Kansas to become an “abortion free zone” … states enacting “covenant marriages” that are near impossible to leave … privatized Medicaid that allows HMOs to function as literal “death panels” and more. Glimpse the future — one that could be especially hard on women and the poor — in several states where Republicans won governorships and strengthened their hold on state houses.
From Yahoo! News:
Some Republican legislators are already worried about getting bogged down in volatile issues or conflicts between wings of the party. But, if the different agendas can be harnessed, an election largely driven by voters’ economic concerns could wind up having much broader social consequences.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” said Rep. Dean Kaufert, a Republican state House member in Wisconsin, where Republicans, including incoming governor Scott Walker, campaigned on enacting tough immigration legislation and banning embryonic stem cell research. If Republicans overreach, “the danger is the citizens of the state will just say we’ll clean house again and we’re going to keep doing it until we get it right,” he said.
But some conservatives said they won’t wait forever. “We’re not going to spend the next 18 months doing nothing but economic issues,” said Wisconsin Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman, an advocate of tougher abortion restrictions.
GOP candidates in the midterm election successfully wooed independent voters and those upset with President Barack Obama and the agenda of the Democratic-controlled Congress. But abortion opponents and socially conservative evangelical Christians are a key party constituency.
This year’s vote gave Republicans control of 29 governorships, including 11 held previously by Democrats. The GOP significantly strengthened its position in many state legislatures.
The GOP won all statewide races on the ballot in Kansas for the first time since 1964. Republicans picked up 16 seats in the state House, giving the GOP an overwhelming 92-33 advantage.
Abortion opponents now plan to make the state as close to an abortion-free zone as possible. Proposed measures would impose new regulations for clinics, restrictions on late-term procedures and increased reporting requirements for physicians. Vetoes by outgoing Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson and his predecessors blocked such action in the past.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lance Kinzer, who serves on Brownback’s transition team, said action against embryonic stem cell research and to allow “covenant” marriages, which are harder to dissolve than standard marriages, are likely to be considered, too.
“There’s a lot of unfinished business out there, isn’t there?” Kinzer said.
In Oklahoma, where Republicans won all eight Democrat-held statewide offices, GOP lawmakers are planning to bring back firearms bills vetoed last year by outgoing Democratic Gov. Brad Henry. They include a bill to allow the open carrying of firearms.
A move to legalize concealed weapons is expected in Wisconsin, where the Republicans scored their most dramatic victory, seizing control of both the legislature and the governor’s office. Some Republican lawmakers hope to repeal a law that extends benefits to gay state employees and their domestic partners.
It’s not clear whether Republicans could win approval of such measures or would wind up in protracted battles not only with Democrats but among themselves.
Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus insists the party can manage the competing demands. The economy “doesn’t mean we have to exclude tackling every other issue facing the voters of Wisconsin,” he said.
In Michigan, Iowa and Ohio, where Republicans are replacing Democratic governors, legislative leaders are all under pressure to back anti-abortion legislation but insist they will focus on the economy.
And that’s not all. In Florida, in-coming Governor Gollum and the right wing legislature are looking at ramping up Jeb Bush’s program of privatizing Medicaid– forcing more poor people into HMOs, like the one that denied a Jacksonville woman a liver transplant, resulting in her death… and they’re also looking to build on the old Jeb Bush plan of privatizing prisons (which could come in handy once the new Arizona-style law is enacted, creating more brown people to lock up…
Florida isn’t alone — Texas, Nevada and other states are also turning to the idea of privatizing Medicaid, or attempting to drop it altogether, or refuse to sign off on vital Medicaid services like Jan Brewer and company are doing in Arizona, with predictable results for people who are sick and dying.
Students will also be a target. More than a dozen states are seeking to void healthcare reform, which would toss millions of young people back off their parents’ insurance. And states like Florida and Arizona are looking to balance their books by raising state college tuition, slashing property taxes that fund public schools along with state funding, and pushing privatization of both K-12 and college education, despite studies that show that for-profit universities are largely a failure at educating people who then become gainfully employed.
And all of this while Republican governors and legislatures seek to slash corporate tax rates and direct fresh public money to pet private industries.