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    Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) revealed Tuesday the moderate wing of the Democrat Party is “not interested” in their leadership’s strategy of passing the hard left’s agenda items without trying to attain Republican support. “We’re not interested in just passing a bunch of partisan bills that sit in the Senate without action,” Gottheimer said. “There’s a feeling among many of us that we’re here to govern. The issues are far too important, and it will take bipartisan work to make it happen.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) chamber is ready to focus on new legislative pushes after its passage of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which may include LGBTQ priorities, law and order reform, women’s compensation, the Violence Against Women Act, the Dream Act, an amnesty bill, voting rights, and two gun bills. Pushing through the hard left’s agenda in the House of Representatives is easier than in the Senate, where at least 10...
    By STEPHEN GROVES, Associated Press PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's effort to limit the powers of conservation officers suffered a partial setback in the Legislature on Tuesday, with debate in one Senate committee resulting in a lively exchange between her staff and Republican senators. As senators criticized Noem's proposal to keep conservation officers from entering private property without permission, Noem's general counsel, Mark Miller, rose from the audience to soeak. He was quickly rebuked by Republican Sen. Arthur Rusch, who told him he was out of order. Despite Miller's argument that the bill would protect property rights, the panel of Republican senators unanimously dismissed it, with one powerful senator, Lee Schoenbeck, calling it “a slap in the face of conservation officers.” However, the bill could be revived by a legislative maneuver called a “smoke out" that requires one-third of the Senate's support. The Republican governor has...
    MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Florida lawmakers will take up their 60-day session as it begins Tuesday. They will be dealing with the coronavirus, budget questions, anti-riot legislation and an attempt to reign in large technology companies. But so will bicycle seats, alcohol-to-go, and baby boxes. READ MORE: Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing In West Kendall; US Coast Guard Searches For Missing Plane Off Boca Raton More than 2,500 bills have been filed ahead of the 2021 session. While most won’t pass, the Legislature will be grappling with a wide variety of issues under new Republican leaders, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson, all while figuring out how to do business in a pandemic. The budget is the only bill lawmakers are required to pass, and lawmakers won’t get the latest revenue estimates until after session starts. One factor they won’t consider is potential federal COVID-19 relief money. “We...
    Last summer, in response to new incidents of anti-Black police violence, people around the country coalesced around a singular demand: Defund the police. Whether intended as a step toward abolishing police altogether or as a method for shrinking but not entirely eliminating police power, the call to divest from policing and instead invest in social programs drew widespread support. While the near-constant media coverage has since shifted away from organizers’ demands, the contention around police budgets is far from over. In response, state-level Republican lawmakers around the country have rapidly been proposing legislation that would prohibit local municipalities from reducing their police budgets. In particular, Indiana has emerged as a hotbed of anti-defund legislative activity. There, since the start of 2021, five anti-police divestment bills have been proposed in the state’s legislature. The measures, which are often paired with reactionary laws criminalizing protest, propose a variety of methods to...
    By BRENDAN FARRINGTON, Associated Press TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Coronavirus, budget questions, anti-riot legislation and an attempt to reign in large technology companies will be among issues lawmakers will take up in their 60-day session that begins Tuesday. But so will bicycle seats, alcohol-to-go and baby boxes. More than 2,500 bills have been filed ahead of the 2021 session. While most won’t pass, the Legislature will be grappling with a wide variety of issues under new Republican leaders, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson, all while figuring out how to do business in a pandemic. The budget is the only bill lawmakers are required to pass, and lawmakers won’t get the latest revenue estimates until after session starts. One factor they won't consider is potential federal COVID-19 relief money. “We were being told at the end of last year the federal government is going to bring in...
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Republican weekly policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 23, 2021.Kevin Lemarque | Reuters During his first year in office, President Barack Obama enjoyed a congressional "supermajority": Wide enough margins of power in both chambers of Congress that allowed agenda items to pass without Republican support. But when Republican Scott Brown won a special election to fill the seat of the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, the number of Senate Democrats dropped to 59 votes – forcing the Obama administration to pivot the process for the Affordable Care Act to "reconciliation," which allows bills to pass with a simply majority. Reconciliation, once reserved for strictly financial matters, allowed Obama to pass his landmark health-care legislation without a single Republican vote – but it marked the beginning of a yearslong period of legislative gridlock, government shutdowns and fiscal cliffs...
