passing a bill

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Republicans just passed a bill to allow shooting bears from helicopters

  • On March 21, the Senate approved a bill that rolls back Obama-administration regulations and allows for aerial hunting and live-trapping of bears and wolves, NPR reported. 
  • The bill also abolishes rules that prevented hunters from killing predators near their dens or with their cubs.
  • Animal rights advocates are hardly excited that Republican legislators are potentially paving the way for hunters to kill hibernating bears and their cubs. Read more. (3/28/17, 1:50 PM)
Its been a good 2 weeks for Transgender Rights in Canada

On March 2nd, the Senate voted in favour of a bill that would add legal protection for Transgender Canadians. It passed 2nd reading in the Senate. Basically what this means is that if it passes 1 final vote (3rd reading), the bill will become law.

On March 13th, Nunavut passed unanimously a bill which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

On March 14th, Yukon Territory announced that it would remove the requirement of having sex reassignment surgery in order to change gender on a birth certificate AND they announced that they would put forward legislation to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

Today, New Brunswick’s government announced it would put forward legislation to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, expression or family status.

Also, in the British Columbia election in 1.5 months, there is a Transgender woman running for a major political party: Morgane Oger. This is the first time in history that a transgender person has been announced as a candidate for a major political party in Canada, and if she is elected she’ll be the first transgender politician in Canada.

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Trump went after sanctuary cities. New York assembly responded by voting to be a sanctuary state.

  • Less than two weeks after Trump signed an executive order outlawing so-called “sanctuary cities,” New York’s Democrat-controlled state Assembly passed a bill to make New York a “sanctuary state.”
  • The bill aims to prohibit the detention of undocumented immigrants in New York without a standing warrant from a judge.
  • The bill now advances to the state Senate, which is controlled by a coalition of Republicans and right-leaning Democrats. 
  • The Republican state Senate leader said on Tuesday that he didn’t expect the body to even vote on the bill. Read more
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House Republicans introduce their plan to repeal, recycle and reuse Obamacare

  • House Republicans have released a draft version of legislation designed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something different.
  • The new legislation will replace the ACA’s subsidies for purchasing insurance on the individual marketplace with refundable tax credits. 
  • Those tax credits will be doled out based on a person’s age, family size and income, and potentially provide less financial assistance than existing subsidies for low-income people.
  • It also ends future funding for the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and returns the cutoff for eligibility to what it would have been had the ACA never been passed. 
  • However, the bill allows individuals who received coverage under the expansion over the past few years to retain Medicaid so long as they keep their coverage without any breaks.
  • The bill also maintains preexisting condition coverage, as well as a popular provision allowing children to stay on their parents’ health care coverage until the age of 26. Read more (3/6/17 7:53 PM)

The GOP’s health care plan penalizes you for not having coverage — sound familiar?

  • One of the most criticized parts of Obamacare is the individual mandate, citizens have to pay a tax penalty for not having insurance coverage.
  • Ironically, the GOP’s new plan contains a provision that forces people in the individual market to pay a penalty for not having health insurance.
  • Under the new plan, if a person in the individual market has a gap in coverage of more than two months and tries to buy health insurance, an insurer can “increase the monthly premium rate otherwise applicable to such individual for such coverage” by as much as 30%. Read more (3/6/17 10:19 PM)
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March 23rd 1933: Enabling Act passed

On this day in 1933, the German Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which essentially secured Adolf Hitler’s position as dictator of Germany. The law gave Chancellor Hitler legal powers to establish his dictatorship as it gave the Cabinet the power to enact laws independently of the legislature - the Reichstag. Its formal name was ‘Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich’. Hitler had been appointed Chancellor on January 30th and just before the scheduled election, the Reichstag fire occurred. The Nazis used the incident to suggest a Communist revolution was imminent and passed the Reichstag Fire Decree which suspended civil liberties and habeas corpus. The Nazis failed to gain an absolute majority in the Reichstag, so Hitler drafted the Enabling Act to secure his position. The Nazis pressured and threatened representatives of the Reichstag to pass the bill, positioning SA men and Nazi swastikas in and around the building. With the bill’s passing, Hitler’s dictatorship was assured, and thus began a brutal regime which would last until 1945.

