Two More States Legalize Gay Marriage

Aug 1, 2013, 1:16 pm EDT

The battle for legalizing gay marriage in the U.S. took another step forward on Thursday when two more states legalized same-sex marriage at 12:01 a.m.

Minnesota and Rhode Island just passed the law that allows gay couples to get tie the knot and have the same rights as other married couples according to Following the ongoing movement for gay rights that’s gained some momentum over the last few years, these states became the 12th and 13th states to pass the same-sex marriage law.

Rhode Island became the last state in New England to pass this law so it’s no surprise that the number of same-sex marriage supporters outnumbered the protesters outside several city halls. Read 

Russia’s Gay-Banning Law May Apply to 2014 Winter Olympics

Aug 1, 2013, 12:49 pm EDT

A Russian law passed in June, that makes openly gay activities in the country illegal, could affect the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The law is set to stop minors from being exposed to nontraditional sexual relations. Included in that law are public displays of affection by gay people, and gay symbols like the rainbow flag. According to Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, the law will not be suspended during the Olympics, and will be applied to foreigners. While Milonov is only a regional lawmaker, he did sponsor the legislation that lead to the nationwide ban. Milonov threatened to fine Madonna last summer when she spoke out against the law, reports ABC News.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) claims that the law won’t be a problem. Read 

Report: $36M in Farm Subsidies Paid to Dead People

Jul 31, 2013, 2:57 pm EDT
Report: $36M in Farm Subsidies Paid to Dead People

According to a report released by watchdog group the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Monday, $35.9 million in farm subsidies has been paid to dead people.

The report claims that agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) paid considerable amounts of money to deceased individuals. The GAO believes that the Risk Management Agency paid $22 million in farm subsidies and allowances to 3,434 individuals that had been dead for two or more years. The GAO also cites the Natural Resources Conservation Services as having paid $10.6 to dead people. Finally the GAO reports that the Farm Service Agency paid thousands of deceased people a total of $3.3 million, reports ABC News.

“Not only are unlimited crop insurance subsidies flowing to the largest and most successful farm businesses, they are now going to deceased policyholders,” Scott Faber, vice president of the Environmental Working Group, told The New York Times. “This irresponsible use of scarce taxpayer dollars reinforces just how broken the system is.” Read 

U.S. School District to Arm Teachers With Concealed Weapons

Jul 31, 2013, 12:42 pm EDT

In a move likely to make the National Rifle Association (NRA) very happy, a high school in Arkansas plans to boost security by making sure that teachers and staff are carrying guns.

Arkansas law includes a provision making it legal for schools to have armed staff. The Clarksville High School has decided to put the law to use, putting 20 teachers and administrators through 53 hours of training so they can received concealed carry permits, allowing them to keep firearms with them while at school, the Associated Press notes.

Clarksville, which has a population of 9,200, is the first community in the state to allow teachers to carry guns at school. The decision comes in the wake of the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., last year, which left more than 20 young children and several teachers dead. Read 

NYC Soda Ban: Big Sugary Drinks to Live Another Day

Jul 31, 2013, 12:22 pm EDT

New York City’s ban on oversized sodas got a big thumbs-down from a state appeals court.

The decision upheld a lower court order blocking the law — backed strongly by Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg — which prohibits the sale of sugary drinks in containers over 16-ounces, the Daily News notes.

Ruling unanimously, the appellate court said the city’s health department “overstepped the boundaries of its lawfully delegated authority when it promulgated the [ban] to curtail the consumption of soda drinks.” Read 

Hawaii to Fly Homeless Back to Mainland in New Program

Jul 31, 2013, 11:44 am EDT

In a novel bid to reduce welfare spending, the nation’s 50th state has decided to relocate some of its homeless population elsewhere.

During the past legislative session, Hawaiian lawmakers narrowly passed a bill establishing a program that could send homeless people born out of the state back to the U.S. mainland. The idea is reduce the cost of supporting the estimated 17,000 homeless people living in Hawaii, the Honolulu Civil Beat notes.

Proponents of the idea say the homeless sent back to the U.S. mainland will be better able to get back on their feet on their home soil. Critics say it doesn’t address the root causes of homelessness. Read 

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