    (CNN)Republican legislators around the country are moving aggressively to strip governors and other officials of their power to change election rules -- after states made it easier to vote last year during the coronavirus pandemic and turnout surged to record levels.The measures have been introduced in at least eight states with Republican-controlled legislatures -- including the key battlegrounds of Georgia and Arizona. Some bills would give more authority to lawmakers to establish the ground rules for voting, in an escalation of the already bitter partisan fights that have erupted following the 2020 presidential contest.The fresh showdowns over who should run elections come as allies of former President Donald Trump continue to try to cast doubt on his loss -- by arguing that election officials and the courts usurped state laws when they relaxed voting rules to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic. And they represent the latest front in the...
    By KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Democratic lawmakers from the Idaho House and Senate blasted their Republican colleagues Wednesday for engaging in what they called a power grab from the governor, local governments and voters while key legislation languishes. House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel and Senate Minority Caucus Chair Janie Ward-Engelking said the Republican majority has accomplished little near the mid-point of the legislative session. Republicans have put forward bills limiting a governor’s authority during emergencies such as the pandemic, making ballot initiatives more difficult, initiating a constitutional amendment so the part-time Legislature can call itself back into session, and removing the state’s attorney general as the primary legal defender for state agencies. “I don't see a lot of intellectual and logical consistency behind these positions other than they will get behind whatever avenue gets more power to the Legislature," Rubel said. The lawmakers said important issues...
    (CNN)Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a slate of voting proposals Friday that he wants lawmakers to pass in their upcoming legislative session, including restricting the mass mailing of mail-in ballots and access to ballot drop boxes. At a news conference Friday in West Palm Beach, DeSantis, a Republican, argued that the legislation proposals will increase residents' confidence in Florida elections, strengthen election security, and transparency in the election process. DeSantis continued to peddle false claims about election security, though there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. One of the proposals would ban vote-by-mail ballots from being sent out to all residents, making it so only voters who request a ballot would receive one. Under the proposal, voters would need to request an absentee ballot each election year. Another proposed measure would "address the use of ballot boxes," which DeSantis called "a big problem" and argued...
    By BEN NADLER and JEFF AMY, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — Democrats in Georgia’s state Senate are slamming their Republican colleagues for holding subcommittee votes on high-profile bills that seek to limit voting with little public notice given and without a livestream option for the public to watch. A Senate subcommittee Wednesday approved bills that would curtail who can vote absentee by mail and require a photo ID for absentee voters. The bills could soon be taken up by the full Senate Ethics Committee. The subcommittee meeting was held at 7 a.m. No agenda for the meeting was posted online beforehand and the meeting was not livestreamed. Public access to committee rooms has also been restricted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Democrats quickly criticized the lack of access on the consequential bills, which were introduced by Republicans after a surge in absentee voting helped Democrats win the presidential contest in...
    A Republican state lawmaker in California has unveiled two legislative proposals that are designed as counter-punches against "cancel culture." But at least one state Democrat has already fired back, accusing the Republican of trying to promote "racist, pro-domestic terrorism, xenophobic, misogynistic views." State Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, claims a "climate of intolerance has been established" in the Golden State – so she says she political affiliation should be a protected class under state law so residents can’t face discrimination over their political beliefs. RICKY GERVAIS LIKENS CANCEL CULTURE TO 'ROAD RAGE,' TALKS THE 'MISUNDERSTANDING' OF ACCOUNTABILITY She says her "Diversity of Thought Act" would protect people from discrimination over politics when seeking housing, bank loans or employment by amending the Fair Employment and Housing Act. California state Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore Her second bill would help protect students from facing bullying over their political views. JEREMY...
