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    In Hillsborough County, Florida, State Attorney Andrew Warren vowed not to prosecute either women seeking abortions or providers of gender-affirmative care for transgender youth — and far-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded by suspending him. DeSantis, on August 4, declared, “We are not going to allow this pathogen that’s been around the country of ignoring the law. We are not going to let that get a foothold here in the state of Florida.” Warren discusses that suspension in an op-ed published by the Washington Post on August 12. In Hillsborough County, that state attorney position is an elected one; Warren, a Democrat, was elected in 2016 and reelected in 2020 — and Warren, in his op-ed, slams DeSantis as heavy-handed and authoritarian. “For nearly four years,” Warren writes, “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pursued an approach to governing that has violated the freedoms of people in our state, inventing whatever enemies would help him in his ambition to be the next Donald Trump. Without warning, last week, he added me to his list. An armed sheriff’s deputy and a...
    America is spiraling out of control. From the unprecedented raid on Mar-a-Lago, to the seizure of a congressman's phone, to our doddering commander-in-chief, who increasingly seems like a man who doesn't have the sense or stamina to serve out his term. And now, America is on the edge of another political nightmare. We are less than 100 days away from the election of a new Congress to run the country – while the de facto leader of the Republican base delights in stoking his supporters' darkest suspicions under the shadow of a sincerely suspect investigation. It feels like the country is battling under crashing waves, struggling for a breath, but the rollers keep coming. Meanwhile, Biden has left town – yet again – for a beach vacation with his son – who has a federal probe looming over his head. It is true that four years of the Trump presidency, with its independent prosecutors, riots, mobs pulling down statues, the two failed impeachments, and Covid lockdowns - were also disturbingly shambolic. But that was supposed to be over when America...
    Nashville (CNN)Across Tennessee, pitching a tent on public land outside of designated camp sites is now a felony offense. Tennessee is the first state in the nation to take such a draconian step, but it's just one of a number of states essentially criminalizing homelessness in an effort to reduce the number of unhoused people sleeping on the streets, at bus stops and in city parks."They're trying to run us out of Nashville," says Momma V as she stood in the mud outside her tent pitched on the banks of the Cumberland River. "We're out here homeless. We're trying to struggle to make it and they're just trying to make it worse on all of us by criminalizing it."A felony conviction would make it even harder for an unhoused person to find a home or a job. "It's a huge deal," says Lindsey Krinks, an outreach worker with Open Table in Nashville. "A felony offense carries up to six years in jail, a $3,000 fine and the loss of voting rights."Similar bills are now under consideration in Arizona and Georgia....
    When President Donald Trump takes the stage at a major conservative conference in Dallas on Saturday he will likely have just received a boost to his 2024 plans in the form of a straw poll that will almost certainly rank him as the clear favorite among attendees. But that is not the end of the story as far as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose star has been on the rise this year. Attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference want him first to continue the work he is doing in Florida before taking up the national MAGA torch in the 2028 election. Shane Trejo, of Republicans for Renewal, said both men were the sort of leaders that the grassroots party should be trying to emulate.  'I think it would make a lot of sense for Trump to run in 2024 and then DeSantis to finish what he's doing in Florida, make Florida a red state for generations to come, and then run in 2028,' said Trejo. 'DeSantis is a young man... that seems to be best for the for the...
    Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema succeeded in knocking out a $13 trillion provision despised by the hedge fund industry before she announced she had agreed to 'move forward' on major legislation heading to its first key vote Saturday. With enormous leverage in the 50-50 Senate, Sinema was able to push to jettison the provision, which the White House and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) touted as a way to force wealthy hedge funders to take ordinary income rather than booking their earnings as capital gains taxed at a lower rate. It would have provided about $13 billion in revenue for the sweeping climate and health package that Democrats have rebranded as the Inflation Reduction Act. But leaders agreed to fill the hole with other revenue provisions, and the latest deal would still reduce the deficit by about $300 billion, Majority Leader Charles Schumer said Thursday night while announcing the latest deal.  'We have agreed to remove the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy in the Senate's budget reconciliation legislation,' Sinema said in a statement Thursday,...
    "Want to know why some people are moving to Florida? Because their communities are no longer safe, thanks to prosecutors that think they know better than the people's representatives, and they get to pick and choose which laws that they're enforcing," the Republican governor of Florida said. “State attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis declared. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida." "We believe this is a law-and-order state; we are not going to back down," DeSantis proclaimed. DeSantis claimed that money from outside Florida is "really trying to push an agenda" in the state. "I don't think the people of Hillsborough County want to have an agenda that is basically woke, where you're deciding that your view of social justice means that certain laws should be enforced," the governor said. DeSantis referred to how progressive, George Soros-backed San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin was...
