Arkansas Legislature Overrides Governor To Enact Anti-Transgender Law

Voters in Kansas overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to strip women of their right to an abortion in the conservative state

The state flag of Arkansas

The Arkansas state legislature voted Tuesday to override Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto on a bill that would ban gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender minors in the state.

The Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act prohibits physicians from providing gender-affirming health care to anyone under 18-years-old including puberty blockers, hormones, and transition-related surgeries (which doctors don’t do anyway).

Less than 24 hours after Hutchinson’s veto was announced, the state Senate voted 25-8 and the state House voted 71-24 in favor of overriding the governor’s action. In Arkansas, a simple majority is all that’s required to bypass a governor’s veto. This is the only override by the legislature this year.

In doing so, Arkansas becomes the first state to prohibit physicians from providing gender-affirming treatment for trans people under age 18.

“If (the bill) becomes law, then we are creating new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people,” Hutchinson said at a news conference.

I still believe Hutchinson’s veto was a CYA move so he could emerge unscathed from the hateful bill.

In light of the legislature’s actions, LGBTQ advocates are promising a legal fight.

“Attempting to block trans youth from the care they need simply because of who they are is not only wrong, it’s also illegal, and we will be filing a lawsuit to challenge this law in court,” said Holly Dickson of the ACLU of Arkansas. “We are hearing from concerned families all over the state who are afraid about the impact of this bill and others like it.”

“We are committed to doing all we can to support these families and ensure they know how to continue to fight for their rights and get the care and resources they need,” added Dickson.

Congress Overrides Trump Defense Bill Veto

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Donald Trump (image via Flickr/White House)

And stay out!

In a virtual backhand, the Senate voted today to override Donald Trump’s veto of the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

From the Washington Post:

The Senate on Friday voted to turn a $741 billion defense authorization bill into law over President Trump’s objections, delivering the first successful veto override of his presidency in the waning days of his administration.

The 81-to-13 vote in the Senate, just days after the House also voted in overwhelming numbers to back the legislation, was one of two rare rebukes of Trump on Friday from Republican lawmakers.

Ahead of the vote on rejecting the president’s veto, Senate Republicans blocked a Trump-endorsed effort to increase the size of stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000.

The House of Representatives voted 322-87 on Monday to overturn Trump’s veto. This is the only veto override of Trump’s presidency.

The defense bill, which funds the armed forces, also includes a pay increase for the men and women in our military. Normally, this is a bill that gets widespread bipartisan support.

But Trump wanted legislation to allow lawsuits against tech companies like Twitter, which the Donald longs to sue because they’ve taken to tagging his disinformation tweets with warning signs.

He also opposed language in the defense bill that would rename 10 military bases currently named after Confederate leaders.

Trump Says New Coronavirus Stimulus Package ‘Dead On Arrival’

Donald Trump speaks at the White House (photo: public domain)

Donald Trump says the new coronavirus relief package being worked out in Congress is a ‘no go’ before it even has a vote.

From NBC News:

“DOA. Dead on arrival. Of course, Nancy Pelosi knows that,” he told reporters Wednesday at the White House.

About one-third of the $3 trillion legislation is relief for state, local and tribal governments, which many Republicans are resisting.

The measure also includes assistance to essential workers, an extension of unemployment insurance beyond July, another round of $1,200 direct cash payments and various other measures that are unlikely to gain bipartisan support but serve as an opening bid for Democrats.

Trump ripped into election-related provisions that would require 15 consecutive days of early voting and the option for every American to vote by mail through an absentee ballot, rules that would take effect starting in the 2020 presidential contest.

“Mail-in ballots is subject to tremendous corruption. Tremendous corruption, cheating. And so I’m against it,” Trump said. “And if you look at the bill that Nancy Pelosi is putting in, it has a lot to do with elections. We’re not going to lose elections because of that.”

As NBC News notes, ‘voter fraud’ is an often repeated lie for Trump. But even though he says it over and over, the truth is several studies and investigations by election experts have looked into the issue and no widespread fraud has ever been found.

In fact, five state handle their elections completely by mail-in voting: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah.

Additionally, Trump recently admitted that HE voted in Florida’s recent election by mail. And hundreds of thousands of military service members participate in the electoral process by mail every cycle.

Trump’s issue with mail-in voting is it enables more Americans to take part, and higher turnout tends to favor the Democratic party.

Trump Vetoes Resolution Denouncing ‘National Emergency’ For Border Wall Funding

Donald Trump vetos resolution denouncing ‘national emergency’ declaration

Donald Trump has vetoed the congressional resolution aimed at blocking his ‘national emergency’ declaration for border wall funds.

This is the first veto of his presidency.

From NPR:

Congressional critics do not appear to have the votes to override Trump’s veto. So, as a practical matter, the administration can continue to spend billions of dollars more on border barriers than lawmakers authorized, unless and until the courts intervene.

“Today I am vetoing this resolution,” Trump said, flanked by law enforcement officials at an Oval Office event. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it.”

