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Columns

GOP lawmakers seek greater control over local elections

Partisan takeovers of election boards. Threats to fine county election officials and overturn results. Even bans on giving water to voters while they stand in line. In addition to their nationwide efforts to limit access to the ballot, Republican lawmakers in some states are moving to gain ...

Dominion sues Fox News for $1.6B over 2020 election claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Friday, arguing the cable news giant falsely claimed the voting company had rigged the 2020 election. The lawsuit is part of a growing body of legal action filed by the voting company and ...

Biden appears open to Senate changes to advance his agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden at his first news conference Thursday left the door open to backing fundamental changes in Senate procedure to muscle key parts of his agenda like immigration and voting rights past Republican opposition "if there's complete lockdown and chaos." Even as ...

Biden taps VP to lead response to border challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the White House effort to tackle the migration challenge at the U.S. southern border and work with Central American nations to address root causes of the problem. Biden made the announcement as he and ...

‘Baghdad Bob’ rides again

When I heard Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas say last Sunday on “Meet the Press” that the southern border “is closed,” it immediately brought to mind claims by Iraq’s former information minister — dubbed “Baghdad Bob” and “Comical Ali” (aka Mohammed Saeed ...

Seeing red on March 24

March 24, Equal Pay Day, marks the additional days that women across the United States have to work into 2021 to equal the pay earned by men in 2020. For more than 50 years, pay discrimination has been illegal. Despite this, pay discrimination remains prevalent today. Reflecting the gender ...

A host of states are seeking to loosen controls on guns

Mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado that left at least 18 people dead since last week are reigniting calls from gun control advocates for tighter restrictions on buying firearms and ammunition. But with Democrats in control of the federal government, gun rights advocates have been persuading ...

Photos of migrant detention highlight Biden’s border secrecy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration has tried for weeks to keep the public from seeing images like those that emerged Monday showing immigrant children in U.S. custody at the border sleeping on mats under foil blankets, separated in groups by plastic ...

Bill would aid US publishers vs. Big Tech

A congressional effort to bolster U.S. news organizations in negotiations with Big Tech has supporters hoping that third time's the charm. The bill, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, was introduced in March for the third time since 2018. Its odds of passage may have improved in ...

Biden aims to prevent border crossings from swamping agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is scrambling to manage a growing humanitarian and political challenge at the U.S.-Mexico border that threatens to overshadow its ambitious legislative agenda. With the number of migrants surging, administration officials say Biden inherited an ...

AP sources: Iran threatens Fort McNair US Army post, top general

Iran has made threats against Fort McNair, an Army post in the U.S. capital, and against the Army’s vice chief of staff, two senior U.S. intelligence officials said. They said communications intercepted by the National Security Agency in January showed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard ...

‘An all-hands moment’: GOP rallies behind voting limits

On an invitation-only call last week, Sen. Ted Cruz huddled with Republican state lawmakers to call them to battle on the issue of voting rights. Democrats are trying to expand voting rights to “illegal aliens” and “child molesters,” he claimed, and Republicans must do all they can to ...

Whitmer, ex-health director agree to waive confidentiality

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office said Thursday that the state and her former health director amended his $155,000 severance deal to remove a confidentiality clause that had drawn criticism. Robert Gordon abruptly resigned in January, the day he issued a coronavirus ...

Medicaid incentive so far not enough to sway holdout states

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Democrats’ nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief package includes a big financial incentive for the states that have opted against expanding Medicaid to provide health coverage for more low-income Americans. It’s still proving to be a tough sell. The Associated ...

Myths aside, there are many good reasons for planting trees

Planting trees is a popular activity. There are many good reasons to plant trees although none of them have to do with saving the planet or generating fresh oxygen. These are urban myths. Take oxygen for an example. I’ve visited hundreds of elementary school classrooms and, quite ...

Homeland Security head spars with Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s head of Homeland Security sparred Wednesday with members of Congress over the surge of migrants at the Southwest border, refusing to concede the situation was a crisis or even much different from what the two previous administrations ...

Whitmer must sprint toward cooperation, give people answers

We recently reached the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 cases being reported in Michigan and the start of many executive orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in response. It’s important to reflect, given the milestone. Lives and livelihoods have been significantly impacted in our state ...

I like Ike, but Mike’s OK: Ranked-choice voting gets a look

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — An electoral reform that has taken root in the iconoclastic states of Maine and Alaska could be gaining traction nationwide. Ranked-choice voting, a concept that was relegated to theoretical discussions among policy wonks for decades, is now being promoted by ...

Ballot proposal would open gov, lawmakers to FOIA

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Advocates for open government on Tuesday unveiled the specifics of their ballot proposal that would open Michigan’s governor and lawmakers to public-records requests. The state is one of only two to wholly exempt the governor’s office from the Freedom of ...

Pandemic redefines ‘public’ access to government meetings

It wasn't long ago when a "public meeting" of the city council or state legislature meant the general public could show up to watch and, quite often, speak about proposals and perceived problems. The coronavirus pandemic has put an end to that in many places, perhaps permanently altering the ...