    Kansas voters sent a resounding message on Tuesday that they wanted to protect a woman’s right to an abortion — but they are not the only Americans who will be able to cast ballots on the hot-button issue. By a landslide, roughly 20-point margin, Kansans rejected a constitutional amendment that would have empowered state lawmakers to restrict or ban abortions in the state of nearly 3 million people.  Even voters in many rural, conservative areas of Kansas voted against the proposal, in what was a big victory for pro-choice groups after weeks in which many southern and Midwest states restricted or banned the procedure.  It was the first big test of Americans’ views on abortion rights after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and a sign of how unpopular abortion bans may be, even in Republican-leaning states. In the coming months, voters in Montana, Kentucky, California and elsewhere will have a chance to weigh in on abortions, after the top U.S. court in June ruled there was no constitutional right to abortion and punted the issue to...
    A Tennessee woman who was advised by doctors to terminate her pregnancy for her own safety has opened up about how her abortion was canceled when she was lying on the ultrasound table, nearly 19 weeks pregnant.  Madison Underwood, 22, and her fiancé, Adam Queen, 24, had been told two weeks before that their baby had a rare defect and would not survive outside the womb. If Underwood tried to carry the baby to term, she could become critically ill or die.  'We were debating on it because I thought, maybe I can beat the odds,' she told The New York Times. 'But then I got scared.'  Madison Underwood, 22, from Tennessee, was nearly 19 weeks pregnant when her abortion was canceled, three days after the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade Underwood and her fiancé, Adam Queen, 24, had been told two weeks before that their baby had a rare defect and would not survive outside the womb Underwood and Queen were excited to start a family together, and the decision to terminate her pregnancy was one that...
    Kansas residents are voting on whether to scrap abortion rights from their state constitution on Tuesday, the first such ballot measure since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Voting 'yes' would overturn the state constitution's abortion protections, leaving the door wide open for its Republican legislature to ban or limit the procedure. Choosing 'no' would keep the law unchanged.  Any bill would likely face a veto from Democrat Governor Laura Kelly, which the red-dominated legislature has the votes to override.  It's currently legal to terminate a pregnancy up to 22 weeks in Kansas, around the roughly the viability window established by Roe in 1973. There were 7,849 abortions in the state last year, according to a preliminary report from the Kansas Health Department. The state's four clinics have also become a haven for women from nearby states that have already restricted abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling, like Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.  Three of those clinics are run by Planned Parenthood.  That means a majority of Kansans voting 'yes' on the Value...
    Three House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump could see the end of their political careers on Tuesday evening, as Republican primary voters in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington head to the polls. Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington and Peter Meijer of Michigan are all facing tough challenges from Trump-backed primary opponents. They're just three of the high-profile races that will test the former president's endorsement strength ahead of the November midterm elections.  Meanwhile Republican establishment figures have rushed to prop up candidates that would have a broader appeal among Independent and suburban voters amid concerns that Trump's more fringe-right picks could cost the GOP critical swing districts in November. In Washington's Third Congressional District, Beutler is facing Trump-endorsed retired Green Beret Joe Kent, who believes the former president's election fraud claims and has claimed 'deep state' operatives were behind the violence on January 6. Beutler, who was elected in 2010, is also up against Heidi St. John, a Christian podcaster competing with Kent for the district's most conservative voters. In the neighboring deep-red Fourth...
    AS inflation remains high, millions of Americans can expect to see some relief this August. States across the nation have been offering residents financial assistance in the form of checks or direct payments. 1City and state governments will send out billions of dollars in stimulus checks and rebates before the end of summer Most recently, states like Connecticut, Indiana, and Pennsylvania have all offered one-time payments. Some states have used their surplus while others are offering the payments as a tax rebate. Additionally, 17 states have offered tax holidays where the state temporarily suspends state and local sales taxes paid by consumers for items like school supplies, gas, or food. Below are the following states sending out checks or direct payments in August. READ MORE ON STIMULUS PAYMENTSCASH IN Time is running out to claim $500 monthly direct payments - see if you're eligibleTAX BACK Thousands to get direct payments from $1BILLION pot in massive rebate 1. Chicago, Illinois – up to $150 Eligible Chicago, Illinois residents can apply each month for transit and gas card funds. The deadline to apply for...
    As monkeypox cases rise across California, state officials in California are ramping up their efforts to acquire vaccine doses and educate the public on the disease. California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Tomás Aragón revealed Friday that the state has received 37,169 monkeypox vaccine doses from the federal government and that more than 25,000 of those had already been distributed to local public health departments. Aragón said he expects the federal government to send an additional 72,000 doses to California in the coming days and weeks. As of Friday morning, the state had recorded 786 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox — 66% of which were reported in Los Angeles or San Francisco. So far, 11 people have been hospitalized with an average hospital stay of two days, according to the state public health department. San Francisco on Thursday became the first local jurisdiction in California to declare a local health emergency due to the spread of monkeypox — a move that aims to not only raise awareness but also allow city officials to mobilize resources and staffing to...
    William White, an 11-year NFL veteran who started at safety for the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII, has died at 56 following a six-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Primarily known for his time with the Detroit Lions, who drafted him out of Ohio State in 1988, White had 20 interceptions over his career and was generally regarded as one of the tougher safeties in football before retiring in 1998 after his only Super Bowl appearance. He also played for the Kansas City Chiefs.  'I loved William,' said Lions executive Chris Spielman, a former teammate of White's in Detroit and at Ohio State. 'We shared experiences of joy and sorrow on and off the field. He was and always will be my brother.  'I am forever grateful for the special moment last year when he was able to be by my side during the Pride of the Lions ceremony at Ford Field. I can't wait to see him again when he will be free from ALS. May God's peace rest upon his family.' Former Detroit Lions player William...