Trump had telegraphed his plan to proceed with additional wall spending on Thursday, minutes after the Senate voted 59-41 to block it. Twelve Republican senators joined Democrats in rejecting the president’s emergency declaration.

Trump declared a national emergency last month, after Congress authorized only $1.3 billion in border wall funding, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had asked for. The emergency declaration allows the president to redirect funds from other accounts such as military construction to the Southern border wall.

Republican senators who bucked the president said they did so to preserve congressional control over the government’s purse strings.

The border wall project still faces a variety of legal challenges, and despite Trump’s veto, House and Senate votes against the emergency declaration could carry some weight in the courts.

Would this be a good time to remind folks that Trump lied all those times on the campaign stump when he claimed Mexico would pay for the wall?

News Round-Up: March 28, 2016

Some news stories you may have missed:

• Don’t be sad Ben Affleck, with a $170 million opening weekendBatman v. Superman won’t become the next Gigli.

• The Atlanta man who threw boiling water on two sleeping gay men has been indicted and could face 80 years in prison.

• Speaking of Georgia, after the state’s governor announced he will be vetoing the anti-LGBT bill House Bill 757, state Republicans are already calling for an override vote of Gov. Deal’s veto. We saw that coming, didn’t we?

• Gwen Stefani, who’s new album just debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, says she would “be blessed” to have a gay son.

• New York City Mayor De Blasio has instituted a “non-essential” ban on city employee travel to North Carolina due to the anti-LGBT H.B. 2 recently passed. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has done the same.  Good going, North Carolina!

President Obama Vetoes Congress’ Attempt To Repeal ObamaCare

After more than 60 attempts, Republicans in Congress finally managed to pass legislation which would repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood.

The bill passed in the House by a vote, along party lines, of 240-181.

President Obama quickly vetoed the legislation.

From CNN:

In his veto message, Obama stressed the number of times congressional Republicans have tried to “repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act.”

“Rather than re-fighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle-class families, and create new jobs,” Obama wrote.

“Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto,” he added.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan promises to waste more of the chamber’s time by holding an override vote rather than focus on the people’s work, in spite of the fact that he lacks the votes to overcome the veto.


President Obama To Veto Keystone XL Pipeline Legislation

As promised, President Obama has officially notified Congress that he will veto the recent legislation that approved the Keystone XL Pipeline.

From NPR:

The House voted to approve the measure Jan. 9. The Senate approved another version of the bill on Jan. 29. The House voted Feb. 11 to endorse the Senate’s changes — which added language saying climate change was real, and oil sands should not be exempt from a spill-cleanup tax — and sent the measure to the White House.

Politicians from both parties, some unions and energy companies support approving the pipeline; environmental groups, some Nebraska landowners and some liberal Democrats oppose it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate will vote no later than March 3 to override Obama’s veto.

Republicans would need two-thirds of votes in each chamber to override Obama’s veto. They do not appear to have enough votes to do that.

Republicans argue the pipeline would help America become more energy independent. However, nothing in the legislation guarantees that any oil that would travel from Canada to refineries in the US would STAY in the US. The oil, owned by oil companies, would be for sale to the highest bidder on the global market.

Republicans also claim the legislation “creates jobs.” But studies show that after a two year building period utilizing temporary workers as the pipeline progressed acros the nation, the pipeline would create approximately 40 permanent jobs.

White House Announces President Will Veto Keystone Pipeline If Passed In Congress

As expected, the White House has announced that the President will veto Keystone Pipeline XL legislation should it pass in Congress.

While supporters claim the project will create “thousands” of jobs, the vast majority are very temporary during the construction phase. According to reports, the project will actually only create about 40 permanent jobs.

Also, the oil that the pipeline would carry to the Gulf of Mexico would be Canadian oil to be refined and then sold to the GLOBAL market. There is no guarantee that the oil would stay in the US. Thus, claims of the project helping make us “more energy independent” are false.

Also – the oil pumped through the pipeline is “tar sands oil” which is more damaging to remove from the ground and adds 20% more greenhouse gas emissions to the environment.

New Jersey lawmakers to attempt override of marriage equality veto by Gov. Christie

(image via Memeographs)

New Jersey’s Star-Ledger reports:

The state’s top Democratic lawmakers today urged their Republican counterparts to “vote their conscience” to legalize same-sex marriage, but said some GOP lawmakers won’t do this because they don’t want to cross Gov. Chris Christie.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he will hold a vote to override Christie’s veto of a same-sex marriage bill that passed last year, noting that thousands of gay couples in New Jersey will be ineligible for federal benefits unless lawmakers act soon.

But first, Sweeney said, at least a few Republicans have to change their no votes to yes. The Senate president said Christie has intimidated GOP lawmakers, claiming some have privately admitted they would like to change their votes to allow same-sex marriage.

To quash Christie’s veto, Democrats have to muster three more votes in the Senate and 12 more in the Assembly to reach the required two-thirds majority.

(via JMG)