Students take over Taiwan's Legislature amid massive protests against a trade bill with China. Student protesters stormed Taiwan's Legislative Yuan last week, overwhelming police, and have occupied it since as protests grew outside. Last night, another group of students stormed the Executive Yuan, but were removed, sometimes violently, by riot police. The Presidential Office is surrounded by barricades and police checkpoints. The protests began after the ruling party, the Kuomintang, declared a review of a China trade pact to be concluded after months of wrangling between it and the opposition in the Legislature. The students originally wanted the review to continue, but they're now demanding that it be scrapped altogether.
Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives. "In 2011 the Texas state legislature slashed family planning funds, passed a new sonogram law, and waged an all-out war on Planned Parenthood that has dramatically shifted the state’s public health priorities. In the eighteen months since then, the conflict has continued to simmer in the courts, on the campaign trail, and in at least one PR disaster. Meanwhile, what will happen to Texas women—and their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands—remains very much unclear."
In a surprise move, Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty has resigned. CBC National Post Globe and Mail Toronto Star. [more inside]
In 2010, Rep. D.J. Bettencourt became the youngest majority leader in the history of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, as well as the youngest House majority leader of any state legislature in the U.S. On May 25, 2012, Bettencourt announced his resignation from the House, citing his upcoming wedding and his new job as executive director of the New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation. Three days after his resignation, Bettencourt resigned again – this time with an apology for “misrepresenting [his] work.” [more inside]
How edumacated is your state legislature? (sorry, U.S. only) The Chronicle of Higher Education takes on the issue of how educated U.S. lawmakers at the state level are/should be. [more inside]
If politicians were mathematicians. "I would like to suggest two systems for parliamentary votes, one that would weaken the party system but without killing it off entirely, and one that would protect large minorities. Neither has the slightest chance of being adopted, because they are both too complicated to be taken seriously. But mathematicians wouldn’t find them complicated at all — hence the title of this post." Fields medalist Tim Gowers messes around with political axioms.
Once-revered S.C. lawmaker freezes to death alone. Maybe it's OK to get in someone's business and force them to get help? A terrible way to go out.
In 1897, the Indiana House of Representatives passed a bill mandating that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle (pi) was 3.2. Now, 112 years later, their neighbors in the Illinois Senate have passed a resolution redefining Pluto as a planet, at least when it passes through the Illinois night sky. Of course, Pluto may not even travel through the Illinois night sky for some time.
Kentucky Lawmaker Wants to Ban Anonymous Internet Posting. This bill is pretty much a nonstarter, but should online defamation be criminalized? [pdf]
The partial veto, enshrined in the Wisconsin Constitution since 1930, gives the governor the power to veto only a portion of a bill passed by the legislature. Since then, governors, both Republican and Democratic, have gotten increasingly creative about its application -- vetoing the word "not" to reverse the meaning of a bill, vetoing digits out of numbers to reduce appropriations, even vetoing individual letters from words in order to create new text, Humument-style. (This last power, the so-called "Vanna White" veto, was removed by Constitutional amendment in 1990.) Another attempt to strip the governor of the partial veto has just failed. Doesn't it sound like fun to be governor of Wisconsin? Try it yourself.
The Worst Congress Ever. How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts -- in five easy steps. By Matt Taibbi. [Via TalkLeft.]
"An Ohio legislative panel yesterday rubber-stamped an unprecedented process that would allow sex offenders to be publicly identified and tracked even if they've never been charged with a crime... [t]he concept was offered by Roman Catholic bishops as an alternative to opening a one-time window for the filing of civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse that occurred as long as 35 years ago." From Megan and Sarah to Amie to...well...this.
Nebraska has the only unicameral, non-partisan legislature in the United States. Created by constitutional amendment in 1935, Nebraska's legislature gained brief influence as a model of legislative politics after the "one man, one vote" Supreme Court rulings in the mid-60s. Many states had not reapportioned their districts for years, creating an imbalance in state and national legislative politics. The Supreme Court ruling which sparked the brief campaign for unicameral legislatures.