Abby Rapoport

Abby Rapoport is a staff writer at The American Prospect. She was previously a political reporter for the Texas Observer. Her email is arapoport@prospect.org

Recent Articles

GOP Senator Defends Planned Parenthood

(Flickr/JRockefellerIV)

The last time Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison took on Rick Perry, things didn't go so well. Hutchison, among the most popular politicians in the state at the time, was the favorite to win the Republican nomination, and instead Perry rode into the general with overwhelming support. Among Hutchison's key problems—besides simply running a bad campaign—a nagging reputation as a moderate, who was at least somewhat pro-choice and who'd voted for the bank bailout. After the disappointing finish, she later announced she wouldn't run for re-election in the Senate. This may be her last year in politics. And evidently, she's decided that it's no time to back down from her political rival.

A Sure-Fire Way to Liven Up Committee Meetings

(Flickr/VectorPortal)

As someone who has sat through a lot of them, I can say with authority that legislative committee hearings are, on the whole, a bit arduous. There are exciting moments—a major bill debate, a particularly interesting or moving witness, and the like—but often, it's fairly uneventful.

Unless, of course, you're in a packed committee meeting on public safety and a state rep drops his gun.

The moment occurred in New Hampshire Tuesday. The gun was loaded, but didn't go off thanks to a safety mechanism. The freshman rep responsible blamed his "shoulder holder"—and the fact he was a bit lightheaded from giving blood. 

Somehow I guessing everyone was a little more alert after that.

 

Georgia's War over Charter Schools Heads to the Ballot

(Flickr/knittymarie)

For months, the Georgia Legislature has served as a key battleground for the charter-schools debate. Now the fight goes to the voters, who will ultimately decide the fate of a constitutional amendment to allow "state-chartered" schools over the objection of local school boards.

The Difference Between Contraception and Mainlining Heroin

(Flickr/romana klee)

Last week, I mentioned two state legislatures had passed abstinence-only sex education bills. While Wisconsin's governor was already supportive of the measure, in Utah, Governor Gary Herbert was less certain. The measure would have banned any discussion of contraception, or for that matter, homosexuality. The current law in Utah already requires parents to "opt-in" if the course includes discussion of contraceptives, but this measure would have actually removed even the option for students to learn about more than simply abstinence. It had passed overwhelmingly in both chambers, despite protests and opposition from the state PTA and teachers' groups. 

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