News in Brief: Ohio Anti-Worker Law Faces Repeal, and More

Ohio Anti-Worker Law Faces Repeal

Democracy Now! reports that organizers in Ohio recently won a bid to begin a repeal effort targeting the state's new anti-labor law. The Republican-supported measure, similar to the law that garnered nationwide attention in Wisconsin, bars public-sector employees from striking and limits their collective bargaining rights. The advocacy group We Are Ohio won approval to begin collecting the signatures necessary to put the law's repeal on the state's November ballot.

Georgia Governor to Sign Anti-Immigrant Bill

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said on Friday that he plans to sign into law a bill that would allow police to check a suspect's immigration status, The Wall Street Journal writes. The measure would also require many businesses to verify that their employees are eligible to work in the United States. Supporters say the bill would help cut down on costs incurred by local and state governments and prevent undocumented workers from competing unfairly with legal citizens, while opponents argue that it would tarnish the state's image around the country and burden businesses with extra costs from the verification system. Georgia's American Civil Liberties Union chapter also called the bill unconstitutional, but its author, State Rep. Matt Ramsey, said he was careful to avoid the kind of controversial language found in Arizona's similar immigration law.

Anti-Health Care Law Lobbyist Group Encourages Businesses to Reap Its Benefits

The National Federation for Independent Businesses (NFIB), a conservative lobbyist group that recently joined a lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act, marked Tax Day by sending out a memo both denigrating the law and admitting that it could benefit qualifying businesses, according to Mother Jones. “Despite our concerns with the structure of the credit and the criticisms written above, NFIB urges any small business to consult with an accountant to determine whether filing for the credit is a good idea. If they determine that filing is beneficial, then by all means the business should file and get whatever dollars the law will offer,” the NFIB memo stated. This admission marks a recent trend in trade associations and business advocacy groups splitting from lobbyists like the NFIB, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, which oppose the health care law despite the benefits it offers to small businesses.

Scientists Say Gulf of Mexico Close to Pre-Spill Health Levels

According to The Associated Press, more than three dozen scientists recently graded the overall health of the Gulf of Mexico as almost back to normal one year after the Deepwater Horizon spill – but the high score is only tentatively optimistic, as the remaining problems have deeply affected the area's ecosystem, leading to significant declines in the health of the sea floor and the Gulf's inhabitants. Scientists point to the deaths of hundreds of young dolphins and turtles, as well as stained crabs, as evidence that it will take a long time to see the full extent of the damage caused by the BP spill.