    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Transgender athletes would be banned from competing in girls’ or women’s sports in Mississippi schools and universities, under a bill that advanced in the Republican-controlled state Senate late Thursday night. There was little discussion of Senate Bill 2536 before senators passed it 34-9. Four senators voted “present,” which does not count for or against the measure. Five did not vote. “I’ve had numerous coaches across the state call me and believe that they feel there’s a need for a policy in Mississippi because they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Angela Hill of Picayune. No senator asked whether any transgender athletes are currently competing in Mississippi, and Hill did not volunteer such information. The bill will go to the Republican-controlled House for more work in coming weeks. Mississippi is one of a dozen states...
    By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Transgender athletes would be banned from competing in girls' or women's sports in Mississippi schools and universities, under a bill that advanced in the Republican-controlled state Senate late Thursday night. There was little discussion of Senate Bill 2536 before senators passed it 34-9. Four senators voted “present,” which does not count for or against the measure. Five did not vote. “I've had numerous coaches across the state call me and believe that they feel there's a need for a policy in Mississippi because they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this,” said the bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Angela Hill of Picayune. No senator asked whether any transgender athletes are currently competing in Mississippi, and Hill did not volunteer such information. The bill will go to the Republican-controlled House for more work in coming weeks. Mississippi...
    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — More than 60 Indianapolis business and civic group leaders have signed a letter criticizing the Republican-dominated Legislature over numerous bills that would strip authority from the city officials. Bills advancing in the Legislature would take steps such as block the city’s regulations on rental properties, demand changes to the city bus system, shift control of the Indianapolis police department to a governor-appointed board and strip much of the authority from a citywide zoning board. The letter released Thursday warns that “imposing heavy-handed limits on local authority would stall our ability to drive Indiana forward.” Republican legislators have faced criticism for targeting actions supported by Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Democratic-controlled city council. Republican Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray of Martinsville said he didn’t expect all the proposals would win legislative approval but that the large economic impact of Indianapolis on the state merited attention from...
    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Four bills that would restrict access to abortion in Montana are on their way to the Senate floor after passing on party-line votes Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gov. Greg Gianforte has promised to sign at least two of the bills if they arrive on his desk – one that would ban abortions in most cases after 20 weeks of gestation, and another that would ask voters to approve a requirement for health care providers to care for infants born alive during abortion procedures. A third bill would require health care providers to give pregnant women the opportunity to view an ultrasound before performing an abortion and the fourth would require that abortion pills be administered in-person rather than through telehealth. The bills advanced with seven committee Republicans voting in favor, and four Democrats opposed. The measures have already passed the House. They head next...
    Okay, campers, rise and shine! Groundhog Day is a smidge behind us now, but that does nothing to mitigate the general sense of deja vu pervading action in statehouses these days. Take, for instance, Wisconsin. I wrote in this space last week about how Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin were in a rush to pass a resolution that would eliminate Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate. Campaign Action … that is, they were until they realized that ditching this anti-coronavirus measure could cost the state millions of dollars in federal food aid during the pandemic. So, after the GOP-controlled Senate passed the measure, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos slammed on the brakes to evaluate potential “financial issues” that could arise from eliminating the governor’s mask requirement. After several days of back-and-forth between the chambers as Republican leaders attempted to settle on language they hoped would prevent Wisconsin from losing crucial federal funds,...
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared victory last week after two Democrats confirmed they would not vote to change the Senate rules and abolish the legislative filibuster.
            by Mary Margaret Olohan  Republican lawmakers have unleashed a wave of pro-life bills into the Democrat-controlled Congress this week. The flood of pro-life legislation occurred the same week that President Joe Biden enacted policy allowing taxpayer dollars to fund abortions abroad. Days earlier, Biden marked the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade by promising to both appoint judges who respect the ruling as precedent Friday and to codify Roe v. Wade. He also directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Thursday to review the Title X family planning regulations. The new president is expected to reverse former President Donald Trump’s “Protect Life Rule,” which prohibited Title X Family Planning Program funds from going to organizations that perform or promote abortions. The proposed Republican bills, which are unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Congress, were introduced same week that the 48th Annual March for Life was scheduled to take place. The march will take place...
