States Cut School Funding

via The Maddow Blog

Massachusetts still hanging in there!

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Victory for Planned Parenthood!

Planned Parenthood Kansas Ruling: Judge Orders State To Resume Funding

BY ROXANA HEGEMAN   08/30/11 07:26 PM ET   AP

WICHITA, Kan. — A federal judge ordered Kansas to immediately resume funding a Planned Parenthood chapter on the same quarterly schedule that existed before a new state law stripped it of all federal funding for non-abortion services.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten on Tuesday rejected the state’s request that it pay Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri monthly and only for services provided.

The judge also declined to order Planned Parenthood to post a bond in the event the state prevailed in the lawsuit.

Planned Parenthood has sued to block a provision of the state budget preventing the organization from receiving any of the state’s share of federal family planning dollars.

Marten wrote in his ruling that the intent of the court’s earlier order was to restore and maintain the prior status quo between the parties, a relationship that was based on quarterly installment payments of the federal money. He said the monthly reimbursement schedule the state wants would have the effect of undermining the clinic’s ability to maintain its current level of services.

Planned Parenthood said last week that it would stop providing services at its clinic in Hays on Friday unless it was told it would soon receive the money. Friday would also have been last day the organization offered a sliding fee scale for low-income patients at its Wichita clinic.

“The court finds no injury to the defendants in maintaining the prior payment schedule, as they will be providing funding in a manner consistent with prior practice between the parties, and to an organization which has consistently provided satisfactory family planning services,” Marten wrote in his ruling.

Even if the court’s Aug. 1 temporary injunction is later overturned or modified, the residents of Hays and Wichita will be best assured of continued family planning services by maintaining the status quo, the judge said.

Planned Parenthood has argued that if it lost the $330,000 a year in Title X funding it would be forced to close its clinic in the western Kansas city of Hays. It contended its 5,700 patients who go to its Wichita and Hays clinics would face higher costs, longer wait or travel times for appointments and have less access to services.

No federal money goes to abortions. At issue in the lawsuit are Title X funds to help low-income individuals with reproductive health care services such as birth control, cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

The clinic had argued that Marten’s initial injunction required the state to maintain “the status quo” which would mean quarterly payments beginning in July at the start of the state’s fiscal year.

Planned Parenthood President and CEO Peter Brownlie said he was pleased and cautiously optimistic that his group would hear from the state by Wednesday a definitive date when KDHE would resume its funding, as it has been ordered for a month now.

“I can’t imagine that the state would continue to defy a federal court order,” Brownlie said. “I am hopeful that it will do the right thing and resume the funding.”

Neither the Kansas attorney general’s office nor KDHE immediately returned calls for comment.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a new state law which requires Kansas to allocate federal family planning dollars first to public health departments and hospitals, leaving no money for Planned Parenthood or similar groups.

“Black scientists in the US are much less likely to be awarded funding than their white counterparts”

18 August 2011 Last updated at 20:07 ET, BBC News

US black scientists much less likely to get funding

Black scientists in the US are much less likely to be awarded funding than their white counterparts, says a US government research-funding agency.

The National Institutes of Health said that out of every 100 funding applications it considered, 30 were granted to white applicants.

This compared with 20 to black applicants.

The study, published in the journal Science, found the gap could not be explained by education or experience.

It suggested small differences in access to resources and mentoring early in a scientist’s career could accumulate, leaving black researchers at a disadvantage.

‘Insidious bias’

Black people make up 13% of the US population, but only 1.2% of lead researchers on biomedical studies are black.

The NIH said concerns over this prompted it to commission a study, which was led by University of Kansas economics professor Donna Ginther.

The research – which was published on Thursday – examined submissions for NIH grant applications by more than 40,000 researchers from 2000-2006.

The study found that 71% of grant-seekers said they were white; 1.5% said they were black; 3.3% were Latino; 13.5% were Asian; and 11% were identified as “other” or “unknown”.

NIH director Francis Collins said it would take action to address the potential for “insidious bias” in the grant process.

“This situation is not acceptable,” he told reporters in a conference call. “The data is deeply troubling.”

When applicants send proposals to the NIH, they identify their race, ethnicity and gender.

This information is removed from the application before the materials are sent to review.

Mr Collins said it was possible that reviewers could guess the race or ethnicity of an applicant by looking at names or where they trained.

He said they would look at reviewing grants on the basis of scientific merits alone, without requiring information about an applicant’s qualifications or background.

The NIH is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world, disbursing $30bn (£18bn) each year.

FAA Partial Shutdown

FAA faces partial shutdown after Congress fails to approve funding

Associated Press
In Print: Saturday, July 23, 2011

WASHINGTON — Efforts to avert a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration failed Friday amid partisan acrimony, ensuring that at midnight nearly 4,000 people would be temporarily out of work and federal airline ticket taxes would be suspended.

Those workers and tens of thousands of airport construction workers under FAA contract faced immediate furlough. The nation’s air travel system will not be affected, with air traffic controllers remaining on the job and airline operations continuing.

Lawmakers were unable to resolve a dispute over an extension of the agency’s operating authority, which expired at midnight Friday.

House Republicans sought to cut $16.5 million in subsidies for air service to 13 rural communities. The subsidy cut was included by Republicans in a bill extending operating authority for the FAA, which has a $16 billion budget. Senate Democrats refused to accept the House bill with the cuts, and Republican senators refused to accept a Democratic bill without it. Lawmakers then adjourned for the weekend.

But underlying the dispute on rural air service subsidies was a standoff between the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate over a provision in long-term funding legislation for the FAA that would make it more difficult for airline and railroad workers to unionize.

The labor provision in the House bill would overturn a National Mediation Board rule approved last year that allows airline and railroad employees to form a union by a simple majority of those voting. Under the old rule, workers who didn’t vote were treated as “no” votes.

Airlines will lose the authority to collect about $200 million a week in ticket taxes that go into a trust fund that pays for FAA programs. FAA employees whose jobs are paid for with trust fund money will be furloughed, including nearly 1,000 workers at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, 647 workers at FAA’s technology and research center in Atlantic City, N.J., and 124 workers at the agency’s training center in Oklahoma City.

“I’m very disappointed that Congress adjourned today without passing a clean extension of the FAA bill,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday. “Because of their inaction, states and airports won’t be able to work on their construction projects, and too many people will have to go without a paycheck. This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world.”