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Journal Archives

'Defund Planned Parenthood' law struck down in Ohio is similar to Tennessee's

A federal appeals court has struck down as constitutionally flawed an Ohio law that shares language and intent — “defunding Planned Parenthood” — with a law recently enacted in Tennessee.

The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals this week ruled the government can’t ban a provider of health services from state or federal money solely because it offers abortion counseling or elective abortions.

The ruling came in a challenge by Planned Parenthoods of Greater Ohio and the Southwest Ohio Region to an Ohio law that barred abortion providers from state funds that went toward services that had nothing to do with abortion.

“Although the government has no obligation to subsidize constitutionally protected activity, it may not use its control over funds to curtail the exercise of constitutionally protected rights outside the scope of a government-funded program,” 6th Circuit Judge Helene N. White wrote in the opinion.

Read more: https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2018/04/19/ohio-law-same-aim-tennessees-defund-planned-parenthood-bill-struck-down/531856002/

A willingness to fix the euro's flaws is fading fast

FRANKFURT, Germany — When Angela Merkel was re-elected as Germany's leader in March, the way looked open for European nations to finally patch the remaining cracks in the euro — the structural flaws that threatened to break apart the shared currency in 2010-12.

Suddenly, those prospects for far-reaching agreements are fading, as one proposal after another falls by the wayside. The reason: longstanding German fears of being handed the bill for financial profligacy in other member countries.

A long-awaited European Union summit June 28-29 may now produce vague agreements only on limited parts of wide-ranging proposals to strengthen the way the euro is set up. The bigger ideas for deeper eurozone integration, such as a common pot of money overseen by a European finance minister — an idea once allowed in principle by Merkel — are off the table. Prospects are also uncertain for plans to upgrade a bailout fund cobbled together during the crisis to a full-fledged European monetary fund to assist troubled countries.

German resistance bubbled up this week at a meeting of parliament deputies from Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. Merkel told lawmakers that upgrading the taxpayer-backed bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, would require amending the basic European Union treaty, the dpa news agency reported. That condition would likely kill the idea, since treaty change would take years.

Read more: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2018/apr/20/willingness-fix-euros-flaws-fading-fast/468772/

U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen's campaign chief sees 'clear path to victory'

NASHVILLE — Democrat Phil Bredesen's U.S. Senate campaign chief says in a memo that four months into the former Tennessee governor's campaign, "we are more convinced than ever that there is a clear path to victory ... to win in November and we're already on it."

Written by Bredesen campaign manager Bob Corney to advisers and "interested parties," the memo notes that since launching the former two-term governor's Senate campaign on Dec. 7, "we've rapidly gone from crawling to walking and, now, running" with $1.8 million in contributions and two television ads.

The memo, entitled "State of the Race," comes with 200 days left until the Nov. 7 general election contest featuring Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn. The contest is for the open seat left by retiring U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted his support for Blackburn, saying he intends to campaign for her.

Read more: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2018/apr/20/us-senate-candidate-phil-bredesens-campaign-chief-sees-clear-path-victory/468777/

Transit Boosts Nashville Turnout, With Some Voters Choosing Transit-Only Ballots

Nashville’s transit referendum appears to be boosting turnout during early voting — which surpassed 27,000 ballots on Thursday.

The pace to likely to top what is typically a low count during local May primaries.

And countywide, about 13 percent of voters thus far have requested a transit-only ballot — not the Democratic or Republican versions — meaning that they skipped the rest of the races altogether.

As is often the case, the early polling place in Hermitage is leading the way on turnout, followed by the Green Hills, Edmondson Pike, Belle Meade and Bellevue locations.

Read more: http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/transit-boosts-nashville-turnout-some-voters-choosing-transit-only-ballots

Memphians Rally to Replenish Punishment Funds

Ideas are popping on how to replenish $250,000 taken away from the city's bicentennial celebration by state lawmakers who punished Memphis for removing Confederate statues.

State House members approved a last-minute resolution Tuesday to remove the funds because city officials, in effect, removed the statues.

According to a story in The Commercial Appeal, House Democrats called the move, "vile," "racist," and "un-Christian." Republicans noted that bad actions came with bad consequences.

But whatever.

By Wednesday morning, some 90 people had raised nearly $3,000 on two separate GoFundMe pages. And chef Kelly English was working on his own plan.

Read more: https://www.memphisflyer.com/NewsBlog/archives/2018/04/18/memphians-rally-to-replenish-punishment-funds

House passes bill for monument to unborn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee House has passed a bill that calls for a monument to unborn children to be placed on the state capitol grounds.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law, private funds would be raised for a monument to victims of abortion.

