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Clock Ticking In Congress As Russia Presses Ahead With Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline – Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty

As the impeachment inquiry hogs the spotlight in Washington, another drama in which Ukraine has a role is playing out more quietly -- and causing concern in Kyiv, which is watching warily as Russia brings its Nord Stream 2 pipeline closer to completion. Members of the U.S. Congress appear unified on the need to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin's $11 billion project to deliver natural gas to Europe via a new pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea.
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Chicago casino bill to lower taxation fails – Yogonet International

Illinois passed legislation to require casino and sports wagering licenses applicants to be fingerprinted Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s drive to revive plans for the proposed Chicago casino by restructuring the tax load on the gambling center came up short Thursday as the Illinois General Assembly adjourned until next year without voting on the measure.
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Alabama U.S. Senate candidates look to Trump, what can be learned from recent Deep South elections? – AL Reporter – alreporter.com

Moderate Democrat gubernatorial candidates in Kentucky and Louisiana beat back firebrand Republicans who nationalized their state’s elections by tying their political fortunes to President Donald Trump. Here in Alabama, most of the Republicans running for the U.S. Senate are following a similar playbook linking their campaigns to the popular president, but is it enough? In the 2016 general election, Trump easily carried Kentucky with 62.52 percent, Louisiana, with nearly 60 percent and Alabama with just over 62 percent of the vote.
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Do we need more gun control after NJ’s football game shooting? – New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio

This past Saturday, the day after a tragic shooting at a Pleasantville High School shooting, NJ Congressman Jeff Van Drew said "we must act on a common sense solution for this recurring issue." We already have the some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. If we forced every legal gun owner in the county to give up their guns, only people like the ones who did this Friday night would have them.
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Pennsylvania agrees to upgrade inmates’ death row conditions – Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

The three Republicans running for the party’s nomination for Pennsylvania governor say they will not release copies of their tax returns, documents that can shed important light on a candidate’s personal priorities and financial standing. The man they want to beat, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, will release the first two pages of his 2017 tax return and open the rest of it to inspection by reporters, his campaign said.
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Democratic donors still ‘feeling the Bern’ in C-U area – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

Less than a year out from Election Day, the favorite local presidential candidate — based on campaign donations — remains Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders. Of the more than $60,000 that has been contributed from Champaign, Urbana and Danville this year to 14 presidential candidates, Sanders has close to a third of all the money. The Vermont senator has received $18,578 from donors in the three cities, led by more than $9,000 from two dozen Urbana...
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Covering Colorado Despite ban, high-capacity magazines still sold in Colorado Associated Press 3:56 PM – KOAA.com Colorado Springs and Pueblo News

A state law banning the sale and transfer of large-capacity gun magazines has not stopped the sale and transfer of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. An undercover investigation by 9Wants to Know found examples of gun stores in Colorado either ignoring the law altogether or finding a loophole to get around the law. “It’s shocking to see that people are doing this,” said state Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora.
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Federal officials to study port trade inequities – News – Monroe Evening News

Port director Paul LaMarre III and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., have met with Customs and Border Protections regarding their questions about Port of Monroe. When you’re not getting the answers you want, sometimes you have to ask to speak to the manager. In the Port of Monroe’s pursuit to more broadly handle international cargo, those managers are Customers and Border Protection’s Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan and Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez.
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State senator releases report, recommendations on poverty in PA – fox56.com

Haywood went on a listening tour through PA and put out a report. "Individuals who were really trying hard to get out of poverty, but they were met by what I came to learn as describe as kind of a box that they were put in," explained Haywood. That box is made up of low pay, inadequate childcare and public transportation options, and rent that was too high. Then if they ended up on benefits, they might have to choose between a slightly better job and no benefits - which could still have issues, or staying on benefits. "We need to figure out a way to smooth that somehow so that people can transition and then be rewarded for work," added Blake.
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Chad Wolf moves one step closer to becoming acting DHS chief – CNN

Wolf is expected to take the helm at the Department of Homeland Security following Kevin McAleenan's resignation last month. President Donald Trump abruptly named Wolf to succeed McAleenan this month after weeks of uncertainty and speculation over who would lead the third largest department in the federal government. Minutes before Tuesday's procedural vote, Democratic senators expressed their opposition to Wolf's nomination, noting that the vote carries additional weight given Wolf's expected ascension to the acting secretary role.
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As fed probe deepens, City Club grapples with fallout – Crain’s Chicago Business