“The authority of the Führer has now been wholly established. Votes are no longer taken. The Führer decides. All this is going much faster than we had dared to hope”
- Joseph Goebbels after the passage of the Act

me to baby, after twenty minutes of trying to get him to chill: …and if that purple yacht gets sunk, Mama’s gonna buy you a pickup truck. And if there’s a pickup truck recall, Mama’s gonna buy you a wrecking ball. And if that gets CPS involved, Mama’s gonna buy you an age-appropriate doll -

me to baby, after forty minutes: …and if Olympus Mons gets razed, Mama’s gonna buy you some flying sleighs. And if the flying sleighs get banned, Mama’s gonna buy you a Congressman. And if he still won’t pass your bill, Mama’s gonna buy you a Silmaril. And if that starts an awful war, Mama’s gonna buy you a dinosaur. And if your dino won’t ride to battle, Mama’s gonna buy you a magic saddle -

[Image Description: A drawing of the disabled symbol (a person leaning forward in a wheelchair) with an upside down American flag attached to the back of the wheelchair. Inside the wheel of the symbol’s wheelchair is the neurodiversity symbol (a rainbow gradient infinity symbol). Above and below the image in all capital letters are the words “Don’t forget the disabled, chronically ill, and neurodivergent in your battle for justice. Many of us will be fighting for our lives.”]

I haven’t seen many people talking about how the disabled are going to be negatively effected by the Trump Administration. 

Obamacare has allowed for many chronically ill people to keep seeing doctors and therapists and keep taking necessary medication by lowering or eliminating co-payments on these necessities. Without Obamacare many people will no longer be able to afford to keep up their health, or may be driven to poverty by paying for treatments. It is likely that the Trump Administration will try to pass bills that make it harder or impossible for many people to access healthcare. 

Some of us are in the marches and protests, and some of us would love to be able to fight that way but can’t.

Help our voices be heard: if you’re orchestrating a protest, work to make it accessible to as many people as possible. If you’re writing an article about oppressed communities who are scared and in danger because of the Trump administration, mention us. Make signs about us. Fight bills that could hurt us. In conversations about disability, listen to us, don’t speak over us. Most importantly, respect us. 

Keep fighting the good fight.

New Mexico state senator George Munoz, affectionately now being called Squatch Blocker, is looking to pass a bill that restricts searching for Bigfoot - among other creatures. After a University of New Mexico professor took his class on a field trip to find Bigfoot, politicians and the public were outraged to find that their tax money went to fund this endeavor. While this certainly makes sense in retrospect - as wasting money at a University would make any paying college student upset - the way it is worded in the bill makes it seem unbelievable. If it passes, the bill will go into affect on July 1st, 2017.

According to the bill, don’t waste your public funds on catching Pokemon either, everyone. 

“Mr Trump blamed the bill’s defeat on Democrats, who proudly accepted responsibility”

The Difference Between Trump & Obama

What a difference in presidents…
 
Trump, making a last ditch effort to repeal millions of people’s healthcare in a terrible bill 8 years-in-the-dishonest-making that was rewritten a day and a half ago, threatened to personally fight against “no”-voting Republicans’ reelections, even as his administration is trying to distance itself from the looming failure by throwing Speaker Paul Ryan under the bus and accepting no blame or responsibility, as usual for Trump.
 
In contrast, President Obama on his last effort to pass the original Obamacare bill, told Democrats to vote for the bill because it was worth losing their seats for, and many of them did. Thanks, Obama, for putting America ahead of partisan self-interest.

Millions of Americans will experience major changes to their health coverage if both chambers of Congress pass the Republican health care bill that’s currently under consideration in the House of Representatives.

The bill would no longer require that Americans buy health insurance, and it would eliminate the current subsidies that are used to bring down the cost of premiums. NPR’s full coverage explains how those subsidies would be replaced with a fixed refundable tax credit and there would be big changes to Medicaid.

NPR and dozens of member stations want to help the public understand where lawmakers in Congress stand as this debate continues.

New Health Care Bill: Find Out Where Your Member Of Congress Stands

Image: U.S. Congress

A war on Gaza right now would be the ideal cover up for Israel to use for its annexation plans in the West Bank. Tonight Israel is trying pass a bill annexing Israeli settlements, a bill that the international body opposes. In other words Israel wants these illegal settlements to be part of ‘Israel proper’ and isn’t going to withdraw from them with any future peace deal.

buzzfeed.com
Trump Gives Republicans An Ultimatum On Health Care Bill: Vote Or We're Done
After Republicans delayed a vote on their health care bill, lacking enough votes to pass it Thursday, an agency head told members Thursday night that if they don’t pass it by Friday, the White House is done.
By Paul McLeod, Alexis Levinson

House Republicans clearly do not have the votes to pass their health care bill and on Thursday night, President Trump’s administration told them in no uncertain terms: Pass it tomorrow or we’re done.

