Alabama lawmakers are one step from letting voters decide, at least in theory, whether to make it harder for government to adopt restrictions on firearms.
A proposed constitutional amendment would apply a judicial standard called strict scrutiny to any limits on possessing weapons. The proposal cleared a Senate committee Tuesday. It must pass the full Senate before it goes on a statewide ballot.
The Alabama Legislature is one step away from passing a bill that would make sure private schools and non-failing public schools don't have to take students who want to transfer from failing public schools.
The bill making transfers optional won approval in the House last week and in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. The bill by Republican Rep. Jim Carns of Mountain Brook now goes to the Senate for what could be a final vote.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. It's no secret that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has struggled with his weight. However, it was a secret when Christie had weight loss surgery on his stomach earlier this year. The governor confirmed today that he had an operation. Christie insists the decision was motivated by his family, not politics.
That big immigration bill working its way through the Senate would let in lots more highly skilled workers on temporary visas. But there's a catch.
The bill says all employers who want to hire workers on these H-1B visas:
... would be required to advertise on an Internet website maintained by the Department of Labor and offer the job to any U.S. worker who applies and is equally or better qualified than the immigrants ... sought...
Six coastal governors have called on Washington to open up more waters to offshore drilling and to make permitting a quicker, more efficient process.
The governors of Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Alaska spoke Monday at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. Officials from Louisiana and Virginia also spoke.
They say a federal moratorium on offshore drilling after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and permitting requirements put in place after that, have made it difficult for companies to develop resources.
The president of the Heritage Foundation is former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. He was among the most influential Republicans as a senator, and now leads one of the most prominent conservative think tanks. And he's on the line.
Senator, welcome to the program.
JIM DEMINT: Well, good morning David and Steve. It's great to be with you.
There was a time when Jim DeMint was committed to helping Sen. Marco Rubio achieve his goals.
At least not when it comes to remaking the nation's immigration laws.
DeMint is president of the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation, which on Monday released a report contending that an immigration overhaul would cost U.S. taxpayers $6.3 trillion over 13 years in direct and indirect spending like welfare and public schools.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
It's not clear what the cost might be of a bipartisan Senate bill that would give legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants. But today, the conservative Heritage Foundation announced it has the answer. Here's NPR's David Welna.
The immigration overhaul bill before the Senate would provide, among other things, more visas for migrant farm workers and high-tech workers, and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
One thing it would not provide is help for same-sex couples in which one partner is an American and one foreign-born. For heterosexual couples, a foreign-born spouse automatically qualifies for a green card and many of the benefits of citizenship. Not so with gay and lesbian couples.