The City Club of Chicago is contending with the fallout of its president's involvement in a federal probe of Commonwealth Edison influence in Springfield. Weeks after Jay Doherty's City Club offices were raided—and in the wake of disclosures that the prominent public affairs group's chief was paid more than $3.1 million over a span of years by the utility giant—a growing roster of speakers are canceling upcoming City Club appearances.
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Dispatching outside the ‘blue bubble’, Flip It Iowa aims to turn Iowa House to Democrats – UI The Daily Iowan

On a rainy afternoon in early September, Temple Hiatt — a volunteer organizer, military veteran, and Iowa City native — launched into a fundraising pitch to a group composed mostly of Johnson County Democrats. Her pitch? Help elect an Iowa House candidate whose district lies outside the borders of Iowa’s bluest county. “We know that our elected officials here in Johnson County will get reelected,” she told the 100-or-so people gathered in Iowa City, referencing the two state representatives from Iowa City — Vicki Lensing and Mary Mascher — who haven’t faced a Republican...
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Congresswoman Dresses as Batgirl for Impeachment Vote – CBR

Rep. Katie Porter of California dressed up as Batgirl for the impeachment vote that took place on the spooky evening. The congresswoman voted "yes" on impeachment, but it was her costume that stole the show and quickly went viral. One person confronted Representative Porter, asking her if she would pay Alfred minimum wage and if selling the Batmobile could pay for government initiatives such as the Green New Deal.
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Kansas man says he was fired from restaurant due to being diagnosed with HIV – WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee

A Kansas man claims he was fired from a restaurant in Overland Park after he was diagnosed with HIV, and a lawsuit was filed in federal court. Mark Dugan is the attorney representing the man who used to work as a server at a Big Biscuit restaurant. “It’s, at the minimum, disability discrimination, or discrimination based on the perception of disability,” Dugan said. “I think it’s likely discrimination based on the stigma and negative perception about HIV.”
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More than half of top US newspapers failed to cover Trump’s anti-LGBTQ foster care and adoption rule – Media Matters for America

Most of the top 50 newspapers in the U.S. failed to cover a proposed anti-LGBTQ rule from the Trump-Pence administration’s Department of Health and Human Services that removes language protecting people from discrimination in HHS grant programs, including protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  The proposed rule, introduced on November 1, will allow federally funded adoption and foster care agencies to refuse to work with prospective LGBTQ parents.
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Op-Ed: ‘Mess on a napkin’ remark stems from abortion ideology – Bucks County Courier Times

There's nothing particularly remarkable about politicians putting their feet in their mouths. It happens all the time, often with impunity. But comments that PA Rep. Wendy Ullman made about miscarriage last week went far beyond the typical gaffe. Ullman represents a district in Bucks County very close to where I grew up, which is just part of why her words hit so close to home, pun not intended.
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A former Google executive moved back to Maine and entered the 2020 Senate race. Can he win? – Bangor Daily News

Former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse made his first speech as a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate on Saturday. His message to a state he’s getting reacquainted with was simple — he wasn’t always a Google executive. There is room for skepticism as the 49-year-old steps late into a primary for the right to face U.S. Sen. Susan Collins that has a heavy favorite in House Speaker Sara Gideon. Maine Democrats have long climbed the political ladder into high-profile races. But his background and an apparent willingness to spend his own money could make him potent.
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Senators stuck on plan to fund historically black colleges and universities – 11Alive.com WXIA

Time continues to run out on a fight over how to fund historically black colleges and universities. An extension expired October 1, but Senators are still at odds over how to make it work. This could mean a shortfall of $4.2 million dollars for HBCUs nationwide and other schools that serve minorities, like Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University here in Atlanta. For nearly 200 years, HBCUs have served tens of thousands of studen
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GOP senators hit by early wave of outside money ahead of 2020 – POLITICO

This year’s early barrage is not coming from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or the super PAC Senate Majority PAC, the main players in Democratic Senate campaigns. Instead, the top spenders are a band of nonprofit organizations that formed just this year, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money and do not have to disclose information about their donors. Each of the new nonprofits is incorporated in the state they are running ads in and run by local Democratic operatives, and none of the groups have any clear ties to national Democratic groups.
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Davis Says Impeachment Testimony Transcripts Don’t Tell Whole Story – WILL News – Illinois Public Media

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) says it’s a good thing that House impeachment investigators have begun releasing transcripts of closed-door testimony. But Davis says the testimony doesn't give a full picture, since testimony from other witnesses remains secret. “A transcript of an individual is their perspective," said Davis, a Taylorville Republican who represents Illinois' 13th U.S. House District. "And that perspective has to be balanced with the perspective of others.
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Senators Push To Give Contract Workers Federal Shutdown Wages – CleanLink

