Idaho GOP delegates talk immigration, marriage at convention

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POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) – Idaho Republicans spiked a last-ditch effort calling for harsher punishments for employers who hire workers living in the country illegally.

Delegates discussed the issue while finalizing amendments to the Idaho Republican Party platform during the final day of the GOP convention in Pocatello June 30.

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Bannon blasts GOP leaders as he continues campaigning for anti-LGBTQ Moore in Alabama Senate race

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FAIRHOPE, Ala. (AP) – Populist firebrand Steve Bannon savaged national Republican leaders in a fiery call to rally voters behind embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore as the battle for the GOP’s soul spilled into a dirt-floor barn deep in rural Alabama.

Bannon, known best for his former role as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, called GOP leaders in Congress “cowards” Tuesday night and attacked the party’s 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney as a draft dodger as he defended Moore, who is fighting several allegations of sexual misconduct and a Washington establishment that wants him to lose the Dec. 12 election.

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Dem AZ Rep. Sinema ‘seriously considering’ Senate challenge

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema said Friday she is “seriously considering” a run for the Arizona Senate seat held by Republican Jeff Flake.

The three-term congresswoman said she’s heard from many in her state encouraging her to run. Flake narrowly won his first term in 2012 and is among the very few GOP incumbents who might be vulnerable in next year’s midterm elections in a Senate map that favors Republicans.

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Texas ‘bathroom bill’ may shape 2018 GOP primary campaigns

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Though “bathroom bills” targeting transgender people fizzled in deep-red states across the U.S., the issue is still white hot in Texas, where the Legislature is heading into special session prepared to revive it and conservative groups are vowing revenge on Republican lawmakers who don’t approve it.

Whether Texas eventually enacts a law requiring transgender people to use public restrooms according to their birth-certificate gender, the issue is looming large over Republican primaries set for March. Powerful business entities, from Apple to the NFL, oppose such a bill as discriminatory, but insurgent candidates have promised to brand lawmakers who dare reject it, or try to remain neutral in the face of so much outcry, as soft on social issues dear to conservatives.

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GOP lawmakers rail against trans military service in committee

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Amid questions about whether the Pentagon will delay allowing openly transgender people to enlist in the U.S. armed forces, GOP lawmakers led by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) railed Wednesday night against transgender military service as detrimental to military readiness and limiting expenses to the U.S. government.

During the House Armed Services Committee markup of major defense policy legislation for fiscal year 2018, Hartzler proposed an amendment she said would block openly transgender service, but withdrew her measure after a brief diatribe before it could come to a vote.

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Roy Moore’s Facebook page flooded with rainbow flag emojis

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – U.S. Senate candidate and outspoken same-sex marriage opponent Roy Moore is getting trolled on Facebook with hundreds of rainbow flag emojis.

Critics of the suspended Alabama Supreme Court justice flooded his campaign’s Facebook page with the symbol for gay pride. The rainbow flag reaction emoji was unveiled for LGBTQ pride month in addition to the “like” and other buttons. It was attached to recent posts and comments on his campaign’s Facebook page.

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GOP senator regrets saying guy in tutu ‘kind of asks for it’

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WASHINGTON (AP) – A Republican senator from Wyoming said April 25 he regrets his poor choice of words after telling students a man who wears a tutu to a bar and gets into fights “kind of asks for it.”

Sen. Mike Enzi said in a statement that his comments at Greybull High School and Middle School last week were about respect, tolerance and the dangers of bullying.

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Partisan power struggle overshadows North Carolina governor

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)- Six weeks into North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s term, the Democrat and Republican-controlled legislature are locked in a partisan power struggle, leaving a cloud of uncertainty over state government.

Cooper won the latest battle Wednesday as a three-judge panel temporarily blocked a new law that required Senate confirmation for the governor’s Cabinet members, using a process similar to what the U.S. Senate does for the president’s Cabinet choices.

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Wisconsin GOP begin session eyeing anti-transgender, pro-gun policies

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Emboldened with their largest majorities in decades, Republicans began the Wisconsin legislative session Jan. 3 saying they are focused on finding long-term solutions to problems that have long vexed the state such as a projected $1 billion deficit in spending for roads and bridges.

They are also eyeing taking action on several hot-button issues, including legalizing the carrying of concealed weapons on college campuses, breaking up the Department of Natural Resources and restricting which bathrooms transgender students can use.

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In red states, businesses gearing up to fight bathroom bills

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Sean Henry, the president of Tennessee’s NHL team, is stunned he even has to explain why he hopes state legislators will snub bills similar to North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law, which has consumed that state for months and scared off businesses and sporting events.

The Nashville Predators team is among about 300 companies, ranging from health-care giant HCA to FedEx, joining under the moniker Tennessee Thrives to oppose bathroom and religious objection bills, which they consider discriminatory and bad for business. Companies in other GOP-led states have had success voicing opposition under similar names: Georgia Prospers, Opportunity West Virginia, Missouri Competes.

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Cooper’s lead over McCrory grows to more than 10,000 votes in NC governor’s race

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s elections board has ordered Durham County to recount tens of thousands of ballots cast during early voting, reversing the decision of the county board a couple of weeks ago.

The state board’s 3-2 decision Nov. 30 after close to three hours of arguments could delay further final results in the North Carolina governor’s race. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who trails Democrat Roy Cooper by more than 10,000 votes, supported the recount request filed by a GOP attorney.

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GOP sweep heightens anxiety for many transgender Americans

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NEW YORK (AP) – Anxiety is high among many transgender Americans after the sweeping Republican election victory. They fear stronger resistance to their push for civil-rights protections, including broader access to public restrooms, and wonder if their newly won right to serve openly in the military is in jeopardy.

Transgender people “are concerned for their safety, survival and legal rights in the coming years,” said Chase Strangio, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who often works on transgender issues.

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