's effectiveness. Corn cob pipe aficionados can rest easy—the bill provides exceptions for pipes made from "briar, meerschaum, clay or corn cob."
- The newly launched Digital Public Library of America has partnered with the HathiTrust Digital Library. The collaboration will double the size of the collections and will provide increased access to HathiTrust's nearly eleven million volumes. In addition, HathiTrust metadata records will be freely available under a Creative Commons license.