After a day full of meetings and last-minute arm-wringing went nowhere, Trump dispatched two deputies to Capitol Hill for an evening meeting of the House Republican conference. Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, White House senior adviser Steve Bannon and former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, now Director of the Officer of Management and Budget, in the meeting, in which Mulvaney told Republicans that the White House is done negotiation and will move on from the health care issue unless the House passes the bill on Friday, according to a GOP aide.

The threat comes after House Republican leadership desperately scrambled Thursday to save the American Health Care Act. Despite talk of progress, Speaker Paul Ryan and his team clearly still did not have the necessary votes to bring the sweeping bill to replace Obamacare to the floor on Thursday, as originally planned. That vote has been pushed off to Friday for now.

Ryan briefly spoke to reporters after the meeting. “For seven and a half years we’ve been promising the American people that we would repeal and replace this broken law because it is collapsing and failing families. Tomorrow we’re proceeding,” Ryan said, taking no questions and walking away.

When asked whether Republicans now have the votes to pass the bill, Rep. Steve Stivers who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee told reporters they will see where they are on Friday.

“I think we’ll find out tomorrow,” Stivers said. “I think it’s gonna be a surprise.”

Both the hard-right House Freedom Caucus and some moderate Republicans remain opposed to the bill, despite an overwhelming push from Republican leadership and the White House.

“We’re committed to stay here until we get it done. So whether the vote is tonight, tomorrow or five days from here, the president will get a victory because I believe we all want to negotiate in good faith and deliver on the promise,” Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows said in the middle of a marathon of meetings.

Meadows said he was still a no on the AHCA, as are many of his Freedom Caucus members, but he is “desperately trying to get to yes.”

The problem remains the same for leadership — any push to win over the Freedom Caucus further alienates moderates and vice versa. After nearing a deal on Wednesday night that the Freedom Caucus seemed optimistic about, moderate members said they could not support the changes.

Even after the meeting with members and White House officials on Thursday night, some Republicans remained unmoved. New York Rep. Dan Donovan, the lone Republican congressman in New York City, exited the meeting saying he was still a no.

“I’m not a fan of the Affordable Care Act. It’s hurt people in my district. This is not giving them the relief that they need,” he said.

Meanwhile, Republicans who are on-board with the plan are growing increasingly frustrated with their colleagues who won’t sign on. “You get one chance at something like this. So we need to get it done,” Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole said. “You’re either part of a team or you’re not.”

Republican leadership made a last-minute pitch to the Freedom Caucus before Thursday’s now-delayed vote that seems to have fallen short. Meadows spoke of promises being too vague and not going far enough to bring down insurance premiums.

The deal revolves around the Freedom Caucus’ desire to do away with the essential health benefits (or things insurance plans must cover) introduced under Obamacare. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said the compromise involves giving states the power to do away with these benefits, rather than doing it at the federal level.

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Phil Roe said this policy would only impact the individual markets, which makes up about 6% of the total health insurance market.

Essential health benefits mandate that all health insurance plans must cover certain things such as hospitalization, maternity costs, ambulances, pediatric care, addiction treatment, emergency services, and prescription drugs.

The Freedom Caucus argues these and other Obamacare rules drive up premium costs. Brady said the group is pushing for even more freedom to remove these rules than what is in the offer currently on the table.

Earlier on Thursday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy would not commit to holding the vote on Friday when asked on CNN. McCarthy said only that the House will begin debating the bill formally on Friday and that he hoped it would pass that day.

But after the meeting with the White House, a GOP aide said that Republicans will vote Friday.

“We’re going to get this done. … I know we’ll get this done,” McCarthy said on CNN. “Look, when we bring it to the floor we’re going to have the votes.”

It takes 22 Republicans to vote no to kill the bill. About two dozen have declared to be either a hard no or leaning no, not including softer members of the Freedom Caucus who could flip if their group ultimately endorses the plan.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday that the administration is confident the bill will pass, after saying in a press conference earlier this week that “there is no plan B.”

“It’s going to pass, so that’s it,” Spicer said Thursday.