Women gain record power in state legislatures
Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman, a Democrat and chief majority whip, successfully shepherded legislation in 2020 requiring pharmacists to honor 12-month doctors’ prescriptions for birth control pills, over the objections of some male lawmakers. “We had men on a committee making statements like, ‘if you give them a whole year’s supply, they are going to sell them,’” Spearman recalled in a phone interview. “People don’t get them to sell them, they get them to use them.” Women in the Nevada legislature, the only one with a female majority, brought focus to the issue, Spearman said. “There’s no dou...
Who might challenge Sen. Raphael Warnock in 2022
ATLANTA — U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock was one half of a shocking Democratic sweep during Georgia’s epic Jan. 5 runoffs. Now he’s preparing for a brutal reelection campaign for a full six-year term. While fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff won’t face the voters again until 2026, Warnock must run again next year to keep his seat in the U.S. Senate. That’s because his victory over GOP incumbent Kelly Loeffler was to fill the remainder of retired Republican Johnny Isakson’s term. Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, will be a formidable candidate. He’s got sky-high name recognition, the...
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Asylum seekers desperate for help set up camp outside Tijuana port of entry
The Tijuana plaza just outside of the San Ysidro Port of Entry has once again become a hub for asylum seekers looking for a chance at requesting refuge in the United States. As of Wednesday morning, there were more than 50 tents pitched in the Chaparral Plaza, where the western pedestrian crossing of the port of entry connects with San Diego's southern neighbor. The western part of the port of entry has been closed during the pandemic, and the once-bustling plaza where asylum seekers gathered every morning amid commuting workers and tourists became mostly deserted until last week. That's when ...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Moderna to ramp up production of COVID-19 vaccineWASHINGTON — Moderna plans to ramp up production of its COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. pharmaceutical company said Wednesday. The company will increase its capacity in a bid to produce up to 1 billion doses this year. "We believe from our discussions with governments around the world that there will continue to be significant demand for our COVID-19 vaccine and we now are committed to materially increasing our manufacturing capacity," Stephane Bancel, Moderna's chief executive, said in a statement. The announcement was made as U.S. President Joe Bid...
Tribune News Service
Steve Bannon records subpoenaed by Manhattan DA in apparent bid to prosecute Trump-pardoned crimes
NEW YORK — Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance recently subpoenaed financial records relating to a fraudulent “build the wall” scam allegedly orchestrated by Steve Bannon — signaling the New York prosecutor is looking to go after the right-wing strategist for crimes pardoned by former President Donald Trump, according to a report Wednesday. Vance issued the grand jury subpoenas to Wells Fargo and GoFundMe in late January after Trump preemptively pardoned Bannon for any federal crimes he may have committed as part of an alleged $25 million scheme to defraud donors to a crowdfunding campaign th...
New York Daily News
Pro-Trump candidate plans to challenge Rep. Kinzinger, one of the former president’s critics
CHICAGO — In what could be a foreshadowing of national fault lines in the Republican Party, a pro-Donald Trump Republican announced plans on Wednesday to challenge one of the former president’s most vocal critics in Congress, Illinois U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Catalina Lauf, of suburban Woodstock, first announced her intentions on social media to challenge Kinzinger for the 16th Congressional District, which skirts the Chicago suburbs from the Indiana border to the Wisconsin line. Lauf, who last year ran an unsuccessful Republican primary bid in the 14th Congressional District where she lives,...
DeKalb elections board members decry 'harmful' Georgia voting legislation
Four members of DeKalb County, Georgia's elections board issued a joint statement Tuesday denouncing "harmful legislation" being considered by state lawmakers. Elections board chair Sam Tillman, vice chair Baoky Vu and members Dele Lowman Smith and Susan Motter all signed on to the statement calling for legislators to withdraw House Bill 531, a wide-ranging and controversial proposal that would, among other things, end early voting on Sundays, limit the use of absentee ballot drop boxes and require ID for absentee ballots. Anthony Lewis, one of the DeKalb board's two Republican appointees, was...
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia Senate passes bill that would let state take over local election boards
ATLANTA — The Georgia Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would allow the state to take over local election offices that fail to meet standards. Senate Bill 89 would allow the State Election Board to establish criteria for “low-performing” election offices and, if they don’t improve, to replace the local officials with new election superintendents indefinitely. Supporters said the bill would mean more support for local election officials, as well as accountability for those — such as Fulton County — that have repeatedly had election problems. “The state has come down on Fulton County numerou...
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Illinois House speaker's hand-picked successor resigns just three days after being installed
CHICAGO — Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s hand-picked successor for the legislative seat he held for a half-century resigned Wednesday, just three days after being appointed and hours after Madigan called on him to step down. The episode involving 26-year-old Edward Guerra Kodatt, a now-former assistant in 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn’s office, represents a significant and unusual embarrassment for the ex-speaker, who has been meticulous about trying to avoid controversy in the ward and district public service operation he has run for decades. The resignation followed a state...
Planned Parenthood gets another temporary reprieve from Medicaid ouster
AUSTIN, Texas — A Travis County judge on Thursday extended a temporary order blocking Texas from ousting Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid health care provider for another 14 days. State District Judge Lora Livingston of Travis County said the extension will give her time to determine whether Texas can remove the organization now or whether Planned Parenthood can continue serving low-income patients while it pursues other appeals. "I just need some time to wade through the mountain of paper that you have given me," Livingston said at the close of a two-hour hearing, conducted online via Zoom. T...