California lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would require public K-12 schools to let transgender students choose which restrooms they use and which school teams they join based on their gender identity instead of their chromosomes.
Some school districts around the country have implemented similar policies, but the bill’s author says AB1266 would mark the first time a state has mandated such treatment by statute.
Existing state law already prohibits California schools from discriminating against students based on their gender identity, but the legislation that passed the state Senate on Wednesday spells that out in more detail, said Carlos Alcala, a spokesman for the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco.
‘You can’t have a Congress that is kind of going around picking this’
(BREITBART) — Legendary Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward criticized the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill process, and the new rush to pass the repackaged bill with the amendment from Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND), on Fox News Sunday.
“You can’t have a Congress that is kind of going around picking this and picking that and that fails and that fails and this fails,” Woodward said in the online post-show panel of Fox News Sunday this weekend.
Woodward added that “when you pass complicated legislation and no one has really read the bill” then “the outcome is absurd.”
May 25, 2013
In yet another showing of their lack of concern towards the people who give them their jobs, Senators in Washington D.C. voted against a key GMO labeling amendment to the Farm bill. One that would have allowed states to decide to label the presence of genetically modified ingredients in food products.
Brendan Sasso and Bernie Becker
April 23, 2013
Legislation that would empower states to tax online purchases cleared a key hurdle in the Senate on Monday after winning an enthusiastic endorsement from President Obama.
Senators advanced the bill in 74-20 procedural vote on Monday evening, just one vote short of the backing it received in a test vote last month. Twenty-six Republicans joined Democrats in moving forward with the bill.
The Senate will now begin debate on amendments. The chamber is expected to hold the decisive vote on the bill — known as the Marketplace Fairness Act — later this week.
Lawmaker blasts ‘Gang of 8’ claims of ‘severe penalties’ in immigration bill
The U.S. Senate Gang of Eight unveiled its immigration reform legislation, promising stronger border security, much-need reforms for visas and legal immigration practices and a path to citizenship – but Iowa Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told WND the only thing guaranteed in this bill is a reward for those who came here illegally.
“The big comprehensive amnesty plan is a disaster and a big mistake,” King said. “What are we trying to fix here, and why? We have an executive branch problem, not a legislative branch problem. The president of the United States has refused to enforce immigration law with which he disagrees. So he’s seeking to write his own by executive edict.”
King said Obama’s approach to border enforcement has been infuriating, but the likelihood of Republicans getting behind this legislation leaves him baffled.
“Now I’m hearing Republicans say, ‘Well, if we’re ever going to have enforcement of the border, we have to make this agreement with the president and the Democrats or we’re never going to have border security,’” he said. “When I read this bill, I wonder: What’s the point in having border security if you’re going to legalize anybody that can come into America that is here and send an invitation to those that have been deported to apply to come back in?”
The congressman is also not impressed by the severe penalties the Gang of Eight is promising to impose on those willing to go through the legalization process.
“In the bill, they have to pay a fine. That’s supposed to be the penalty for unlawful entry into the United States or a visa overstay,” King said. “That’s a $500 penalty fee that’s good for six years. You can renew it for another six years for another $500. So the cost to stay in the United States to get legalized is $83.33 a year. That’s one of those onerous provisions that they point out.”
King said the criminal background checks are also a Gang of Eight fantasy. He said the only way to review the backgrounds of illegals is to have trained investigators interview them or get the fingerprints of everyone unlawfully in the country. King said those who have committed crimes simply won’t step forward to become legal, and they’ll stay here anyway. He also noted that America’s experience with amnesty in 1986 foreshadowed the mess that would come in the Gang of Eight plan.
“In the ’86 amnesty act, only about half of the people who were eligible came forward, but a whole lot of people that weren’t did and there was about 70 percent fraud in that system. Eight-hundred thousand to a million people became three million people,” King said. “This bill simply opens it up even more. It doesn’t tighten down. It doesn’t learn from our mistakes in the past. It doubles down and triples and quadruples down on the mistakes of the past. For me, I’m not speechless, but I’m having a hard time explaining how it is that otherwise smart people could come to these conclusions.”
King’s first step toward solving the immigration problems would be to enforce the border security laws that the Obama administration and others refuse to execute.
“If I had (Homeland Security Secretary) Janet Napolitano’s job and I wasn’t tied down by a leash from the president, I could give you something like 98 or 99 percent operational control of the border. I could do that with the resources we’re spending now. If I can tell you that, then I don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish here. Why don’t we utilize the laws that we’ve passed and the resources that we have?” asked King, who said most of the border fence is still not done despite Congress passing legislation to construct it.
“This is a political battle that’s going on, and so far the rule-of-law side hasn’t been winning,” he said.
This immigration push seems to have more momentum than previous efforts, with the Republican National Committee specifically saying in its 2012 campaign report that the GOP needs to get behind immigration legislation to win back some of the Hispanic vote. King said that logic is deeply flawed.