Democratic senators, including U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Tina Smith of Minnesota, took to the senate floor recently to revive efforts which would provide backpay to the contract workers who lost wages during the government’s 35-day federal shutdown last winter. The workers the senators are trying to gain back pay for earn low wages, many of them as janitors. Most of the workers are not employed by the federal government, but rather the companies to which the services are contracted out.
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President Trump plans to unveil new campaign to appeal to more black voters – WSB Atlanta

President Donald Trump is headed to metro Atlanta on Friday to launch a drive to recruit more African-American voters. Trump is hoping to boost his numbers by unveiling a new initiative called "Black Voices for Trump." He will discuss the plan at his rally in downtown Atlanta. His campaign picked Atlanta because of its role as an epicenter of black life and the region's fast-growing population, according to a senior White House official.
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Bill to prevent LGBTQ housing discrimination stalls in Senate – ABC 4

Some leading gay rights groups say their community needs more protection when it comes to finding safe places to live. Now, many in Congress says it’s time to pass a law to keep LGBTQ citizens safe from housing discrimination. “We find that a lot of the LGBT people struggle not only finding affordable housing, but housing where they can be themselves,” said Aaron Tax, Advocacy Director for SAGE, a lobbying group that advocates for older LGBTQ adults. “In a study conducted by the Equal Rights Center in 2014, we saw that nearly half, 48 percent of same sex individuals received differential treatment when looking for housing targeting older people,” said Tax.
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Time’s up. Illinois lawmaker to push bill making daylight saving time permanent – Herald Review

Lawmakers are going back to Springfield next week for the final three days of the fall veto session. Senate Bill 533 calls for setting clocks ahead one hour to daylight saving time on Sunday, March 8, then leaving the state on Central Daylight Time permanently. “So we’re going to give this a whirl next week in the #ILSenate. SB 533 would end the arbitrary time change & IL would join other states,” Manar tweeted.
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In the US, UMC’s Western Jurisdiction announces “safe harbour” for LGBTQ clergy – Sight Magazine

The bishops of the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church in the US have declared their churches a “safe harbour” for LGBTQ clergy. The Safe Harbor Declaration was announced Wednesday as United Methodists’ Council of Bishops wrapped up its autumn meeting in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. And it comes months before new restrictions strengthening the denomination’s ban on the ordination and marriage of its LGBTQ members, which are set to take effect on 1st January. “We are haunted by the actions of the 2019 Special General Conference, which impose new and harmful definitions and restrictions on full participation of LGBTQ+ persons in the Church and abandon robust engagement of scripture to narrow biblical literalism,” the declaration stated. “We do not believe The United Methodist Church has the authority or the power to impose limits on the movement of God’s Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s beloved LGBTQ+ children.”
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Inside Pete Buttigieg’s Iowa surge: Loud crowds, strong ground game as he emerges as moderate alternative to J – Chicago Tribune

“If tonight were the caucus, I’d probably support Biden, but I’m very, very impressed and it’s moving more to a toss-up for me. Pete is tremendously intelligent, he’s focused, he’s educated, he’s got great charisma and great leadership,” said Crawford, 69, a retired teacher who lives in Mason City. "And although I have growing concerns about Joe Biden, I’m still not sure about Pete’s electability. But this guy is definitely surging, so we’ll see.”
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Klobuchar qualifies for December debate: Campaign update – The Detroit News

Klobuchar is the sixth candidate to qualify for the Democratic debate in Los Angeles in December. Klobuchar announced Wednesday she qualified with 4% in the Quinnipiac University poll of Iowa released Tuesday. Participants need to meet a threshold of 4% in at least four Democratic National Committee-approved national or early state polls, or 6% in two early state polls, and 200,000 unique donors. She joins Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris who have all also qualified for the sixth debate on Dec. 19.
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The Political Corruption Legalized by the Supreme Court – The New Republic

That isn’t enough for the president. Politico reported last week that Trump is using his network of donors to bolster senators who defend him while ignoring those who don’t. The news outlet pointed to a recent fundraising pitch from Trump’s re-election campaign that invoked the impeachment fight while offering to split the donations with three GOP senators facing re-election next year: Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis. “If we don’t post strong fundraising numbers, we won’t be able to defend the President from this baseless...
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Construction of first new miles of border barrier began last week – ABC17News.com