    Republican lawmakers have unleashed a wave of pro-life bills into the Democrat-controlled Congress. The slew of pro-life legislation is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Congress and comes the same week that the 48th Annual March for Life was scheduled to take place. Many Republicans criticized President Joe Biden’s Thursday order to allow taxpayer dollars to fund abortions abroad. He also commemorated the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by promising to appoint judges who respect the ruling as precedent.  Republican lawmakers have unleashed a wave of pro-life bills into the Democrat-controlled Congress this week. The flood of pro-life legislation occurred the same week that President Joe Biden enacted policy allowing taxpayer dollars to fund abortions abroad. Days earlier, Biden marked the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade by promising to both appoint judges who respect the ruling as precedent Friday and to codify Roe v. Wade. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep....
    Republican Rep. John Fuller As the nation continues to struggle against the novel coronavirus pandemic, Republican lawmakers in Montana are finding time to double down on a fight that has quietly taken root among state conservatives across the nation. What fight? Keeping transgender youth out of sports that align with their gender identity. One example, as tends to be the focus: keeping transgender girls and women out of girls’ sports. Montana’s latest attack is actually on two fronts: one bill, House Bill 112, is focused on youth sports, while the other House Bill 113, is even more dangerous. House Bill 113 is focused on denying gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth—and as we know, this kind of healthcare can literally be life-saving. These bills passed on second readings on Monday, with 112 passing on a 62-38 vote, and 113 passing 53-47. Both bills have one more vote in the House before they would advance to the Senate...
    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Four new proposed abortion restrictions passed the state House Tuesday in Montana, one of several states where GOP gains are lending more momentum to prohibitions on the procedure. The bills come as President Joe Biden looks to change course nationally on the issue, though the Supreme Court has a conservative majority that’s given hope to anti-abortion activists. In Montana, GOP lawmakers are hoping to capitalize on the election of a Republican governor after 16 years of pro-abortion access Democratic governors. The Montana bills largely echo legislation already passed in other Republican-controlled states — including a ban on abortion in most cases after 20 weeks of gestation; a requirement that health care providers give pregnant women the opportunity to view an ultrasound before performing an abortion; and a requirement that abortion pills be administered in-person rather than through telehealth. Another bill would ask voters to...
    The Montana House on Monday advanced four bills that would limit abortion access in the state, capitalizing on the election of a Republican governor for the first time in 16 years. Three of the bills are repeats of similar bills vetoed last session by former Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat. Current Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has promised to “defend life,” giving anti-abortion lawmakers and activists hope that the bills will be signed into law. The bills largely echo legislation already passed in other Republican-controlled states — including a ban on abortion in most cases after 20 weeks of gestation; a requirement that health care providers give pregnant women the opportunity to view an ultrasound before performing an abortion; and a requirement that abortion pills be administered in-person rather than through telehealth. The final bill would ask voters to approve a requirement to care for babies born alive during abortion procedures....
    Glory be, after years and years and years and years of House Republicans poisoning legislation with procedural motions, which a handful of Democrats would never fail to participate in, the House of Representatives in the 117th Congress has new rules. Those new rules make that procedure, the Motion to Recommit, far less dangerous. Now, the MTR could have been toothless all along, if Democratic leadership had been willing to be enforcers and do what Republicans do when they're in the majority—not allow members to stray and abet Republican dirty tricks. The MTR is the minority's last chance to amend legislation before final passage, and what Republicans always do in the minority is offer an amendment that they think will split Democrats and force them to take tough votes. Soon into the new 116th Congress, on key gun safety legislation, they did just that. They sullied a background checks bill by...
    By JAMES MacPHERSON, Associated Press BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota taxpayers are on the hook for legal expenses in Gov. Doug Burgum’s failed attempt to fill a legislative seat won by a man who died before taking office. The Republican governor's office is claiming more than $12,000 in attorney fees and court costs, according to billing records obtained by The Associated Press late Wednesday after an open records request. The North Dakota Supreme Court in a unanimous Nov. 24 ruling said Burgum does not have the authority to appoint someone to the state House seat. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who must approve the billing, said Thursday morning that his office had not seen it yet. The funds would come out of the governor’s office budget. Stenehjem, who represented the state in lawsuit brought by Burgum, had said the governor’s lawsuit “was a waste of taxpayer dollars and...