The House passed it by a vote of 63-15 this week following a brief debate that got so heated that Speaker Beth Harwell had to demand order.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jerry Sexton, a Republican from Bean Station.

Democrats from Nashville demanded to know why there was a need for such a monument because there is a memorial for children who have died at Centennial Park.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article209414514.html

Coast coroner swears he's 'color blind.' Payments show he's not, black funeral homes say.

Gulfport -- Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove told a jury in federal court that he does not see color when spending public money with funeral homes, but attorneys for six black-owned funeral homes say the proof is in the numbers, which show two white-owned companies receive the vast majority of the business.

David Owens, a Chicago attorney for the black-owned funeral homes, called Hargrove to the witness stand Wednesday afternoon and questioned him for more than two hours.

Hargrove returns to the stand Thursday morning in U.S. District Court, where Judge Keith Starrett is presiding. Hargrove and the county will present their case next.

Hargrove investigates about 50 to 55 percent of the deaths each year in Harrison County, adding up to 5,821 cases during the period the defense has focused on: 2012 to mid-2016.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/latest-news/article209315054.html

Dumping on the South: 'Poop train' from NYC stinking up Alabama town

PARRISH, Ala. — A stinking trainload of human waste from New York City is stranded in a tiny Alabama town, spreading a stench like a giant backed-up toilet — and the "poop train" is just the latest example of the South being used as a dumping ground for other states' waste.

In Parrish, Alabama, population 982, the sludge-hauling train cars have sat idle near the little league ball fields for more than two months, Mayor Heather Hall said. The smell is unbearable, especially around dusk after the atmosphere has become heated, she said.

"Oh my goodness, it's just a nightmare here," she said. "It smells like rotting corpses, or carcasses. It smells like death."

All kinds of waste have been dumped in Georgia, Alabama and other Southern states in recent years, including toxic coal ash from power plants around the nation. In South Carolina, a plan to store radioactive nuclear waste in a rural area prompted complaints that the state was being turned into a nuclear dump.

Read more: https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2018/04/19/poop-train-new-york-city-alabama-north-dumps-garbage-south/533444002/

U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Sherman: I only helped Wicker to stop McDaniel

The Mississippi Democratic Party received a petition Thursday calling for the disqualification of Democratic candidate Howard Sherman, but the challenge comes too late in the race to be considered.

The petition questions Howard's past donations to Republican candidates and that he has a home in California, neither of which likely warrants disqualification, according to Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Moak.

Sherman, the husband of actress Sela Ward, gave $5,000 to Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker last summer. But he did it to help protect the seat from then-prospective candidate state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, Sherman said Thursday.

"I gave to Senator Wicker for a very simple reason: Faced, at the time, with a binary choice between Senator Wicker and Chris McDaniels, I knew I had to do whatever I could to stop the dangerous and backward politics of Chris McDaniel," Sherman said in a statement Thursday. "But Mississippi has to do better than both. Senator Wicker isn't getting the job done for the working families of Mississippi, and I am committed to fighting for better jobs, schools and opportunity in our state."

Read more: https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2018/04/19/u-s-senate-democratic-candidate-sherman-only-helped-wicker-stop-mcdaniel/532360002/

Sherman is one of six candidates in the primary to compete against Roger Wicker for a six year term. This race is considered to be a safe Republican seat since the general election will only include one candidate from each party.

The other five candidates for the Democratic primary:

David Baria - State House minority leader[1]
Jensen Bohren[2]
Jerone Garland
Victor Maurice Jr.
Omeria Scott - State Representative


Former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy files qualifying papers for U. S. Senate run

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Jackson attorney Mike Espy filed qualifying papers in his bid to replace outgoing U-S Senator Thad Cochran. He said his experience on Capitol Hill as a former congressman and Secretary of Agriculture as well as his statewide political background make him uniquely qualified.

Espy said he thought about his friend, Thad Cochran, as he became an official candidate Thursday.

"First of all, he was a tenacious fighter for Mississippi," said Espy. "I mean, the naval shipyards, agriculture, education, healthcare, it didn't matter. He fought tenaciously for Mississippi and I will do that."

"I'm gonna touch every county in Mississippi," added Espy. "I'm gonna do my best to touch every person to bring a message of common cause irrespective of our race and our gender and our age. We really all want the same thing. We want a better future. We want a better future for our children."

Read more: http://www.msnewsnow.com/story/38000103/espy-files-qualifying-papers-for-u-s-senate-run

ETA: Mike Espy is running in the special election to replace Thad Cochran.
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