    Florida has been sending out direct payments to needy families and first responders as inflation hurts the buying power of consumers across the country. The $1,000 bonus to first responders was proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, in March, modeled after a bonus given to first responders last year. The state has been sending out the bonuses to law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, and other first responders since the spring. STIMULUS CHECK UPDATES: HERE ARE THE STATES SENDING INFLATION-BUSTING PAYMENTS WORTH UP TO $1,500 The $450 stimulus check is being sent to families with foster or adopted children and those enrolled in the Florida Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The checks are a part of a program called Hope Florida — A Pathway to Prosperity, which aims to help needy families. DeSantis sent a letter with the checks explaining how the payments were intended to reduce the pain of inflation for these families. "This one-time payment can be used for anything from buying diapers to fueling up at the pump," the letter from...
    Just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court enabled states to further restrict or ban abortions by overturning Roe v.Wade, a Ramsey County judge’s ruling made abortions more accessible in Minnesota. Judge Thomas Gilligan, Jr.’s July 11 ruling struck down most of Minnesota’s abortion restrictions, including requirements that clinics give patients what he called “misleading and confusing” information about the risks of abortion at least 24 hours prior to the procedure, that minors inform both parents or get a court waiver before obtaining the procedure and that only doctors — not other licensed and qualified medical professionals — perform abortions. Already, Minnesota abortion providers say they’re starting to feel what could turn out to be sweeping effects of both the federal and the state court’s actions and planning ahead to meet a predicted increase in demand.  “The restrictions that were struck down last week will just really make it easier for everybody. It’ll make it easier for us to provide care and it’ll make it easier for patients from Minnesota and from out of state to be able to seek out...
    (The Center Square) – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday afternoon expressed his support for expanding the state Criminal Justice Training Center to regional campuses to speed up training, reduce vacancies in law enforcement, and recruit more candidates to be police officers. Inslee’s announcement comes a day after a report released by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs showed that in 2021 violent crimes, including murder, increased in the state while the number of police officers available to respond to incidents decreased. “I’m announcing today I’m proposing a significant expansion of our Criminal Justice Training Commission to offer basic law enforcement training at new regional campuses across the state of Washington,” said Inslee, flanked by several law enforcement officials, during a press conference at the Criminal Justice Training Center in Burien. He added, “We want good training where you live in the state of Washington. These new campuses will maintain the same high quality instruction that we have had right here in Burien.” Law enforcement officer shortages in Washington are unacceptable, the governor said,...
    An Indiana doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old Ohio girl, has filed a claim for damages against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita saying that he smeared her as an activist and falsely stated that she failed to report the procedure.  Attorneys for Dr. Caitlin Bernard sent the notice to Rokita on Tuesday seeking damages for security costs, legal fees, reputational harm, and emotional distress.  Dr. Bernard helped the child obtain the abortion last month after reporting the procedure to relevant state agencies before the legally mandated deadline. But last week, Indiana AG Todd Rokita questioned whether she had reported the procedure to state officials, bragging that he was 'gathering evidence' to see if the doctor could face 'a criminal charge.' However, he did not provide evidence to back up his claims.  Rokita has 90 days to investigate or settle the claim. After that period of time, Bernard can then file a defamation lawsuit. Dr Caitlin Bernard helped the rape victim obtain an abortion, and has filed a claim seeking damages for security costs, legal fees, reputational harm, and emotional...
    Mark Wilson/Getty Images The meteoric rise of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in the Republican party continues — with a new poll showing him closing the gap on former President Donald Trump in another battleground state. According to a new survey published Tuesday by the Detroit News and WDIV, Trump does still have a lead in the 2024 GOP presidential primary in the key state of Michigan — but that lead is extremely narrow. The former president is on top with 45.2 percent of the vote, while DeSantis lurks just behind with 41.6 percent. The governor’s 3.6 percent deficit falls within the poll’s 4.4. percent margin of error. This latest poll comes amid a wave of positive momentum for the Florida governor. New polls released within the last month have shown DeSantis closing in on Trump nationally — with one major survey putting him within single digits. DeSantis was also shown to be leading Trump in the all-important primary state of New Hampshire, according to a recent poll in the Granite State. Perhaps most eye-opening of all, in recent Trump-DeSantis developments,...
    The House passed a bill 219-210 to codify the right to an abortion on Friday and passed one 223-205 to ensure women can travel across state lines to get the procedure if necessary. Every Republican voted against the 2022 Women's Health Protection Act to codify abortion rights, and every Democrat except Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, voted for the bill.  The House voted to pass the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, which would enshrine protections for interstate abortions, with three Republicans joining all Democrats in voting yes.  Neither bill is expected to go anywhere in the Senate.  The House first passed an updated version of the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA) after first passing the measure in February. The bill failed the Senate 51-49 in a procedural vote in May.  The bill would have needed 60 votes, 10 from Republicans, to pass, but failed to garner even a simple majority as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted against it, as did pro-choice Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Susan Collins, Maine.  Congress has faced increasing heat to act on abortion rights after the...
