Politics & Government

Politics
3:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Senate Panel Considers 4 Gun Control Measures

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:14 am

The bills that would restrict the right to own and sell some guns will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. It's the most progress gun legislation has made in nearly two decades, in the aftermath of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Politics
3:48 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Rand Paul Ends Filibuster After Nearly 13 Hours

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Just before noon yesterday, with much of Washington at home for a snowstorm that never really materialized, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky took the floor of the Senate.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

SENATOR RAND PAUL: I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak.

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It's All Politics
2:05 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Obama Looks For A Spring Thaw With Congress To Start Melting Deficit

President Obama speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room on Friday following a meeting with congressional leaders.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:44 am

President Obama is hoping for a spring thaw in White House-congressional relations.

The president had dinner Wednesday night with a small group of Republican lawmakers. He's also planning rare visits to Capitol Hill next week to discuss his agenda with both Democrats and Republicans.

Aides say Obama is trying to locate what he calls a "caucus of common sense" in Congress to tackle the country's long-term budget challenges.

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Law
2:04 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Challenge To Michigan's Gay Marriage Ban Grows From Adoption Case

April DeBoer (second from left) sits with her adopted daughter Ryanne, 3, and Jayne Rowse and her adopted sons Jacob, 3, and Nolan, 4, at their home in Hazel Park, Mich., on Tuesday.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:36 pm

A federal judge in Michigan could rule as soon as Thursday on a challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions. The challenge comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear two cases dealing with gay marriage later this month.

In the Michigan case, a lesbian couple sued not because they want to be married, but because they want to be parents.

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Beach Convention Hotel
8:15 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Ala. Senate Panel Delays Voting On Gulf Hotel Bill

An Ala. Senate panel has delayed a vote on efforts to help build a hotel and conference center on the beach at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.
Credit picture by Brett Tannehill

  An Alabama Senate committee has delayed consideration of a bill to support efforts by Gov. Robert Bentley's administration to build a hotel and conference center on the beach at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee meeting was postponed Wednesday because there were not enough members present to have a quorum and conduct business. Committee Chairman Republican Sen. Paul Scofield of Guntersville says he will call another meeting either later this week or next week to consider the bill.

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Youthful Offender
8:02 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

House Panel Says Exclude Some As Youthful Offenders

An Ala. House panel has approved a bill to exclude youthful offender status from those charged with the most serious crimes.
Credit istockphoto

The House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill to exclude those charged with the most serious crimes from having their cases settled under youthful offender status.

State Rep. Phil Williams of Huntsville is sponsoring the bill. It passed the committee Wednesday and would exclude those charged with Class A felonies from youthful offender status.

Youthful offender status means young people, usually younger than 21, can in most cases keep their convictions secret.

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Private School Tax Credits
7:43 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Governor Bentley Blocked From Signing School Tax Bill

A circuit court judge has extended an order preventing the governor from signing a private school tax credit bill.
Credit Al Whitaker / WHNT News 19

A judge is extending is an order preventing the governor from signing a private school tax credit bill. 


  Circuit Court Judge Charles Price ruled Wednesday that a temporary restraining order will remain in effect until a court hearing on March 15.


Spokesmen for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and House Speaker Mike Hubbard say they will appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.

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General Fund
5:03 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

No Raise For Ala. Workers In Panel Approved Budget

Alabama state non-education employees would not get a cost-of-living raise or merit pay raises under a General Fund budget approved by a Senate Committee.
Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama state non-education employees would not get a cost-of-living raise or merit pay raises under a $1.74 billion General Fund budget approved Wednesday by the Senate Finance and Taxation-General Fund Committee.


The budget for 2013-14 is mostly level with the budget for the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. It is just a slight increase from the budget recommended by Gov. Robert Bentley. The chairman of the committee, Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur, said the economy is improving but there is still a shortage of tax revenue for the General Fund budget.

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The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

House Gives OK To $982 Billion Short-Term Spending Bill

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 4:57 pm

The House has approved a bill to fund the federal government through the end of September. The $982 billion continuing resolution introduced by Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), who heads the Appropriations Committee, would avoid a potential government shutdown on March 27.

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It's All Politics
3:47 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Obama's Outreach To GOP: More Optics Than Opportunity?

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire at the Capitol last month. The senators are among a group invited to dine Wednesday with President Obama.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 4:21 pm

President Obama recently acknowledged the obvious: He doesn't have the supernatural powers necessary to do a mind meld, Jedi or otherwise, with Republican congressional leaders that would lead to pacts on fiscal policy or anything else for that matter.

But if he doesn't have the power to force meetings of the minds with his Republican opponents, he can at least still get meetings with them.

Popping up on the president's schedule all of a sudden was a Wednesday night dinner at a Washington, D.C., hotel with a group of GOP senators.

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Politics
3:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Houses Passes Resolution To Keep Government Funded Through September

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:49 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Politics
3:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Senators Question Holder Over U.S. Drone Program

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:49 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. It began around mid-day today, while wet snow fell on Washington D.C. Inside the Capitol building, a conservative Republican senator began to talk and talk - and talk. Rand Paul launched a filibuster to block the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director because of concerns over the administration's drone policies.

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Politics
3:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul Filibusters To Block Brennan's Nomination

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:49 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now, more on the long speech Carrie mentioned from Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. He's engaged in an old fashioned stand on the floor and talk till you can't filibuster. It began shortly before noon, aimed at blocking the president's nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA.

SENATOR RAND PAUL: I've chosen to make a stand on this one and not so much the person, but the principle of this. I have nothing personally against Brennan. I have nothing personal against the president.

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The Two-Way
3:28 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Arkansas Legislature Embraces Strictest U.S. Abortion Law

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:42 am

Arkansas has approved a law banning most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation, as both houses of the state's legislature vote to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The Republican-backed Human Heartbeat Protection Act will become the nation's most restrictive law.

In vetoing the Senate version of the bill Monday, Beebe said that it "would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability."

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Around the Nation
1:33 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Supreme Court's 'Heavyweight'

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses during a group photo in September 2009 in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

In his profile of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in this week's issue of The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin writes: "Ginsburg has suggested that she would like to serve as long as Louis Brandeis, her judicial hero, who retired at eighty-two." Ginsburg turns 80 this month and is marking her 20th year on the court. She has had cancer — colon and pancreatic — and her tiny, frail-looking stature leads many people to wonder if she'll be retiring soon.

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