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Defying Criticism, Arkansas Legislature Passes Bill on Religious Freedom

(NYT) Despite intensifying criticism from business leaders both within and outside of Arkansas, the state legislature on Tuesday passed its version of a measure billed as a religious freedom law, joining Indiana in a swirl of controversy that shows little sign of calming.

The Arkansas bill, passed when the General Assembly concurred on three amendments from the State Senate, now goes to the state’s Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, who expressed reservations about an earlier bill but more recently said he would sign the measure if it “reaches my desk in similar form as to what has been passed in 20 other states.” The Arkansas Senate passed the measure last week.


Obama vetoes Republican bid to block union election rules

(Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday vetoed a measure by Republicans in Congress that would have blocked a government labor agency's rules designed to speed up the time it takes to unionize workers.

The rules would shorten the period between a union filing a petition to represent workers and an election, from the current median of 38 days to as little as 14 days. Employers would be required to share workers' names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses with unions.


The 2015 Final Four Schools Respond To Indiana Anti-Gay Law

(TPM) All four schools with basketball teams competing in the Final Four games of March Madness have weighed in on Indiana's controversial religious, expressing concern that the law could open the door to discrimination against gay people.

The statements, by representatives for the University of Kentucky, Duke University, the University of Wisconsin, and Michigan State University, come as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) finally gave in and said Tuesday that he wanted to see a clarification to the law so that it's clear that no one would be discriminated against.


USC Athletic Director To Boycott NCAA Meeting: I Have A Gay Son

(TPM) The athletic director at the University of Southern California, Pat Haden, said on Tuesday that he would not attend the NCAA's College Football Playoff committee meeting in Indianapolis this week, due to the new Indiana religious freedom law that may allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.


Marriott CEO Calls Indiana’s RFRA “Madness” and “Idiocy”

(HRC) “The legislation in Indiana -- and there are some bills being considered in other states -- is not just pure idiocy from a business perspective -- and it is that -- the notion that you can tell businesses somehow that they are free to discriminate against people based on who they are is madness.”

Marriott, an HRC Corporate Partner, stands beside Apple CEO Tim Cook, Subaru’s Director of Corporate Communications, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and local employers, including Alcoa, Cummins, Eli Lilly & Co., and Salesforce, who have also spoken out against the new law, warning that it is bad for business.


Martin O'Malley calls GOP support of Indiana law 'shameful'

(USA Today) “I think it is shameful that presidential candidates in this day and age would try to give cover to a law — that is sweeping across a lot of Republican-governed states — that attempts to give license to discrimination of gay and lesbian people,” O’Malley, a potential Democratic presidential candidate, told reporters after a “Politics and Eggs” breakfast in Bedford, N.H. “It’s wrong. It’s not who we are as a people.’’

In his talk to the breakfast audience, O’Malley said the Indiana law is “reprehensible and counter to everything we stand for as a people.”


NASCAR: Indiana law fosters intolerance, exclusion

(Orlando Sentinel) “NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana,” said NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes, in a statement released Tuesday.

“We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race.”


Rand Paul Said He Doesn’t Believe In The Concept Of Gay Rights

(Buzzfeed) Sen. Rand Paul said he doesn’t buy into the concept of gay rights because they are defined by a gay person’s lifestyle.

“I don’t think I’ve ever used the word gay rights, because I don’t really believe in rights based on your behavior,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters in a videotaped interview that has received little attention since it was recorded in 2013.


Guess What Happened When JPMorgan's CEO Visited Elizabeth Warren's Office

(HuffPo) A meeting between Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jamie Dimon deteriorated almost immediately after the JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO visited the recently elected senator and consumer advocate at her Capitol Hill office in 2013.

In a new afterword for the release of the paperback version of her book A Fighting Chance, Warren recalls that the tenor of the conversation between the two policy adversaries soured when Dimon complained about financial regulations that she has supported...


Americans Favor Deal With Iran by 2-1

(ABC News) Americans by a 2-1 margin favor an agreement with Iran over its nuclear development program, even while broadly questioning whether a deal would, in fact, prevent Tehran from producing nuclear weapons.

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