    Fight, Mr. President. Fight. The White House is still apparently paralyzed over whether or not to declare a public health emergency over abortion access, something President Joe Biden has explicitly said is on the table. His “top aides” are apparently conflicted. Outside legal advisers, according to The Washington Post’s reporting, are giving him the worst reason of all for not doing it, warning “that an emergency declaration would face inevitable legal challenges, potentially giving conservative judges an opportunity to cut back on the administration’s emergency authority.” Meanwhile, those lawsuits are coming anyway. On Thursday, Texas filed suit against the administration for its new rules requiring abortions be provided in medical emergencies to save the life of the pregnant person. Read that again: Texas is trying to block the federal government from requiring hospitals to save the actual lives of living, breathing, functioning humans. Like the 19-week-pregnant woman whose water broke and whose life was threatened with an ensuing infection, just hours later. Dr. Mae-Lan Wang Winchester, an OB-GYN in Cleveland, had to call her lawyer to make sure it would be okay to end that...
    A 37-year-old mother who died en route to the hospital following a central Pennsylvania crash was identified by state police in a release on Tuesday, July 12.  Jennifer L. Ludwig of Myerstown was seriously hurt in a crash after the driver of the car she was in, Roger L. Barlow, 33, of East Earl, blew through a stop sign at the Greble Road and South Pine Grove Street intersection in Bethel Township for an unknown reason at 1:08 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, according to the Pennsylvania state police release.  Barlow had been heading east on Greble Road in a 2016 C-Max Ford when he crashed into a 2013 Silverado Chevorlet going south on South Pine Grove Street, the release explains. His car was flung off the road into a grassy area and the Silverado driver, Brian S. Grumbine, 37, of Fredricksburg was uninjured, as detailed by the police.  Ludwig died on the way to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, where was also taken with serious injuries, police say.  Both cars had to be towed from the scene by Joe...
    Prosecutors may have a case for federal prostitution offenses against Hunter Biden, according to documents, texts and videos that show he spent a staggering $30,000 on escorts in a five-month period. The president's son wrote checks to a Ukrainian woman whose transactions were red-flagged by banks for suspicious activity, documents reveal. A Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filed by JPMorgan Chase named Florida and New York-based Ekaterina Moreva after she received tens of thousands of dollars from Hunter's company and women who the First Son paid for sex. Texts from Hunter's iPhone also show him handwriting checks disguised as medical services to escorts supplied by Moreva, whose website offers a 'girlfriend experience' with prostitutes as young as 20. Some of Hunter's hooker payments came just hours after he received thousands of dollars from his father. Videos and pictures show Hunter helping transport those prostitutes over state lines for a debauched night with him – a potential federal offense. The material has been in the FBI's hands since December 2019, raising the prospect that its investigation into Hunter could lead to charges...
    DIRECT payments worth up to $500 are being sent to millions of Americans during the coming weeks. Multiple state governments are trying to offer some relief to residents as they battle against inflation. 1Multiple states are giving out rebates. Hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans are set to get tax rebates of up to $500. This year, the state has two state-wide rebate programs. The first of these started to roll out to taxpayers in June and was worth up to $1,000. However, there weren't any restrictions on that round. Read more on tax rebatesENERGY HELP Thousands of Americans will get up to a $500 energy bill credit - how to applySUMMER CASH Millions of Americans to get direct payments of up to $1,500 in August Who is eligible Whether you qualify or not could depend on your income, according to the state's tax and revenue department. This next round of rebates has an income threshold that depends on single or joint tax filing status. Residents who filed personal income taxes in 2021...
    Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a legal opinion in February declaring that Arizona has the constitutional authority to declare an invasion on its border with Mexico, but since Gov. Doug Ducey has not done so, Brnovich is now urging him to. In a letter sent to Ducey on July 6, Brnovich, who is running for U.S. Senate, laid out the reasons why. “This horrible situation is a ticking time bomb,” Brnovich said. “It’s just a question of when, and not if, the unspeakable will occur.” He went on, “[W]e have every indication that the border crisis will continue to escalate. If there is more that we as a state can and should do, it can be pursued with your declaration of an ‘invasion’ at our southern border.” Brnovich cited the arrest and then release of a suspected terrorist in Yuma, and said the cartels and gangs “have now assumed control of our southern border.” After Brnovich’s legal opinion in February, Ducey’s spokesperson CJ Karamargin responded that the Arizona National Guard was enough to address the situation. “For Attorney General...
