Morning CheckUp: March 13, 2012

Florida legislature adjourns without passing new anti-abortion bills: “Despite last session’s onslaught of legislation aimed at cracking down on legal abortions in the state , the Florida Legislature did not pass a single anti-abortion bill during the 2012 legislative session. About ten anti-abortion bills were introduced this year. The Florida House did pass a bill, however, that women’s health and civil rights advocates denounced as an “omnibus anti-choice bill” because it was written to include several anti-abortion measures that did not pass in the GOP-led Florida Legislature last year.” [Florida Independent]

Groups ask Utah governor to veto sex-ed bill: “The Utah Education Association, Utah PTA and the Utah State Democratic Party are all calling for the governor to veto a bill that would allow schools to drop sex education classes and prohibit instruction in the use of contraception. That’s in addition to more than 25,000 people who, as of Friday afternoon, had signed an online petition requesting a veto on HB363.” [Salt Lake Tribune]

First lady defends her Let’s Move! program: First lady Michelle Obama defended her ‘Let’s Move!’ anti-obesity program against critics who call it a government intrusion. ‘Let’s Move! is not about having government tell people what to do, because government doesn’t have all the answers,’ Mrs. Obama said in an interview with Topanga Sena, age 11, a reporter for Scholastic News in Florida. ‘A problem that’s this big and affects so many people requires everyone to step up. So we’re asking everyone to step up.'” [The Hill]

Contraception key to boost grad rates at community colleges: “Community colleges could improve their graduation rates by helping students avoid unplanned pregnancies. That’s the thinking behind a campaign to encourage faculty members to incorporate material about pregnancy planning into academic courses.” [Inside Higher Ed]

New Super PAC forms to fight contraception rule: “A collection of prominent center-right leaders, including multiple top Bush administration officials, have founded a new advocacy group to advocate for measures exempting religious organizations from federal rules governing contraception coverage, Politico has learned. Their 501(c)4 organization, Conscience Cause, is aimed at ‘stopping the implementation of a Department of Health and Human Services regulation which would compel people and organizations to pay for drugs and services that violate their faith,’ according to a statement.” [Politico]

West Virginia tackles retiree health costs: “West Virginia has become the first state to pledge tax revenue to help finance its retiree health care burden, a major development in states’ efforts to pay down their soaring health benefit liabilities.
In the session that ended Saturday, lawmakers approved legislation proposed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin pledging $30 million a year in personal income tax collections to help reduce the gap between what the state promised to pay its retired employees for health care and what it set aside to meet those obligations.” [Stateline]