Construction began last week on the first new miles of barrier along the US-Mexico border since President Donald Trump took office, according to two Customs and Border Patrol officials familiar with the project. Unlike previous construction under the Trump administration, this is the installation of a barrier where none existed before. Customs and Border Protection, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, began installing panels for the new border wall in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas last week, according to the agency.
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The 10 most vulnerable House members in 2020: Democrats dominate – The Bozeman Daily Chronicle

One year out from the 2020 elections, the most vulnerable member of the House is the Oklahoma Democrat whose upset win surprised even astute politicos last fall. She is joined by a California Republican who is under indictment and numerous Democrats running in districts President Donald Trump easily won in 2016. Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to win control of the House, and they see their path back to the majority running through so-called Trump districts that slipped from the party’s grasp in the midterms.
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Proposal would create 1st national database to track officer deaths by suicide – KSDK.com

For the third straight year, the number of police officers dying by suicide is higher than the number dying in the line of duty. And now, Missouri's U.S. senators are looking to help reverse that trend. Sen. Josh Hawley and Sen. Roy Blunt are co-sponsors of a bill that would create the first-ever national database of officer deaths by suicide.  It would be anonymous and voluntary for departments to provide the information to the FBI. The database would include the circumstances that occurred before the death by suicide or...
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The Downs at Lehigh Valley could be first in Lehigh Valley to offer sports gambling – Morning Call

The petition does not disclose specifics of the sportsbook or the planned renovations at The Downs at Lehigh Valley, a 28,000-square-foot facility at 1780 Airport Road with a large center bar and full dining room. The petition, which does not provide a timeline for when the sportsbook could open, says jobs in security, admissions and food and beverage will be created at the operation, though that figure was redacted.
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2020 Senate outlook: A few GOP incumbents look vulnerable – Hot Air

.....declining approval ratings may be a warning sign for endangered Republican incumbents in battleground states. The partisan lean metric in the table above measures how much more Democratic- or Republican-leaning a state is than the country as a whole,3 and all five GOP senators defending seats in states with a partisan lean of less than R+10 saw their approval ratings worsen in the third quarter of 2019, according to data from Morning Consult. And all but one — Arizona Sen. Martha McSally — has a net negative rating (approval rating minus disapproval rating)
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Biden surges in NC cash race among 2020 Dems – ncpolicywatch.com

Former Vice President Joe Biden surged ahead in fundraising in North Carolina over the last three months, far outpacing the other Democrats who are vying for the presidential nomination. Biden’s campaign made significant gains in fundraising from July through September in North Carolina. In that three-month span, the campaign raised $263,687 from North Carolina donors, twice what they had previously brought in from the state.
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Group: Illinois restaurant tried to reseat over skin color – Baltimore Sun

A group of mostly African-American people celebrating a birthday party at a Buffalo Wild Wings in suburban Chicago allege they were asked to change tables because of their skin color. Justin Vahl says he was at a Naperville restaurant last month with children and adults when a host asked him about his ethnicity. Later, a manager asked the group to move because a regular customer didn't want to sit near black people.Remaining Time-0:29 Fullscreen Vahl, of nearby Montgomery, says he's multiracial. His wife, Mary, first shared the story on social media. After several managers tried to move the group, they left for another restaurant. A Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson says a "thorough internal investigation" is being conducted and apologized for "any unacceptable behavior."
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Billionaires back Hickenlooper and PACs push Gardner to top fundraising spots – The Denver Post

At least eight billionaires contributed to John Hickenlooper’s campaign for U.S. Senate in its first six weeks as the front-running Democrat competed toe-to-toe financially with Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who also raised millions of dollars between July and September. Quarterly fundraising reports released late Tuesday show Hickenlooper’s campaign awash in big-dollar donations from wealthy individuals in Colorado and beyond, including billionaires George Kaiser, Christy Walton, Pat Stryker, Laurene Powell Jobs, Kenneth Tuchman, Stewart Resnick, Amos Hostetter and Eli Broad.
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Front-runner Bernie Sanders says he owes NH ‘debt of gratitude’ – Manchester Ink Link

Sanders said he has done more than 30 rallies in the state, has about 6,000 volunteers and “we take nothing for granted.” “We don’t have a super PAC,” separating himself from candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, “We don’t want one. But we have more donations than any other candidate in the history of elections.” He also told reporters that he differs from Biden on his position of health-care for all. Sanders said the campaign has over 1 million donors whose average gift is $16 and counting. Sanders said we need more young people to get involved in politics, and fortunately, two of every three young adults are politically progressive. “I want younger people to know they are the future of America and if they are concerned about student debt…homophobia…climate change they must get involved in the political process,” he said.
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Impeachment is a gold mine – NWAOnline