    California’s governor wants to have it both ways. Gavin Newsom wants to be the face of West Coast Democratic resistance to federal minority rule, yet his policy practices — particularly on climate issues — are often devoid of the leadership and progressive action he pretends to represent. Consider the most recent juxtaposition. Last week, minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted vital Environmental Protection Agency authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate power plants and increase clean energy production, Newsom’s office tweeted a video of the governor’s response from a fire-torn hillside. “The idea that the U.S. Supreme Court moved to take away one of the most significant and historically powerful tools to address the ravages of climate change is incomprehensible,” Newsom said. “We’ve got to wake up to what’s going on in the Supreme Court. We’ve got to double down — quadruple down — here in California and in blue states all across America.” Yet hours earlier, Newsom had persuaded the Legislature to approve two sweeping energy proposals, garnering reluctant support from climate-conscious legislators and environmentalists who want to break California’s addiction to planet-warming fossil fuels...
    Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) is making what appears to be a Bill de Blasio-esque foray into national politics. For some reason, the California governor — according to CNN — has purchased $105,000 worth of ad time on Fox News in Florida, for a commercial set to air on Monday. “It’s Independence Day – so let’s talk about what’s going on in America,” Newsom said, in the ad — narrating over various images of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). “Freedom is under attack in your state. Your Republican leaders, they’re making it harder to vote. Restricting speech in classrooms. Even criminalizing women and doctors. “I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight – or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom: Freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate, and the freedom to love. Don’t let them take your freedom,” the governor added — in a closing pitch that’s sure to totally convince Fox News viewers in Florida … or not. Newsom told CNN that the ad was squarely aimed at DeSantis. “He’s...
    President Joe Biden met virtually Friday with eight Democratic governors who talked about what they were doing in their states to protect abortion care - who, in turn, encouraged the president to take federal action.  New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said New York and 'the other enlightened states' are in the position of providing healthcare for women across the nation after the Supreme Court one week ago struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision - pushing the legality of abortion to the states.   Hochul pushed Biden on the idea of providing abortion care on federal lands - 'veterans hospitals, military bases and other places where the federal government controls the jurisdictions that are hostile to women's rights.'     President Joe Biden met virtually Friday with eight Democratic governors who talked about what they were doing in their states to protect abortion care - who, in turn, encouraged the president to take action  New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (top left) said New York and 'the other enlightened states' are in the position of providing healthcare for women across the nation after the...
    VIRGINIA’S DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) has a new version of its voluntary Mileage Choice Program that will take effect on July 1st. The legislative update will help Virginia residents driving electric, hybrid, and fuel-efficient vehicles save money on the state’s highway use fee (HUF). 2Tesla chargingCredit: Getty Virginia’s HUF fosters more even contributions to the state’s Commonwealth Transportation Fund that helps maintain and build transportation infrastructure. You’re required to pay Virginia’s HUF if your car is a fuel-efficient vehicle or a car manufactured in a year in which the average combined miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating for all of the cars produced in that year is 25 MPG or greater; Virginia’s DMV reports. Virginia’s HUF costs $116.49. HUF exemptions apply to: READ MORE ON CAR LAWSGREEN SAVINGS Americans to get up to $2,500 rebates on electric vehicles under new programSPEED KILLS I’m a money expert - three things to do before paying your speeding ticket Vehicles with a combined MPG rating of less than 25 MPG Autocycles (ex: Polaris Slingshot) Motorcycles Mopeds A...
    The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Daniel Donner, and Cara Zelaya, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Programming Update: Daily Kos Elections will be taking a break for the Fourth of July weekend. The Live Digest will return Tuesday, while Morning Digest will be back on Wednesday. Have a great holiday! Subscribe to The Downballot, our weekly podcast x Embedded Content Leading Off ● MI Ballot: Activists working to enshrine the right to an abortion into the Michigan state constitution announced Thursday that they'd collected a sufficient number of signatures to place the proposed amendment on the ballot for the November general election. A victory for the Reproductive Freedom for All amendment, which needs a majority of the vote to pass, would represent a huge win for abortion rights in a large swing state where the courts have yet to resolve whether a 91-year-old abortion ban remains in effect today. In 1931, Michigan passed a law that made the procedure a felony...
    Clawson, Michigan (CNN)Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is on the front lines of protecting abortion rights in Michigan, where a court injunction is the only thing keeping the state from reverting to a 1931 law that banned and criminalized abortion."I don't think many knew that Michigan would snap back 91 years to a law that would render this pro-choice state one of the most extreme in the country," Whitmer told CNN. "No exceptions for rape, no exception for incest. This is how serious this moment is and how dramatic lives could be up ended in Michigan."A week after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the fallout is rippling across the country, with new legal clashes and fresh political fights emerging to protect -- or further restrict -- abortion rights in one state after another. Here in Michigan, it's a battle on two fronts -- in courtrooms, where Whitmer has challenged the law, and in campaigns, both in her reelection bid and in a separate effort asking voters to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution on the November ballot....
