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Posts under ‘National news’

And the first open enrollment period comes to an end

Lots of people signed up in the last few days of enrollment. Some tried but came away empty. Some of the hundreds of Houstonians who sought last-minute help enrolling for the Affordable Care Act on Sunday left thrilled to have health insurance for the first time in their lives, while others walked away frustrated by […]

The CFPB is almost ready to roll out payday lending regulations

I can’t wait to see what they come up with. Whenever governments start thinking about cracking down on small-dollar, high-interest financial products like payday loans and check cashing services, a shrill cry goes up from the businesses that offer them: You’re just going to hurt the poor folks who need the money! What do you want […]

Michigan, come on down

You are the next state to have your anti-same sex marriage law thrown out by a federal judge. In a historic ruling that provided a huge morale boost to the gay-rights movement, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman today struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, making it the 18th state in the nation to allow […]

Add Tennessee to the list

A partial win, but the rest will follow. A federal judge here granted a preliminary injunction Friday against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in certain instances. In October three same-sex couples filed a lawsuit asking the state to recognize their marriages that had been performed in states where gay marriage is legal. The four […]

Pushing marriage equality into new frontiers

I love the idea behind this. Less than two weeks after a federal judge declared Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, a new effort has been launched in the South seeking to build wider acceptance of gay and lesbian couples in the hope of overturning similar bans across the region. The $1 million effort will […]

Another way to squeeze the payday lenders

I wholeheartedly approve of this. The Postal Service (USPS) could spare the most economically vulnerable Americans from dealing with predatory financial companies under a proposal endorsed over the weekend by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “USPS could partner with banks to make a critical difference for millions of Americans who don’t have basic banking services because […]

Cookiecott 2014

Hissyfit 2014 might be a more accurate description. A coalition of anti-abortion groups is trying to crumble Girl Scout cookie sales because of a Twitter post of an online news article that recognized several accomplished women, including gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis, who rose to national attention with a filibuster against anti-abortion legislation in the state […]

Add Virginia to the list

The list of states whose law banning same sex marriage has been struck down. A federal judge ruled Thursday that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making it the first state in the South to have its voter-approved prohibition overturned. U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen issued a stay of her order while it […]

What the ACA does, Texas has long done

By now you’ve surely heard about the CBO report on the Affordable Care Act and the workforce, which despite some terribly botched reporting does have a lot of political considerations. There’s something I’d like to point out about this before we get too bogged down in attack ads. Let’s start with Kevin Drum putting a […]

On, Wisconsin

From the ACLU of Wisconsin: The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin and the law firm of Mayer Brown filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of four same-sex couples who wish to marry in Wisconsin or are seeking recognition for their legal out-of-state marriages. The plaintiffs include Roy Badger and Garth Wangemann […]

Next stop, Virginia

More lawsuits coming on same sex marriage. Almost overnight, Virginia has emerged as a critical state in the nationwide fight to grant gay men and women the right to wed. This purple state was once perceived as unfriendly and even bordering on hostile to gay rights. That’s changed after a seismic political shift in the […]

Federal judge denies Abbott motion to consolidate same sex marriage lawsuits

From Lone Star Q: A key hearing in a federal lawsuit challenging Texas’ same-sex marriage bans will go forward next month in San Antonio. U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia, of the Western District of Texas, on Wednesday rejected Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s latest effort to transfer the lawsuit from San Antonio to Austin. […]

VRA 2.0

Texas Redistricting: [Thursday] morning, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) introduced proposed amendments to the Voting Rights Act that would rework the section 5 coverage formula invalidated by the Supreme Court in Shelby Co. v. Holder. The text of the bill – styled the Voting Rights Amendment Act […]

Oklahoma!

Where the same sex marriages come whistling down the plains. U.S. Senior District Judge Terence Kern ruled Tuesday that Oklahoma’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. The ruling is stayed pending appeal, meaning marriages will not occur immediately in Oklahoma. In striking down Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage, U.S. District Judge Terrence Kern described it […]

Utah will not recognize same sex marriages

Not until they are forced to. Utah Gov. Gary Herbertannounced Wednesday that the state will not recognize the 1,000-plus same-sex marriages performed in the state since Dec. 20, when a U.S. district judge ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage violated gay and lesbian couples’ constitutional rights. “The original laws governing marriage in Utah […]

Is this the end for the dollar coin?