    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota taxpayers are on the hook for legal expenses in Gov. Doug Burgum’s failed attempt to fill a legislative seat won by a man who died before taking office. The Republican governor’s office is claiming more than $12,000 in attorney fees and court costs, according to billing records obtained by The Associated Press late Wednesday after an open records request. The North Dakota Supreme Court in a unanimous Nov. 24 ruling said Burgum does not have the authority to appoint someone to the state House seat. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who must approve the billing, said Thursday morning that his office had not seen it yet. The funds would come out of the governor’s office budget. Stenehjem, who represented the state in lawsuit brought by Burgum, had said the governor’s lawsuit “was a waste of taxpayer dollars and time.” “We are going...
    President Donald Trump has yet to concede the 2020 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden, but the Republican Party seems to have already figured out its agenda for the next four years. After approving massive spending bills under Trump, Republican senators are “preparing to re-embrace their inner deficit hawk,” according to a Friday report from The Hill. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who will most likely become the chairman of the Budget Committee if the GOP keeps the Senate, has floated establishing a commission to reduce deficits “I think we’ve got to understand that we’re going to be raising the debt ceiling in perpetuity if we don’t find a way to bend the curve,” Graham said, brushing off accusations of hypocrisy. “We got here together, right? I’m not saying the Republican Party is the answer, we’re not,” he continued, arguing that “there’s got to be some shared understanding of...
    By MARC LEVY, Associated Press HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf will veto legislation heading to his desk that would repeal long-standing laws intended to control the carrying of guns and prevent public officials from shutting down firearms sales during disaster emergencies declared by a governor. Wolf, a Democrat who has advocated for broader gun control measures, opposes the bills, his office said Thursday. The bills are the latest to pass the Republican-controlled Legislature that sought to limit Wolf's powers during the existing coronavirus disaster emergency and beyond. Wolf has vetoed more than a half-dozen such bills. “The current disaster declarations in place are meant to help the administration fight the public health crises at hand and have no impact on citizens and their firearm rights,” Wolf's office said in a statement. Both bills passed the Senate by identical 29-20 votes on Wednesday, with the lone independent senator and...
    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Legislature early Wednesday passed a bill to keep intact longer-lasting unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic after the state Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a law that was the basis for now-negated orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The bill was among several that were approved during a lengthy session that began Tuesday. The Republican-led House and Senate backed liability protections for businesses, health providers and others that are sued over COVID-19 infections, as long as they have complied with safety rules. Other measures sent to the Democratic governor following hours of negotiations would codify recently announced changes related to the care of nursing home residents recovering from the virus, let public bodies continue to meet electronically, and extend renewal dates for driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations. The sponsor of the unemployment bill, Republican Sen. Ken Horn of Frankenmuth, said it would ensure that people out...
    By MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As the nation processed the news that President Donald Trump has COVID-19, Republicans in the Louisiana House on Friday backed a package of measures aimed at unraveling the state's coronavirus restrictions in an ongoing dispute with Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. The nine pieces of legislation vary in approach. One would overturn Edwards’ coronavirus executive orders for a month. Others would give lawmakers more ability to jettison all or part of future orders — or extensions of existing COVID-19 restrictions — the governor wants to enact. Another would require bars and restaurants to be treated the same in emergency orders. “In order to have oversight, we have to have information and a seat at the table,” said Rep. Stephen Dwight, a Lake Charles Republican. The proposals — which won support largely on party-line votes with Republicans in favor and Democrats...
    By SUMMER BALLENTINE, Associated Press COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike Parson's contested proposal to give the Missouri attorney general the power to intervene in St. Louis homicide cases failed Wednesday when the GOP-led House finished a special session focused on curbing violent crime without taking action on the bill. The bill would have allowed the attorney general, currently Republican Eric Schmitt, to prosecute St. Louis homicides if Gardner’s office didn’t act on those cases in 90 days and if police asked for an intervention. Parson said the goal of the prosecution bill was to help reduce violent crime in St. Louis, but the proposal was widely seen as criticism of the city’s first Black prosecutor, Kim Gardner, who is a Democrat. “You're not going to hit a home run every time in this building,” Parson said. “We're very content with what we got moving. Anything we can do...
    COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s contested proposal to give the Missouri attorney general the power to intervene in St. Louis homicide cases failed Wednesday when the GOP-led House finished a special session focused on curbing violent crime without taking action on the bill. The bill would have allowed the attorney general, currently Republican Eric Schmitt, to prosecute St. Louis homicides if Gardner’s office didn’t act on those cases in 90 days and if police asked for an intervention. Parson said the goal of the prosecution bill was to help reduce violent crime in St. Louis, but the proposal was widely seen as criticism of the city’s first Black prosecutor, Kim Gardner, who is a Democrat. “You’re not going to hit a home run every time in this building,” Parson said. “We’re very content with what we got moving. Anything we can do to help law enforcement, to...
    During a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) panned the Senate Republican coronavirus relief proposal for not meeting needs on “safe elections,” among other things and criticized the “poison pills” that will “never” get the support of Democrats like the bill’s school choice program and corporate immunity. Schumer said the GOP’s proposal “is completely inadequate, and by every measure, fails to meet the needs of the American people, with no money for rental assistance, nutrition assistance, the Census, safe elections, and so many other things. The bill, amazingly, will do almost nothing to help state and local governments that have already been forced to cut a million jobs since the pandemic began. This bill actually goes backwards from the last Republican proposal. It does not even allow states to use existing relief funds to cover lost revenues.” He continued, “Even worse, this latest...
    President TrumpDonald John TrumpDHS to label white supremacists as the 'most persistent and lethal threat' to the US: report Buttigieg slams Trump over comments on fallen soldiers: 'He must think we're all suckers' White House tells federal agencies to cancel 'divisive' racial sensitivity training: report MORE and his affiliated political groups have reportedly spent at least $58.4 million in donations they've received on legal and compliance work since he first started running for office in 2015. According to figures from a joint project by The New York Times and the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, the spending on Trump’s behalf covers legal work that is routine for any president or political candidate but also cases in which he has personal interests at stake, including enforcing nondisclosure agreements. Among the expenses paid for with campaign donations are costs for lawyers who are seeking over $1 million in damages from a former campaign...
            by Shaun Kenney  “I went, wait a minute, they literally are writing the laws for a couple million dollars a year in contributions and some lobbyists, I can do that.”  — Michael Bills, “A multimillionaire sets out to conquer Dominion,” Virginia Mercury (October 2019) And so he did. The former Goldman Sachs hedge fund billionaire proceeded to distribute $1.7 million in 2019 to 88 Democrat candidates and committees, making him by far the largest political donor in the state. Add on the $952,000 his wife – Sonjia Smith — spent on various Democrat candidates and the couple created quite the pile of legislative chits. According to VPAP the marital duo (also known as the Soros’ of Charlottesville) have given just under $8 million to progressive candidates over the years.  The end result was the termination of a business-oriented Republican-led majority and the transition to a radical Democratic-controlled agenda marshaled by progressive interests. Quickly, Bills moved...
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's Republican-dominant Statehouse will continue to meet for a special legislative session on Tuesday as they address COVID-19 liability, telemedicine and penalties against protesters. Gov. Bill Lee announced last week that he was convening a special legislative session to address a handful of bills lawmakers failed to advance earlier this year. Lawmakers did pass a sweeping anti-abortion bill before adjourning in mid-June, but the legislation is currently being blocked by a judge from being implemented as it's being legally challenged. Protesters have held demonstrations outside the Capitol for weeks demanding a meeting with Lee to discuss “racial justice” issues, but the Republican has declined, and instead called for law enforcement agencies to review various policies. GOP lawmakers are still finalizing details of the bills expected to be debated this week. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or...