    REVELERS could be fined up to $10,000 if they set off illegal July 4 fireworks. The warning comes just days as cities across the country have decided not to hold public July 4 firework displays. 3Revelers could be fined up to $10,000 if they are caught setting off illegal fireworks (stock image)Credit: Getty 3The warning comes just days before revelers flock to landmarks, such as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, to watch traditional July 4 displaysCredit: Getty Officials in Chicago warn that the selling, possession, and usage of fireworks is illegal, NBC Chicago reported. Fireworks that are banned include skyrockets, roman candles, missiles, and sky lanterns. The Illinois State Fire Marshal has revealed that consumer firework displays are allowed in villages and counties that use approved pyrotechnics. Fireworks that are approved include repeaters, mines, tubes, fancy florals, and parachutes. read more on july 4FLIGHT OR FRIGHT July 4 travel chaos with 3,000 flights canceled & major pilot protestsWATCH OUT Great white shark warning for US beaches ahead of July 4 weekend Those that want to set off fireworks on...
    A key abortion rights battle is going on in Michigan, where a court has blocked a 1931 abortion ban from going into effect and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said, “we’re pulling out all the stops” to preserve legal abortion despite a Republican-controlled state legislature. There’s an urgent deadline coming up in another part of this fight, though. Organizers of a ballot initiative are racing to collect signatures to get a vote on an amendment to the state constitution guaranteeing reproductive rights. They need at least 425,059 signatures from Michigan voters turned in by July 11. With tens of thousands of volunteers, the organizers expect to get the signatures they need—but the more the better. The importance of signatures has been amply shown by Michigan Republicans after five gubernatorial candidates were disqualified due to fraudulent signatures. If you're in Michigan and you haven't signed a petition to get abortion rights on the ballot, click here to find an event where you can sign. RELATED STORY: Abortion rights advocates are geared up to grind out court battles state by state Campaign Action ”This proposal will affirm that...
    Attacks on reproductive health and attacks on trans folks of all ages come from the same place for Republicans: demean, control, and isolate. The right to bodily autonomy and safe, accessible health care is under attack thanks to conservatives. As progressives, we must keep the big picture in mind and fight for dignity and protection for all.  A recent example of the quick domino effect between anti-abortion efforts and blocks on trans health care comes to us from Alabama. Republican Attorney General Steve Marshall is imploring the federal court to reverse its block on Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth in Alabama, as reported by Axios. Using the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Marshall is trying to argue that gender-affirming health care is not “deeply rooted” in the nation’s history, and thus is not a protected right.  In short: This is a nightmare.  RELATED: Kentucky Teacher of the Year leaves job thanks to anti-gay harassment and abuse As some background, Senate Bill 184 makes it a felony for anyone to provide or “engage” in...
    (CNN)Former President Donald Trump's election lies are finding both refuge and rebuke in an increasingly fractured political landscape.It's a dizzying reality playing out in split-screen fashion as the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection warns of the dangers tied to voter fraud lies while election deniers capture political nominations across the country.Take Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony on Tuesday before the committee investigating the US Capitol attack. The aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows offered an explosive look at the lead up to the insurrection and the role that election lies played in the violence: Trump allegedly lunged at Secret Service agents following Ellipse speech. Hutchinson testified that a White House official, Tony Ornato, recounted Trump screaming, "I'm the f**ing President. Take me up to the Capitol now," following his speech on January 6. Trump then "reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel," Hutchinson remembered learning. She added that, according to Ornato, Trump used his other hand to "lunge" at Robert Engel, who was the Secret Service agent...
    Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are both calling for Democrats to take extreme measures to expand abortion rights after the reversal of Roe vs. Wade, but Vice President Kamala Harris signaled the Biden administration was unlikely to make such a move.  Both Warren and Ocasio-Cortez, Democrats from Massachusetts and New York respectively, lobbied for the administration to set up what they called 'emergency' abortion clinics on federal lands. Warren, speaking on ABC's This Week, said Biden should 'make abortion as available as possible with the tools he has, including medication abortion, including using federal lands as a place where abortions can occur.'  Ocasio-Cortez echoed these requests at a rally in New York City's Union Square, calling federal abortion clinics 'the babiest of baby steps.' However, when asked about the possibility of doing so, Vice President Harris told CNN's Dana Bash that it was unlikely. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are both calling for Democrats to take extreme measures to expand abortion rights after the reversal of Roe vs. Wade Ocasio-Cortez echoed these requests at a rally...
    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used a video call with G7 leaders on Monday to demand that the U.S. declare Russia to be a state sponsor of terrorism for its war in Ukraine, according to his office.  The war in Ukraine dominated several sessions of the G7 summit in southern Germany. And the Ukrainian president spoke directly to President Joe Biden and his fellow leaders in their first session on Monday morning, asking for their help in ending the war before the bitter winter months. He used the forum to go even further in his request to punish Moscow for its aggression and to further isolate President Vladimir Putin. 'In addition, the president stressed the need to increase sanctions pressure on Russia, in particular by forcibly limiting the price of Russian oil exported,' said his office in a readout of the conversation. 'Volodymyr Zelensky expressed hope that the US Department of State would endorse the decision to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.' Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to G7 leaders on Monday by videolink, and used the occasion...
    Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Democrats have been united in outrage, and united in declarations like “Roe is on the ballot” and “personal freedoms are on the ballot” (both of those from President Joe Biden, but widely echoed). They’ve also been united in using the moment to raise money, with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee telling The Washington Post that Friday was the best day of online fundraising so far this cycle. What has made some Democrats stand out, though, is having something more specific to say. On that front, Democrats running for state-level positions in states where abortion laws are being contested have a definite advantage. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is “going at it, we’re pulling out all the stops” as she fights in court to keep a 1931 abortion ban from going into effect. In an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, she noted that Republican legislators have supported that law going into effect, “as have all of the Republican people running for governor. They want abortion to be a felony: no exception for rape or...
    This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today. Undaunted by the refusal of the legislature’s presiding officers to consider a special session, Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) again urged state leaders on Thursday to suspend collection of the state’s gas tax. The state’s four-term tax collector — a leading gubernatorial hopeful — also called on Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and the Democratically-controlled General Assembly to issue “emergency survival checks” to lower-income Marylanders. Skyrocketing fuel prices have made driving and many consumer staples more expensive, forcing lower-wage families into difficult decisions. “People are having to choose between a gallon of gas and a gallon of milk,” Franchot said during a news conference at a Baltimore gas station. He noted that President Biden and Hogan have also advocated for gas-tax relief. “We need to do something. We have a mandate. We cannot afford inaction.” Franchot’s news conference was branded as an official government event sponsored by the comptroller’s office. But with a full bank of TV cameras...
    (CNN)New York leaders are expressing outrage at the US Supreme Court's decision to knock down a century-old law that placed restrictions on carrying a concealed gun outside the home, with Gov. Kathy Hochul calling the ruling "outrageous." "It is outrageous," she said on Twitter, "that at a moment of national reckoning on gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits those who can carry concealed weapons."The decision issued Thursday, in a case brought by an NRA- backed group and two individuals, could potentially allow more guns to be carried in public. Critics say the ruling will impair sensible solutions they think can curb gun violence.  Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez also condemned the ruling by the nation's highest court, suggesting it would make public safety even more difficult to enforce. "New York's strong gun laws have saved lives for more than a century, and the Supreme Court's decision to open the door for millions of New Yorkers to carry a concealed weapon is a nightmare for public safety," he said in a statement. "Evidence is...
    California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers are at odds, disagreeing on how to provide relief to Californians strained by high gas prices. Though Newsom promised "immediate action" in March, proposing doling out rebates to car owners, state lawmakers have yet to come to an agreement on how to put money into the pocketbooks of Californians. ON GUNS AND GAS, BIDEN PUNTS TOP ISSUES TO CONGRESS "There weren’t going to be checks cut in the next three weeks after that announcement, but it certainly had created an expectation of something faster,” Chris Hoene, executive director of the liberal California Budget and Policy Center, told Politico. "They announced a plan that didn’t have a lot of details, didn’t have a lot of contours, they hadn’t vetted it with the Legislature.” Newsom's proposal calls for $9 billion in tax refunds coming out of the state's budget surplus in the form of direct payments to everyone in the state who owns a vehicle registered in California. Under his proposal, Californians would receive $400 direct payments per vehicle,...
    The landmark Roe v. Wade abortion case is on the line once again Thursday, with the Supreme Court preparing to issue opinions that could decide abortion rights. The leaked draft of an opinion authored by Justice Antonin Scalia has already telegraphed that a majority of justices are prepared to strike down the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade when issuing a decision on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case. In a signal that the Biden administration is at least preparing for bad news, Vice President Kamala Harris is set to hold an event with state attorneys general Thursday afternoon on their 'efforts protecting reproductive health care access.' The meeting with the seven Democratic attorneys general will be to discuss the defense to the Supreme Court's decision on abortion, should the high court strike down Roe, a White House official told Reuters.  Harris has taken the lead for President Joe Biden's administration on defending abortion and reproductive rights.  'We must be ready to stand as a united front when the decision comes down,' Harris told a group of reproductive rights leaders...
    Ohio State University has won its legal fight to trademark the word 'The.' The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the university's request Tuesday, recognizing OSU's claim to the definite article, one of the most common words in the English language. The school says it allows Ohio State to control use of 'The' on branded merchandise associated with the school and its teams, such as T-shirts, baseball caps and hats. Ohio State's name was defined in an 1878 law as 'The Ohio State University,' and supporters of the school frequently insist on using the full formal name as an expression of their loyalty.  Ohio State University has won its legal fight to trademark the word 'The' and will use the phrase on Buckeyes merch like the T-shirts seen above  Fashion designer Marc Jacobs (above) had filed an application for the word a few months before OSU, but the school and the retailer struck a deal to share usage For example, at the beginning of NFL games, ex-Buckeyes football players often emphasize 'The' when identifying themselves as Ohio State alumni during starting...
    Washington, DC (CNN)Democratic party leaders are meeting this week to hear pitches from 16 states and Puerto Rico, which want to hold the first presidential nominating contests in 2024, as the party moves forward with reevaluating its primary schedule. The focus will especially be on Iowa, which is proposing dramatic changes to its complicated system as it aims to maintain its "first in the nation" status in the face of criticism of the caucus process and of the state's lack of diversity and competitiveness at the presidential level. Democratic Party officials earlier this year approved a plan that requires any state that wants to hold a nominating contest before the first Tuesday in March -- including the traditional early four of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- to apply for permission. In the coming weeks, the Rules and Bylaws Committee will select up to five states using criteria that prioritize diverse battlegrounds that choose to hold primaries, not caucuses. That decision will then need to be approved by the full Democratic National Committee.Because the party is aiming to...
