In today’s News:
Seminary to digitize rare books
In the coming decade, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis will make some 10,000 books and manuscripts, including more than 6,000 volumes in its rare book collection, available to scholars worldwide thanks to the mobilization of a monumental digitization effort. The Seminary’s Kristine Kay Hasse Memorial Library, the largest Lutheran library in North America, will begin using state-of-the-art technology in the coming months to photograph, scan and convert its most fragile and unique manuscripts and books into electronic files. It will take about a decade to complete the process of digitizing all the materials.
Massachusetts tries to expand abortion
As companion bills aimed at allowing abortion up until the moment of birth continue to be stalled, Massachusetts lawmakers are now working to insert an amendment into the state budget that would accomplish the same goal. State Representative Claire Cronin, the co-chair of the Joint Committee on The Judiciary, filed Amendment 759, which would be added to the annual budget bill. The leadership of both houses of the Massachusetts General Court have spoken out in favor of the amendment, similar to the Roe Act that failed.
New Jersey to make abortion a right
Last month, New Jersey lawmakers introduced a bill that would permanently enshrine abortion as a right in the state. Created as a response to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the so-called “Reproductive Freedom Act” would not only protect abortion within the state but would also do away with virtually all restrictions. Gov. Phil Murphy announced the legislation, which he crafted with Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, as a move to “expand health care” on his website. In addition to making abortion a state right, it mandates that insurance covers both birth control and abortion, with no out-of-pocket cost. Finally, it removes what it labels “medically-unnecessary restrictions” on abortion, which it considers a “fundamental right.”
Michigan’s Supreme Court to rule on school funding
Michigan’s highest court heard oral arguments in a case over whether the state can provide funds to private and religious schools to maintain state-mandated health and safety regulations, despite a state constitutional amendment barring public funding of nonpublic schools. The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Council of Organizations and others for education about Parochiaid v. State of Michigan. At issue was a law passed in 2016 that allocated $2.5 million to reimburse private schools for the cost of complying with state-mandated health, safety, and welfare regulations. The lawsuit against reimbursing private schools filed by a coalition of groups, including the ACLU of Michigan, Michigan Parents for Schools, Middle Cities Education Association and Kalamazoo Public Schools. The oral arguments before the Michigan Supreme Court come months after the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that religious schools in Montana can qualify for a state tax credit program even though their state constitution bans public aid to religious entities.