politics

Needle Exchanges Find New Champions Among Republicans

May 9, 2019
Sammy Mack / WLRN News

Once repellent to conservative politicians, needle exchanges are now being endorsed and legalized in Republican-controlled states.

At least four legislatures have considered bills to allow hypodermic needle exchanges, and two states, Georgia and Idaho, made them legal this year. In each of these states, the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans and the governor is a Republican.

After high turnout in last year's midterm elections propelled Democrats to a new House majority and big gains in the states, several Republican-controlled state legislatures are attempting to change voting-related rules in ways that might reduce future voter turnout.

In a deeply divided America, a casual political debate can easily spiral into a shouting match — even if both parties set out to keep things civil. So how can we talk about thorny issues with people who fundamentally disagree with us?

Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate and the mayor of a small, majority-white city, came to New York this week to appeal to black voters.

"I believe an agenda for black Americans needs to include five things that all of us care about: homeownership, entrepreneurship, education, health and justice," the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told the audience at the National Action Network's conference.

Civility is a nice sentiment — but it's harder to put into practice.

Take a contentious debate last year in the Maine House of Representatives over a proposal to ban conversion therapy — a discredited treatment designed to make gay people straight.

The House is slated to vote Wednesday on a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales — including those that occur online or at gun shows. On Monday, a group of four CEOs sent a letter urging Congress to pass the proposal.

Congressional negotiators are hurtling toward another deadline — Feb. 15 — to avoid a partial government shutdown. A bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers on the House and Senate appropriations committees are working to reach a deal to fund seven of the 12 outstanding annual bills to fund the federal government.

The controversy centers on just one of the funding measures for the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump waged the longest shutdown in U.S. history because the bill did not include enough money to help build his long-promised "wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET

The woman who accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault has gone public with her story by releasing a statement describing the 2004 encounter when both were attending the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Vanessa Tyson said she recently wrote in a private message on Facebook that she was assaulted by someone at the convention, but she did not name Fairfax. The conservative website Big League Politics published the message earlier this week, naming Fairfax as the alleged assailant.

Updated Jan. 24 at 9:30 a.m. ET

A crowd of students surrounds the Native American man, laughing and filming on cell phones. One boy, wearing a red Make America Great Again hat, stands just inches away from the man's drum, staring at him with a wide smile.

Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder participating in the Indigenous Peoples March, keeps drumming and singing.

After the 2016 presidential election, teachers across the country reported they were seeing increased name-calling and bullying in their classrooms. Now, research shows that those stories — at least in one state — are confirmed by student surveys.

President Trump delivered the first Oval Office address of his presidency Tuesday night — and it came in the midst of a protracted partial government shutdown.

There were a lot of questions going into the address, but there were at least as many afterward — especially, and most importantly: What now?

So what did we learn from the president's address and the rare Democratic response? Here are seven insights:

The 116th Congress officially convened on Thursday with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. And with Democrats' newfound power and Republicans' first time in the minority in nearly a decade, both parties saw a shuffle in their leadership teams.

Some members of the Republican National Committee and grassroots Republicans are backing an effort to block potential primary challengers to President Trump, even though party insiders are insisting it is too late to change the rules for the 2020 campaign.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was the quintessential behind-the-scenes political power player. "He really has no signature speech — there's no great Dick Cheney moment where he was in front of a pulpit delivering a great line," says filmmaker Adam McKay. "He's always kind of just been in the background."

In the midst of accusations of sexism and sexual harassment by aides on Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, the senator's former campaign manager acknowledged Wednesday that there had been "a failure," and Sanders is promising to make sure the same problems do not emerge if he runs in 2020.

Pages