    MORE states are continuing to provide emergency allotments for food stamps to millions of SNAP beneficiaries. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in at least six states will continue to send extra money in July, in addition to a recipient's monthly benefits. 1Emergency SNAP will continue in many states for JulyCredit: Getty The amount a household receives varies by size, but $95 is the minimum amount households must be given - on top of the regular SNAP benefit amount each month. The money will be deposited onto an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card.  SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food for your family at authorized stores. There are also a number of online retailers which accept SNAP. Read more SNAP storiesFOOD TECH I launched a food stamp app offering discounts after my family had to skip mealsSTAMP IT OUT The maximum you can get in food stamps and who's eligible explained Emergency allotment changes For much of the pandemic, SNAP agencies across the country were providing emergency allotments (EA) each month. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees SNAP, has so far extended...
    [The stream is set to start at 9:30 a.m. ET] Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday began two days of testimony in front of Congress. The central bank chief is expected to provide updates on the state of the economy and on how the Fed plans to curb inflationary pressures not seen since the early 1980s. The consumer price index last month rose by 8.6%, its highest increase since December 1981. Earlier this month, the Fed hiked rates by 75 basis points, or 0.75 percentage point. "Clearly, today's 75 basis point increase is an unusually large one, and I do not expect moves of this size to be common," Powell said then. He added, however, that he sees the central bank raising rates by another 50 or 75 basis points next month. Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.TVWATCH LIVEWATCH IN THE APPUP NEXT | ETListen
    Getty Serbian big man Nemanja Bjelica handles the ball during an Olympic qualifying bout with Italy. Fifteen years after beginning his pro hoops career in Austria with the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions and eight years after capturing a Turkish BSL title with Fenerbahce Ulker, Nemanja Bjelica finally reached the pinnacle of the sport this summer, helping the Golden State Warriors win their seventh NBA championship. However, the sharpshooting big man has one last hill to climb before he can fully round out his trophy case.  Although Bjelica already has a pair of silver medals from representing his native Serbia in senior-level international competition, he has yet to come away with the gold. It looks as though he’s intent to scratch that particular item off of his basketball bucket list at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, though. As relayed by Eurohoops‘ Johnny Askounis, Bjelica’s name was included in the Serbian Basketball Federation’s 20-man player pool for World Cup qualifiers taking place this summer.Serbia’s World Cup Path Play Nemanja Bjelica on his first taste of the NBA Finals with the Warriors,...
    (CNN)The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol turns its attention Tuesday to the campaign to pressure state-level officials to overturn the 2020 election results.The hearing will focus in particular on then-President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the results in Arizona and in Georgia -- where Trump infamously asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" the votes he needed to win.Committee aides said the hearing will also demonstrate how Trump and his allies concocted a scheme to submit fake slates of electors.Trump's pressure campaign against state officials played out in numerous key states where he had lost to Joe Biden. The committee plans to focus on the actions Trump took to try to overturn the election as well as the roles that his attorney Rudy Giuliani and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows played.CNN has previously reported on text messages that Meadows exchanged between the election and Biden's inauguration where he worked to coordinate Trump's efforts to overturn the election.Read MoreThe aides said the committee intended to show that the then-President...
    The Florida Bulldog revealed that the documents filed for a state Supreme Court Justice position in Florida were made a false statement on the official document. Judge Renatha Francis lied on her application for the state supreme court in the question asking if she'd been on the receiving end of an ethics investigation. Francis, who was promoted by former President Donald Trump to Gov. Ron DeSantis as a good candidate for a federal judge, answered "no" when asked if she has ever had "a complaint about you ever been made to the Judicial Qualifications Commission?" If she had, Francis would have had to add details about the specifics. The comment could even fall under a Florida crime for lying on an official document because she signed the document, saying she answered all questions “truthfully, fully and completely.” She's actually had three complaints filed against her. One is in a divorce case, where lawyer Margherita Downey said publicly about the judge, “When I appear in her court, it’s like watching a judge burn our flag." In another case,...
    The Golden State Warriors are bringing the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy back to the Bay Area, and they’re inviting everyone here for the party. The team plans to parade through the streets of downtown San Francisco on Monday, just days after vanquishing the Boston Celtics in game six at TD Garden for their fourth championship in eight years. This year’s parade will mark a change from previous celebrations, which were held across the Bay in Oakland. Here’s what you need to know about when it’s happening, how to get there and what to do if you can’t make it. When and where is the parade happening? The parade will start at 11:20 a.m. Monday and proceed from Market Street and Main Street down to 8th Street. It’s an extension of two blocks beyond what was originally planned. The procession — which is expected to include Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of the team’s players and coaching staff — will run about 1.4 miles before concluding at about 2 p.m. No post-parade rally is planned. How...