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Highlights from Billion Dollar Divide: Virginia’s Sentencing, Corrections and Criminal Justice Challenge

by Frank Knaack, ACLU of Virginia Director of Public Policy and Communications
The Justice Policy Institute (JPI) is out with a great new report, and its findings should serve as a wake up call to Virginia’s lawmakers:

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Equal Pay Day is a Call to Action! Let’s Continue Working to Achieve Equal Pay for Women

By Aisha Huertas Michel, Director, Patricia M. Arnold Women’s Rights Project
April 8 is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day into 2014 a woman must work to earn as much as a man did in 2013 alone.  On average women in the United States today still earn just 77 cents for every dollar that men earn and that is cause for concern. The wage gap needs to decrease and we are working hard to ensure that it will soon decrease for Virginia’s women.

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Will Manassas use its Zoning Law Update to Undermine Reproductive Freedom?

By Miriam Stiefel, ACLU of Virginia Reproductive Freedom Project Intern

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Celebrating Five Amazing Women and Their Right to Love as We Close Women’s History Month

By Aisha Huertas Michel, Director, Patricia M. Arnold Women’s Rights Project
Virginia is for lovers, or so they say. Yet, for many Virginians this motto couldn’t be further from the truth.
As Women’s History Month comes to an end, we honor five Virginia women who have stood up for their right to love the people they love – thus paving the way for a Virginia that is truly for ALL lovers.

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Attention Northern Virginians: Is law enforcement spying on you?

By Rebecca Glenberg, ACLU of Virginia Legal Director

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No Letdown in the War on Women

For months, conservative strategists and pundits have publicly ruminated on the need to turn their focus away from "divisive" social issues — things like the war on women's health that dominated statehouses in 2011 and 2012, when states passed an astounding 135 restrictions on abortion. But if this is the national strategy, word has apparently not yet filtered down to the states just yet. Here's just some of the anti-women's health bills that have been proposed and passed in statehouses over the past week as the war on women continues unabated:

States Get a Head Start on Immigration Reform

The same week that both President Obama and a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators released proposals for comprehensive federal immigration reform, pro-immigrant policies continued to gain traction in the states on issues including tuition equity and driver's licenses for DREAMers. Nearly three years after Arizona passed SB 1070, anti-immigrant forces are clearly finding themselves increasingly isolated at both the state and federal level in 2013:

New Year Brings New Voter Suppression and Electoral Vote Schemes

Virginia's Senate leadership chose the occasion of Martin Luther King Day on Monday to push through a partisan redistricting bill, taking advantage of the absence of a legislator attending President Obama's inauguration. A separate effort in Virginia to change the way the state awards electoral votes in presidential elections ran into bipartisan opposition, even as lawmakers in other states were considering doing the same:

Virginia Attorney General Wants Opponents of Contraception to "Go to Jail" in Protest

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is calling on those who oppose the contraceptive mandate provision included in the Affordable Care Act to break the law and "go to jail."

As National Debate Flares, Surveying Contraceptive Coverage In the States

In the furor surrounding the Obama Administration’s decision this month that contraceptive coverage be provided to women by their employer or insurer, the leadership provided by states in the debate about women’s health has often been overlooked. States have been on the forefront of the fight to ensure that women have access to contraceptives, with 28 states having laws on the books requiring access.