Fine by me if it is. The dollar wars have raged for years, with various sides battling over what a dollar should look like: Should it be a green piece of paper (cotton, actually) that you can slide in your wallet? Or should it be a metal coin that you put in your pocket? On […]

SCOTUS halts same sex marriages in Utah, for now

Bummer. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put same-sex marriages in Utah on hold, granting the state’s request for a stay while it appeals a ruling that laws banning such marriages are unconstitutional. The court said the stay would be in place until the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver makes a decision on […]

Raising the minimum wage in Texas

It’s all the rage elsewhere, but so far I’ve not heard anything about a movement to raise the minimum wage in Texas. While most of the increases amount to less than 15 cents per hour, workers in places like New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island will see a bigger bump. Earlier this year, […]

Utah appeals to SCOTUS

This was inevitable. Utah took its fight against gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, asking the high court to suspend same-sex unions that became legal when a judge struck down the state’s voter-approved ban. The heavily Mormon state wants the marriages to stop while it appeals a judge’s decision, which said banninggay […]

A lot more court action on same sex marriage is coming

One way or another, 2014 is going to be a milestone year for marriage equality. Advocates on both sides of the gay marriage debate predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned part of a federal ban on gay marriage would create a pathway for states to act. They were right. In […]

Another court says No to Utah

And Yes to the hundreds of couples getting married. A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that gay marriages can continue in Utah, denying a request from the state to halt same-sex weddings that have been occurring at a rapid rate since last week. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection of Utah’s request for […]

Keep getting married, Utah

You have at least a few more days till the next court ruling. A federal judge on Monday allowed gay marriage to continue in Utah, rejecting a request to put same-sex weddings on hold as the state appeals a decision that has sent couples flocking to county clerk offices for marriage licenses. Judge Robert J. […]

They’ll be getting married in Utah today

For at least an hour today, county clerks in Utah will be issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert filed seeking an Emergency Motion for Temporary Stay following a federal judge’s ruling that struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, and on Sunday the United States Court of Appeals Tenth […]

If it can happen in Utah…

Wow. Just, wow. A federal judge struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban Friday in a decision that marks a drastic shift toward gay marriage in a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it. The decision set off an immediate frenzy as the clerk in the state’s most populous county began issuing […]

Once again, the cost of not expanding Medicaid

We are paying for Medicaid expansion, regardless of what our “leaders” want. The only question is whether we get a benefit from it, or if it all goes to other states. If Texas keeps refusing to enlarge Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the state will pass up a heap of money, a new study […]

Ted Cruz argues against his own election

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I just don’t get this. Sen. Ted Cruz, elected 13 months ago by actual voters, said Thursday he’d prefer to see state legislators pick U.S. senators – as they were until a century ago, when the 17th Amendment came along. Direct election of senators has eroded […]

Same sex couples win the right to register for benefits in the Texas National Guard

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. The Texas National Guard said late Tuesday it will immediately let same-sex couples register for benefits, ending a highly publicized standoff with the Pentagon. Five Texas Guard facilities, including one in Houston, that had been off limits for same-sex couples seeking benefits will begin to enroll same-sex dependent spouses in benefits programs. […]

Wendy Davis needs to push back on Texas’ refusal to comply with the law on military same-sex benefits

The sooner the better. This is a no-brainer, and a win all around. Texas Gov. Rick Perry stood his ground [last] Friday in a showdown with the Pentagon over processing benefits for same-sex couples at National Guard offices, possibly setting the stage for yet another court battle with the federal government. A spokesman for the […]

The states that are making life harder for their National Guard members

It’s not just Texas. While a majority of states ban same-sex marriages, most are not fighting the new policy. But Pentagon officials say that in addition to Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia have balked. Each has cited a conflict with state laws that do not recognize same-sex marriages. (A West Virginia official […]

Hagel tells Texas National Guard to obey the law

Good. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel late Thursday rebuked Texas and eight other states whose National Guard organizations have refused to process federal benefits given to same-sex couples. In a speech before the Anti-Defamation League in New York, Hagel revealed that he had ordered the head of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Frank Grass, “to take […]

Steve Stockman does something I support

I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, has recently backed a bill to require federal officials to comply with state marijuana laws, which was introduced in April and has since garnered support from Congressmen on both sides of the aisle. The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013, introduced […]

Arkansas will expand Medicaid

If they can do it… [Friday], the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services notified state officials in Arkansas that it has approved the states’ Medicaid expansion plan. And this is not any old expansion plan: Arkansas will be the only state in the country that will use Medicaid dollars to purchase private health insurance for […]

Why the Affordable Care Act will make a real difference to many people

This is what it’s all about. The following was written by a good friend of mine, who has been eagerly awaiting October 1 and the opening of the insurance exchanges. I asked him to write about his experience with getting insurance via the exchange. This is his first installment: I am in my late 40′s, […]

An awful lot of people tried to sign up for insurance exchanges on Tuesday

That’s a very good thing, even if technical difficulties prevented many of them from completing the job. On the first day of sign-ups for President Barack Obama’s health care reform, a wave of consumers across the nation, including many Texans, sought Tuesday to enroll in online health care marketplaces, but glitches with the federal website […]