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Women in Charge: Here's What Happens

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Yesterday's blog speculated on what might happen politically if women were in charge in state legislatures across the land. Would the tables be turned on men? Would new laws target men the way male-dominated legislatures target women?

Check out Nevada, because that state has the nation's first and only female-dominated state legislature. Here's how The Washington Post summarizes what's happening there:

Since Nevada seated the nation’s first majority-female state legislature in January, the male old guard has been shaken up by the perspectives of female lawmakers. Bills prioritizing women’s health and safety have soared to the top of the agenda. Mounting reports of sexual harassment have led one male lawmaker to resign. And policy debates long dominated by men, including prison reform and gun safety, are yielding to female voices.

The female majority is having a huge effect: More than 17 pending bills deal with sexual assault, sex trafficking and sexual misconduct, with some measures aimed at making it easier to prosecute offenders. Bills to ban child marriage and examine the causes of maternal mortality are also on the docket.

"I can say with 100 percent certainty that we wouldn’t have had these conversations" a few years ago, said Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D). "None of these bills would have seen the light of day.”

Today, The Post reported, women hold 23 seats in the Nevada Assembly and 10 in the Senate, for a combined 52 percent. Only Colorado is close, with 47 percent, and in Congress, just one in four lawmakers is a woman. And in Alabama, where near complete ban on abortions was enacted last week, women comprise just 15 percent of the legislature.

In Nevada, a Republican senator defended a century-old law requiring doctors to ask women seeking abortions if they are married, newly elected Democrat Yvanna Cancela responded:

"A man is not asked his marital status before he gets a vasectomy."

Is this the wave of the future? It's not out of the realm of possibility. President Trump's election in 2016 mobilized Democratic women across the nation, and the current spate of draconian abortion bills passed or being considered by mostly Republican male-dominated legislatures is likely to spur that on.

The times are changing and the men in charge of politics these days had better recognize that.

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