    By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press Connecticut regulators on Friday ordered Eversource, the state's largest electric utility, to temporarily suspend a rate increase that appeared in customers' July bills and immediately restore rates to their June 30 levels so an investigation can be conducted into whether customers are being overcharged. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said in a letter to the utility's attorney that it has received numerous letters and complaints from customers shocked by their larger-than-normal electric bills, some twice as much as they usually pay, which Eversource said were driven primarily by a significant increase in summer energy use and two recent delivery fee increases. “The intent of this reexamination is to ensure that Eversource is not over-collecting revenues in the short term at the expense of ratepayers during this period of financial hardship,” PURA Executive Secretary Jeffrey R. Gaudiosi wrote in the letter. Republican and Democratic state legislators,...
    Washington (CNN)Senate Republicans formally unveiled a roughly $1 trillion stimulus proposal this week, offering a starting point for negotiations with Democrats over what will likely become Congress's last major economic response to the pandemic. The $600 federal boost to unemployment benefits expires July 31, but millions of people are already receiving their last checks.Democrats, who control the House, are unified behind a far bigger and different proposal. They passed their own $3 trillion stimulus bill in May.Republicans will need support from Democrats to get a bill on the President's desk and the two sides are starting far apart. Here are some of the key differences between the two bills:
    New York state Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D), who chairs the Senate Elections Committee The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● New York: New York's Democratic-run Senate has passed a number of bills to make voting more accessible this fall, including measures to: Allow all voters to request absentee ballots due to concerns about any epidemic; Notify voters of any issues with their absentee ballots and give them a chance to fix them; Authorize New York City to set up its own online voter registration system (a statewide system likely will not come online until 2021); Allow officials to begin processing requests for absentee ballots earlier than the current start date, which is 30 days before Election...
    Joe Borelli, one of three Republican members of New York City's 51-member City Council, told "The Daily Briefing” Thursday that Mayor Bill de Blasio "is, right now,  just caving in to this sort of woke progressive mob ..." In addition to growing anti-police sentiment and an alarming surge in gun violence across the city, Borelli cited “an encampment outside of City Hall blocking the streets, blocking subway entrances, harassing people who walk by,” but de Blasio is “just letting this go.” “Ever since the protests have really took off, he totally just collapsed any bit of rational thought, and he’s given in to every demand,” Borelli continued. VideoBorelli, who represents part of Staten Island joined host Dana Perino after NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea slammed city lawmakers in an appearance on CNN, claiming that six police reform bills signed by de Blasio Wednesday are “handcuffing the police.” Shea said on Thursday that the would negatively impact public safety, with the city already seeing a huge...
    By BRYAN ANDERSON, Associated Press/Report for America RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a string of bills on Thursday passed in the Republican-controlled legislature to reopen businesses and help reignite parts of the economy most hurt by the coronavirus. With GOP lawmakers unlikely to have the votes needed to override the Democratic governor's decision, amusement parks, entertainment venues, bars, gyms, skating rinks and bowling alleys will almost assuredly remain closed for at least two more weeks. In a series of veto messages, Cooper criticized state lawmakers for trying to reopen places he believes are most vulnerable to the virus. He argued the bills would reduce the likelihood of reopening schools, limit the ability for him and local officials to quickly react to COVID-19 developments and amount to “tying the hands of public health officials." “Given the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic, executive officials are best...
    GOP legislators in states across the country are advancing bills that would prevent elections officials from sending out absentee ballot applications ahead of November's election, even in states where those top officials are fellow Republicans. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, secretaries of state in places like Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, South Dakota and Wyoming encouraged residents to cast ballots from home by sending out absentee ballot request forms. Those forms led to increased participation during the primaries, with many states seeing record turnout. But now, Republican state legislatures are pushing back on those secretaries of states’ efforts by authoring bills to thwart their ability to send out ballot applications for the general election. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) last week signed a bill that requires the secretary of state to receive approval from a bipartisan legislative council before authorizing the mailing of absentee ballot request forms, after Secretary of State Paul Pate (R)...