In polite company, the idea of putting the country through a presidential impeachment is "somber," "heartbreaking" and, in the words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a time to be "prayerful." But for campaigns across the political spectrum, most especially President Donald Trump's, impeachment has been a once-in-a-generation money bomb.
House approves CORE Act, including Thompson Divide protections; heads to Senate – Glenwood Springs Post Independent
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House approves CORE Act, including Thompson Divide protections; heads to Senate – Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Permanent protections for the Thompson Divide passed a major milestone Thursday when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the CORE Act.  Local conservationists, outdoor groups, ranchers and communities have advocated for more than a decade to permanently withdraw 200,000 acres of the Thompson Divide from future oil and gas development. “We have been working to permanently protect the Thompson Divide for over a decade, and today’s vote is a significant step toward the finish line,” said Curtis
Will Zorro or Vanilla be tapped to face Cory Gardner?  – Mountain Town News
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Will Zorro or Vanilla be tapped to face Cory Gardner? – Mountain Town News

Such an inviting target attracted 16 aspiring Democratic candidates at one time. The early front runner was Andrew Romanoff. He distinguished himself while still young as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives, a legislator able to find common ground. He’s handsome and well spoken. But his political career has stalled for a decade. He has failed in three bids to get to Congress. For the Halloween party, he dressed as Zorro, the fictional defender of commoners against corruption and tyranny. He told about his ideals, taking on the anti-immigrant platform central to Trump’s presidency. Romanoff pointed out his own mother was an immigrant as was all four of his grandparents. America, he said, is a better place because of its immigrants.
NCAA made wrong call on name and image rights, Burr says – News & Observer
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NCAA made wrong call on name and image rights, Burr says – News & Observer

Sen. Richard Burr on Thursday criticized the NCAA for its recent announcement that it would open the door to allowing college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness — and defended himself against “ignorant” critics. Burr, a North Carolina Republican who played defensive back at Wake Forest in the 1970s, created an online firestorm earlier this week when he said he’d bring forth legislation taxing the value of scholarships if players were to “cash in.” “If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income. I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to “cash in” to income taxes,” Burr tweeted on Oct. 29, attracting more than 33,000 comments online, many of them blistering.
Alabama Democratic Party dispute ends up in court – Star Tribune
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Alabama Democratic Party dispute ends up in court – Star Tribune

Insurgents seeking new leadership for Alabama Democrats argued with the party's old-line officers in court Thursday over a lawsuit to block a potential revamping of the party in a deeply Republican state Circuit Judge Greg Griffin gave lawyers time to submit additional documents, but issued no immediate decision on the suit, filed Wednesday by longtime party chair Nancy Worley and others. Any ruling is sure to be appealed. The lawsuit seeks to block some members of the party's governing committee from meeting Saturday to elect new leaders.
Five senators to watch on impeachment – The Christian Science Monitor
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Five senators to watch on impeachment – The Christian Science Monitor

…..two key groups in the GOP caucus are worth watching as the impeachment saga moves to the Senate, political observers say. The first…..includes Senator Alexander of Tennessee, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina (whose current term lasts until 2022 but who announced that 2016 would be the last time he’d run for elective office), Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. The second group consists of …..Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, Senator Ernst of Iowa, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona, and Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
Democrats, GOP dig in for public phase of impeachment battle – The Hill
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Democrats, GOP dig in for public phase of impeachment battle – The Hill

Both Democrats and Republicans are digging in for what promises to be the biggest political battle in a generation. Thursday’s House vote on the impeachment probe resolution, which passed mostly along party lines, was the first of many public fights that are likely to extend in 2020. It was also a clear indication that the next phase of the impeachment process — taking place in public hearings, before the television cameras — will be a highly partisan affair.
‘Scrutiny and double standards’: Katie Hill’s downfall splits Democrats – POLITICO
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‘Scrutiny and double standards’: Katie Hill’s downfall splits Democrats – POLITICO

“I’ve only been here for 10 months, but it’s unbelievable, the kind of scrutiny and double standards that I’ve seen,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), said in an interview, adding that it is particularly difficult for a woman or a person of color. “This place can be extremely defeating. You’re coming as your unapologetic self. You’re coming as a real person,” Tlaib added. “They’re not ready for people like Katie and I, for people who are different... We needed Katie here and I hope she changes her mind.”