Politics and Government

Politics and Government
2:49 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Religious Freedom Bills Rooted In Fears Of Obama Policies

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, has been urged by the state's two U.S. senators, both Republicans, to veto a bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:43 pm

Many religious leaders are feeling under siege. They believe the Obama administration is at worst hostile but at least "tone deaf" to the demands of faith. In their view, the government is attempting to make them act in ways that violate their convictions.

That is the context in which so-called religious freedom bills are being considered in Arizona and numerous other states.

The bills, which would allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs, appear discriminatory on their face.

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State Capitol
1:17 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Oklahoma House Approves Embryonic Stem Cell Ban

Credit Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images / Flickr Creative Commons

A bill that makes it a felony crime to conduct certain types of embryonic stem cell research in Oklahoma has been overwhelmingly approved in the House, despite concerns it sends the wrong message to the nation's research community.

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School Shelters
12:30 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Oklahoma High Court Hears School Shelter Arguments

Petitions are completed for the Take Shelter Oklahoma organization in December. The group says it does not have enough signatures to put its petition on the ballot.
Credit Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

An attorney for supporters of an initiative petition to place storm shelters in public schools told the Oklahoma Supreme Court that Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office abused its discretion by re-writing a ballot title that he says was not legally incorrect.

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Same-Sex Marriage
9:24 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Court Filing: Oklahoma Children Better Off With Straight Parents

A sign supporting gay marriage in California on the first day same-gender couples could legally marry there.
Credit Marc Love / flickr.com Creative Commons

Lawyers for an Oklahoma clerk who refused to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple say a federal judge was wrong to overturn the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriages.

In a court filing Monday night, the Alliance Defending Freedom cites courts and anthropologists in saying children are better off in a home with a mother and a father. The group also says that the two women in Tulsa had no fundamental right to marry.

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Politics
7:23 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Democratic Sen. Landrieu Walks A Fine Line In Red Louisiana

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has won some conservative supporters in her state, but her support for Obamacare is putting her re-election at risk.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:06 am

If Democrats are going to keep their majority in the Senate, they'll need to hang on to a few critical seats they hold in conservative states.

Mary Landrieu of Louisiana has one of those, and like some of her colleagues up for re-election, her support of the Affordable Care Act could be the mountain to overcome this fall.

The question for Landrieu is: Will Louisiana voters define her by Obamacare, or judge her on the entire record she's built over nearly two decades as a senator?

For Some, Obamacare's A Dealbreaker

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Politics
4:34 am
Tue February 25, 2014

After 58 Years Of Service, John Dingell To Vacate House Seat

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:06 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

I n 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus. "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and his Comets was a top hit on the music charts, and John Dingell became a member of Congress. Nearly six decades later, the Michigan Democrat, the longest-serving member of Congress is leaving. He announced his retirement yesterday.

Here's NPR's David Welna.

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Around the Nation
4:21 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Panel Charged With Eliminating Child Abuse Deaths

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 11:58 am

A federal commission to prevent children's deaths from abuse and neglect held its first meeting on Monday. Figuring out the extent of the problem is just one challenge facing the new commission.

Committee created by T.W. Shannon
6:30 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

New House Speaker Wants To Abolish The Calendar Committee

House Speaker Jeff HIckman
Credit Oklahoma State Legislature

Newly elected Republican House Speaker Jeff Hickman is proposing to abolish a committee established by his predecessor.

Hickman on Monday scheduled a hearing for a resolution to abolish a Calendar Committee that was created last session by former House Speaker T.W. Shannon.

The Calendar Committee was set up to approve all bills before they could be heard on the floor. Shannon suggested last year the committee would allow an open, bipartisan approach to scheduling bills for a floor vote, but critics said it was an additional unnecessary step.

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It's All Politics
5:03 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

The Lessons Of John Dingell's Departure

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., whose House career stretches nearly 60 years, will retire at the end of his term as the longest-serving member of Congress in history.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:23 pm

Nearly every news account Monday of Rep. John Dingell's retirement announcement made mention of his amazing longevity — the Michigan Democrat is the longest-serving member in the history of Congress.

While his durability is the stuff of legend, it's also remarkable that an accomplished, heavyweight legislator like Dingell stayed so long into an era of congressional dysfunction.

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Africa
3:20 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

How Will Ugandan Gay Refugees Be Received By U.S.?

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 7:02 pm

A Ugandan law punishes "offenders" of homosexual acts with prison terms. Aaron Morris, legal director at Immigration Equality, explains the U.S. track record of granting asylum in such situations.

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