First Slice 3-23-16: ‘Religious liberty,’ rape kit debates continue

H. Harper Station will close April 1

Local artist/activist Jessica Caldas penned an op-ed for the AJC this week regarding the stalled HB 827, which would address Georgia’s major backup of untested rape kits. “No victim should ever choose not to report because we feel like nothing will happen. ”

Samantha Bee also has little patience for the rape kit backlog that characterizes nearly every state in the country. She was particularly bewildered (she’s not the only one) by Georgia state Sen. Renee Unterman’s statement that there isn’t a problem large enough to warrant passage of a law, despite a 2015 count of more than 3,000 untested kits in Georgia. Said Bee: “So remember, local elections are a lot like rape kits, no one really wants to pay attention to them but if you bother to open them up you might just get rid of someone who’s been screwing everyone in town.”

State Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, says that the “religious freedom” bill currently awaiting the Governor’s signature or veto would supersede any local nondiscrimination protections if passed into state law, despite language within the bill specifically prohibiting that. From the GA Voice: “A clause in the bill says it can’t be used to allow ‘discrimination on any grounds by federal or state law,’ but there are no nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people in Georgia on a state or federal level. When pressed on whether the bill would cancel out those LGBT non-discrimination ordinances in 60 jurisdictions across the state—including Atlanta—Kirk confirmed the point, saying, ‘Federal law trumps state law and state law trumps local law. That’s the way it works.’”

Two of three suspects have been identified in the horrific attacks on Brussels Tuesday morning that killed 31 and injured 270. They are brothers.

A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg (nee Malik Taylor) has died at age 45. “‘He brought the street to A Tribe Called Quest,’ said the group’s former manager Chris Lighty in Beats, Rhymes & Life. ‘If Q-Tip was esoteric and on Pluto, Phife would bring them back to the moon so that it was in the realm of human understanding.’”

H. Harper Station will close April 1.

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