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives this week showcased three big-ticket, election-year initiatives they say would improve healthcare, protect renters from eviction amid a pandemic and spend $1.5 trillion on infrastructure projects. The Democratic-controlled House approved the healthcare and housing bills on Monday, despite Republican opposition, signaling they will be blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate. A vote is expected this week on infrastructure. With congressional elections only four months away, Democrats were highlighting the measures, knowing they are popular among many voters, especially progressive Democrats. They are a growing force in the party that will be important to Democrat Joe Biden's quest to defeat Republican President Donald Trump on Nov. 3. The healthcare bill, which aims to bolster the controversial Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, would lower medical insurance premiums, expand Medicaid and cut prescription drug costs. It was being debated as Democrats escalated attacks...
    The Republican proposal in the Senate calls for an enhanced use-of-force database, restrictions on chokeholds and new commissions to study law enforcement and race. Senate Republicans say it would limit the federal government's role while still making significant changes in policing. It remains to be seen whether the parties can bridge their differences. Here's a look at the two competing proposals: POLICE MISCONDUCT & USE-OF-FORCE DATABASES Many officers who wind up involved in fatal incidents have a history of misconduct, including Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer charged with murder in Floyd's death. He had at least a dozen complaints made against him, according to records. But those records are often not made public, making it difficult to know if officers have such a record. Donald Trump signed an executive order earlier this month requiring the attorney general to create a database tracking terminations, criminal convictions and civil judgments against law enforcement...
    Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York City BY DAVID MORGAN AND LISA LAMBERT The Republican-led U.S. Senate and Democratic-led House of Representatives will vote this week on separate bills aimed at addressing police misconduct following George Floyd’s death in police custody, but neither measure is likely to become law. The Senate would move to a procedural vote on a Republican bill on Wednesday, according to documents filed on Monday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The House is due to vote on more sweeping Democratic legislation on Thursday. Nearly a month after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis with a police officer’s knee on his neck that set off weeks of protests, neither measure, as written, appears to have enough bipartisan support to win approval from both chambers and be signed into law by Republican President Donald Trump. With strong...
    Reuters June 22, 2020 0 Comments The Republican-led U.S. Senate and Democratic-led House of Representatives will vote this week on separate bills aimed at addressing police misconduct following George Floyd’s death in police custody, but neither measure is likely to become law. The Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on a Republican bill by Wednesday, while the House is due to vote on more sweeping Democratic legislation on Thursday. Nearly a month after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis with a police officer’s knee on his neck that set off weeks of protests, neither measure, as written, appears to have enough bipartisan support to win approval from both chambers and be signed into law by Republican President Donald Trump. With strong public sentiment for stopping excessive force by police, especially against African-Americans, many are urging Congress to seize the opportunity to quickly pass legislation. Last week Trump signed an...
    WASHINGTON - The Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives and Republican-led Senate are set to take key votes this week on reforms to the nation’s police system, with the two chambers agreeing on several major proposals but still not entirely in agreement on what should change.  The push for legislation came after the death in police custody of African American George Floyd, the impetus for nationwide and worldwide protests of racism and the use of force by law enforcement officers.  A key divide between the Democratic and Republican proposals is on the issue of qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that makes it more difficult for people to file lawsuits against police officers when they feel their civil rights have been violated.  Democrats want to end qualified immunity, but Republican leaders have opposed doing so and the White House has labeled the issue a “non-starter” for President Donald Trump. President Donald Trump holds up an executive order on...
    CLEVELAND (AP) - Efforts to legalize sports betting in Ohio have made halting progress more than a year after bills were introduced in the House and Senate, although sponsors of the conflicting legislation believe a deal can be reached. The main difference between the two bills is who would regulate sports betting. The House bill approved in late May said it should be the Ohio Lottery Commission. The Senate version said says it should be the Casino Control Commission. Neighboring Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana already offer sports betting at casinos. Fifteen other states allow sports betting. An additional five have legalized it but don’t yet offer it. TOP STORIES Pope Francis sends strong message to U.S. Catholics after George Floyds death Chaos in Georgia: Is messy primary a November harbinger? Judge blocks removal of Confederate monument in Richmond, Virginia The Ohio House bill would legalize sports betting at the...
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