“That 44 percent of the Hispanic vote that in that report they claimed George Bush got in his 2004 election, he did not receive that. Any objective scrutiny of that number takes you down to no more than 40 percent, most likely between 38-40 percent of the Hispanic vote,” King said. “Could George Bush receive 44 percent of that vote today? That answer is probably and very likely no. They leap to a conclusion and build a generalized case around it.”
King said most Republicans have been quiet on the issue as they waited for the Gang of Eight to come up with a bill. He noted that he took a leading role against the plan when no one else stepped up, and House leadership seemed to deride their position.
“It even went so far as one of the leadership’s voices almost taunted the conservatives in that we wouldn’t do anything or speak up, and they specifically mentioned myself and (Texas Rep.) Louie Gohmert. So I decided: Lets meet. Let’s talk. Let’s plan. Let’s take action, because we can’t let this thing sneak through unopposed,” he said.
Since then, the congressman said many GOP members have quietly encouraged him but are not yet ready to publicly oppose the Gang of Eight plan.
King admitted the strong advocacy of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., hurts the efforts of conservatives to raise concerns about the bill. He said he has great respect for Rubio but fears the senator got in too deep with the likes of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to figure out how to get out of the bipartisan alliance.
The House would be unlikely to take up the same version of immigration legislation as the Senate, but King fears that any tiny House reforms could lead to the Senate version becoming law.
“I’m worried that the House might pass a single piece of legislation that does make sense, like mandatory E-Verify. But it becomes the conference vehicle for a Senate amnesty plan. And as the leadership of the House and Senate appointed a conference committee, there’s a risk that they would send us back a comprehensive amnesty plan for an up-or-down in the House, where every Democrat would vote for it. A handful of Republicans would. It would go to the president’s desk, and it would be an irreversible thing,” King said.
Iowa will have an open U.S. Senate seat in 2014, as Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring. King is carefully considering the race but said he has not decided whether to join the race.
“It looks like there’s a relatively open path to the nomination, at least today. I have done statewide polling and gotten a look at it. I’ve said from the beginning, it’s a slight uphill battle. I know that. I know what it takes to win. I can see the path to victory,” King said. “There’s some significant components that we need to put together to say yes, and they all seem to be doable. On the other hand, all of the systems aren’t go. So now it’s a 50-50 and unknown on when the decision would be, but hopefully it’s sooner rather than later because many others need to have that kind of information so they can make their plans.”
President Barack Obama will make key concessions to Republican foes next week when he unveils his US budget that proposes cuts to cherished entitlement programs, the White House said Friday.
Obama’s fiscal blueprint slashes the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years, in what a senior administration official described as a “compromise offer” that cuts federal spending, finds savings in Social Security and raises tax revenue from the wealthy.
Republicans led by House Speaker John Boehner are opposed to new tax hikes, after the president secured $600 billion in increased tax revenue in a year-end deal.
Boehner’s party controls the House of Representatives, and passage of the president’s budget is unlikely if it contains new tax revenue provisions.
But Obama’s concession to conservatives in the form of reduced cost-of-living payouts for Social Security benefits could revive consideration of a deficit-reducing “grand bargain” that has proved elusive in recent years.
Such cuts to public pension programs and public health insurance for the elderly — seen as sacred cows for Obama’s Democrats — have been longstanding demands of Republicans.
“While this is not the president’s ideal deficit reduction plan, and there are particular proposals in this plan like the CPI (consumer price index) change that were key Republican requests and not the president’s preferred approach, this is a compromise proposal built on common ground,” the official said.
Obama is willing to “do tough things to reduce the deficit,” but only in the context of a package that includes new revenues from the wealthy, the official added.
Liberals immediately fumed that Obama appeared to be caving in to Republicans, with the group Democracy for America worried about the “profoundly disturbing” proposal for Social Security cuts.
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, warned the move would slash $120 billion from Social Security benefits over 10 years, and pledged to “do everything in my power to block” Obama’s so-called “chained CPI” proposal.
Even moderate Congressman Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told MSNBC television that he has “serious concerns” about its impact on seniors.
The White House insisted that the Social Security cut was part of a recognition of the need to make some painful changes in federal programs in order to reduce spending.
“This isn’t about political horse trading; it’s about reducing the deficit in a balanced way that economists say is best for the economy and job creation,” the administration official said.
Obama’s new revenues will draw in part from capping retirement savings plans for millionaires, and closing some loopholes that benefit the rich.
The annual budget deficit is projected at 5.5 percent of gross domestic product for the fiscal year ending in September. Under the Obama budget, that would decline to 1.7 percent of GDP by 2023.
Combined with the $2.5 trillion in savings already achieved since negotiations in 2010, the Obama budget would bring total deficit reduction to $4.3 trillion over 10 years, slightly higher than the overall goal agreed to by both parties for stabilizing the national debt.
But Boehner warned that Obama had “moved in the wrong direction” by making skimpier entitlement cuts than he had offered in negotiations with Republicans last year.
And “if the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there’s no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That’s no way to lead and move the country forward,” Boehner said.